Do Lion’s Mane Mushrooms Have Memory-Boosting Properties?

There's a lot of buzz about the memory-boosting potential of lion’s mane mushrooms. We took a closer look at what the science says about effects of Hericium erinaceus on memory. 

We were impressed with what we found in the clinical research.

Here are our findings on lion’s mane and memory.

Article Jumplinks

Does lion's mane support brain health?

Does lion's mane help with brain fog?

Can lion's mane improve memory?

Are there any side effects to taking lion's mane?

How can you take lion's mane for memory?

What is Lion’s Mane?

Hericium erinaceus, lion’s mane mushroom, Santa’s beard: this shaggy fungus goes by many names. Lion’s mane grows on dead trees in late summer and early fall in Europe, Asia, and North America.

Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane

Research on the health benefits of the lion’s mane mushroom indicates this fungus has the potential to promote the production of nerve growth factors and repair nerve cells. It appears to ease the symptoms of dementia and neuropathic pain, as well as improve overall mental clarity and cognitive health. 

Some of the potential benefits of lion’s mane include:

  • reduces anxiety and depression
  • reduces inflammation and nerve pains
  • improves cognitive functions and overall brain health
  • protects against mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease
  • lowers blood sugar levels
  • encourages apoptosis (cell death) of cancer cells
  • improves immune function
  • reduces nerve damage in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis

Bioactive Compounds Found in Lion’s Mane

Hericium erinaceus contains a plethora of bioactive compounds, such as:

  • polysaccharides
  • polypeptides
  • beta-glucoxlan
  • prebiotic fibers
  • digestive enzymes
  • hericenones
  • erinacines

Lion’s Mane and Memory

The lion’s mane mushroom seems to aid in memory, focus, and overall cognition. Although human research on the topic of lion’s mane and memory is still scarce, the available studies seem to confirm that this mushroom species can improve memory significantly.

Additionally, the research on lion’s mane and Alzheimer’s disease appears to show that this mushroom may even be able to restore cognitive functions lost to the ailment.

Lion's mane and memory

Does Lion’s Mane Support Brain Health?

Hericium erinaceus’s protective influence on the brain is widely documented, especially in animal studies.

Lion’s Mane and Neurogenesis

Bioactive compounds found in lion’s mane mushroom extract, mainly hericenones and erinacines, seem to promote brain neurogenesis. These compounds, commonly found in the fruiting bodies of the lion’s mane mushroom, stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF) proteins which in turn aid in nerve regeneration and even the formation of new neurons.

Neurogenesis and Memory

An animal study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food examined the effects of lion’s mane on depression and anxiety and concluded that these medicinal mushrooms aid in the reduction of mental health issues by promoting neurogenesis within the hippocampus.

Hippocampal neurogenesis, in turn, improves memory. The hippocampus plays a major role in learning and memory, and research shows that the formation of new nerves in this area of the brain can have tremendous benefits on cognitive function, including memory formation and retention.

Does Lion’s Mane Help With Brain Fog?

Both anecdotal and research-based evidence seems to suggest that lion’s mane supplements can be beneficial for brain fog, whether caused by stress, mental health issues, a chronic illness, or a lack of sleep.

2018 animal study examined the effects of lion’s mane extracts on anxiety and depression symptoms, including brain fog. Results suggest that Hericium erinaceus seemed to lessen these symptoms—again, by promoting the growth and regeneration of brain cells.

Can Lion’s Mane Improve Cognition and Memory?

Both animal and human studies on the effects of lion’s mane mushroom extract on cognitive functions seem to suggest that lion’s mane can be quite beneficial for memory

Lion’s Mane and Learning and Memory Deficits in Mice

Japanese study looked at the effects of Hericium erinaceus mycelium on amyloid β2535 peptide-induced learning and memory deficits in mice. The mice were fed a diet containing lion’s mane for 23 days. Results show that the consumption of lion’s mane prevented impairment of visual recognition and short-term spatial memory.

Lion’s Mane and Spatial Memory in Wild-Type Mice

study published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms came to a similar result. In this study, researchers examined spatial memory in wild-type mice that were administered a dietary supplement of lion’s mane.

The mice were given tasks, such as the novel object recognition test and the Y maze test before they started taking lion’s mane. After taking Hericium erinaceus for 2 months, the mice performed significantly better in these tasks, likely due to the hippocampal neurogenesis that occurred as a result of lion’s mane use.

Lion’s Mane and Cognitive Function in People

Japanese double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the effects of Hericium erinaceus on cognitive function–including memory–in people. In this double-blind clinical trial, the test group was given lion’s mane mushroom capsules for 12 weeks, while the control group was given a placebo.

Both groups were tested on visual retention and verbal learning, as well as their general mental state. After taking lion’s mane for 12 weeks, the test group showed a significant increase both in visual retention and verbal learning, while the control group did not.

What We Know to Date About Lion’s Mane and Memory

Here’s what we know to date about Hericium erinaceus and memory:

  1. Animal studies suggest that lion’s mane extract may be able to reverse memory loss in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease patients.
  2. Lion’s mane seems to promote neurogenesis in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that has a role in learning and memory. 
  3. An animal study suggests that Hericium erinaceus can also lessen symptoms of brain fog, which could, in turn, improve memory and learning capabilities.
  4. Lion’s mane seems to improve memory and learning ability, as well as lessen cognitive deterioration in mice.
  5. A Japanese study indicates that lion’s mane also improves cognitive function, including memory, in humans.
  6. More human studies are needed to uncover the underlying mechanisms of lion’s mane and its effects on memory.
  7. Given that there are no downsides to taking lion’s mane, its low cost, and high availability, it may make sense to include this fungus into one’s diet as a way to improve your memory and other cognitive functionality. 

What are the Side Effects of Lion’s Mane?

There are no known serious side effects of lion’s mane. However, there is always a slight possibility of adverse effects such as diarrhea and an upset stomach. In order to avoid these side effects, try taking lion’s mane with a meal and start with a lower dose.

Is Lion’s Mane Addictive?

No, lion’s mane is not addictive, even at high doses. Since this mushroom is not psychoactive and does not cause a high, there is no risk of addiction when it comes to lion’s mane. Additionally, there are no withdrawal symptoms once you stop taking lion’s mane.

Lion’s Mane Drug Interactions

There are no studies on lion’s mane drug interactions. However, due to the antihyperglycemic and antiplatelet effects of this fungus, you should use it with caution if you’re on antidiabetics or medication that slows blood clotting.

Interested in Taking Lion’s Mane for Memory?

If you’re interested in taking lion’s mane for memory, why not include this helpful mushroom in your morning routine? Doing so and reaping all the benefits lion’s mane has to offer could be as simple as having your morning bowl of cereal.

Forij Superfood Granola

Forij Superfood Granola is a vegan, gluten-free granola that contains a hyperconcentrated extract of lion’s mane, chaga, and cordyceps mushrooms. That means you get 10-15 times the nutrients a regular mushroom powder provides without the mushroom flavor.

You can choose from three delicious flavors: vanilla almond, sunflower seed cacao, and cinnamon. Alternatively, get a bundle with all three flavors if you like to start your morning with some variety.

Lion’s Mane and Memory FAQ

Does lion’s mane increase testosterone?

Yes, lion’s mane seems to increase testosterone, especially in people who naturally have lower levels of testosterone. Many medicinal mushrooms have the potential to improve testosterone levels in the body, which could lead to muscle growth and an increase in overall energy.

Does lion’s mane affect sleep?

Due to its anti-anxiety properties, lion’s mane may have a relaxing effect on the brain, making you fall asleep easier. Still, if you want to take lion’s mane for sleep, make sure to do so earlier in the day, as lion’s mane can have stimulating effects and may affect your sleep if you take it late at night. 

How does lion’s mane make you feel?

A lion’s mane mushroom supplement may make you feel more energized and focused due to the mushroom’s stimulant effects. With regular use, you may also experience improved mood, less anxiety, and fewer sleep issues.

How long does it take for lion’s mane to work?

Lion’s mane mushroom benefits memory, has a tremendous antioxidant activity, and may be able to lessen cognitive impairments. However, you can’t expect these changes to come overnight. On average, you should take lion’s mane capsules and supplements for at least two weeks before you can expect to notice any effects.

Forij Disclaimer

This article was written strictly for informational purposes and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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