Searching for a natural nootropic that can help improve memory, focus, and overall brain function? Consider lion's mane mushrooms, a unique and powerful mushroom species with a wide range of potential benefits.
Read on to learn about the science behind this powerful nootropic and its potential benefits for cognitive function. And, if you want to learn about other benefits lion’s mane offers, read our detailed guide to lion’s mane mushrooms.
What Is Lion’s Mane?
Lion’s mane mushrooms are adaptogenic mushrooms that were used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a variety of ailments and are still a popular nootropic and adaptogen. Often regarded to be one of the healthiest mushrooms in the world, lion’s mane offers an abundance of benefits for both mental and physical health.
To read more about how this mushroom and other adaptogens work, read our adaptogenic mushroom guide.
What Are Nootropics?
Nootropics are a class of supplements and substances that appear to enhance cognitive function, memory, and focus. Many nootropics are synthetic drugs, but there are also many natural substances that are considered nootropics, such as herbs, mushrooms, and other plant-based compounds.
According to research, nootropics can enhance cognitive performance and even prevent cognitive decline. A recent study cites that “nootropics may be an effective alternative for strengthening and enhancing cognitive performance in patients with a range of pathologies.”
Types of Nootropics
Many people turn to natural nootropics as a way to boost their brain power without relying on synthetic drugs or chemicals. Some of the most common types of nootropics are:
- Lion’s mane mushrooms
- Cordyceps mushrooms
- Reishi mushrooms
- Maitake mushrooms
- Turkey tail mushrooms
- Bacopa monnieri
- Ginkgo biloba
- Panax ginseng
- Rhodiola rosea
Can I Take Multiple Nootropics at the Same Time?
Yes, you can take multiple nootropics at the same time. People who use nootropic dietary supplements often combine multiple types in what is known as nootropic stacks.
Nootropic stacks are combinations of different nootropic active ingredients that are taken together to enhance their individual effects. They can be customized to meet the individual needs and goals of the user, and can include both synthetic and natural substances.
It's crucial to be cautious when creating nootropic stacks, as combining some substances can have unintended side effects. Consult with a healthcare professional before using any nootropic stack.
Lion’s Mane Nootropic Benefits
The nootropic health benefits of lion’s mane are a popular research topic in recent years, and studies suggest that this mushroom does appear to improve cognitive function, memory, mood, and focus. The lion's mane mushroom contains a broad range of naturally occurring active compounds, including hericenones and erinacines, which are known for their brain health benefits.
What Does Lion’s Mane Do to the Brain?
The brain benefits of lion’s mane are undeniable. This mushroom appears to promote neurite outgrowth through its effects on nerve growth factor production, as well as aid in nerve repair.
Multiple bioactive compounds found in lion’s mane “easily cross the blood-brain barrier, and have been found to have neurotrophic and...neuroprotective effects,” according to a recent study on the neurotrophic properties of the lion’s mane mushroom.
We go in-depth on this topic in our article on the brain benefits of lion’s mane. Give it a read.
Lion’s Mane and Nerve Growth
According to a recent study, compounds found in the lion’s mane fruiting body may aid in the growth of brain cells by promoting nerve growth factor (NGF) synthesis. Researchers in this study found that “hericenones and erinacines isolated from the medicinal mushroom Hericium erinaceus can induce NGF synthesis in nerve cells.”
Another study, published in 2023 by the University of Queensland Brain Institute, found that lion’s mane had a significant impact on nerve cell growth, and appeared to improve memory formation by boosting the growth of brain cells.
To learn more about the effects of lion’s mane on nerve growth, read our lion’s mane and neurogenesis guide.
Lion’s Mane and Nerve Repair
In addition to helping your brain form new brain cells, lion’s mane also appears to repair nerve cells. Hericium erinaceus was studied in 2011 for its effect on nerve injury repair.
The study was done on Sprague-Dawley rats with peroneal nerve crush injuries. Researchers concluded that “daily oral administration of aqueous extract of H. erinaceus fresh fruiting bodies could promote the regeneration of injured rat peroneal nerve in the early stage of recovery.”
Can Lion’s Mane Improve Memory?
When it comes to using lion's mane for memory and improved cognitive performance, a few studies suggest encouraging benefits. This mushroom is often referred to as the “smart mushroom” due to its memory-boosting benefits.
For example, a 2017 animal study investigated the mushroom's impact on brain health and memory. Lion's mane supplementation dramatically improved recognition memory, nerve growth, and neurotransmission in healthy mice, according to the results.
Human studies on the topic are still rare, but a recent double-blind, placebo-controlled study done on Japanese adults found that, when taken consistently, lion's mane improved memory and cognitive function.
...oral intake of H. erinaceus significantly improved cognitive functions and prevented…deterioration. We speculate that various chemical compounds, including hericenones, in the mushroom have multiple effects to the brain neural networks and improve cognitive functions.
Hericium erinaceus also appears to alleviate Alzheimer’s disease symptoms such as memory loss and brain fog. A study published in 2022 found that lion’s mane “has therapeutic potential and may facilitate memory enhancement in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.”
To learn more about using lion’s mane to enhance memory, read our article on the memory-boosting properties of Hericium erinaceus.
Does Lion’s Mane Reduce Brain Fog?
There appears to be both anecdotal and scientific evidence that lion's mane supplements can aid with brain fog, whether caused by stress, mental health concerns, a chronic illness, or a lack of sleep.
An animal study, published in 2018, looked at the effects of lion's mane extracts on anxiety and depression symptoms, including brain fog. Hericium erinaceus seems to alleviate brain fog and improve mental clarity, once again by encouraging the growth and regeneration of brain cells.
Does Lion’s Mane Give You Energy?
Lion's mane can offer you a surge of vitality and energy. This fungus does not contain caffeine, so it will not give you as much energy as coffee or tea, but it can serve as a natural energy booster.
Plus, because it doesn’t contain caffeine, you don’t risk experiencing jitters or a midday energy crash when taking lion’s mane mushrooms. Many athletes use lion's mane to maximize their performance because of the energy boost it provides.
Do You Want to Reap the Nootropic Benefits of Lion’s Mane?
If you’re interested in taking lion’s mane for its nootropic potential, why not have it be a part of your morning routine? Reaping all the benefits lion’s mane has to offer could be as simple as having your morning bowl of cereal with our medicinal mushroom granola.
The granola is vegan, gluten-free, and contains a high-quality lion’s mane extract. You can choose from three delicious flavors: vanilla almond, sunflower seed cacao, and cinnamon. Or, get a bundle with all three flavors if you like to start your morning with some variety.
How Much Lion’s Mane Should You Take for Nootropic Benefits?
The optimal dose of lion’s mane mushrooms will vary from person to person. If you’re taking lion’s mane for its nootropic benefits, it’s best to start with a low dosage (500-1000 mg) and work your way up until you feel the effects.
How Much Lion’s Mane Is in Forij Granola?
Forij granola uses high-quality lion's mane extracts made from whole medicinal mushrooms. Our dual extract contains both water-soluble beta-glucans as well as alcohol-soluble triterpenes. Our decoction process breaks down the fruiting bodies and 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 mushroom extract, which is eight times more concentrated than regular lion’s mane supplements. Therefore, you get as much lion's mane potency as you would if you were taking a 2000 mg lion’s mane mushroom supplement, all in one bowl of granola.
FAQ on Lion’s Mane Nootropic Benefits
Is lion’s mane the best nootropic?
It's difficult to determine the "best" nootropic, but lion's mane is certainly considered one of the top natural nootropics available today. As a mushroom species, lion's mane has gained popularity in the nootropic community for its potential cognitive benefits, including improved memory and focus, as well as its anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties.
While more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits of the medicinal mushroom lion's mane, its long history of use in traditional medicine and growing popularity suggest it is a natural nootropic worth considering.
What happens if you take lion’s mane everyday?
If you take Hericium erinaceus every day, you’ll reap more lion’s mane benefits than if you were to take this adaptogenic mushroom occasionally. Taking lion’s mane every day is completely safe and even recommended, especially if you’re just starting to take it.
Does lion’s mane increase dopamine?
Lion's mane does not exactly boost dopamine, but it does help to regulate dopamine levels. A 2018 animal study investigated the underlying mechanisms of the antidepressant effects of lion’s mane in mice. The findings of this study suggest that when the mice were stressed, their dopamine levels dropped.
The dopamine levels normalized after consuming lion's mane, despite no changes in their stress levels. This shows that lion's mane may be responsible for the increase in dopamine levels, albeit further human research is required to fully understand this lion's mane benefit.
How does lion’s mane make you feel?
Lion’s mane appears to alleviate mild symptoms of anxiety and depression, and will likely make you feel more relaxed if you struggle with these mental health conditions. Read our article on taking lion’s mane for anxiety to learn more about the anxiolytic properties of this mushroom. And, if you want to know more about the benefits of Hericium erinaceus on depression, check out our guide to the benefits of lion’s mane for depression.
Does lion’s mane actually work?
Yes, research appears to show that lion's mane does indeed work. One of the many benefits of this fungus is the lion's mane’s potential to relieve digestive tract issues. Lion’s mane medicinal mushrooms have also been shown to alleviate symptoms of mental health issues like OCD, depression, and anxiety as well as improve immune health.
Does lion’s mane make you sleepy?
Lion's mane does not make you sleepy but it can alleviate some sleep issues. Research suggests that lion's mane may help you sleep better if you suffer from depression or anxiety. To learn more about this benefit, read our article on lion’s mane and sleep.
Does the lion’s mane mushroom boost testosterone?
Yes, lion's mane mushroom powder appears to raise testosterone levels, particularly in people who naturally have lower testosterone levels. Many adaptogenic mushrooms have the ability to raise testosterone levels in the body, which could result in increased muscle growth and higher energy levels. To learn more about the effects of lion’s mane on testosterone, read our article on the benefits of Hericium erinaceus on DHT production.
Which is better—ashwagandha or lion’s mane?
Ashwagandha and lion’s mane are both amazing nootropics with many benefits for physical and mental wellbeing. They are both known for their ability to reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. However, when it comes to supporting cognitive function and improving memory, research suggests that lion’s mane is the more effective option.
How effective is lion’s mane supplementation?
According to research, lion’s mane supplementation can be quite effective if you take it regularly and at an appropriate dosage. Lion's mane has been shown to have potential benefits for overall health, with some studies suggesting it may have anti-inflammatory effects and help reduce oxidative stress in the body, as well as provide an array of mental health benefits.
What is the best supplement with lion’s mane?
Determining the best supplement with lion's mane depends on your individual preferences and needs. However, there are a variety of lion's mane mushroom products available, including lion’s mane powder, extract, capsule, and tincture forms and eating fresh or cooked real mushrooms.
Lion's mane mushroom capsules are a popular option for those looking to supplement with this powerful natural nootropic. Another unique and tasty way to supplement lion's mane is through lion's mane mushroom granola, such as Forij Granola, which offers a convenient and delicious way to get this mushroom’s benefits.
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This article was written strictly for informational purposes. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases. The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).