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90-Days of Lion's Mane Mushroom: My Review

supplements Feb 18, 2023

Science-based article by: Inka Land, neuropsychology MSc

 

In this blog post, I tell about my unfiltered experience in using Lion’s Mane 90 days a row. The results surprised me. I’ll also share the science of Lion’s Mane and what may explain my results.

 

Table of contents

1. What is Lion's Mane Mushroom
2. Why did I start using it?
3. Lion's Mane benefits I experienced
4. Lion's Mane side effects
5. Lion's Mane for anxiety?
6 The conclusion of the experiment
7. Do I recommend Lion's Mane?
8. Do I still use Lion's Mane?
9. How to use Lion's Mane?
10. Lion's Mane Mushroom scientific benefits

 

What is Lion's Mane mushroom?

Lion’s Mane (Hericium Erinaceus) is a mushroom that resembles the mane of a lion by its appearance. Lion’s mane grows in decaying hardwoods in North America, Europe, and Asia and has been used for culinary purposes for thousands of years. In recent decades, it has also been widely studied for its possible medicinal benefits, especially for brain health.

The brain-enhancing properties of Lion’s Mane are mainly linked to substances called hericenones and erinacines. Hericenones are found mainly in the fruiting body and erinacines in the mycelia.

Lion's Mane is available as a supplement and can be bought internationally.


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Why did I start using Lion's Mane?


I decided to start Lion’s Mane at the university about six years ago. I wanted to try a nootropic support to boost my memory and concentration during studies. I had read interesting preliminary research on Lion’s Mane and its possible effects on brain health, nerve growth factors, and memory.
 


Lion's Mane benefits I experienced

I noticed two benefits while using Lion’s mane, which I briefly explain here. I explain everything more extensively in the YouTube video.

Firstly, I noticed a boost in memory and learning. It wasn’t immediate, but it was noticeable. I had used it for about two weeks to a month to notice it was working. Now I can confidently say it was the Lion’s Mane because I’ve been using it for six years on-and-off and every time I use it, I notice a boost in my brain power. While using Lion's Mane at university, I was able to maintain information in my mind with fewer revisions. I also noticed it was easier to connect thoughts and brainstorm ideas. You could also call this improved creativity.

Secondly, I noticed improved energy levels. In general, I had more zest and drive to do things. This was great because, besides studying, I also had two jobs. So the extra energy was welcomed with open arms. But again, it was not immediate. Lion’s Mane does not give a similar buzz as a cup of coffee. For me, it helped improve overall energy levels gradually. Which I believe is due to its adaptogenic properties and ability to enhance stress resilience.



Lion’s Mane side effects


For me, the only significant downside was when I increased the dosage. It led to too much of an energy boost. But when using a slightly lower dosage, Lion’s Mane helped me remain calm in the middle of stress. So it's about experimenting and finding the sweet spot for you.

Another thing to keep in mind is the purity and quality of the product. I tested different brands and forms of Lion's Mane – some of which worked almost immediately, others did nothing. Low-quality products may have lost their potency and might even contain some mold due to the nature of the substance to grow mold in the natural environment. Therefore it's of utmost importance that you source your supplement well.

You can find my favorites here if you need recommendations. 

 

Lion’s Mane for anxiety?

Some studies show that Lion’s Mane could also reduce anxiety. I’ve experienced better results with other supplements like Magnesium, Ashwagandha, and L-theanine. But Lion’s Mane undoubtedly improved my stress resilience and helped me to handle an extensive to-do list with less pressure.



Is Lion’s Mane effective and do I recommend it?

 

I did not do any crossover experiment during my studies because I did not want to endanger my grades with self-experiments. But my conclusion is that, yes, it's effective and worth trying if you wish to improve memory and focus. Whenever I stopped using Lion’s Mane, I noticed a little decline in my brainpower and memory. And when I started it again, it did improve my attention and energy levels.

Also, I graduated with excellent grades. But was it because of Lion’s Mane? I don’t think so. I believe I just studied a lot and used effective memory strategies. But did Lion’s Mane support the process and help me to study with more energy and less stress? Yes. I always felt Lion’s Mane somehow boosted my stress resilience.



Do I still use Lion’s Mane?

Yes. I’ve been using Lion’s Mane periodically for six years. I don’t use it all the time because I have a good memory and energy levels even without it. I use it when I need an extra boost in my memory, productivity, or brainpower. For example, when I am studying intensively, preparing for a talk, or have a lot of stress and to-dos.

 

How to use Lion’s Mane (powder, extract, tincture)?

Lion’s Mane is found as supplements, powder, and tinctures. The tinctures usually have an alcohol base, so if you’re a purist, get the powder form.

I like to add about half to one teaspoon of powder to my morning coffee. It has a slightly nutty flavor which gives the coffee a delicious round flavor. I also use it in the morning instead of the evening. This is because it boosts my energy levels which I try to avoid in the evening to get high-quality sleep. 

 

Lion’s Mane scientific benefits


Lion’s Mane contains at least two bioactive ingredients linked to nervous system health: Hericenones and Erinecines.

In animal studies, they have been shown to increase nerve growth factors (NGF) which allow neurons to mature and become part of functional networks in the brain. In other words, growth factors help to form new neural connections, which is the mechanism of neuroplasticity and learning. An animal study showed that Lion’s mane supports nerve growth in the hippocampus, the main site for generating new neurons and the most critical area for memory formation.

Animal studies also suggest that the compounds may improve catecholamine content in the brain (dopamine and noradrenaline). This may explain why it can also boost energy and attention. 

Preliminary studies (mainly animal models) support the idea that Lion’s Mane could support mood and cognition in Alzheimer’s population and depressive patients.

 

Thanks for reading


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References

Lai, P.-L., Naidu, M., Sabaratnam, V., Wong, K.-H., David, R. P., Kuppusamy, U. R., Abdullah, N., & Malek, S. N. A. (2013). Neurotrophic Properties of the Lion’s Mane Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 15(6), 539–554. https://doi.org/10.1615/intjmedmushr.v15.i6.30

 

Levy, M. J. F., Boulle, F., Steinbusch, H. W., van den Hove, D. L. A., Kenis, G., & Lanfumey, L. (2018). Neurotrophic factors and neuroplasticity pathways in the pathophysiology and treatment of depression. Psychopharmacology, 235(8), 2195–2220. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-018-4950-4

 

Puderbaugh M;Emmady PD. (2022, May 8). Neuroplasticity. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32491743/

 

Shimbo M., Kawagishi H., Yokogoshi H. Erinacine A increases catecholamine and nerve growth factor content in the central nervous system of rats. Nutr. Res. 2005;25:617–623. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2005.06.001

 

‌Li, I-Chen., Chang, H.-H., Lin, C.-H., Chen, W.-P., Lu, T.-H., Lee, L.-Y., Chen, Y.-W., Chen, Y.-P., Chen, C.-C., & Lin, D. P.-C. (2020). Prevention of Early Alzheimer’s Disease by Erinacine A-Enriched Hericium erinaceus Mycelia Pilot Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnagi.2020.00155

 

Chong, P. S., Poon, C. H., Roy, J., Tsui, K. C., Lew, S. Y., Phang, M. W. L., Tan, R. J. Y., Cheng, P. G., Fung, M.-L., Wong, K. H., & Lim, L. W. (2021). Neurogenesis-dependent antidepressant-like activity of Hericium erinaceus in an animal model of depression. Chinese Medicine, 16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13020-021-00546-8

Nagano, M., Shimizu, K., Kondo, R., Hayashi, C., Sato, D., Kitagawa, K., & Ohnuki, K. (2010). Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake. Biomedical Research, 31(4), 231–237. https://doi.org/10.2220/biomedres.31.231

 









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