Are you struggling with poor digestion or anxiety? Poor vagus nerve functioning may be at the root of your health issues.
Luckily, lion's mane appears to provide benefits for the entire nervous system, including the vagus nerve. Find out how this medicinal mushroom can help your vagus nerve function properly and improve your overall health.
To learn more about the many benefits and uses of this amazing mushroom, check out our in-depth guide to lion’s mane mushrooms.
What Is Lion’s Mane?
The lion's mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) is an adaptogenic mushroom that has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine and is still regarded as one of the healthiest mushrooms in alternative medicine. This mushroom species thrives in milder regions and is native to northern Europe, Asia, and North America.
To learn more about what makes these edible mushrooms and other adaptogens amazing, read our guide to adaptogenic mushrooms.
Lion’s Mane Benefits
Lion's mane mushrooms have been used for centuries to enhance brain function and improve overall health. Recent scientific studies have confirmed many of the potential benefits of this powerful mushroom. Here are some key benefits of lion's mane mushrooms:
- Boosts cognitive function: lion's mane contains compounds that promote the growth and repair of nerve cells in the brain, which may lead to improved cognitive function, memory, and mood.
- Helps alleviate anxiety and depression: some studies have shown that lion's mane mushrooms may help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, possibly by modulating neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine.
- May prevent Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases: research has shown that lion's mane may have neuroprotective properties that could help prevent or slow the progression of these degenerative brain diseases.
- Provides antioxidant activities: lion's mane mushrooms contain antioxidants that can help protect cells from oxidative stress, which is a major contributor to aging and disease.
- Helps regulate blood glucose levels: lion's mane mushrooms contain compounds that may help regulate blood sugar levels, potentially making them a useful dietary addition for individuals with diabetes or metabolic disorders.
Incorporating this powerful mushroom into your diet may provide a natural way to support your overall well-being, as well as prevent numerous diseases. To learn more about how Hericium erinaceus can improve your life, take a look at our article on lion’s mane health benefits.
Lion’s Mane Side Effects
Centuries of use and available research suggest that there are no long-term side effects to taking lion’s mane mushrooms. Some people experience short-term digestive discomfort when they start taking this adaptogenic mushroom, but these side effects typically subside within a few days.
There are some contraindications to taking Hericium erinaceus, however. This fungus may cause an allergic reaction if you are prone to mold, yeast, and fungi allergies.
Lion’s mane may also interact with some medications, such as antidiabetics and anticoagulants. To learn more about taking lion’s mane with medication, read our guide to lion’s mane drug interactions.
What Is the Vagus Nerve?
The vagus nerve is the 10th cranial nerve and is one of the longest and most complex nerves in the body. It’s the main nerve of our parasympathetic nervous system, which means its function is to calm us down and help us unwind. Some of the functions the vagus nerve modulates are:
- blood pressure and heart rate
- digestive processes such as gastric secretion and peristalsis
- respiratory functions, including breathing depth and breathing rate
- immune system responses and inflammation
- stress and anxiety reduction
- rest, relaxation, and sleep quality
Lion’s Mane Effects on the Vagus Nerve
Unfortunately, there is no research on the effects of lion’s mane on the vagus nerve, in particular.
But lion's mane seems to be good for nerve growth and regeneration, so it's safe to assume that this mushroom may help the vagus nerve work better.
Let’s take a look at how lion’s mane can aid in nerve growth and regeneration, as well as how it may improve some vagus nerve functions.
Does Lion’s Mane Heal Nerves?
Lion’s mane appears to aid in peripheral nerve regeneration, at least in animals. An animal study examined the effects of lion’s mane extract made of fresh fruit bodies on peroneal nerve injuries in rats. Results show that lion’s mane mushrooms stimulate nerve regeneration after peripheral crush injury.
Another study, published in 2012, examined the underlying mechanisms of lion’s mane’s ability to regenerate nerves. According to this study, lion’s mane activates MAPK signaling pathways, which are involved in mediating neurite outgrowth and regeneration.
Can Lion’s Mane Promote Nerve Growth?
Lion’s mane is one of the most potent neurotrophic supplements, and research shows that it can improve nerve growth.
A 2014 study examined the mechanisms behind the neurite outgrowth stimulatory effects of Hericium erinaceus. According to this study, lion’s mane stimulated nerve growth factors by activating signaling pathways involved in neurogenesis (MEK/ERK and PI3K-Akt pathways).
A recent study published by the University of Queensland Brain Institute discovered that "the lion's mane mushroom had a significant impact on the growth of brain cells," confirming prior research that these mushrooms enhance memory by stimulating nerve growth.
Many more studies examine the benefits of lion’s mane on nerve growth. Read our article on lion’s mane and neurogenesis to learn more about this amazing benefit.
Can Lion’s Mane Improve Digestion?
Research shows that there is a link between digestive issues, such as excess gut microbiota, and poor vagus nerve functioning. Through its beneficial effects on gut health, lion’s mane may alleviate these issues, and thus help your vagus nerve run smoothly.
In a 2017 animal study, researchers looked at the effects of Hericium erinaceus on inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS) in rats. The results showed a significant improvement in histology results in rats with IBS after two weeks of treatment, indicating that lion’s mane reduced symptoms of IBS.
To learn more about the benefits of Hericium erinaceus for your gut, check out our article detailing the digestive health benefits of lion’s mane mushrooms.
Do You Want to Take Lion’s Mane for Vagus Nerve Benefits?
If you are interested in taking lion’s mane for its benefits for the vagus nerve, give our functional mushroom granola a try.
One serving of our tasty granola contains your daily dose of premium lion's mane extract. Plus, the granola is vegan, gluten-free, and packed with delicious, nutritional ingredients. What more could you want from a morning bowl of cereal?
Lion’s Mane Dosage for Vagus Nerve Benefits
Due to the lack of research on the effects of lion’s mane on the vagus nerve in humans, there is no way to determine the exact lion’s mane mushroom dosage that would be beneficial for this nerve.
However, a dosage of around 2000 mg per day should be enough for you to notice the beneficial effects of this mushroom on your nervous system. If you are new to lion’s mane, start with a lower dosage and work your way up until you are satisfied with its 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 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 mushroom extract, which is eight times more concentrated than a regular lion’s mane mushroom supplement. 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.
FAQ on Lion’s Mane and the Vagus Nerve
What supplements heal the vagus nerve?
If you want to heal your vagus nerve, supplements containing adaptogens such as Hericium erinaceus, Lignosus rhinocerotis, and Cordyceps militaris are a safe choice. Supplements that contain choline, B12, and magnesium can also aid in vagus nerve healing.
Does lion’s mane affect GABA?
Lion’s mane may stabilize GABA levels in the brain thanks to its beneficial effects on neurotransmitter production. GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, and low levels of GABA have been associated with increased anxiety and stress levels.
How can I fix my vagus nerve naturally?
There are many ways to influence your vagus nerve toward health, but you have to be persistent in order to see improvement. Some people use adaptogens or herbal remedies such as chamomile tea and matcha.
Others use foods like spinach, nuts, seeds, and bananas also aid in vagus nerve repair. Many have found benefit in meditative practices. Here’s a list of common ways people work on improving their vagus nerve naturally.
- Deep breathing. Practice slow, deep breaths to activate the vagus and promote relaxation.
- Cold exposure. Embrace the chill! Cold showers, cold water plunges, or even splashing icy water on your face can boost vagus nerve function.
- Gargling. A daily gargling session engages throat muscles, which in turn stimulates the vagus.
- Singing or humming. Serenade your VN by singing, humming, or chanting to activate its functions.
- Probiotics. Feed your gut with probiotics found in fermented foods like yogurt and sauerkraut to support VN function.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. Consume fish like salmon and plant sources such as walnuts and flaxseeds for their VN-boosting omega-3 fatty acids.
- Socializing. Engage in positive social interactions, which activate the vagus nerve and improve overall well-being.
- Yoga and meditation. Practice yoga and meditation to calm the sympathetic nervous system and bring the parasympathetic nervous system more online.
- Nutrients and adaptogens. Incorporate nutrients such as B vitamins and magnesium into your diet, as they play a role in nerve function. Adaptogens like cordyceps, ashwagandha, lion’s mane, and Rhodiola rosea may also support the vagus nerve by helping your body adapt to stress.
By integrating these methods into your daily routine, you'll be on your way to enhancing your vagus nerve function naturally. Enjoy the journey as you hum a tune, socialize with friends, and savor nutrient-rich foods that support your parasympathetic nervous system.
What is the best vitamin for the vagus nerve?
Vitamin C is quite beneficial for the entire autonomic nervous system, including the vagus nerve. This nerve can also benefit from choline, vitamin B-12, magnesium, and calcium use.
Does lion’s mane increase cortisol?
No, lion’s mane does not increase the stress response hormone cortisol. On the contrary, research seems to suggest that lion’s mane decreases cortisol levels in those with high cortisol levels. For example, a 2022 study found that an increase in Hericium erinaceus intake is directly correlated with a decrease in plasma cortisol levels.
Is it bad to take lion’s mane every day?
No, it’s not bad to take lion’s mane every day. Taking lion's mane supplements on a daily basis is not only safe but highly beneficial. Even at high doses every day, lion's mane has no serious adverse effects. Still, we suggest starting with a lower dosage if you're new to adaptogens, as lion's mane can cause temporary digestive discomfort.
What calms the vagus nerve?
There are plenty of ways to calm the vagus nerve, including cold water face immersion, deep breathing, and even loud singing. When it comes to supplementation, dietary supplements that contain lion’s mane, valerian root, and L-theanine are always a good choice, as all three stimulate GABA production, which calms the vagus nerve.
Should I take lion’s mane at night or morning?
The ideal times to take lion's mane supplements are in the mornings and early afternoons. This adaptogenic mushroom can stimulate the brain and boost memory, so taking it before you start your work day can be advantageous. If you take lion's mane mushrooms late in the day, its stimulating effects can disrupt your sleep and cause restlessness.
Is lion’s mane a stimulant?
Although lion's mane is not a stimulant, it can have stimulating effects on the brain. This functional mushroom appears to increase cognitive abilities (particularly focus and memory) and may even alleviate ADHD symptoms. But, unlike coffee and other stimulants, it does not cause jitters or a midday energy slump.
What are the lion’s mane spiritual benefits?
Lion's mane mushrooms appear to have numerous spiritual benefits. These mushrooms improve brain health, ease depression and anxiety, and reduce brain fog. In ancient China, Shaolin monks employed the lion's mane mushroom in their daily practice to strengthen their focus. They believed it boosted their "Qi," a supernatural, energizing life force.
Is lion’s mane good for diabetes?
Yes, lion’s mane is one of the best mushrooms for diabetes. This medicinal mushroom appears to lower blood glucose levels, aid in diabetes prevention, and relieve symptoms of diabetes, such as diabetic neuropathy.
The effects of Hericium erinaceus on blood sugar levels was examined in a recent study. The study, done on diabetic rats, concluded that lion’s mane significantly lowered blood glucose levels and could be a powerful agent in the prevention and treatment of diabetes.
To learn more about the benefits of this fungus on diabetes, check out our article on how diabetics can benefit from lion’s mane use.
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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).