There’s not enough scientific research on the effects of lion’s mane on DHT. Some evidence suggests that Hericium erinaceus could aid in stabilizing DHT levels. Let’s take a closer look.
What Are Lion’s Mane Mushrooms?
The lion’s mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) is an adaptogenic mushroom known for its distinct appearance and the many benefits it provides. Often referred to as one of the healthiest mushrooms in the world, this unique mushroom provides an abundance of benefits for mental and physical health. This fungus mainly grows in northern Europe, Asia, and North America.
What Is DHT?
Dihydrotestosterone (DHT, for short) is an offshoot of testosterone, an androgen and a sex hormone that stimulates the development of ‘male sex characteristics’ (for example, increased body hair, high sex drive, hair loss, and the ability to generate muscle mass faster).
The production of testosterone starts in the hypothalamus. The hormone converts to DHT in the body, and exerts its effects on various tissues. Lion’s mane mushrooms may increase the production of testosterone through the beneficial effects it has on the brain (especially on the hypothalamus).
Does Lion’s Mane Affect Hormones?
Lion’s mane mushrooms have the potential to affect the production of hormones by promoting the growth of nerve cells, particularly in the hypothalamus.
Hericium erinaceus appears to stimulate neurogenesis and is a known nootropic. A recent Japanese study on the neurogenetic potential of lion’s mane suggests that this mushroom alleviated cognitive impairments by stimulating nerve cell production.
Lion’s mane mushrooms contain compounds that promote the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factors. BDNF, in turn, regulates the production of hypothalamic hormones (growth hormone, vasopressin, adrenocorticotropic hormones, and more).
Therefore, by stimulating BDNF, these adaptogenic mushrooms may regulate the production of certain hormones. This warrants further research on the effects of Hericium erinaceus on hormones, especially in humans.
Does Lion’s Mane Affect DHT?
Due to the lack of research, we can’t know exactly how lion’s mane affects dihydrotestosterone production. DHT is a hypothalamic hormone. Therefore, Hericium erinaceus may stimulate the production of this hormone by stimulating hypothalamic neurogenesis. This hypothesis is promising and warrants further looking into, with human studies being particularly needed.
Lion’s Mane and Testosterone
There is not enough scientific research on the lion’s mane effects on testosterone to draw conclusive results on this topic. However, anecdotal evidence does not suggest that lion’s mane lowers testosterone levels.
Some adaptogenic mushrooms can lower testosterone levels in animals. For example, in a recent animal study, the yellow jelly mushroom lowered testosterone production in mice.
If you want to really increase your testosterone, it's best to consume the lion’s mane mushroom with cordyceps. Cordyceps was shown to increase testosterone levels and may counteract any inhibitory effects of other medicinal fungi.
Lion’s Mane and PSSD
PSSD, or post-SSRI sexual dysfunction, is a condition in which patients experience sexual dysfunction after taking SSRIs, drugs commonly used to treat depression and other mental health conditions. Lion’s mane can alleviate mild symptoms of depression. There is no evidence linking it to PSSD.
Lion’s Mane Benefits
Research on the health benefits of lion’s mane indicates this fungus may promote nerve regeneration through the production of nerve growth factor proteins, and hence repair brain cells. It appears to reduce the risk of heart disease, lessen inflammation and oxidative stress, as well as improve cognitive functions and neuronal health.
Some of the beneficial effects of lion’s mane include:
- reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety (lion’s mane supplements appear to improve symptoms of depressive disorders)
- reduces inflammation and oxidation
- improves overall brain health and mental functions—including learning and memory—through hippocampal neurogenesis
- promotes neurite outgrowth
- alleviates symptoms of sleep disorders
- improves mental clarity and protects against mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease
- lowers blood sugar levels and aids in diabetes treatment
- encourages apoptosis (cell death) of cancer cells, and has the potential to fight cancer
- improves digestive health and prevents stomach ulcers
- prevents weight gain and aids in weight maintenance and weight loss
- provides antioxidant activity and improves immune function
- has neuroprotective properties and reduces nerve damage in nervous system injuries and neurodegenerative autoimmune disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease
Lion’s Mane Side Effects
There are no long-term side effects to taking lion’s mane, and centuries of use in alternative medicine suggest that this mushroom is completely safe to consume. However, you should be cautious of taking medicinal mushrooms, including Hericium erinaceus, if you are on blood thinners or antidiabetics.
Additionally, lion’s mane contraindications can include asthma or allergies to other fungi, mold, or yeast. If you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, such as skin rashes or difficulty breathing, stop taking lion’s mane and talk to a healthcare expert.
Are You Interested in Taking Lion’s Mane Mushrooms?
If you want to incorporate Hericium erinaceus into your diet, you can do so with our delicious mushroom granola.
Our granola contains the perfect daily dose of lion’s mane. Each serving has 250 mg of hyperconcentrated lion’s mane mushroom extract, which equates to around 2000 mg of mushroom powder.
The granola is packed with nutrients, vegan, gluten-free, and delicious. What more could you want in a morning bowl of cereal?
FAQ on Lion’s Mane and DHT
How much lion’s mane is in Forij granola?
Forij granola uses a high-quality lion's mane mushroom extract made from whole medicinal mushrooms. Our dual extraction method extracts both water-soluble beta-glucans as well as alcohol-soluble triterpenes. Our decoction process breaks down indigestible chitin cell walls of the mushroom to get much more of these compounds out than ordinary processes do.
One serving of our granola provides 250 mg of hyperconcentrated lion's mane extract, which is eight times more concentrated than regular lion’s mane mushroom supplements. Therefore, you get as much potency as you would if you were taking a 2000 mg lion’s mane mushroom powder, all in one bowl of granola.
What actually blocks DHT?
DHT blockers, medications that block DHT, include Minoxidil and Finasteride. Some foods—such as pumpkin seed oil, coconut oil, spinach, and kale—were also shown to contain natural DHT blockers. Symptoms DHT blockers may experience are lower libido, erectile dysfunction and weight gain.
Does lion’s mane lower dopamine?
No, lion’s mane does not lower dopamine, but it does stabilize dopamine levels, according to a 2018 animal study. This study looked at the underlying mechanisms of antidepressant effects of Hericium erinaceus in mice. The results suggest that when the mice were under stress, their dopamine levels decreased.
However, after taking lion's mane, their dopamine levels stabilized, even though there were no changes in their levels of stress. This suggests that lion's mane could be responsible for the rise in dopamine levels, although further human research is needed.
What should you not take lion’s mane with?
You can take lion’s mane with anything, but you should be cautious when taking certain medication that has similar effects to lion’s mane.
Since this mushroom prevents blood clots, lion’s mane could interact with medication that has the same effect (such as Aspirin, Heparin, and Warfarin) and slow down coagulation and wound healing. Thus, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional before you start taking lion’s mane if you take anticoagulants.
Similarly, lion’s mane can interact with antidiabetics, as Hericium erinaceus does appear to lower blood sugar as well. So, if you are taking medication for diabetes, consult with your doctor before taking lion’s mane mushrooms.
Should I take lion’s mane everyday?
It’s not only completely safe but highly beneficial to take lion’s mane mushrooms every day. Long-term benefits of lion’s mane—such as their ability to prevent diabetes and alleviate symptoms of Parkinson’s disease—become more pronounced the longer you use this mushroom. You can take lion’s mane with or without food, or via foods infused with a lion’s mane extract (such as Forij granola).
Is lion’s mane safe to take with other medicinal mushrooms?
Yes, you can take lion’s mane with any other type of medicinal fungus, including the reishi mushroom, the chaga mushroom, turkey tail, and many more. When it comes to adaptogenic mushrooms, the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts. Therefore, the benefits of lion’s mane can only be improved upon by taking them with other mushrooms and vice versa.
This article was written strictly for informational purposes and is not intended to inform about medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of any kind. The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).