A lot of our female customers ask us if lion’s mane is safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding. The short answer is yes…to the best of our understanding.
Although we couldn’t dig up much research on the effects of Hericium erinaceus on pregnancy, centuries of use and anecdotal evidence suggest that this adaptogenic mushroom is not only safe but quite beneficial for pregnant women, non-pregnant women, and pretty much everybody.
What is the Lion’s Mane Mushroom?
Lion’s mane is a medicinal mushroom that grows in Europe, Asia, and North America. Often referred to as yamabushitake or by its scientific name Hericium erinaceus, lion’s mane is a saprotrophic fungus that has a unique appearance that resembles the luscious mane of a lion.
Its many benefits are hard to dispute, which is why lion’s mane has taken its rightful place as a highly sought-after fungus in the world of nutrition and alternative medicine.
What are the Benefits of Lion’s Mane?
Research on the health benefits of lion’s mane mushrooms indicates this fungus has the potential to benefit both physical and mental health.
These medicinal mushrooms seem to ease the symptoms of dementia, lessen oxidative stress, as well as improve overall mental clarity and neuronal health.
Some of the potential effects of Hericium erinaceus include:
- reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety
- reduces inflammation and nerve pains
- improves cognitive functions, including learning and memory
- has a protective effect on the brain and improves brain health
- reduces the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure
- prevents memory loss and protects against mild cognitive impairment
- lowers blood sugar levels
- encourages apoptosis (cell death) of cancer cells
- improves digestive health
- has anti-inflammatory properties
- has neuroprotective properties and reduces brain damage in neurodegenerative diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease
What are the Side Effects of Lion’s Mane?
The centuries of Hericium erinaceus use in traditional Chinese medicine and research by qualified health care professionals suggest that lion’s mane mushrooms are safe to eat.
There is always a remote possibility of side effects of lion’s mane such as an upset stomach and diarrhea at high dosages, especially if you’re not used to taking adaptogenic mushrooms.
In order to avoid these side effects, start with a lower dose of the mushroom and work your way up. Additionally, be cautious if you are on blood thinning medication, as mixing them with lion’s mane can lead to longer wound healing time.
Foods You Should Avoid During Pregnancy
Every medical professional seems to have different nutritional tips for pregnant women, but they seem to agree on a few foods you should avoid while pregnant. Uncooked foods, such as raw eggs, fish, and meat, should be avoided.
Additionally, it’s vital to cut out alcohol and try to avoid caffeine as much as possible. If needed, a mushroom coffee or a cup of tea is fine, but make sure to limit your caffeine intake to about 200 milligrams per day, which is equal to one 12-ounce cup of coffee.
Can You Take Lion’s Mane While Pregnant?
There is no research on the safety of lion's mane during pregnancy. Though lion's mane is considered safe for most people, pregnant women may want to avoid using them.
Due to the lack of research on this topic, it's impossible to know how much lion's mane you can take while pregnant. If you choose to take these adaptogenic mushrooms while pregnant, consult with a doctor first.
Can Lion’s Mane Benefit Fertility and Pregnancy?
If you’re trying to get pregnant or maintain a healthy pregnancy, prenatal vitamins are essential. Still, even with prenatal vitamins and minerals, it’s important to follow nutrition tips your doctor provides and eat as many foods with nutritional benefits, including fungi.
For example, lion’s mane fruiting bodies contain significant vitamin B12, which is integral for overall health and pregnancy maintenance. Additionally, these mushrooms contain a variety of other vitamins and compounds that are quite beneficial to pregnant women.
Lion’s Mane Weight Management Benefits
Getting pregnant may require significant weight loss for some women. Although it can’t help you lose weight on its own, lion’s mane can act as an appetite suppressant and may have anti-obesity effects, according to a 2018 study.
Lion’s Mane and Gestational Diabetes
Gestational diabetes is one of the biggest health risks to pregnant women, even if they don’t have chronic diabetes. Luckily, due to the hypoglycemic effect of Hericium erinaceus, taking a dietary supplement of this mushroom could prevent blood sugar spikes and lower your chances of getting gestational diabetes.
Is It Safe to Take Lion’s Mane While Breastfeeding?
Although there are no studies on the effects of lion’s mane on breastfeeding, there is no reason to suspect this mushroom could be harmful to your or your baby during the breastfeeding period.
Quite the contrary, you can reap the anti-anxiety benefits of lion’s mane mushroom extracts. Lowered anxiety should benefit your ability to breastfeed.
A 2019 systemic review examined the relationship between anxiety and breastfeeding and concluded that mothers with higher anxiety levels often had difficulty getting their babies to breastfeed enough when compared to mothers with low anxiety.
Is Mushroom Coffee Safe for Pregnancy?
Yes, it’s completely safe to get the benefits of mushrooms through mushroom coffee consumption while pregnant. However, most mushroom coffees contain low doses of caffeine, which some pregnant women choose to avoid.
Additionally, many of the adaptogens common in mushroom coffee (St. John’s wort, lion’s mane, cordyceps, and oyster mushrooms being quite common) have energizing properties, which could interrupt your sleep schedule and even lead to sleep disorders if you take them later in the day.
Therefore, if you plan on drinking mushroom coffee as a substitute for the real deal while pregnant, make sure to take it in the morning or early afternoon to avoid restless nights.
Interested in Trying Lion’s Mane While Pregnant?
If you’re hesitant about taking lion’s mane while pregnant and breastfeeding, it’s best to consult with a nutritionist that specializes in prenatal nutrition and ask them for additional information.
Once they tell you there are no risks associated with taking lion’s mane during pregnancy, you can reap the benefits of this medicinal mushroom simply by eating your favorite morning cereal.
Sounds too good to be true? With Forij Superfood Granola, that is exactly what you get—a delicious bowl of granola with hyperconcentrated extracts of lion’s mane, cordyceps, and chaga mushrooms.
However, instead of getting the mushroom taste, you can choose from three flavors: cinnamon, sunflower seed cacao, or vanilla almond. Or get a bundle with all three flavors if you can’t choose a favorite.
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) and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment information.