Lion’s Mane Mushroom Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning

Lion's Mane Mushroom Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning

What are the Benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushroom?

  • Good for the immune system
  • Decreases oxidative stress and inflammation
  • May aid in fighting cancer
  • Helps regulate diabetes
  • Decreases risk of heart disease
  • Relieves symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • May protect against Alzheimer’s

Lion’s mane mushroom is one of the fungi that is considered a potential remedy for many conditions. There are various health benefits associated with it. Some of the research-based benefits of this mushroom are the following.

First, the lion’s mane mushroom is said to show some immune-boosting effects. This is backed up by some studies.

Based on animal research, this mushroom has the capacity to boost immunity by upgrading the intestinal immune system’s activity. This helps protect the body from pathogens in the gut. This may be caused by the changes that happen in the gut bacteria, which can stimulate the immune system. (1, 2)

Another study revealed that the daily lion’s mane supplementation was able to quadruple the lifespan of the mice which were injected with salmonella bacteria. (1)

Next, the lion’s mane mushroom also contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds that could decrease the impact of chronic conditions. Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation are claimed to cause most of the modern diseases, like cancer, heart disease, and autoimmune disorders. (1, 2)

Many other animal studies discovered that lion’s mane extract could decrease the markers of oxidative stress and inflammation in rodents. Therefore, it may be helpful in managing stroke, liver damage, and inflammatory bowel disease. (1, 2, 3, 4)

In addition, test-tube and animal studies showed that the extract of this mushroom could kill cancer cells. It may also delay the spread of tumours. The cancer-fighting properties of the lion’s mane are attributed to its unique compounds. (1, 2)

Some of the test-tube studies demonstrated how the extract works when mixed with human cancer cells. The result was the death of the cells at a faster rate. This could work on several kinds of cancer cells, such as blood, stomach, colon, and liver cancer cells. (1, 2, 3)

One study done in mice with colon cancer observed that lion’s mane extract was able to decrease the spread of cancer, particularly to the lungs, by 69%. (1)

Lion’s mane mushroom may also help regulate diabetes. It may be helpful in diabetes management by decreasing some of the side effects and improving blood sugar control.

Animal studies revealed that lion’s mane may help lower the blood sugar levels, both in diabetic and normal mice. These were given a daily dosage of a minimum of 2.7 per pound of body weight. (1, 2)

Lion’s mane extract may also decrease the diabetic nerve pain experienced in the hands and feet. A study showed that six weeks of taking the extract was able to decrease the pain in mice suffering from nerve damage. Other effects were increased antioxidant levels and reduced blood sugar levels. (1)

Lion’s mane may also help reduce the risk of heart disease, as supported by animal and test-tube studies.

Studies in mice and rats found that the extract of this mushroom could lower triglyceride levels and improves fat metabolism. A study in rats showed that the extract was able to lower triglyceride levels by 27% and lessen weight gain by up to 42% after 28 days of taking lion’s mane extract.  (1, 2)

Test-tube studies also discovered that the extract could prevent cholesterol oxidation in the bloodstream. The oxidation of cholesterol molecules would lead to the hardening of the artery walls, which may lead to stroke and heart attack. (1)

Lion’s mane mushroom may also aid in relieving the mild symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Based on new animal research, the extract of the lion’s mane mushroom has anti-inflammatory properties. These could reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety in mice. (1, 2)

More animal studies supported that this extract could help improve the hippocampus function and the regeneration of brain cells. (1, 2)

Another claimed benefit of lion’s mane is the protection from Alzheimer’s disease. The extract from this mushroom was observed to decrease the memory loss symptoms in mice. It was also able to stop neuronal damage that is caused by amyloid-beta plaques. (1, 2, 3, 4)

Also, the mushroom has compounds that support brain cell growth. These compounds are called erinacines and hericenones. These are helpful in the prevention of Alzheimer’s. (1)

As of now, more studies are necessary to prove that lion’s mane can be a reliable supplement for humans. Therefore, it should not be used as an alternative medicine for any condition.

What is Lion’s Mane Mushroom?

Lion’s mane mushroom, which has the scientific name of Hericium erinaceus, is native to Asia, Europe, and North America. It is also known by other names, such as houtou, yamabushitake, and hedgehog mushroom. It is part of the hydnoid fungi or tooth fungus group.

Lion’s mane is characterised by spines that could grow over a centimetre in length. These spines project outward, forming a lion’s mane appearance, giving the fungus its name. This mushroom could grow on both dead and living broad leaf trees. It is commonly seen during the late summer and autumn months.

How Does Lion’s Mane Mushroom Work?

Lion’s mane could help improve the function and development of nerves. It may also protect the nerves from damages. As a result, it could be effective in preventing conditions like depression, anxiety, and Alzheimer’s disease.

How Do I Take Lion’s Mane Mushroom?

Currently, the lion’s mane mushroom is not available at grocery stores in Western countries. However, there is a chance you can find it at Asian grocery shops in the market.

If you go for lion’s mane supplements, you can find them in capsule, powdered, and extract forms. You can find them online or at the local vitamin store.

When it comes to the dosing of lion’s mane supplements, you need to carefully follow the instruction on the product’s label. However, if you have any health concerns, you should consult with your physician first.

Can I Take Lion’s Mane with Vitamins or Medicines?

Now, reports on this mushroom’s interaction with other medications are unavailable. Information is yet lacking, so the safest way to take this supplement is by asking recommendations from a healthcare professional.

Is Lion’s Mane Mushroom Safe?

Currently, there are no human studies that have observed the lion’s mane mushroom’s side effects. However, it appears to be generally safe.

Nevertheless, people who are sensitive or allergic to mushrooms mush avoid lion’s mane. There have been reported cases of users who experienced skin rashes and breathing difficulties. However, the effects are most likely related to their allergies.