Best Lion's Mane
Written by nick.ed.palm — Updated on November 14, 2021
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Do you want to improve your focus, mood, and mental clarity?

A solid Lion’s Mane mushroom supplement can certainly help.

Lion’s Mane is a type of mushroom that many cultures have used as a natural remedy for centuries.

In this blog post, we will take an in-depth look at what the best lions mane supplements have to offer.

Best Lion's Mane

What Is Lion’s Mane Mushroom?

Lion’s Mane mushroom (Hericium Erinaceus) is a type of mushroom that has been used for centuries in Eastern Asia.

It contains hericenones and erinacines, which have both neuroprotective and nootropic properties.1Pit Shan Chong, Man-Lung Fung, Kah Hui Wong, and Lee Wei Lim, Therapeutic Potential of Hericium erinaceus for Depressive Disorder, Int J Mol Sci. 2020

This means it can help protect the brain from damage while also increasing cognitive function.

One study showed significant improvement was seen after just 14 days of supplementing with Lion’s Mane extract.2Koichiro Mori, Satoshi Inatomi, Kenzi Ouchi, Yoshihito Azumi, Takashi Tuchida, Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial, Phytother Res. 2009

Best Lion's Mane

Lion’s Mane Mushroom Benefits

Lion’s mane mushroom supplements are cognitive enhancing and neuroprotective.

They promote better memory, mental clarity, mood enhancement, focus improvement, and overall brain health.3Luisella Vigna, Federica Morelli, Gianna M Agnelli, Filomena Napolitano, Daniela Ratto, Alessandra Occhinegro, Carmine Di Iorio, Elena Savino, Carolina Girometta, Federico Brandalise, Paola Rossi, Hericium erinaceus Improves Mood and Sleep Disorders in Patients Affected by Overweight or Obesity: Could Circulating Pro-BDNF and BDNF Be Potential Biomarkers?, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2019

Best Lion's Mane

Lion’s Mane mushroom supplements have been shown to help with the following conditions:

  • Cognitive Decline
  • Memory Issues
  • Mental Clarity and Focus Improvement

Many studies show it can be also be used as a treatment for depression, anxiety, chronic fatigue syndrome, insomnia, and digestive issues.4Mayumi Nagano, Kuniyoshi Shimizu, Ryuichiro Kondo, Chickako Hayashi, Daigo Sato, Katsuyuki Kitagawa, Koichiro Ohnuki, Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake, Biomed Res. 2010

Some people also claim it gives them better vision due to reduced eyestrain from improved focus.

These claims still need more research, but they appear promising so far. There is no denying how amazing these benefits seem, though!

Lion’s Mane Mushroom Improves Brain Function and Mood

Lions Mane protects the brain from the damage that occurs during aging or with chronic stress.5Qiang-Qiang Lu, Jun-Mian Tian, Jing Wei, Jin-Ming Gao, Bioactive metabolites from the mycelia of the basidiomycete Hericium erinaceum, Nat Prod Res. 2014

It has been shown in studies to improve cognitive function as well as provide a neuroprotective effect that helps fight off Alzheimer’s disease and age-related decline of the brain.6I-Chen Li, Li-Ya Lee, Tsai-Teng Tzeng, Wan-Ping Chen, Yen-Po Chen, Young-Ju Shiao, and Chin-Chu Chen, Neurohealth Properties of Hericium erinaceus Mycelia Enriched with Erinacines, Behav Neurol. 2018

best lion's mane

BDNF

Lions Mane also increases nerve growth factor and BDNF.7Chun-Hung Chiu, Charng-Cherng Chyau, Chin-Chu Chen, Li-Ya Lee, Wan-Ping Chen, Jia-Ling Liu, Wen-Hsin Lin, Mei-Chin Mong, Erinacine A-Enriched Hericium erinaceus Mycelium Produces Antidepressant-Like Effects through Modulating BDNF/PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β Signaling in Mice, Int J Mol Sci. 2018

BDNF stands for brain-derived neurotrophic factors, which help create new neurons, improve cognition by forming synaptic connections between neurons, and even increase neurogenesis.

Lion’s Mane vs. Reishi Mushroom

Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) is another common nootropic mushroom that also has neuroprotective properties. These can help protect the brain from damage while improving cognition, memory, and mood.

Best Lion's Mane Reishi Mushroom

Both Lion’s Mane Mushroom and Reishi Mushroom are beneficial in promoting overall mental health by protecting against stress or age-related decline in cognitive function.8Hirokazu Matsuzaki, Yuta Shimizu,1 Naohiro Iwata, Shinya Kamiuchi, Fumiko Suzuki, Hiroshi Iizuka, Yasuhide Hibino, and Mari Okazak, Antidepressant-like effects of a water-soluble extract from the culture medium of Ganoderma lucidum mycelia in rats, BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013

They are also both known for improving focus, memory, mood, and mental clarity.

Some of the most noticeable differences between them are that Reishi is typically taken in one daily dose while Lion’s Mane should be divided into two doses throughout the day.

Also, Lion’s Mane has a stronger taste than Reishi, so many people choose to take it in capsule form rather than drink it every morning.

Reishi mushrooms can help improve overall brain health. In contrast, Lion’s mane mushroom supplements can protect against stress or age-related decline of cognitive function as well as provide neuroprotection from damage such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

While both herbs provide similar benefits, they do work slightly differently and could affect each person differently depending on their needs when supplemented with a healthy lifestyle.

Lion’s Mane vs. Chaga Mushroom

Chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) is another type of fungus that also provides a neuroprotective effect.9Antoine Géry, PharmD, Christelle Dubreule, MSc, Véronique André, PharmD, PhD, Jean-Philippe Rioult, PharmD, PhD, Valérie Bouchart, PhD, Natacha Heutte, PhD, Philippe Eldin de Pécoulas, PharmD, PhD, Tetyana Krivomaz, PhD, and David Garon, PharmD, PhD, Chaga (Inonotus obliquus), a Future Potential Medicinal Fungus in Oncology? A Chemical Study and a Comparison of the Cytotoxicity Against Human Lung Adenocarcinoma Cells (A549) and Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells (BEAS-2B), Integr Cancer Ther. 2018

It can help protect the brain from damage and improve cognitive function by increasing levels of antioxidants and lowering inflammation.10Yoo Kyoung Park, Hyang Burm Lee, Eun-Jae Jeon, Hack Sung Jung, Myung-Hee Kang, Chaga mushroom extract inhibits oxidative DNA damage in human lymphocytes as assessed by comet assay, Biofactors. 2004

These increase energy production within cells which means you will have more mental clarity, focus, and overall brain health.

Best Lion's Mane Chaga Mushroom

It has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety as well as depression because it contains betulinic acid, which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to treat both mood disorders.11Yu Chen, Wei Jiang, Yuan Chen, Xiao-Lan Chen, Wei Chen, Feng-Tao Li, Yong-Jun Li, Xin Yao, Protective effect of betulinic acid for treating unpredictable chronic mild stress-induced depression in mice by inhibiting brain RIP140 activation, Int J Clin Exp Med 2017

Studies show promising results when using this supplement long-term with patients who suffer from these conditions rather than short term like many pharmaceutical drugs prescribed today do not provide lasting improvements but instead only temporary relief before needing treatment again later on.

This supplement may be beneficial if you have any autoimmune conditions such as arthritis, lupus, or multiple sclerosis, among others where your immune system becomes hyperactive, attacking healthy tissue within the body resulting in pain, fatigue, and other symptoms that lower quality of life.12Cristina Lull, Harry J. Wichers, and Huub F. J. Savelkoul, Antiinflammatory and Immunomodulating Properties of Fungal Metabolites, Mediators Inflamm. 2005

Chaga contains betulinic acid to help protect the body from infection by increasing immune system health and reducing inflammation which can cause problems such as chronic illness over time.

On the other hand, Lion’s Mane contains erinacine, which has been shown to improve cognitive function and memory by increasing dopamine levels in the brain.13Chun-Hung Chiu, Charng-Cherng Chyau, Chin-Chu Chen, Li-Ya Lee, Wan-Ping Chen, Jia-Ling Liu, Wen-Hsin Lin, and Mei-Chin Mong, Erinacine A-Enriched Hericium erinaceus Mycelium Produces Antidepressant-Like Effects through Modulating BDNF/PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β Signaling in Mice, Int J Mol Sci. 2018

This neurotransmitter helps control our reward and pleasure centers as well as parts of the brain responsible for learning new things.

Increasing production can help increase focus, attention span, and overall mental clarity, making tasks easier to complete that you might have struggled with before taking this supplement regularly over time.14M. Victoria Puig, Jonas Rose, Robert Schmidt, and Nadja Freund, Dopamine modulation of learning and memory in the prefrontal cortex: insights from studies in primates, rodents, and birds, Front Neural Circuits. 2014

Lion’s Mane vs. Cordyceps Mushroom

Cordyceps mushroom (Cordyceps militaris) is another type of nootropic that can help increase energy, reduce fatigue and provide neuroprotection for the brain.15Hardeep S. Tuli, Sardul S. Sandhu, and A. K. Sharma, Pharmacological and therapeutic potential of Cordyceps with special reference to Cordycepin, 3 Biotech. 2014

This supplement works very similarly to Lion’s Mane by increasing dopamine levels to improve focus and memory but also contains adenosine, which has been shown to protect against damage caused during a stroke and other forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s disease.16Guangxin Yuan, Liping An, Yunpeng Sun, Guangyu Xu, and Peige Du, Improvement of Learning and Memory Induced by Cordyceps Polypeptide Treatment and the Underlying Mechanism, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018

Best Lion's Mane Cordyceps Mushroom

Both Lion’s Mane and Cordyceps contain adenosine which has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body when supplemented regularly.

This can help relieve pain caused by autoimmune conditions like arthritis, lupus, or multiple sclerosis, among others, that affect health over time, putting you at risk for long-term chronic illness if left untreated.

These supplements are both beneficial because they increase dopamine levels. Still, only Lion’s Mane will specifically increase focus while both have neuroprotective effects, so it may be important to determine what your needs are before deciding between these two options.

One person might need more effective anti-inflammatory properties. In contrast, another could want increased memory function instead of reduced fatigue, making each unique depending on their personal goals when supplementing with a natural nootropic.

Lion’s Mane Capsules vs. Lions Mane Powders

Lions Mane Capsule Supplements

Lions Mane supplements are a convenient way to get the benefits of this nootropic mushroom in one easy dose.

Since it comes from a natural source, these capsules can be taken regularly over time without worrying about toxicity or needing to cycle off every few weeks like some other types on this list which provide more immediate effects that last for shorter periods of time.

It’s important to read the ingredient labels and make sure the capsules are free of extra preservatives and fillers.  For more on what to look for, download the Holistic Nootropics Supplement guide!

Best Lions Mane Supplements

 

This type is known as an adaptogen which means you should feel the effects within 30 minutes. They will typically last between four and six hours depending on how much you take at once, so plan accordingly if using Lions Mane Supplements before going out somewhere where being alert all day might come in handy while still wanting to relax when home later, for example instead of feeling wired up with the energy you want to expend elsewhere.

On the plus side, with lions mane supplements vs. powders, it is a more convenient way to take this mushroom since you only need one dose daily and won’t have as much variation from day to day.

Lions Mane Powders

Another option for those who want to enjoy Lions Mane benefits without swallowing capsules or drinking a lot of coffee every day would be Lions Mane powders, which provide similar concentrations.

Some Lions Mane Powders have been specially formulated to be mixed with other ingredients to easily create Lions Mane Tea, Coffee, or even smoothies. You don’t need to worry about taking more than one dose daily, convenient for those who struggle to swallow pills.

Lion’s Mane Tea vs. Lion’s Mane Coffee

Lion’s Mane Tea

Lions Mane Tea is a popular choice among Lions Mane users because of its mild taste. It can also serve as a daily tonic for general health versus only when feeling stressed, anxious, or having other needs since this nootropic mushroom has so many overall benefits.

Best Lion's Mane Tea

 

This version has not been studied nearly as much because it does not provide a high concentration as supplements do, but there is no reason why it wouldn’t work based on what we already know about Lions Mane Mushrooms in general.

The downside with this type is less bioavailability meaning your body will absorb less overall than some forms of Lions Mane, which is why most people will want to stick with this supplement in powder form instead.

Lions Mane Coffee

If you love your morning cup of Joe but also want to take advantage of all benefits it has to offer, then consider mixing in a little supplement powder before adding any sugar or cream for an afternoon pick-me-up.

Since caffeine is naturally found in tea and coffee, using these every day will give you more than enough energy already without taking anything further; making sure not to overdo it too much since staying awake when you need sleep can definitely cause problems eventually with regular use.

This type of Lions Mane Coffee is made by adding a scoop or two to your favorite blend before brewing so you can enjoy the taste of coffee without that jittery feeling it would normally create, plus also getting all these benefits that come with this nootropic mushroom.

What to Look For When Buying Lions Mane Mushroom Extracts?

Previously, lion’s mane was only accessible if you knew how to forage for it or if you were an expert mycologist.

However, in recent years, it has become more readily available in many gourmet food shops, in the supplements and vitamin aisles of many health food stores, and even at farmers’ markets.

However, many products you’ll find online and on store shelves are of questionable quality.

We highly recommend referring the following guidelines for sourcing your next Lion’s Mane supplement(s):

Make sure the firm specifies where the mushrooms were grown. It’s best to cultivate the Mushroom organically in China but manufactured in the United Kingdom (or Europe/United States) under GMP standards.

  • Organic Lions Mane with 100% Certification (Soil Association Certified)
  • ONLY the fruiting body is present.
  • it’s guaranteed for at least 30% beta-glucans and minimum 30% polysaccharides
  • Dual Hot Purified Water & Ethanol Extraction
  • Grown On Hardwood Logs Naturally
  • China-grown and manufactured to GMP standards in the United Kingdom
  • Dosing in-line With Scientific Studies (450mg 12:1 Extract)
  • Soy-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free
  • There are no inorganic fillers, binders, or magnesium stearate

Mycelium grain vs Fruiting body Mushroom Extract

Mushrooms grow from mycelia, and the type of mycelium determines the types of mushrooms that develop.

The presence of mushrooms is determined by various environmental conditions, including the presence of a substantial food source for mycelia, humidity, and temperature.

Fruiting Body

Without a doubt, you should always choose supplements made only with, or with as much as possible of, the fruiting body.

The whole fruiting body mushroom extracts are highly potent and effective since they provide a substantial range of nutritional value.

  • Sulfur, manganese, calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and other minerals
  • amino acids, such as Arginine, Leucine, Lysine, Phenylalanine, Valine, Glutamic acid, etc.
  • vitamin B complex (riboflavin,thiamine, folic acid, and niacin)
  • B, B12, D, vitamins
  • complete proteins
  • beta-glucans
  • polysaccharides

Mycelium

The majority of lower-quality supplements on the market today are primarily made of Mycelium.

These mycelium extracts are produced as a low-cost option rather than creating the entire mushroom body extract since they are less expensive and faster.

This mycelium is most often cultivated on sterilized grain, which is usually brown rice, oats, or sorghum.

It’s then dried and crushed into a starchy powder before being sold to customers as the real deal.

In this case, you’re mostly getting ground-up grains with which the mycelium has been developed, rather than any important nutrients that can only be found in the fungus’ fruiting body.

If a product’s label boasts “freeze-dried myceliated brown rice,” you can be certain that what you’re buying is nothing more than an extract of the ground-up brown rice with roots of fungus included.

This extract has no nutritional value, and could actually harm your health, especially those who are allergic to these grain products.

How High-Quality Lion’s Mane Mushroom Should Look and Smell

The smell of genuine medicinal mushroom supplements will be unique, rich, earthy, musty, or biting depending on the mushroom variety. The powder should have a deep brown color.

By contrast, Mycelium strains are somewhat sweet in taste. This indicates that the product is grain-based if it is light in color and has a starchy odor—perhaps with cereal or crackerlike aroma.

Best Lion’s Mane Reviews

In this blog post, we have taken a look at what the best Lion’s Mane Mushroom supplements can offer you and how they can help improve your brain health.

We’ve covered what Lions Mane is and its benefits for both cognitive function and overall mood improvement.

If you’re interested in learning more about Lion’s Manes’s potential ability to protect against damage from stress or age-related decline of the brain while also improving focus, memory, mental clarity, and mood, then be sure to check out our top recommended supplement below!

Criteria for Choosing Lions Mane Supplements

The best Lions Man supplements will contain at least 30% of hericenones/erinacines, as this is what has been shown to provide cognitive benefits in studies with rats.

Make sure it does not have any fillers or binders either since these ingredients decrease absorption rates leading to less bang for your buck!

It should also come from a reputable company that uses organic practices whenever possible during cultivation to avoid contamination from pesticides or other chemicals used in the growing process.

1. Freshcap Lion's Mane Mushroom extracts and capsules

Best Lion's Mane Freshcap

    Freshcap Lion's Mane Mushroom extracts and capsules are my top pick for the Best Lion's Mane supplement on the market!

    Freshcap is owned by Tony and Tegan, mushroom aficionados who cultivated a love for educating the public about mushrooms long before selling them.

    Best Lion's Mane Freshcap Founders

    They source their mushrooms from deep in the mountains and forests of China and Russia, places with a rich history of mushroom cultivation. Their farmers use 100% certified organic farming methods to grow whole fruiting body mushrooms naturally and sustainably.

    This focus on sourcing only from the fruiting body provides the highest percentage of beta-glucans and fruiting body nutrients that deliver actual Lion's Mane benefits, making this mushroom product my preferred choice for Lion's Mane.

    Best Lion's Mane Freshcap Mushroom

    Every batch is stringently third-party-inspected above and beyond industry standards to ensure all mushrooms that go out are of the highest quality and free from pathogens and allergens, heavy metals, and pesticides.


    2. Organic Lions Mane Extract and Capsules from Real Mushrooms

      With over 20 years of experience creating high-quality products at Real Mushrooms, you can rest assured that these high-quality fungi supplements will be effective and safe enough for daily use.

      Real Mushrooms Jeff Chilton

      Jeff Chilton, the founder of Real Mushrooms, is an OG when it comes to mushroom cultivation.  He has over 50 years of experience in the field and his mushrooms are regarded as the industry standard.

      This supplement is made entirely of organic Lion's Mane mushrooms that have been subjected to hot water extraction. This procedure concentrates the polysaccharides, resulting in a more potent supplement.

      Where to get 100% Lion's Mane

      Like Freshcap, Real Mushrooms are sourced from mostly fruiting bodies, thus containing a higher level of brain-boosting beta-glucans.

      If you're looking for a real Lion's Mane boost, including possibly lowering the risk of Alzheimer's and dementia while promoting nerve regeneration, Real Mushrooms are up there as a top choice!


      About the author:

      nick.ed.palm

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