People swear by lion’s mane mushrooms for their ability to improve overall cognitive function, while others use them as complementary medicine in their fight against cancer, diabetes, or multiple sclerosis.
But, are there any side effects to taking lion’s mane? We read through the latest studies on the potential dangers of lion's mane so you don't have to.
Spoiler alert—there are none.
Potential Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Lion’s mane mushrooms have a plethora of potential health benefits, as they seem to have protective effects on the whole body and improve overall immune function. Many use these medicinal mushrooms for weight loss and weight management, while others praise them for their antioxidant activity.
Protection Against Cancer
A few studies suggest that lion’s mane mushrooms seem to cause apoptosis (the process of programmed cell death) of cancer cells, and protect against various types of cancer, including leukemia, breast cancer, and gastric cancer.
Cerebrosides, compounds found in the fruiting bodies of Hericium erinaceus, show promising potential in cancer treatment. Cerebroside E, in particular, seems to aid in cancer treatment, according to an in vitro study.
Neurological Health Benefits
Lion’s mane shows potential in overall brain health protection and maintenance. For one, these nootropic mushrooms seem to preserve cognitive function in people with Alzheimer’s disease and may slow down the progression of the illness.
Chemical constituents found in Hericium erinaceus aid in neurite outgrowth, according to a 2015 study. The mushroom’s ability to promote nerve growth seems to be the main mechanism behind its neurological health properties, such as mild cognitive impairment prevention and overall nervous system protection.
Additionally, lion’s mane extracts show potential in Parkinson’s disease treatment due to the mushroom’s neurotrophic properties.
Heart Health Benefits
According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, with coronary artery disease and heart attacks being the most prevalent.
Healthcare professionals stress proper nutrition and supplement use as a number one way to prevent heart problems, and studies published on the effect of Hericium erinaceus mushroom extracts on heart health suggest that the fungus could be a great addition to a health-conscious diet.
Additionally, a 2010 study found that a compound found in this mushroom seems to lessen platelet aggregation, a mechanism behind the formation of blood clots. Therefore, lion’s mane extracts could be useful for blood clot prevention in people susceptible to thrombosis.
Mental Health Benefits
In addition to cognitive health, Hericium erinaceus seems to aid in depression and anxiety relief and overall mental clarity. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study examined the effects of the lion’s mane mushroom on various menopause symptoms, including anxiety and depression.
The participants that consumed lion’s mane for 4 weeks scored lower on tests that measure symptoms of depression and anxiety than the control group, meaning they exhibited fewer signs of these conditions.
Lion’s Mane Risks and Side Effects
The centuries of Hericium erinaceus use in traditional Chinese medicine and research by qualified health care professionals suggest that lion’s mane mushrooms are not addictive and are completely safe to consume.
There is always a remote possibility of adverse effects 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.
Lion’s Mane Drug Interactions
Although there is sparse research on lion’s mane drug interactions, the mushroom may have certain effects that may interfere with medications for medical conditions such as diabetes or blood clotting.
For one, lion’s mane seems to have antiplatelet effects. Therefore, if you’re already on blood thinners, you may want to consult with a medical professional about a potential interaction in order to avoid symptoms such as prolonged wound healing and bruising.
Similarly, an animal study on the effects of lion’s mane diabetic mice suggests that this medicinal mushroom has antihyperglycemic effects, meaning that it lowers blood sugar levels. Therefore, if you’re already on antidiabetics, you should keep track of your blood sugar levels when taking lion’s mane to make sure it doesn’t dip below normal levels.
Lion’s Mane Allergic Reactions
The chances of having an allergic reaction to lion’s mane are slim. However, if you are prone to allergies, or have experienced allergic reactions to fungi or yeast before, lion’s mane could be contraindicated for you. If you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, stop taking the mushroom immediately and contact a medical professional.
Lion’s Mane Use During Pregnancy
There is no research on whether taking lion’s mane can have an adverse effect on pregnancy and newborns. However, since there are no studies on the safety of this mushroom during pregnancy either, you might err on the side of caution and omit it from your diet if trying for a baby.
Interested in Trying Lion’s Mane?
Lion’s mane is generally safe for most people. Still, if you want to take this adaptogenic mushroom and are concerned about possible side effects, it’s best to consult with a medical professional before you start taking a supplement.
Once your doctor gives you the green light, incorporate the helpful mushroom into your diet with our Forij Superfood Granola. In addition to a hyperconcentrated extract of lion’s mane, our granola contains extracts of chaga and cordyceps mushrooms.
The granola is vegan, gluten-free, packed with nutrients, and delicious. What more could you want in a morning bowl of cereal?
Lion’s Mane Side Effects FAQ
Does lion’s mane help with sleep disorders?
Research suggests that lion’s mane supplements may improve sleep quality, especially in sleep disorders related to acute stress.
A clinical trial looked at the effects of lion’s mane on insomnia caused by exam-related stress in Japanese students. Compared to the control group, students who took the mushroom supplement reported feeling less anxious and having fewer sleepless nights after 4 weeks.
Can lion’s mane cause stomach ulcers?
No, lion’s mane mushroom extract does not cause stomach ulcers. Quite the contrary, these medicinal mushrooms seem to improve digestive health and have gastroprotective properties, and they may even protect against ulcers, according to an animal study.
How long does it take for lion’s mane to work?
If you take lion’s mane dietary supplements every day, you should start noticing some changes in two to three weeks. However, don’t get discouraged if you don’t see an immediate improvement in your symptoms and overall health.
Keep taking daily supplements of the medicinal mushroom, and maybe even increase the amount you consume daily, and you’ll surely notice the benefits of lion’s mane in a month or so.
Can I take lion’s mane and reishi together?
Yes, you can take a lion’s mane mushroom extract with any other type of medicinal fungus, including reishi mushroom varieties. When it comes to adaptogenic mushrooms, the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts, so the benefits of reishi mushrooms can only be improved upon by taking them with lion’s make and vice versa.
This article was written strictly for informational purposes and this website is not intended to inform about professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of any kind. The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).