Lion’s Mane: Benefits, Dosing, Where To Buy, And More!

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Key Information

Lion’s mane boosts nerve growth factor (NGF):

NGF is a protein that promotes the survival, repair, and growth of neurons, which are essential for cognition and memory.

Lion’s mane improves mood and cognition:

Lion’s mane has been shown to reduce depression, anxiety, and brain fog, and enhance focus, learning, and mental clarity.

Lion’s mane heals neurological damage:

Lion’s mane can stimulate nerve regeneration and myelination, which can help recover from injuries or diseases affecting the nervous system.

Lion’s mane is safe and natural:

Lion’s mane is a medicinal mushroom that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine. It is non-toxic, well-tolerated, and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

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Have you heard the buzz about lion’s mane mushrooms? This funky-looking fungus is taking the wellness world by storm. From boosting brain power to battling inflammation, lion’s mane may be the natural nootropic you need to feel your best.

As a certified Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and nootropics expert, I’ve been fascinated by the potential of this mushroom for years. Today, I want to share with you what I’ve learned about the top benefits of lion’s mane, how to use it, and where to find the best supplements.

But first, a disclaimer: while I am a certified FNTP, I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. My goal is simply to educate and empower you with evidence-based information about holistic solutions for cognitive enhancement. I believe that nootropics are not just pills or supplements, but rather a whole-body approach that includes nutrition, lifestyle, and mindset. With that said, let’s dive into the world of lion’s mane mushrooms!

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What is Lion’s Mane Mushroom?

Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus) is a type of edible mushroom native to North America, Europe and Asia. It gets its name from its unique appearance – a shaggy, cascading cluster of white spines that resemble the mane of a lion. You may also hear it called yamabushitake, monkey head mushroom or bearded tooth fungus.

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Lion’s Mane is a powerful holistic nootropic with a significant amount of clinical research backing it

Lion’s mane has a seafood-like flavor and meaty texture that lends itself well to cooking. But this mushroom is prized for much more than its culinary appeal. For centuries, lion’s mane has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for its potent health properties. Recent research is beginning to back up these ancient claims and reveal exciting new benefits.

Nutrition Information

Before we get into the top health benefits of lion’s mane, let’s take a quick look at its nutritional profile. Like most mushrooms, lion’s mane is low in calories and fat but packed with important compounds, including:

  • Antioxidants – help protect cells from damage and chronic disease
  • Beta-glucans – stimulate the immune system and have anti-cancer properties
  • Polysaccharides – complex carbohydrates with immune-boosting effects
  • Potassium – an essential mineral for heart, muscle and nerve function
  • Oligosaccharides – carbohydrates that act as prebiotics to feed beneficial gut bacteria

So by incorporating lion’s mane into your diet, you’re getting a good dose of protective and health-promoting nutrients. But the real magic of this mushroom lies in its unique ability to support your brain.

Top 7 Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane

1. Boosts brain health and function

The most impressive benefit of lion’s mane is its nootropic potential – the ability to enhance cognitive function. Research shows that lion’s mane contains two special compounds called hericenones and erinacines that stimulate the production of nerve growth factor (NGF).1 NGF is a protein that promotes the growth and survival of brain cells. More NGF means more neurons can grow and form new connections, improving neuroplasticity.

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Nerve Growth factor is a protein that encourages the formation of new neurons as well as nerve health.

This increase in NGF may explain lion’s mane’s neuroprotective properties. Animal studies show that lion’s mane can prevent neuronal damage caused by amyloid-beta plaques, which accumulate in the brain during Alzheimer’s disease.1 A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial also found that lion’s mane significantly improved mild cognitive impairment in older adults.2

But you don’t have to be dealing with a neurological disorder to benefit from lion’s mane. Healthy adults may experience a boost in mental clarity, focus and memory from taking lion’s mane supplements. To learn more about other top mushrooms for cognition, check out our Complete Nootropic Mushroom Guide.

2. Reduces inflammation and oxidative stress

Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress are at the root of many modern diseases, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and autoimmune disorders. Lion’s mane may help counter this damage thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

A 2012 study comparing the antioxidant content of 14 different mushroom species found lion’s mane to have the fourth highest antioxidant activity.3 Lion’s mane also appears to reduce inflammatory markers and protect against oxidative stress in the brain, liver, colon and other areas.4

By fighting inflammation and free radical damage, lion’s mane can help slow down the aging process and keep your cells functioning optimally. Combined with other holistic practices like an anti-inflammatory diet, lion’s mane is a powerful ally for lifelong wellness.

3. Supports the immune system

Another key benefit of lion’s mane is its ability to modulate the immune system. On one hand, lion’s mane stimulates the activity of the intestinal immune system, which is the first line of defense against pathogens that enter through the mouth or nose.5

At the same time, lion’s mane supports the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. Studies show that a lion’s mane acts as a prebiotic to feed friendly microbes.6 The gut microbiome plays a huge role in training the immune system and communicating directly with the brain through the vagus nerve. By promoting a healthy balance of gut bacteria, lion’s mane is strengthening your body’s natural defense and influencing your mental well-being.

4. Relieves mild anxiety and depression symptoms

Lion’s mane shows promise as a natural mood-booster, with several studies indicating its ability to relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety. The proposed mechanism is two-fold:

  1. Reducing inflammation in the brain that contributes to poor mental health7
  2. Promoting the generation of new neurons and neural connections in areas related to emotion processing, learning and memory8

A study of menopausal women found that eating lion’s mane-enriched cookies for 4 weeks significantly reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression.9 The effects were attributed to lion’s mane’s ability to stimulate NGF.

For a deep-dive into natural ways to optimize your mood, check out my guide to the Best Nootropics for Depression. I share the most effective evidence-based supplements and lifestyle practices that I use with my own clients.

5. Speeds recovery from nervous system injuries

Injuries to the brain or spinal cord can have devastating effects, often leading to paralysis, loss of mental function and a long, difficult recovery. Lion’s mane shows exciting potential to help speed healing and restore function in damaged nerves.

In animal models, lion’s mane extract improved recovery time from peripheral nerve injury by 23-41%.10 Lion’s mane also stimulated neuron regrowth in rats with spinal cord injury.11 While studies in humans are lacking, the regenerative properties of lion’s mane offer hope as a complementary therapy for those healing from nervous system trauma.

6. Protects against ulcers in the digestive tract

Digestive ulcers can form in the lining of the stomach or intestines, causing pain, bleeding and increasing the risk of cancer. Lion’s mane appears to help prevent ulcers through two mechanisms:

  1. Inhibiting the growth of H. pylori, a bacteria that commonly causes peptic ulcers12
  2. Reducing inflammation and protecting the stomach lining from damage13

One study in rats found lion’s mane extract was more effective than a conventional acid-lowering medication at preventing alcohol-induced stomach ulcers – without causing side effects.13

Lion’s mane may also help treat inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. A 2016 study found that a supplement containing lion’s mane significantly improved symptoms and quality of life in ulcerative colitis patients.14 To learn more about optimizing your gut microbiome for brain health, listen to my podcast episode with expert Dr. Josh Helman.

7. Fights cancer

While more research is needed to confirm these effects in humans, early cell and animal studies show that lion’s mane may help fight and prevent cancer. Compounds in lion’s mane appear to trigger cancer cell death (apoptosis) and slow the spread of tumors.

For example, lion’s mane extract reduced the spread of colon cancer to the lungs by 69% in mice and suppressed colon tumor volume by 38%.15 In vitro studies also show that lion’s mane is toxic to leukemia, gastric, colon and liver cancer cells.16

Of course, lion’s mane is not a substitute for conventional cancer treatment if you’ve been diagnosed. But adding this mushroom to your wellness routine may be a smart preventive step to lower your cancer risk.

How to Use Lion’s Mane

Now that you’re excited about all the potential benefits of lion’s mane, let’s talk about how to actually incorporate it into your life:

  • Fresh or dried mushrooms – If you’re lucky enough to find fresh lion’s mane, slice and sauté it as you would any other mushroom. Dried lion’s mane can be reconstituted in water to use in cooking.
  • Powder or extract supplements – The most convenient way to get a therapeutic dose of lion’s mane. Look for products that use a dual extraction process to ensure you’re getting the full spectrum of beneficial compounds.
  • Tea or coffee – Some people enjoy steeping dried lion’s mane or mixing lion’s mane powder into their morning brew for an extra brain boost.
  • Culinary applications – Get creative in the kitchen by incorporating lion’s mane into soups, stir-fries, grain bowls or even as a meat substitute in tacos.

Dosage and Safety

The typical dosage of lion’s mane extract is 500-3000 mg per day. When choosing a lion’s mane supplement, quality is key. Look for products that are certified organic, use fruiting bodies (not mycelium), and have been tested by third-party labs for purity and potency.

Lion’s mane is generally considered safe with few reported side effects. However, if you have a mushroom or mold allergy, it’s best to avoid lion’s mane. You should also talk to your doctor before taking lion’s mane if you are on medications for diabetes or blood thinning, as the mushroom may interact with these drugs.

Where to Buy Lion’s Mane

You can find lion’s mane mushroom supplements at health food stores, supplement shops, and online retailers. For the freshest lion’s mane fruiting bodies, check your local farmers market or gourmet grocery store. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even grow your own lion’s mane at home with a mushroom-growing kit.

When it comes to sourcing a high-quality lion’s mane supplement, I have a few trusted brands that I recommend to my clients:

Lion's Mane Capsules by FreshCap #1

Lion’s Mane Capsules by FreshCap

Cognitive and Nerve Health
Lion's Mane by Real Mushroom #2

Lion’s Mane by Real Mushroom

Lion's Mane – Real Mushrooms
Learn MoreBest Value, Highest Quality Mushroom
Lion'S Mane Mushroom 8:1 Dual Extract Capsules | 500mg by Nootropics Depot #3

Lion’S Mane Mushroom 8:1 Dual Extract Capsules | 500mg by Nootropics Depot

The Cadillac of Lion's Mane
Learn MoreGet 5% off entire order w/ code HOLISTICNOOTROPICS
Lion's Mane Extract by Real Mushrooms #4

Lion’s Mane Extract by Real Mushrooms

Enhance Focus with Lion's Mane
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Lion'S Mane Mushroom Extract Capsules | 500mg by Nootropics Depot #5

Lion’S Mane Mushroom Extract Capsules | 500mg by Nootropics Depot

Cognitive Health Enhancement
Learn MoreGet 5% off entire order w/ code HOLISTICNOOTROPICS
Erinamax Capsules | Liquid Culture Lion'S Mane Mycelium by Nootropics Depot #6

Erinamax Capsules | Liquid Culture Lion’S Mane Mycelium by Nootropics Depot

Cognitive Vitality with Lion’s Mane
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Lion's Mane by DoubleWood Supplements #7

Lion’s Mane by DoubleWood Supplements

Sharp Thinking Mushrooms
Learn MoreUse code holisticnootropics15 for 15% off entire order

Common Questions About Lion’s Mane

My Experience with Lion’s Mane

I first discovered the power of lion’s mane when I was struggling with brain fog and fatigue a few years ago. As a busy entrepreneur and new dad, I was burning the candle at both ends and my cognitive function was suffering. I started taking lion’s mane extract daily and within a few weeks, I noticed a significant improvement in my mental clarity, focus and mood.

Lion’s mane quickly became a staple in my morning routine, right alongside my cup of organic coffee and magnesium l-threonate supplement. The combo gave me laser-sharp focus and sustained energy to power through my workday. Even better, I didn’t experience any of the jitters or afternoon crashes that can come with relying on caffeine alone.

Since then, I’ve recommended lion’s mane to countless clients struggling with brain fog, memory issues, anxiety and fatigue. And time after time, I hear success stories of lion’s mane helping people reclaim their mental edge and feel like themselves again. Of course, lion’s mane is not a magic pill. It works best when combined with other holistic practices like a nutrient-dense diet, regular exercise, stress management and restful sleep. But I truly believe this mushroom is one of the most powerful natural tools we have for optimizing brain function at any age.

Lion’s Mane Discussions on Reddit

Mixed Experiences with Lion’s Mane Supplements

One common topic on Reddit is the wide range of experiences people have when taking lion’s mane supplements. Some users report significant improvements in cognitive function and mood, while others notice little to no effect. For example:

I’ve been taking it for a while and can tell you it is certainly NOT bullshit but it is a double-edged sword. On one hand it really helped me remember some old memories but also it also made me remember things I didn’t want to remember.

u/astraldefiance in discussion “Lion’s Mane’ is an edible mushroom that provides various neurological benefits”

I still deal with some minor symptoms and its about a year out.

u/crack-cocaine-novice in discussion “Lion’s Mane’ is an edible mushroom that provides various neurological benefits”

This variation in experiences could be due to differences in lion’s mane supplement quality, individual brain chemistry, or other health factors. It highlights the importance of choosing a reputable lion’s mane brand and listening to your body’s response.

Potential Negative Side Effects of Lion’s Mane

Another topic of concern on Reddit is the potential for negative side effects from taking lion’s mane, particularly related to mental health. Some users share cautionary tales of lion’s mane exacerbating anxiety, depression or other psychological symptoms:

See for important warnings about dangerous side effects some people suffer from as little as one dose of Lion’s Mane. Potential for months of excruciating mental and physical pain, sometimes resulting in suicide.

u/Kowatang in discussion “Lion’s Mane’ is an edible mushroom that provides various neurological benefits”

I tried it and had the worst headaches of my life, I thought it was just me. Wow.

u/l0R3-R in discussion “Lion’s Mane’ is an edible mushroom that provides various neurological benefits”

While these severe reactions seem to be rare, they are a good reminder to start with a low dose, consult your doctor if you have a pre-existing condition, and discontinue use if you experience any adverse effects. Lion’s mane is a potent nootropic that should be treated with respect.

Importance of Lion’s Mane Mushroom Identification

For those interested in foraging or growing their own lion’s mane, proper mushroom identification is crucial. Several Redditors share stories of accidentally growing or consuming the wrong mushroom species:

I just checked in my grow bag that was seeded with what was supposed to be lions mane mushroom culture and I have the same thing growing as the OP. It was from Amazon in the “” vendor section. I was wondering why it was taking as long as it was to get it to “fruit”… I’m rather annoyed. It’s prolly the same company.

u/AADTexan1991 in discussion “I thought i was growing lions mane…”

You are incorrect, sir

u/yo-xan-get-your-boy in response to u/BrianMan93 in discussion “I thought i was growing lions mane…”

Lion’s mane has some lookalikes in the wild, but none are considered deadly poisonous. When in doubt, consult a trusted field guide or mycologist to confirm your lion’s mane haul is the real deal.


Lion’s mane mushroom is a true superfood for the brain, offering an impressive range of cognitive benefits. From improving memory and focus to protecting against neurodegenerative disease, this funny-looking fungus packs a powerful punch. Lion’s mane also supports overall health by reducing inflammation, strengthening immunity, and promoting digestive healing.

While lion’s mane is generally safe, it’s important to be mindful of potential side effects and interactions, especially if you have a pre-existing condition. Choose a high-quality lion’s mane supplement from a reputable brand, start with a low dose, and consult your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.

As a holistic wellness practitioner, I’m always on the lookout for natural ways to support brain health and prevent cognitive decline. Lion’s mane has earned a top spot in my nootropic toolbox for its proven benefits and safety profile. Whether you’re a student seeking a study aid, a professional looking to up your mental game, or simply wanting to protect your brain as you age, lion’s mane mushroom is worth adding to your routine.

Ready to experience the benefits of lion’s mane for yourself? Check out my top supplement picks:

As always, I’d love to hear about your experience with lion’s mane. Have you tried this mushroom? Did you notice any improvements in your cognitive function or overall well-being? Let me know in the comments below!


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  2. Mori K, Inatomi S, Ouchi K, Azumi Y, Tuchida T. Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytother Res. 2009 Mar;23(3):367-doi: 10.1002/ptr.2634. PMID: 18844328.
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  7. Chiu CH, Chyau CC, Chen CC, Lee LY, Chen WP, Liu JL, Lin WH, Mong MC. 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 Jan 24;19(2):341. doi: 10.3390/ijms19020341. PMID: 29364166; PMCID: PMC5855563.
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Erik Abramowitz is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP), Naturopathic Doctoral student, health coach, and father. He is the primary content creator for and the host of the Holistic Nootropics Podcast.

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