The natural fungus known as “Lion’s Mane” is a powerful medicinal mushroom. The Chinese have used it for centuries as a traditional medicine.
Traditionally grown in China, North America, Japan and some parts of Europe, Lion’s Mane is gaining popularity around the globe as a means to enhance cognitive functioning and neuron growth and repair.
It has many amazing benefits and could be one of the most powerful nootropics on the market.
What is Lion’s Mane?
Lion’s Mane is considered a nootropic mushroom that has shown great promise in most areas of cognitive function.
Most nootropics work to increase memory and enhance thinking speed, clarity and focus but Lion’s Mane goes a step further and promotes the growth and repair of neurons.
Beyond the amazing cognitive enhancements, Lion’s Mane has shown promise in a variety of health ailments.
There are studies that show it improves depression and calms anxiety and it can act as an anti-inflammatory, help gastrointestinal issues, and even inhibit cancer growth.
Like most other nootropics, it works best for enhanced brain function, focus, and memory. Lion’s Mane does this by actually stimulating the Neuron Growth Factor (NGF) in the body.
Not many nootropics can do this, and this unique quality makes it a possible viable treatment option for diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, and Multiple Sclerosis.
As knowledge and studies about this nootropic mushroom grow, it is gaining popularity as one of the top supplements to use.
It is easier to find supplements in health food stores and with supplement distributors, and you may even find the whole mushroom in gourmet grocery stores.
Because supplements aren’t regulated as well as other drugs or medicine, it’s important to find a trusted supplier, but if you find one this super powerful nootropic is bound to improve your life.
Other Names for Lion’s Mane
Hericium Erinaceus, bearded tooth mushroom, Monkey’s Head, Yamabushitake, Pom Pom Blanc, Hedgehog Mushroom.
I completely understand the excitement about Lion’s Mane because of the numerous studies that show how it can improve the minds of those with debilitating mental diseases.
Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia, and Parkinson’s are all illnesses that require a lot of time and resources to treat and any treatment option that can lessen that is worth exploring.
When I first took Lion’s Mane, I didn’t experience much change. With other nootropics, you might find you’re able to focus right away, and your mind is fast and clear.
Lion’s Mane is powerful, but it’s meant to be taken over time to build up in your system. You might also have to try it in combination with certain foods and nutrients to
This mushroom is most helpful with the repair of neurons and the stimulation of NGF. While there are a lot of studies on the effects of Lion’s Mane, I think that its best function is with cognitive abilities, which includes mental health.
Because of its ability to repair neurons and introduce NGF to the body, things like depression and anxiety have seen a marked improvement.
What is even better about Lion’s Mane is it’s a better alternative to some of the mood enhancers prescribed by doctors. There aren’t many side effects, and with continued use, you can see improvements.
Overall, I believe that while Lion’s Mane doesn’t give you an immediate brain boost, taking the supplemented form over an extended period shows some major improvements.
Lion’s Mane Reviews
After looking around online, I’ve found that I’m not the only one who has seen positive benefits from Lion’s Mane. Here are just a few positive reviews about this supplement:
As a 64-year-old RN, I was skeptical yet intrigued when I read about this. Just for kicks, I ordered some and started taking it one week ago. Today, I noticed a significant increase in my ability to recall events in my recent and distant past… some things I have not thought about in over 50 years. My mood and my attitude are much better. -Dan Juris
My aunt has advanced Alzheimer’s, and since taking this pill she has recognized me and is a little more aware. – Antonia C. Jane
My husband and I have been using this product for several months. We both feel it has helped clear our senior citizens “brain fog.” We both agree our memory has improved and our response time has quickened. We take 1 tablet in the morning and 1 tablet in the evening, before bedtime. -HappyOne
Benefits and effects
Lion’s Mane, like most nootropics, has many benefits but its biggest contribution to your health is increased brain function.
In numerous studies, the mushroom has shown to improve cognitive impairments. These findings help prove that even if your mental health has started to decline, Lion’s Mane can help you gain back what you have lost.
It can also help you repair any damaged neurons or cells. Damaged neurons happen for any number of reasons including head injury, getting older, or poor overall health.
Many nootropics can help enhance your cognitive function, but not many can repair it quite like Lion’s Mane. This unique benefit is what makes Lion’s Mane so important for people with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Another benefit to Lion’s Mane is the effect it has on cancer cells. The elements and nutrients that make up this mushroom have shown to aid in cell death.
The mushroom can eliminate any reactive oxygen species that can damage your DNA. Those species are what cause cancer, and research has shown that Lion’s Mane is fairly effective at eliminating those toxic cells.
Cancer is an overgrowth of cells that lead to numerous problems, and while chemotherapy can eliminate those cells, it also does significant damage to healthy cells as well. Lion’s Mane specifically targets the cancerous cells, and that’s what makes it so effective.
Finally, one of the other big benefits to Lion’s Mane is its ability to fight inflammation. You might not be aware of this fact, but chronic inflammation is the issue behind many diseases.
The body’s natural response to fight off infections, viruses, and bacteria is to send in white blood spells.
A spike of white blood spells often comes with inflammation, and in small bursts or short periods of time, this is helpful.
We run into serious problems when our body constantly has inflammation. Chronic inflammation is an influx of nitric oxide and the properties in Lion’s Mane inhibit NO.
If you can eliminate your inflammation, you can help improve the way your body functions.
How It Works
The way Lion’s Mane supplements work is very different than how most nootropics operate. Most smart drugs work by modulating various neurotransmitters, but Lion’s Mane works by increasing the amount of NGF in the brain.
Two compounds make up Lion’s Mane, hericenones and erinacines, which induce the production of NGF.
Most people would assume you could just inject pure NGF right into your system and get the same benefits, but that only works if you avoid the blood-brain barrier. To do that you would have to use NGF eye drops, and those can be extremely expensive.
Luckily, Lion’s Mane has a very low molecular weight and can easily cross the blood-brain barrier and introduce helpful NGF to your system. Once your brain starts producing NGF, you can feel the improvement of your cognitive functions.
The other way that the NGF in Lion’s Mane works for your body is to repair damaged cells through myelination.
Myelination is a fatty covering that goes around neurons and allows them to send signals better and faster all around your body. People with damaged neurons, like Alzheimer’s patients or those with MS, see improvement through this process.
Unlike many brain enhancing drugs, Lion’s Mane doesn’t have an immediate effect. You need to take it over a period of about a month or so, to start seeing the benefits.
The effects of Lion’s Mane will last about four weeks after you stop taking the supplement, so it’s important to continue with the drug to see lasting benefits.
The typical dosage for Lion’s Mane is between 500 to 3000 mg, and that depends on your goals. If you’re looking for a slight boost in cognitive function, you can probably get away with the smaller dosage.
It’s also important to choose the right form of Lion’s Mane. The extract is the most potent form and if it’s in a 10:1 ratio, the most common, this will work best.
You can also enhance the bioavailability of the Lion’s Mane in your system by eating it with certain foods.
Dark chocolate and beetroot extract are proven to help increase blood flow to the brain. If you take Lion’s Mane with either one of these foods, you can help get the supplement into your brain faster.
Healthy fats, such as avocado, coconut oil, or dry-roasted nuts, can also increase the bioavailability of Lion’s Mane in your body.
There are not many known or reported side effects when it comes to Lion’s Mane. The main side effect that users have is itchy skin.
As long as the itchy skin doesn’t come with swollen glands, hives, or any other indication of an allergic reaction, chances are it’s just the sign of increased NGF.
While uncomfortable, the itchy skin is a sign that you are increasing your supply of NGF and the Lion’s Mane is working.
Some users have also reported allergic reactions to Lion’s Mane well after they have started taking the supplement.
Allergic reactions could take up to four months to show because it takes a good amount of time for Lion’s Mane to build up in your system.
Keep monitoring yourself as you take this supplement and watch for any unusual changes.
You might like to stack your nootropics to help boost the effectiveness of each, and while Lion’s Mane is fine on its own, you can boost it with several other brain-enhancing drugs.
Remember, it takes awhile for Lion’s Mane to start working completely and you have to take it for a few weeks to build up a store. Stacking Lion’s Mane can help it work faster, and you could see an immediate boost.
Lion’s Mane goes well with any number of fast-acting nootropics like oxiracetam, pramiracetam, and aniracetam.
When you stack racetams with other nootropics, you have to make sure you include a choline supplement.
Choline helps racetams transform to acetylcholine which is the neurotransmitter closely correlated to cognition.
Here is a good example of a fast-acting stack:
- Twice a day
- 300 mg Oxiracetam
- 250 mg CDP-choline
- 750 g Lion’s Mane
- 1 g Fish Oil
You can also stack Lion’s Mane with other supplements to enhance its long-term effects. Lion’s Mane does well with supplements like fish oil, uridine, ALCAR, melatonin, and zinc.
All of these supplements help protect cells, improve synaptic function, and encourage neuron growth which is why they go well with Lion’s Mane.
Here is an example of a good, long-lasting stack:
Once a day…
- 1500 mg Lion’s Mane
- 5 mg Melatonin
- 2 g Fish Oil
- 15 mg Zinc
- 1 g ALCAR
Lion’s Mane is almost in a class of its own, but you can find other supplements that have similar effects on your body and brain.
Ashwagandha root powder is a powerful Indian herb used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries.
It is an adaptogen that helps with both learning and memory and removes free radicals that can damage the cells in your body.
Ashwagandha can also help macrophage cells destroy pathogens and combat psychological stress. It isn’t necessarily best for creating heightened brain functions, but users say it is better described as a calm focus.
- 100 mg to 1000 mg several times throughout the day based on your needs
- Better for relaxation than heightened cognitive function like with Lion’s Mane
- Rids toxins that damage the brain
- Works as an anti-inflammatory like Lion’s Mane
- Find out more about how ashwagandha can benefit you
Another supplement similar to Lion’s Mane is Gingko, another anti-inflammatory herb, and also one of the oldest natural nootropics.
The way that Ginkgo Biloba works is by improving vascular health. If you have a healthy vascular system, blood flows easily around your body especially to your brain allowing you to have better brain function.
Ginkgo Biloba also increases oxygen supply to cells which help them work better overall.
- 20-240 mg as needed (can cause some side effects such as nausea or dizziness)
- Increases memory and cognitive function like Lion’s Mane
- Helps increase blood flow throughout the body
- Works immediately but only for short periods of time
- Research to see how Ginkgo Biloba can help your brain functions
Finally, the herb Panax Ginseng has shown some promise in improving memory and attention span.
This ancient herb started primarily as an aphrodisiac, but studies showed that it could increase mental quickness and attention span as well as improve memory.
Like all ginseng, it also gives your immune system a significant boost and can help you ward off illnesses.
- 200 to 400 mg (side effects could include headaches, rash, GI problems, and high blood pressure)
- Enhances mental function, particularly while doing math
- Has shown an improvement in the mental function of Alzheimer’s patients
- Increases calmness as well as cognitive function
- Read more about the benefits of Panax Ginseng
There are many excellent nootropics out there that can enhance the way your brain works and how fast it goes, but Lion’s Mane is one of the only ones that can repair damaged cells and stimulate the production of NGF.
This benefit alone can help so many different types of people.
It can increase your cognitive function whether you’re in good health or have illnesses like Alzheimer’s Disease, MS, or Parkinson’s.
Lion’s Mane is also important because there aren’t any cures for these diseases and the current treatments are costly, time-consuming, and not as effective.
People that are just looking for a boost in their memory, learning, or brain function can find that and more with Lion’s Mane.
Beyond the brain, Lion’s Mane shows promising results with destroying cancer cells, easing mental health issues like depression or anxiety, and fight chronic inflammation in the body.
Lion’s Mane mushroom is a powerhouse supplement and essential brain booster in my cabinet. Almost everyone can benefit from using it.