Lion’s mane mushroom is a powerhouse fungus that packs a slew of health benefits. Do the medicinal claims about Hericium erinaceus really live up to the hype? After extensive research, we're proud to say that they do, indeed.
Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane
While the research on lion's mane mushroom benefits is in its infancy, the studies published on the topic are promising. This fungus is among the healthiest mushrooms you can consume to maintain your health and prevent illnesses.
These adaptogenic mushrooms seem to benefit the brain, the digestive system, and the immune system, as well as help your body fight cancer and various autoimmune diseases. From an evidence based perspective, lion's mane mushrooms have incredible potential and should be investigated further.
1. Neurological Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane
One of the most talked about effects of lion’s mane is its ability to improve cognition and overall brain health. Due to its neurotrophic properties, lion’s mane is used in alternative medicine to aid in the treatment of conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, as well as lessen nerve pain and prevent nerve damage.
The most prominent human study on Hericium erinaceus examined its effect on mild cognitive impairment. The double-blind, placebo-controlled study was performed on Japanese adults, 50-80 years old, who had experienced a mild loss of cognitive functions due to age or underlying conditions. The participants’ cognitive health improved significantly after taking lion’s mane for 16 weeks.
2. Lion’s Mane Anti-Cancer Properties
Cerebrosides, compounds found in the fruiting bodies of Hericium erinaceus, show a promising ability to fight cancer. In particular, cerebroside E, a common lion's mane compound, seems to aid in cancer treatment, according to an in vitro study.
Lion’s mane is among the few functional mushrooms that seem to cause cancer cell apoptosis (cordyceps mushrooms appear to have the same ability). That means these mushrooms may protect against various cancer types, such as colon cancer and leukemia, by aiding the process of programmed death of cancer cells.
3. Lion’s Mane Mental Health Benefits
In addition to aiding in the treatment of cognitive impairments, lion’s mane appears to help with mental clarity and treating depressive disorders. A study looked at the effects of the lion’s mane mushroom on various menopause symptoms, including anxiety and depression.
Compared with the control group, participants who consumed a lion's mane mushroom extract for 4 weeks scored lower on tests that measure depression and anxiety symptoms. Although more research is needed, lion’s mane has the potential to aid in mental health and ease milder symptoms of mental disorders.
4. Digestive Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane
Hericium erinaceus seems to have protective effects on the digestive system, at least in animals. An animal study examined the effects of this medicinal mushroom on the stomach, and the results show that lion's mane was able to reduce the risk of ethanol-induced stomach ulcers in rats.
Although more human studies are needed, it can’t hurt to take a lion’s mane mushroom supplement preemptively if you have stomach issues.
5. Lion’s Mane Immunity Boosting Properties
Research suggests that lion’s mane mushrooms show potential when it comes to antioxidant activity and immunity boosting properties. For example, a study examined the effects of lion’s mane on immune health in mice. Results show that the lion's mane mushroom improved overall immune function in mice by aiding in cell and humoral immunity boosting.
6. Anti-Diabetes Properties of Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Polysaccharides, compounds found in Hericium erinaceus, contain anti-hyperglycemic properties, meaning they can lower blood sugar. This means that lion's mane can be quite helpful for people with diabetes who need to keep their blood sugar levels from spiking too much after a meal.
A study on the effects of lion’s mane on rats with diabetes seems to confirm the anti-hyperglycemic potential of this mushroom. After 28 days on a lion’s mane extract, the rats’ blood glucose levels stabilized.
Lion’s Mane Risks and Side Effects
There is no research or anecdotal evidence to suggest that consuming a lion’s mane mushroom extract could be dangerous.
Hericium erinaceus has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and is still popular today, and only reported adverse effects to this mushroom seem to be an upset stomach and diarrhea.
Although these side effects are quite rare, you should start with a low dose of the mushroom in order to prevent digestive issues, especially if you’ve never used medicinal mushrooms before.
Does Lion’s Mane Interact With Medications?
Although there is sparse research on lion’s mane drug interactions, the mushroom may have certain effects that could interfere with medications for diabetes or blood clotting.
For one, lion’s mane appears to have antiplatelet effects. If you’re already on blood thinners, you may want to consult with a medical professional about a potential interaction in order to avoid symptoms such as prolonged wound healing and bruising.
An animal study on the effects of lion’s mane supplements on diabetic mice suggests that this adaptogenic mushroom has antihyperglycemic effects. Therefore, if you’re already on medication that lowers blood sugar levels, such as insulin, you should keep track of your blood sugar when taking lion’s mane to make sure it doesn’t dip below normal levels.
Is Lion’s Mane Addictive?
No, lion’s mane mushrooms are not addictive, even if you take them every day. Lion’s mane doesn’t have a psychoactive effect and won’t cause a high, and you can stop taking it whenever you choose without any repercussions.
Interested in Trying Lion’s Mane Mushrooms?
Lion’s mane is generally safe for most people. If you want to incorporate the helpful mushroom into your diet, you can do so with our Forij Superfood Granola.
In addition to a hyperconcentrated lion’s mane extract, our granola contains extracts of chaga and cordyceps mushrooms.
The granola is vegan, gluten-free, packed with nutrients, and delicious. What more could you want in a morning bowl of cereal?
Lion’s Mane Mushroom Health Benefits FAQ
How much lion's mane is in Forij granola?
Forij granola uses a high-quality lion's mane 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 a regular lion’s mane supplement. Therefore, you get as much lion's mane potency as you would if you were taking a 2000 mg mushroom powder supplement, all in one bowl of granola.
Can I take lion’s mane and reishi mushrooms together?
Yes, you can take lion’s mane mushrooms with any other type of medicinal fungus, including the reishi mushroom. When it comes to adaptogenic mushrooms, the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts. Therefore, the benefits of reishi can only be improved upon by taking them with lion’s mane mushrooms and vice versa.
How does lion’s mane make you feel?
Taking lion’s mane may make you feel calmer, more energized and focused. Therefore, it’s best to take this fungus in the morning or early afternoon, so you can reap the benefits of it during your workday. Although you can take lion’s mane at night as well, do so with caution as it may make you restless and unable to fall asleep.
Can I take lion’s mane daily?
Yes, not only is it completely safe to take lion’s mane every day, doing so will allow you to reap the most benefits of this mushroom. It's best to take lion's mane in the morning, as you can reap its energizing benefits throughout the day.
Luckily, there are many ways to include lion’s mane into your wellness routine — you can use dry mushrooms in a dish or to make tea, go with lion’s mane in supplement form (such as lion’s mane mushroom capsules and mushroom powders), or opt for food infused with it (such as mushroom coffee or Forij granola).
This article was written strictly for informational purposes and is not intended to inform about professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of any kind. The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).