Supplementing with Lion’s Mane mushroom

by Hannah de Gruchy January 23, 2024

Supplementing with Lion’s Mane mushroom

Lion’s Mane is a type of medicinal mushroom that’s been used for generations to support brain health and emotional wellbeing. It can be found growing on dead or dying trees in many areas of the world, including parts of North America, Europe, China, and Japan.

It gets its name from its distinctive appearance – white, hair-like tendrils that look like the majestic mane of a male lion.

Studies suggest that eating Lion’s Mane mushrooms or taking concentrated supplements can improve focus, memory, and mental clarity. Other studies, on animals, have found that it can also support heart health by reducing the level of triglycerides, a type of fat that can be dangerous at high levels in the bloodstream. Further animal studies found that this medicinal mushroom could also help to reduce inflammation, which is linked to certain chronic diseases.

For these reasons, some people now choose to take Lion’s Mane in supplement form. Here’s how to take Lion’s Mane mushroom supplements and how to get the best from them.

Lion’s Mane mushrooms: Fast facts

  • It is a type of medicinal mushroom that grows on dead trees and has the appearance of a lion’s mane.
  • It’s been used in traditional medical practices for thousands of years to support health and wellbeing.
  • Lion’s Mane can be eaten raw or cooked, but many people prefer to take it in supplement form, due to its bitter taste.
  • Supplements can be taken at any time of day but taking them in the morning could be most beneficial.

Types of Lion’s Mane mushroom supplements

Lion’s Mane mushrooms are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked. Many people describe their flavour as like seafood such as crab or lobster.

Lions Mane mushroom on tree

When eaten raw, they can have a slightly bitter taste, so if this isn’t to your liking, they can be lightly fried until the outside is crispy for a more subtle flavour. They can then be used in cooking, lending themselves particularly well to pasta and rice dishes or to adding a rich, umami flavour to stocks, sauces, and gravies.

Fresh or dried Lion’s Mane mushrooms can also be steeped in hot water for a few minutes and consumed as tea.

Supplements, however, contain a more concentrated form of this medicinal mushroom and therefore can be more beneficial. Lion’s Mane supplements are available as capsules, tablets, powders, and tinctures.

Capsules and tablets are taken orally with water, and tinctures can be added to water or dripped directly under the tongue. Powdered versions of Lion’s Mane can be added to hot or cold drinks. Add the recommended amount to tea, coffee, smoothies, or juices for a nutritional boost.

The best way to take Lion’s Mane

Since the flavour of these mushrooms can be a little bitter, and given the fact that supplements are more concentrated, it’s perhaps best to take Lion’s Mane in a flavourless capsule form.

As with any supplement, aim for brands that use high-quality, preferably organic, ingredients and that don’t add artificial fillers and binders to their products.

If you like the idea of supplements but prefer not to swallow capsules, opt for a high-quality Lion’s Mane powder. For a nutritional morning smoothie, blend one banana, a handful of berries, a heaped teaspoon of nut butter and 200ml milk of your choice, and add the recommended amount of Lion’s Mane powder according to the package.

How much Lion’s Mane to take each day

There is no standard recommended intake for medicinal mushroom supplements. However, it is recommended that you follow the advice on the supplement packaging regarding how much to take each day. This will differ between different types of Lion’s Mane products and brands.

Organic Lion’s Mane mushroom capsulesHowever, there have been some studies into the most effective intake, and the findings vary. One paper suggests that taking between 3 and 5g each day can be beneficial for cognitive health.

Another study concluded that taking three 350mg capsules (1.05g) of Lion’s Mane each day could help adults in their 50s with mild Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. A separate study found that three 400mg capsules per day (1.2g) were beneficial to the mental health and sleep quality of patients living with obesity.

There are no human studies that ascertain the upper maximum intake that might be deemed safe, so always follow the product guidelines. There don’t appear to be any known side effects, so Lion’s Mane supplements are considered generally safe.

However, safety in pregnant and breastfeeding people hasn’t been established, therefore they’re best avoided if you’re trying to conceive, are pregnant or breastfeeding.

If you have an allergy or sensitivity to mushrooms in general, they’re also best avoided.

Can I take it every day?

Yes, Lion’s Mane preparations can be safely consumed each day.

When is the best time to take Lion’s Mane supplements?

There is no best time to take these supplements. However, if you’re taking them to help with your cognitive function such as memory and clarity of thought, it’s a good idea to take them in the morning so that they can support you throughout the day.

As with all supplements, it’s recommended that you aim to take them at roughly the same time each day to gain the maximum benefit.

How long does Lion’s Mane take to work?

As yet, there is no conclusive evidence that proves how long medicinal mushrooms should be taken to feel the benefits. However, the studies that have found benefits to taking Lion’s Mane supplements suggest that consistency is key – every day for at least 12 to 16 weeks.

If you decide to take Lion’s Mane, you may therefore start to feel the cognitive benefits over time. Try taking them consistently for 12 weeks to see if you notice the difference.

The best Lion’s Mane supplements

Organic bone broth Ancient Mushrooms - Planet Paleo

We recommend Organic Lion’s Mane Mushroom capsules from Mushrooms 4 Life. They’re made using both the full-spectrum mycelium and the fruiting body of organically grown Lion’s Mane mushrooms. Suitable for vegans and vegetarians, they’re free from soya and gluten and contain zero preservatives, fillers, or binders. Take two capsules, one to three times a day, with each capsule containing 500mg of Lion’s Mane.

If a powdered supplement is your preference, we recommend the Organic Bone Broth with Ancient Mushrooms from Planet Paleo. Like products from Mushrooms 4 Life, all Planet Paleo products are made using the highest quality, natural ingredients.

Bone broth is rich in collagen that supports the health of the skin, bones, and joints. The ancient mushrooms in this powder include Shitake, Reishi, and Cordyceps as well as Lion’s Mane. This bone broth powder can be added to warm drinks, smoothies, juices, soups, and stews and is free from soya, gluten, sugar, preservatives, fillers, and binders.

Taking medicinal mushroom supplements

Adding Lion’s Mane supplements to your healthy diet and lifestyle can help support your cognitive function and mental wellbeing. Try taking it every day for three months, to see if you can notice any improvement in your memory, focus and mental clarity.

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Hannah de Gruchy
Hannah de Gruchy

Author

Health and wellness author and biologist specialised in sustainability, nutrition and eco-living.


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