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Lion’s Mane Side Effects: How Does It Impact Your Body?

| Leestijd 6 Minuten

Lion’s Mane has few known side effects. It’s a mushroom that you can use in the kitchen as well as in the ‘medicine cabinet’. You can incorporate Lion’s Mane into a dish or take it as a mushroom supplement. This makes it a versatile, useful, and functional mushroom.

What is Lion’s Mane?

lion's mane side effects

Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) is an edible mushroom known for its beautiful appearance and potential health benefits. The mushroom has long, white, hairy tentacles reminiscent of a lion’s mane. In English, it’s therefore called Lion’s Mane. In Dutch, it is called Pruikzwam (wig mushroom).

Lion’s Mane grows wild all over the world on mainly old beech and deciduous trees, including in Europe and the Netherlands. According to research, the mushroom can improve cognitive functions, such as memory and concentration. In traditional herbal medicine, the mushroom is used for the nervous system and digestion.

What are the possible side effects of Lion’s Mane?

Lion’s Mane is generally considered safe. However, like any other product, individual reactions can vary, especially if you’re allergic to the product. If you have a mushroom allergy, it’s best to avoid Lion’s Mane supplements.

If you’re unsure about anything, always consult your GP before changing your diet.

Here are some examples of side effects and who should be cautious:

  • Allergic reactions: If you’re allergic to mushrooms, you may experience skin rashes, itching, swelling, or breathing problems. Seek medical attention if you have an allergic reaction.
  • Gastrointestinal problems: Some people have reported mild gastrointestinal issues like abdominal pain, diarrhoea, or bloating after using Lion’s Mane. If you notice these symptoms, reduce the dosage or consult your GP.
  • Drug interactions: Lion’s Mane may interact with certain medications, particularly anticoagulants or drugs affecting blood clotting. If you’re taking medication, especially for blood clotting issues, talk to your doctor about potential interactions before using Lion’s Mane.
  • Pregnant women: Pregnant and breastfeeding women should be careful with supplements or other adjustments to their diet. To be on the safe side, consult your doctor before taking Lion’s Mane.
  • People with autoimmune diseases: People with autoimmune diseases or who are taking immunosuppressive drugs should also exercise caution. Lion’s Mane could affect the immune system, so discuss your supplements with your GP before taking them.

What are the health benefits of Lion’s Mane?

Lion's Mane mushroom

So if you don’t have an allergy to mushrooms and you don’t fall into any other group from above, you don’t have to worry about the side effects of Lion’s Mane.

Let’s then dive a little deeper into the health benefits of Lion’s Mane. And there are many of them. This also explains why the mushroom has risen so much in popularity in recent years. People use Lion’s Mane not only to improve their focus and memory, but also to boost their mood.

1. Lion’s Mane for depression

Whether Lion’s Mane helps against clinical depression has not yet been proven by research. However, it does seem to stimulate the production of nerve growth factors, which is crucial for maintaining a healthy brain. A healthy brain, in turn, is essential for regulating emotions and resilience.

Moreover, several studies show that Lion’s Mane can improve depressive disorders via monoaminergic modulation. This means that it affects neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine (just like antidepressants). These neurotransmitters are involved in regulating mood.

Do you take antidepressants or other medications? If so, ask your GP for advice first. Although there are no known interactions between Lion’s Mane and antidepressants, always seek advice first.

2. Improving cognitive functions

According to some research, Lion’s Mane helps improve cognitive functions. For instance, a study in Japan shows that a group of people aged between 50 and 80 with mild cognitive impairment benefited from taking an extract of Lion’s Mane (1). They scored significantly higher on the cognitive function scales than the control group.

3. Supporting the immune system

There is a large number of studies suggesting that Lion’s Mane may affect the production and regulation of cytokines (2). Cytokines are signalling molecules that play a role in communication between immune cells, and chronic inflammation can increase cytokine production. This can lead to hormone imbalance and problems in nutrient absorption.

Lion’s Mane also contains antioxidants that can help neutralise free radicals in the body. Free radicals can cause damage to cells and burden the immune system. By providing antioxidants, Lion’s Mane may be able to promote a healthy immune system.

4. Promoting gut flora

Lion’s Mane is rich in prebiotic fibers, which play a crucial role in harmonising gut flora. Maintaining a balanced gut flora is vital for a strong immune system and promoting overall physical and mental well-being. Remarkably, up to 90% of serotonin, often referred to as the “happy hormone,” is synthesised in the gut. Therefore, nurturing a healthy gut environment enhances the likelihood of experiencing a positive state of mind.

Not only does Lion’s Mane contain prebiotic fibre, but the mushroom has also been found to be effective against the pathogen Helicobacter pylori, according to research (3).

5. Anti-inflammatory properties of Lion’s Mane

Research suggests that Lion’s Mane may have anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is a natural response of the immune system, but excessive inflammation can be harmful. By reducing inflammation, Lion’s Mane could potentially contribute to a healthy immune system.

How to use Lion’s Mane

Firstly, prioritising organic mushroom supplements is essential. By buying organic mushroom supplements that undergo rigorous testing, you can be confident that they are free from synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilisers.

Additionally, organic mushrooms typically boast elevated nutrient levels compared to their non-organic counterparts. This can be attributed to the heightened focus on soil quality during cultivation.

Furthermore, it’s crucial to ensure that your mushroom supplement solely consists of mushrooms, preferably high-quality fruiting bodies, without any additives or fillers.

  • Start with a low dose. Are you using Lion’s Mane for the first time? Then start with a low dose (1 capsule) to see how your body reacts. Building up slowly is the best way. Lion’s Mane is not addictive and contains no psychedelic substances.
  • Combine with other mushrooms if necessary. You can combine mushroom supplements very well. They even reinforce each other’s effects (this is called synergy). For instance, combine Lion’s Mane with Cordyceps for more energy, better sports performance and faster recovery.
  • Do not exceed the recommended daily intake. Take a maximum of two capsules per day. In case of complaints or side effects of Lion’s Mane, you can reduce the dosage.
  • Store your mushroom supplements properly. Store your mushroom supplements in a cool, dry place, protected from direct sunlight.

Choose premium quality organic Lion’s Mane

Lion’s Mane has virtually no side effects. However, it is important to observe your body if you are just starting with mushroom supplements. Just as important is to choose only organic mushroom supplements based on high-quality fruiting bodies. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place at MushPeak!

Discover our mushrooms!

Read more about Lion’s Mane

Disclaimer

Supplements should not be used as a replacement for a diverse diet, a healthy lifestyle, or as a treatment for any medical condition. Keep this product out of the reach of children. If you are ill, pregnant, or in doubt, always consult with your healthcare provider. The information provided on this website is intended for general informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. While traditional Chinese medicine has a history spanning thousands of years and has been tested on numerous individuals, MushPeak does not make claims indicating the proven medicinal properties of herbs or mushrooms, in accordance with current EU legislation. Detailed information about mushrooms is available from publicly accessible sources on the Internet. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

References

  1. Mori K., Inatomi S., Ouchi K., Azumi Y., & Tuchida T. (2009). Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytotherapy research : PTR, 23(3), 367–372. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.2634
  2. Koichiro Mori, Kenji Ouchi & Noriyasu Hirasawa. (2015). The Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Lion’s Mane Culinary-Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) in a Coculture System of 3T3-L1 Adipocytes and RAW264 Macrophages. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 17(7): 609-618.
  3. Ge Wang. Xiumin Zhang, Susan E. Maier, Liping Zhang & Robert J. Maier. (2019). In Vitro and In Vivo Inhibition of Helicobacter pylori by Ethanolic Extracts of Lion’s Mane Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Agaricomycetes). International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 21(1):1-11.
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