Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) is unique in the mushroom family both in appearance and function. Lion’s Mane Mushroom is extremely effective at stimulating Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) in the brain.
Known for its powerful effects as a “brain tonic”, Lion’s Mane is said to have been used as a tea for thousands of years by Buddhist monks. To enhance brain power, and heighten their ability to focus during meditation.
Lion’s Mane as a nootropic, is a powerful catalyst for brain cell regeneration helping improve memory and cognition.
The primary active compounds in Lion’s Mane are hericenones and erinacines. Erinacines help your brain produce more Nerve Growth Factor. Erinacines easily cross the blood-brain barrier to boost the production of neurons.
Lion’s Mane helps:
- Nerve Growth Factor. Lion’s Mane Mushroom prevents and treats nerve damage in the brain. Once past the blood-brain barrier, Lion’s Mane stimulates enzyme production that release Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). Nerve regeneration helps relieve neurodegenerative disease symptoms such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s Disease.
- Neurogenesis. Lion’s Mane stimulates the repair and creation of neurons. Boosting neurotransmitters and signaling that effects memory, learning, recall, and mood.
- Brain Optimization. Lion’s Mane helps eliminate brain fog. Restoring memory and mental alertness. And improves anxiety and depression symptoms.
Table of Contents
Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) is a medicinal mushroom proven to benefit the brain, nerves and immune system.
Unlike other mushrooms sporting a cap and stem, Lion’s Mane has long, flowing, white tendrils. Resembling a lion’s mane. Other names include Monkey’s Head, Bearded Tooth, Pom Pom Blanc, Hedgehog Mushroom and Satyr’s Beard.
This parasitic fungus grows hanging off logs and trees. And is native to North American, Europe and Southeast Asia. In Japan, it’s called yamabushitake or “those who sleep in mountains”. Referring to the Shugendo sect of hermit monks and their long, flowing robes.
As a nootropic, Lion’s Mane has been shown to be particularly effective in stimulating Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) in the brain.
NGF is produced in the hippocampus throughout life. Modulating cholinergic receptors and neuroplasticity.[i] And is essential for learning.
Nerve Growth Factor are special proteins that function to regenerate neurons. Lion’s Mane contains two unique classes of NGF’s – hericenones and erinacines which easily cross the blood-brain barrier.
Lion’s Mane, like other medicinal mushrooms, contain high amounts of the antioxidant beta-glucoxylan and four other polysaccharides and polypeptides. Having a significant impact on enhancing your immune system. And decreasing tumor growth.
Lion’s Mane has also been studied in reducing amyloid plaques. These clumps of beta-amyloid proteins block signals between neurons. And are implicated in Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Lions’ Mane is also used to treat Lyme’s Disease, and digestive tract issues.
Here we’re talking about Lion’s Mane Mushroom and its effects on brain health and chemistry.
How does Lion’s Mane Work in the Brain?
Lion’s Mane boosts brain health and function in several ways. But two in particular stand out.
- Lion’s Mane Mushroom stimulates the synthesis of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). NGF is a protein that plays a major role in the maintenance, survival and regeneration of neurons.
NGF is required by your brain to keep neurons strong and healthy. When various neurological disorders occur, your brain is unable to produce its own internal source of NGF.
In a study done in Kuala Lumpur in 2013, scientists showed that Lion’s Mane extract induced NGF synthesis and promoted neurite outgrowth.[ii]
- Lion’s Mane is effective in reducing anxiety and depression. Some even call it the “smart mushroom” for its ability to improve cognition, memory and work as an anti-depressant.
A study by researchers in Japan worked with 30 women. The female subjects had been complaining about menopause, depression, sleep quality and other issues.
The women randomly received Lion’s Mane-laced cookies or a placebo for 4 weeks. The researchers found that Lion’s Mane “has the possibility to reduce depression and anxiety, and these results suggest a different mechanism from NGF-enhancing action of H. erinaceus”. [iii]
How things go bad
Science once believed that the brain could not grow new brain cells. That once our brain developed during childhood, and we reached adulthood, we had all the brain cells we’d ever have.
Now we know that neurons can regenerate. But that doesn’t mean they will regenerate. A number of health issues can contribute to neurodegeneration.
↓ Decrease in Nerve Growth Factor = Decrease in Long-Term Potentiation affecting long-term memory[iv]
↓ Brain cells die and are not replaced
↓ Neuroplasticity declines resulting in poor memory
↓ Neurotransmitters decline resulting in anxiety, poor mood and depression
All of these age-related changes are contributing factors to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and others. And anxiety, depression and mood disorders that affect quality of life.
Lion’s Mane benefits
At least a dozen peer-reviewed studies have been published on Lion’s Mane benefits to brain health since 1991. Dr. Kawagishi of Japan was first to identify Nerve Growth Factor properties in Lion’s Mane Mushroom.[v]
In one double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, researchers in Japan worked with 50 – 80 year old men and women. All suffered from mild cognitive impairment.
The trial subjects received four 250 mg tablets containing 96% of Yamabushitake (Lion’s Mane) dry powder three times a day for 16 weeks. The men and women were tested at 4, 8, 12 and 16 weeks.
At each of the testing periods, the subjects who had used Lion’s Mane showed a significant improvement in cognitive scores. And their scores were increasing while on Lion’s Mane supplementation. But 4 weeks after stopping Lion’s mane supplementation, their cognitive scores decreased significantly.
The researchers concluded that Lion’s Mane Mushroom is effective in improving mild cognitive impairment.[vi]
How does Lion’s Mane feel?
You may not experience the effects of supplementing with Lion’s Mane Mushroom immediately. But many users report with continued use of Lion’s Mane, a boost in mood and mental energy.
Some report it increases depth perception. And an improvement in sense of smell.
Others testify to improved decision-making, the ability to solve problems and learning. Likely due to Lion’s Mane ability to improve neuroplasticity.
The overall consensus is Lion’s Mane Mushroom’s ability to lessen anxiety, reduce depression, and improve concentration.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom has been used as a food and herbal medicine since ancient times in East Asia. And it has been reported in scientific research that Lion’s Mane promotes Nerve Growth Factor both in the petri dish as well as in animal and human test subjects.
Lion’s Mane Prevents Cognitive Dysfunction
In this study, researchers examined the effects of Lion’s Mane on amyloid β(25-35) peptide-induced learning and memory deficits in mice. Amyloid β(25-35) peptide is implicated in diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Mice were injected with the peptide on days 7 and 14 of the trial. And they were fed a diet containing Lion’s Mane over 23-days of the experiment. The results showed that Lion’s Mane prevented short-term and visual recognition memory reduction normally induced by amyloid β(25-35) peptide.
They concluded that Lion’s Mane Mushroom “may be useful in the prevention of cognitive dysfunction”.[vii]
Lion’s Mane Induces Nerve Growth Factor
In this trial, mice were fed Lion’s Mane 5% freeze-dried powdered extract for 7 days. Researchers found an increase in the level of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) in the hippocampus of the mice. Concluding that Lion’s Mane “contains active compounds that stimulate NGF synthesis”.[viii]
Lion’s Mane Repairs Nerves
In this study done with rats, Lion’s Mane extract was able to promote neuron regrowth after injury. Rats with gluteal nerve damage were able to walk again after consuming water containing Lion’s Mane extract.
The researchers concluded that Lion’s Mane regenerates damaged nerve cells. In this case, the reversal was so profound, the rats went from being totally disabled to walking again.[ix]
Lion’s Mane Dosage
Wondering how much Lion’s Mane to take? Dosing of Lion’s Mane Mushroom depends on the strength of the extract.
For Lion’s Mane 10:1 extract (30% polysaccharide), daily dosage is 500 – 1,000 mg taken 1 to 3 times per day. This means that if you choose a daily dose of 1,000 mg of Lion’s Mane extract, you should take 500 mg in the morning, and another 500 mg at noon.
Other retail extract dosage of Lion’s Mane ranges from 300 mg to 3000 mg dosed 1 – 3 times per day. Check the label and see what the manufacturer recommends. And when first using the supplement, start with the lowest dose and see how your body reacts.
Lion’s Mane Side Effects
Lion’s Mane Mushroom is non-toxic and considered very safe. So there are very few side effects reported.
Some neurohackers report itchy skin from higher doses. Likely attributable to a boost in Nerve Growth Factor.
Lion’s Mane has been tested in animals showing no side effects or toxicity even up to 5 grams per kilogram.
Best type of Lion’s Mane to buy
Lion’s Mane Mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) as a nootropic supplement is usually offered as an extract. In powdered form, or in a capsule.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom can be found in some of higher quality pre-formulated nootropic stacks. For example, Mind Lab Pro® contains 11 brain enhancing nootropic compounds including Lion’s Mane with the full fruit spectrum including hericenones and erinacines.
I recommend Mind Lab Pro® because it addresses all aspects of anxiety resistance, memory and cognitive enhancement, stabilizes mood, brain repair, and maintenance.
This premium nootropic stack is designed to affect neurotransmitters, cognitive energy, brain waves, neuroprotection, and regeneration. See my Mind Lab Pro review for a detailed report.
When choosing a Lion’s Mane supplement, there’s debate over the best form of extraction to achieve the mushroom’s full medicinal benefit. Some say your best option is a hot water extraction. Another says alcohol extraction. Another claims both are necessary.
But when it comes to mushrooms, saying that one is “more potent” than another is just too simplified to be true. This is as much an art as it is science.
Much more important is choosing a supplement that includes the mycelium of Lion’s Mane Mushroom. In this mushroom, the fruiting body does not contain erinacines which is the compound that boosts Nerve Growth Factor (NGF).
The nootropic benefits of hericenones only found in the fruiting body or top of the mushroom help support your immune system and get rid of Amyloid β(25-35) peptide implicated in diseases like Alzheimer’s.
The challenge is getting a Lion’s Mane Mushroom extract that contains the full spectrum found in both the mycelium and fruiting body. But the mushroom must be grown in liquid and not a solid substrate like grain. Otherwise you’ll get ground up grain without the important erinacines needed for increased NGF.
Look at the manufacturer’s literature and marketing material and find out how their Lion’s Mane is grown. And read the reviews on shopping sites as well as forums.
Types of Lion’s Mane available:
- Plain Lion’s Mane: Pure, powdered mushroom. Often freeze-dried, and the cheapest form available. Can be added to water, juice or smoothies.
- Lion’s Mane Extracts: A more potent form of mushroom. Often presented as 14:1 or 10:1 extracts (14 pounds or 10 pounds reduced to 1 pound of extract).
- Standardized Lion’s Mane: Processed to provide exact levels of active ingredients. You can get Lion’s Mane standardized to 30% and 50% polysaccharides (including the active secondary metabolites hericenones and erinacines).
- Lion’s Mane tea: Since this is a popular mushroom in the kitchen, the taste is acceptable. But it’s hard to get a handle on how much actual active ingredient you’re getting.
- Amycenone®/PLM-Fraction: This “branded” product is standardized to Hericenones 0.5%, Amyloban 6%. It seems to target a lesser-known Lion’s Mane active ingredient–Amyloban–which is positioned as a mushroom compound that fights beta-amyloid proteins. Originating in Japan, it is extremely expensive, and may be found in a supplement called Amyloban®3399.
And if you decide to pick your own, before consuming any wild mushroom, make sure that it is accurately identified. Mushroom poisoning is a real problem if you pick the wrong one.
For a full list of Mycology societies that may be able to help you, go to the North American Mycological Association website (www.namyco.org).
Nootropics Expert Recommendation
Lion’s Mane 500 mg per day
I recommend using Lion’s Mane as a nootropic supplement.
Your body does not make Lion’s Mane on its own. So you need to take it as a supplement.
Lion’s Mane is especially helpful for regenerating brain cells. It prevents neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
And it boosts long-term potentiation for memory and mental sharpness. By stimulating Nerve Growth Factor.
Lion’s Mane also helps boost mood, tame anxiety and relieve depression. For a better quality of life.
We suggest starting with a dose of 500 mg daily. The best human study used 3000 mg per day. But another researcher found lower concentrations may stimulate NGF better than higher concentrations.[x]
Start at 500 mg per day and see how it works for you. If you don’t experience a benefit, boost Lion’s Mane in small increments of 250 mg per day until you notice an improvement. And make sure you are using a supplement containing the mycelium and fruiting body that is grown in a liquid medium.
You can buy individual Lion’s Mane supplements. Or you could try my favorite pre-formulated nootropic stack Mind Lab Pro® which includes the full spectrum including hericenones and erinacines found in Lion’s Mane Mushroom.
Mind Lab Pro contains a synergistic blend of 11 brain enhancing nootropics covering all aspects of cognition and brain health. See my full Mind Lab Pro review for more.
Lion’s Mane is a great compliment to a nootropic stack including Aniracetam, Alpha GPC and Omega-3’s for an immediate cognitive boost.
[i] Conner J.M. et. Al. “NGF Is Essential for Hippocampal Plasticity and Learning” The Journal of Neuroscience 2 September 2009, 29(35): 10883-10889 (source)
[ii] Lai P.L., Naidu M., Sabaratnam V., Wong K.H., David R.P., Kuppusamy U.R., Abdullah N., Malek S.N. “Neurotrophic properties of the Lion’s mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia.” International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 2013;15(6):539-54. (source)
[iii] Nagano M., Shimizu K., Kondo R., Hayashi C., Sato D., Kitagawa K., Ohnuki K. “Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake.” Biomedical Research. 2010 Aug;31(4):231-7. (source)
[iv] Kelly A., Conroy S., Lynch M.A. “Evidence that nerve growth factor plays a role in long-term potentiation in the rat dentate gyrus.”Neuropharmacology. 1998 Apr-May;37(4-5):561-70. (source)
[v] Kawagishi H., et. Al. “Erinacines A, B and C, strong stimulators of nerve growth factor (NGF)-synthesis, from the mycelia of Hericium erinaceum” Tetrahedron Letters Volume 35, Issue 10, 7 March 1994, Pages 1569–1572 (source)
[vi] 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.”Phytotherapy Research. 2009 Mar;23(3):367-72. (source)
[vii] Mori K., Obara Y., Moriya T., Inatomi S., Nakahata N. “Effects of Hericium erinaceus on amyloid β(25-35) peptide-induced learning and memory deficits in mice.” Biomedical Research. 2011 Feb;32(1):67-72. (source)
[viii] Mori K., et. Al. “Nerve Growth Factor-Inducing Activity of Hericium erinaceus in 1321N1 Human Astrocytoma Cells” Biology Pharmaceutical Bulletin September 2008 31(9) 1727—1732 (2008) (source)
[ix] Wong K.H., Naidu M., David P., Abdulla M.A., Abdullah N., Kuppusamy U.R., Sabaratnam V. “Peripheral Nerve Regeneration Following Crush Injury to Rat Peroneal Nerve by Aqueous Extract of Medicinal Mushroom Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae).” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2011;2011:580752. (source)
[x] Sabaratnam V., Kah-Hui W., Naidu M., David P.R. “Neuronal Health – Can Culinary and Medicinal Mushrooms Help?” Journal of Traditional and Complimentary Medicine 2013 Jan-Mar; 3(1): 62–68. (source)
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My mother has Alzheimer’s and is on medication for it, donzapil and memantine. Would it be safe for her to use lions mane while taking these meds?
David Tomen says
Rocco, I am not aware of any contraindication.
I was interested in Lion’s mane to improve my son’s ability to focus, concentration and memory at school, including motivation to do home/classwork that’s been incredibly low for the past 3-4 months. He’s being diagnosed with a mild case of ADHD (borderline), but haven’t found much information for kids/teens. He’s 15 1/2 and takes growth hormones (somatropin). Do you think is it safe and beneficial for him to take it?
David Tomen says
Karin, I can’t recommend anything for a 15 yr. old because I’m not qualified. But I do know for sure that Lion’s Mane is safe if used at recommended dosages.
But if he is clinically ADHD it’s likely he’ll need more than Lion’s Mane. Because ADHD is a problem with dopamine and norepinephrine and how these neurotransmitters are used in the brain.
See if you can find a naturopath or alternative medicine practitioner who specializes in kids. And understands how to use L-Tyrosine to increase dopamine, CDP-Choline to boost acetylcholine and DHA to keep brain cells healthy.
David thanks so much for your response and sharing your knowledge
Lion’s Mane (I get it fresh and sauté it and put it in soups and stirfry) gives me a tingly rush to the head. This freaks me out. And yet every few months I buy it at the farmers’ market and try it again.
David Tomen says
Sounds like you should do Lion’s Mane more often Carol. 🙂
In doing some research on Lion’s Mane I read, “alcohol is used to extract the adaptogenic fat-soluble compounds– hericenones and erinacines, and possibly amyloban, while the hot-water extracts the immune-modulating beta-glucans (water-soluble polysaccharide compounds).”
If you are purchasing Lion’s Mane that uses dual extraction, including the fat-soluble compounds, does this indicate that it should be taken with fat in order to be better absorbed?
Thanks for any help you can give!
David Tomen says
Ryan, anything that is fat-soluble needs to be taken with a healthy fat or you will not digest it. Just excrete it unused. Because the healthy fats activate fat digesting enzymes courtesy your pancreas that are send out to digest fats in your diet.
Ok, prefect- that’s what I was needed to know.
Thanks for the response!
Hi David, hope you’re well?
I just received lions mane from time health, they have three different types and I got their high strength one.
Although now I am reading that this could reduce mens libido, and I am reading quite a bit of forums on reddit of people attesting to this drop in sex drive, I would like to know your take on this?
Have you personally experienced this?
David Tomen says
Arik, I use 1,500 mg Lion’s Mane every day and have definitely not experience a drop in sex drive or libido.
May I ask what you think of this lions mane supplement, its a uk brand as I reside in UK.
Time Health Lion’s Mane extract
David Tomen says
Arik, it looks like a quality supplement. I suggest reading the user reviews and see if the company will share a Certificate of Analysis for the Lion’s Mane you wish to purchase.
If they cannot or will not provide a CofA for that batch of Lion’s Mane move on to another manufacturer.
Okay thank you, would you have any brand suggestions though?
David Tomen says
Arik, Mind Lab Pro (https://bit.ly/3lh3w8a) includes 500 mg of Organic Lion’s Mane and they use the fruiting body which contains the beta glucans you need.
Or as a standalone supplement I recommend this one: https://amzn.to/3qAQjcv
I was having some focus/concentration issues so decided to give this a try and have been experiencing some very positive results from it. I have not had a ton of success with the majority of supplements I have tried, but this Lion’s Mane (I am using Nootropic Depots 8:1 Fruit Extract) has been a pleasant exception.
I’m so glad I found this! I have been suffering for 7 years from post withdrawal syndrome from getting off antidepressants that I was on for 10 yrs and a brief stint of benzodiazepines. Benzo withdrawal rendered me practically brain dead after just 2 months use. My brain sputtered along trying to heal for 7 years, being mostly house and bed bound. I have not recovered my short and long term memory, ability to read, no natural ability to sleep, slow speech, obsessive compulsions, anxiety through the roof, have neuro-emotions etc. I also have sensory distortion, inability to comprehend simple things, have induced ADD and just an overall detachment to things around me. The list goes on. I can’t remember the last 15 yrs of my life. I’m not even going to touch on the subject of what it has done to my bowels. Lets just say movements are almost non-existent there too. Lions mane is my last resort. I am curious if the neurogenesis is permanent from Lions mane once it has regrown neuro structures. I don’t want to become a new person, but I do want to recover what I have lost. I want to get back to baseline of where I was before I ever took those prescription pills, when I was still me. Not the shell I have become. Will this work?
David Tomen says
June, Lion’s Mane is a great choice and yes it’s effects are “permanent” as long as you continue using it. Don’t forget your brain is always growing new neurons.
I suggest taking a look through this as well for some other options that may help you: https://nootropicsexpert.com/13-nootropics-to-boost-bdnf/
And get your microbiome back in shape as well. A high quality prebiotic is your best option for that: https://nootropicsexpert.com/best-prebiotics/. And add Quercetin to your daily regimen as well which will help heal your leaking gut: https://nootropicsexpert.com/quercetin/.
You don’t know how much your post means to me! It gives me immense hope. I have been through a few of the nootropics from your impressive list. Unfortunately my body was too sensitive to enjoy their full effects. Some on the list I didn’t even know were nootropics!
So what I gather is that Lion’s Mane will facilitate change only when I am taking it? Doesn’t it work simultaneously with the body’s natural ability to grow those neurons and keep them?
Regarding the prebiotic, I’ve always followed the logic of probiotics and more probiotics! I may have a mild case of SIBO due to the immobile gut. Would prebiotics create more of an issue or should I wait till SIBO is completely eliminated? Thanks again.
David Tomen says
June, Lion’s Mane increases Nerve Growth Factor which is required for the neurogenesis your brain needs to grow new neurons. And to help repair damaged neurons, dendrites, axons, and synapses. So Lion’s Mane supports your body’s natural ability to grow new neurons. And continued use will help you keep them.
If you are using antibiotics to heal Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) it is wise in my opinion to use carefully chosen probiotics to replace what the antibiotics killed. And Prebiotics to support your gut’s natural ability to grow new beneficial bacteria.
This is all so encouraging! I feel more confident that this is the direction to go. Though the probiotic route is a bit more tricky since there is a laundry list of probiotics and too many to choose from. Wouldn’t even know where to start with that! But the prebiotics sound like an interesting topic. I wonder if eating some chicory would help.
David Tomen says
June, eating some chicory root may help. But you would need to eat much more than I think you’ll find acceptable to get the benefit that you’d get from an extract supplement.
The key is getting enough soluble fiber and making sure it is delivered to the section of your gut where it provides the most benefit. This is often only accomplished by using a supplement that is encased in the type of capsule that safely makes it through your digestive system. And to where it’s needed most.
If you used an ‘ordinary’ capsule the contents would be digested by your system and never make it to the section of your gut where it’s needed.
Thank you for this invaluable advice! I will be back to update later on how these have helped after I implement them for a short while! Wishing you best of health!
Yujin Park says
Hello david ! I need a good Nootropic to learn English –
1 month after starting lions mane following your advice this is the best supplement and helps my add !!!!
Bear with me as I can not explain my question well . Would you recommend lion mane with Phosphatidylserine with lion mane or is there perhaps some other blend or vitamin that won’t break the bank – lion mane helped my ADD a lot! Thank you but gingko and ashwagandha did nothing.
I can afford one more supplement I am confuse! – Phosphatidylserine or alcar or something else? you mention Phosphatidylserine for add – so I am asking here! I am here Learning English and can not afford the Mind lab pro for 200$!!!!!! OMG HOw is a vitamin 200$$$$$ My diet is not great, so limited but I take vitamins – How can we help the channel? I will buy your book !!!!!!! see as I said those 2 supplements plus a few others did nothing I know trial and error but I found lion mane – you would go with PS above say also or noopept ETC for learning and memory? lion mane had a mild stimulant effect which I DO need to cut down on ADD medication but it does work !!!! Als ois ALCAR called racetam , Aniracetam with – phenylpiracetam were gream but tolorane was in 1 week !
Thank you – alpha gpc , L-theanine, and lion mane is al so so so amazing! if I can afford one more supplement to compliment lions mane to learn well you’d you g with PS ?
David Tomen says
Yujin, Phosphatidylserine (PS) is likely your best option for learning and memory and much more. See my review on PS here https://nootropicsexpert.com/phosphatidylserine-ps/. And scroll down to the section: “How does Phosphatidylserine feel?” Those comments come from real people.
Eduardo Marcos says
Hello David, I´ve been following you since quite some time ago in your videos that you post on Youtube which I appreciate very much and thank you. I have a very unique problem that neither Mayo Clinic or any supplement that I have taken have helped me so far. I am not asking for medical advice , just your personal take. I need a supplement/nootropic to reduce noradrenaline. When I get upset my body cannot cope with the stress and I am left feeling terrible, vibrating on the inside and VERY stressed out and unable to cope with this rush of noradrenaline. Is like with those sheep than when stresed they get paralized and fall to the ground. Obviously not that severe, but it feels like that. I have tried lions mane, reishi, l-theonine, and honestly 20+ things over many years without any help whatsoever. I checked my neoritransmiters and they are perfect ! What can I take for excess adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol (?), or whatever is wrong ? I have MANY studies and all showed that there is nothing wrong biologically. I thank you in advance.
David Tomen says
Eduardo, please see my article on lab tests here: https://nootropicsexpert.com/neurohackers-guide-to-lab-tests/.
Neurotransmitter lab tests including blood and urine are unreliable and do not give you an accurate picture of what is going on in your brain. Because things like dopamine are made in your brain. Often within neurons themselves. So what’s going on in your bloodstream or urine have nothing to do with what’s happening in your brain.
Have you tried L-Tyrosine? And has been shown to reduce signs like high blood pressure under stressful conditions. See this study for example: https://nootropicsexpert.com/tyrosine/#ltyrosine-reduces-blood-pressure-under-stress.
If you haven’t tried it yet, please try 500 mg L-Tyrosine 3-times per day (8 am, noon and late afternoon). And let me know after a week or so how you feel.
Don Lastuka says
I am picking some nootropics from your aging brain list. If we pick one, does it matter if we pick Ashg, Tumeric, or Lion’s Mane?
David Tomen says
Don, it does matter because it depends on what you are trying to achieve.
Ashwagandha is used to repair dendrites, axons and synapses and lower excess cortisol. And is anti-anxiety.
Lion’s Mane is known for increasing Nerve Growth Factor which is needed for brain repair and maintenance, and to grow new neurons for encoding memory.
And Turmeric as a nootropic is best known for eliminating the plaques, tau tangles and inflammation that are associated with Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.
Hi, 40 years ago, I was badly injured and got nerve damage in my forehead, cheek, and top of the head that trigger cluster-type headaches (but not officially cluster headaches). I started 1000 mg of lions mane at night (it makes me very sleepy) a month ago to repair the nerve damage. It may have improved both the severity and frequency of my headaches, however, it has started giving me some mild vertigo. The first time it happened, I had severe vertigo upon waking, but now it’s consistently mild yet noticeable balance issues. The only other thing I take is 1,000 mg of cordyceps in the mornings, however, after experimenting, I’m certain the lions mane is triggering the balance issues. Should I scale back on the dosage, or perhaps this indicates healing? I don’t want to lose any improvements or progress. Any ideas on why it would trigger vertigo? The brand is Host Defense and uses the mycelium as opposed to the fruiting bodies.
David Tomen says
Laurie, congratulations on finding a new side effect for Lion’s Mane. I haven’t heard that one before. But I can’t imagine why it would cause vertigo.
According to Scotland’s national health information service, vertigo can be caused by:
– benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
– head injury
– vestibular neuronitis
– Ménière’s disease
– taking certain types of medication
So we know you have nerve damage in your brain. Which according to them could be the cause of vertigo. But why would it manifest now instead of earlier? That’s the mystery.
Only thing I can think of is reduce your dose of Lion’s Mane in half and see if that solves the problem. If not then stop Lion’s Mane altogether and see if that works. If it does then maybe Lion’s Mane is just the wrong supplement for you.
Thank you for your reply. I had considered the positional vertigo, but it’s strange how I can feel the source of it in the area around my eye where the headache and nerve damage are the most painful. Cutting back on it does help as I discovered with my experimenting, but frankly, I’d rather have some mild balance issues than these headaches, and it does seem to help with them, to an extent. It significantly helps with sleeping. Clearly, it’s affecting the nerves in some way, and I wouldn’t want to discourage anyone else from trying lion’s mane because of my unique condition and vertigo experience. I was just curious if this effect was a positive sign of healing or negative, but I understand that you aren’t a doctor and this is the first case you’ve heard about it.
David Tomen says
Laurie, honestly, it’s difficult to say if developing vertigo is a “positive sign”. Just as long as don’t fall over or run into anything. Lion’s Mane is a potent mushroom. You may consider scaling back your to dose 250 mg per dose and see if that helps.
It sounds like you’ve really learned to ‘listen to your body’ which is great. My experience has been the key to success with nootropics is the willingness to experiment. Until you find a solution that works for you.
Keep experimenting but carefully. You’ll get to how you want to feel. It may take time. But you will.
Yes, experimenting is the key, and just as important, knowing your baseline. I take supplements one at a time to assess the effect. For me personally, many things can trigger headaches or other undesirable effects, so I avoid combo products until I know how each thing individually reacts with my chemistry.
The balance issues I have currently are very subtle and fading away more each day. The nerve branch involved in my headaches goes through my forehead, cheek and behind my ear and may be effecting the inner ear in some way.
This might sound far-fetched, but after much confusion over the debate between mycelium vs fruiting body, I chose Host Defense’s mycelium based Lion’s mane capsules because the mycelium resembles the branches of the nervous system. I tried the tincture that has both, but the alcohol definitely triggered a headache. Thank you for your previous responses, David.
Hey Mr David will these help with neuron rebuilding after recovering from stimulants such as Vyvanse and Adderall? I’m suffering so bad right now and was wondering if this combined with NAC would help , my psychiatrist is absolutely Useless and is no help at all ! I’m done with him and all others
David Tomen says
Malik, that is exactly what Lion’s Mane is used for. It increases Nerve Growth Factor which is needed for neurogenesis and neuron repair.
I’ve been using Ritalin for the last 13 years. And with my Adult ADD stack which includes Mind Lab Pro which contains 500 mg Lion’s Mane I’ve not experienced any problems with tolerance or brain damage.
For even better results I suggest checking out my article on boosting BDNF here: https://nootropicsexpert.com/13-nootropics-to-boost-bdnf/
Thanks for this article. It is really interesting. I have OCD and I have been taking Lions Mane for a couple of weeks and it has really helped. Do you know if it is ok to take with antidepressants? Apologies if you have already answered this question. And do you know if it is safe to take long-term?
David Tomen says
Nuisha, Lion’s Mane has no reported conflict with any med that I know of including antidepressants. And it’s definitely safe to be used long-term.
Thanks for replying. That is a relief. It is really helping me. I am also taking Reishi, but I can see that you are not meant to take this for long periods of time.
Great article, I do have a few questions though:
1: how many hours does Lion’s Mane benefits last after intake? Say I have 8 hours of studying ahead of me, would one dose suffice?
2: how long before the beneficial effect starts? E.g how many hours/minutes before I start to study should I take Lion’s Mane?
3: is there any special benefit taking another dose before sleep?
4: how many days of daily supplementation should pass until I should notice improvements in focus & problem-solving ability?
David Tomen says
That’s just not the way Lion’s Mane works. It boosts neurogenesis which is a longer term solution than simply boosting neurotransmitters. I suggest reframing your thinking about this type of supplement and its mechanism of action in your brain.
If you use Lion’s Mane at least twice per day you’ll maintain ongoing neurogenesis. And those effects will last until those neurons, dendrites, axons and synapses are not needed anymore. If you stop using Lion’s Mane those benefits will eventually disappear. It may take a week or two but they will vanish.
Does lion’s mane take time to start showing effects? I have recently started taking HR supplements Lion’s mane. How do I know if it is effective for me?
I am already taking CoQ10, PQQ, PS and Pycnogenol.
David Tomen says
Nero, sometimes it takes a while to feel the effects of Lion’s Mane. Because of how it works. Lion’s Mane is know for increase Nerve Growth Factor. Now think about that for a minute. That means it is repairing decades of damage. It’s fixing things and growing new neurons. That starts happening right away. But it will take some time before you begin to feel those effects.
Thank you. I have read anecdotes of how lion’s mane affects the libido negatively. Do you have any information on that?
David Tomen says
Nero, I’ve seen zero clinical evidence of a negative effect on libido. Maybe some have experienced this with Lion’s Mane. I certainly haven’t personally.
Ok, Thank you!
Hi there! Thank you so much for your time and effort, much appreciated.
I have just found out my six year old tested as MHTFR homozygous C677T. I have no idea whether this will reduce her ability to process Folate, B12 etc or exactly what this means, however, she is having her tonsils out this week. Do you think Lionsmane would be ok for her to take post surgery for recovery? I worry about the neurological effects of the anaesthetic.
David Tomen says
Melissa, Lion’s Mane is non-toxic and safe for most people. But I’m not a baby doctor so can’t advise you whether you should be giving it to your 6 yr old. For that you’ll need to ask your doctor.
Considering taking Lion’s Mane and I was doing some research. My biggest concern is does it have any side-effects on males? Particularly related to sex health, ie sperm cell and etc. I’m a male in my early 30s and no kids yet, but planning on it in the near future, so would not want anything to potentially risk that.
David Tomen says
Joe, I am not aware of any negative consequences for human males using Lion’s Mane. Have you seen some research that I may have missed? I’m not talking about hearsay from some blogger. I mean real, peer-reviewed science published in a journal.
Relatively recently, I learned about the fact that the lion’s mane, combined with niacin, can help restore the peripheral nervous system (I need this because of the Charcot Mari tut disease) and of course I immediately started taking it. Later, I thought it was a cool idea to start another methylene blue, at that time I already took about 1.5 months a lion’s mane. It seemed to me that they should work cool in combination. I already had experience taking methylene blue, about 500 mcg per day may 1 mg. But despite this, I decided to try a very small dosage, I diluted with water such a small part of methylene blue that it was transparent, and after that I tried with the tip of my tongue. I don’t know what dosage I received, but as you know, it was very small.
Five minutes later, my pulse rose sharply to 150 beats. My pressure then rose too much (I don’t remember the exact numbers anymore). My mouth was dry and I constantly wanted to drink a strong odor of acetone in my mouth. This evening I drank incredibly a lot of water and at about 23:00 the pulse began to decline and returned to normal, and at about 24:00 I might fall asleep later.
Waking up in the morning, I felt good about yesterday. However, by 3-4 o’clock in the evening I felt sick I felt cold I felt weak. After an hour and a half, the sensation began to pass and it became easier for me. Later I checked my heart rate (130) and blood pressure (150 to 90). Also, I could not eat anything because I immediately began to feel sick and a ringing appeared in my head.
The next day I felt better again but was still ill. In the evening my kidneys started to hurt.
I don’t know why why I got so many negative effects, but I decided to write this post to warn against experiments with such a combination. I have a feeling that if I received a dosage of at least 2 times that I could die.
David Tomen says
Vadim, a couple of things. Are you using the same Methylene Blue as you were before? Because it could be a toxic batch. MG is known for being high in heavy metals to begin with.
The other thing is Methylene Blue is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) which means it boosts all of the catecholamines and even serotonin to certain extent. That could upset the balance of what you had going on in your brain.
It was the same methylene blue and from the same bottle.
With my message I would like to warn about such a potentially dangerous combination. I don’t know, maybe it’s just for me she’s dangerous.
And of course it would be great if you could guess why it worked this way at all.
David Tomen says
Vadim, Lion’s Mane modulates choline receptors. And Methylene Blue is an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. Your acetylcholine levels must have spiked.
That is the only thing I can think of that may have caused this reaction in you.
Thanks for the answer! Initially, I suspected that this was due to the fact that they are both MAO inhibitors, but now I think you are right with the assumption about acetylcholine.
Denise Kimberly says
I purchased today and the recommended dosage is 1 tablet a day containing 300mg of Lion’s Mane.
David Tomen says
Denise, don’t pay attention to dosage recommended on bottles from the manufacturer. Use the dosage recommended here because these were taken from clinical studies on what actually works.
300 mg of Lion’s Mane is such a low dose it would take a long time before you experienced any benefit.
Hello David, Ive started taking the 8:1 powdered extract from Nootropicdepot and I started having insufferable headaches from it. I really dont want to stop taking it, what should I do?
David Tomen says
Alex, switch brands. There is no reason Lion’s Mane should cause headaches.
Apparently, for some people, potentially high AcH levels cause migraine type symptoms, including tension headaches.
David Tomen says
Servo, too much acetylcholine will cause issues possibly including headaches. But Lion’s Mane does not increase acetylcholine levels. So that’s that the problem here.
Alex, have you tried another brand ye? I am taking the same brand 8:1 and have experienced terrible headaches. I want to know if it’s worth spending money on another brand of powder.