We get many questions about the effects lion’s mane mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus) can have on testosterone, so we decided to take a deep dive into the topic.
The lack of reliable scientific evidence on the effects of Hericium erinaceus on this hormone makes it hard to draw any conclusions.
However, lion’s mane could potentially boost the production of testosterone through neurogenesis. Read on for the details.
What is Lion’s Mane?
The lion’s mane mushroom is an incredibly healthy adaptogenic fungus known for its many medicinal properties. It’s been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and is still adored by alternative health professionals. It prefers cooler climates and grows in the lush forests of North America, Europe, and Asia.
Lion’s Mane Benefits
Research on the potential 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
- 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.
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.
Does Lion’s Mane Increase Testosterone?
Testosterone is an androgen, a sex hormone that stimulates the development of ‘male sex characteristics’ (for example, increased body hair and the ability to generate muscle mass faster).
The production of testosterone starts in the hypothalamus. The hormone converts to dihydrotestosterone (DHT, for short) 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).
How 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.
A known nootropic, Hericium erinaceus appears to stimulate neurogenesis. A 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. Thus, Hericium erinaceus may stimulate the production of this hormone by stimulating hypothalamic neurogenesis. This hypothesis is promising and warrants further looking into, especially on human subjects.
Does Lion’s Mane Lower Testosterone?
There is not enough scientific research on the effects of lion’s mane on testosterone to draw conclusive results. However, anecdotal evidence does not suggest that lion’s mane lowers testosterone levels.
Some medicinal mushrooms can lower testosterone levels in animals. For example, the yellow jelly mushroom appears to reduce testosterone production in mice.
If you want to err on the side of caution and reap the benefits of Hericium erinaceus without the risk of lowering your testosterone, it's best to consume this mushroom with cordyceps.
Cordyceps mushrooms were shown to increase the production of testosterone and may counteract any inhibitory effects of other medicinal fungi.
Are You Interested in Taking Lion’s Mane Mushrooms?
If you want to take lion’s mane, either for testosterone or other purposes, we have a solution for you—our healthy mushroom granola.
In addition to lion’s mane mushrooms, our granola contains hyperconcentrated extracts of the chaga mushroom and cordyceps.
The granola is vegan, gluten-free, and made completely out of delicious, clean ingredients. Who knew your morning dose of lion’s mane could be this tasty?
Lion’s Mane and Testosterone FAQ
Can you take too much lion's mane?
Lion’s mane mushrooms have been consumed as a culinary delicacy for millenia, and there seem to be no reports of negative effects from large quantities eaten. It appears that this mushroom is safe at any dosage.
However, if you want to be absolutely safe, err on the side of taking our recommended dosage of lion’s mane mushrooms, which is anywhere from 250mg to 5000mg per day.
Does lion's mane cause weight gain?
No, lion’s mane mushrooms don’t cause weight gain. These adaptogenic fungi are low in calories and high in protein and water content, so they’ll keep you satiated.
According to an animal study published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, lion’s mane extract may even aid in weight loss.
The mice that were given the lion’s mane mushroom extract had a significantly lower body weight and fewer digestive issues after taking Hericium erinaceus for seven days.
How long does it take lion's mane to work?
That depends on what you’re taking the mushroom for. You can notice the short-term effects of lion’s mane after just a few days.
You’ll likely feel less anxious and more energized within the first two weeks of taking a lion’s mane mushroom extract.
However, to reap the long-term benefits of lion’s mane, such as its antioxidant activities, you should be taking it consistently for at least a few months.
Does lion's mane give you energy?
Yes, the lion’s mane mushroom can give you an energy boost. This mushroom does not contain caffeine, so it won’t give you as much energy as coffee or tea do, but it can act as a natural energy booster. Plus, since it has no caffeine, lion’s mane won’t cause jitters or a midday energy crash.
What time of day should you take lion's mane?
It’s best to take lion’s mane in the morning or early afternoon. Like many adaptogenic mushrooms, lion’s mane can have energy-boosting effects and improve your focus, which can be quite beneficial during the workday. However, if you take it later in the day, the stimulating effect of lion’s mane may interrupt your sleep and make you restless.
Can I take lion’s mane with other medicinal mushrooms?
Yes, you can take lion’s mane with any other type of medicinal fungus, including the reishi mushroom, the maitake mushroom, shiitake mushrooms, 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).