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Lion’s Mane Supplements: Benefits, Side Effects, and Dosage

Lion's mane is a type of mushroom that has been used culinary and therapeutically for centuries in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine. It's gaining popularity as a dietary supplement for its potential to boost memory and mental clarity. It continues to be studied for a range of potential health benefits, including its neuroprotective effects, mental health and immune system support, and reduced inflammation, among others.

What is lion's mane?

Lion's mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) is an edible, nootropic mushroom. Known for its white, shaggy appearance, it resembles a lion's mane. It can be found growing on the wood of dead or decaying hardwood trees or logs, typically from late summer to fall. It can be found in Asia, Europe, and North America. It contains many bioactive compounds, including beta-glucans, erinacines, and hericenones.

Lion's mane has long been used as a therapeutic mushroom in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine for centuries for a variety of conditions. It is still widely used in the diets of East Asian countries.

Potential benefits of lion's mane

Lion's mane is most known for its beneficial effects on cognitive function, but it also has a number of other valuable effects on the body.

1. Supports cognitive function

Lion's mane may support brain health through its ability to promote the expression of neurotrophic factors that are associated with nerve growth factor (NGF) production. Emerging research proposes that when taken consistently, lion's mane can improve cognitive function. A drawback is that the majority of clinical research has been focused on people with mild cognitive impairment, therefore, the effects might not be generalizable to a healthy population. One research study with healthy adults found that lion's mane supplementation for 28 days improved the speed of performance and reduced subjective stress.

2. Has antioxidant properties

Antioxidants play an important role in treating and protecting the body against oxidative stress and inflammation, which are believed to be the causes of many chronic diseases. A research study evaluated medicinal mushrooms and found that lion's mane exhibits antioxidant properties.

3. Supports immune function

Lion's mane mushroom supports immune function through several different ways in the body, but mainly in the intestinal immune system. The intestinal immune system prevents infections by fighting off bacteria and other pathogens that enter through the nose or mouth.

According to animal studies, lion's mane may help support the immune function by stimulating the intestinal immune system and promoting a healthy gut microbiome.

4. Supports mental health

Research suggests that the lion's mane has the potential to help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, likely due to its ability to create new brain pathways and reduce inflammation. New pathways, particularly in the hippocampus, are one proposed mechanism by which the lion's mane may help alleviate depression symptoms. Another suggested mechanism is based on the anti-inflammatory effects of lion's mane, proposing that it may play a role in decreasing depression and anxiety symptoms. Animal studies suggest that lion's mane may also influence brain neurotransmitters, increasing levels of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which play key roles in mood regulation.

6. May help lower blood sugar levels

Animal studies have shown that lion's mane can significantly lower blood sugar levels in mice. Research suggests that lion's mane may help the body use insulin more effectively and support cells in the pancreas that make insulin. It might also help slow down the digestion of sugars.

In addition, lion's mane is being studied for its potential to improve diabetic peripheral neuropathy in the hands and feet. Emerging research in rats suggests that lion's mane may decrease nerve pain and promote the regeneration of peripheral nerves. However, further studies on humans will need to be conducted to confirm these findings.

7. May protect against neurodegenerative conditions

The neuroprotective benefits of lion's mane are being studied in neurodegenerative diseases. Limited research shows that bioactive compounds in lion's mane (erinacines and hericenones) contribute to lion's mane's potential neuroprotective effects.

According to a 2020 study, patients with Alzheimer's disease who took 1 g of lion's mane daily for 49 weeks saw an improvement in their general cognitive function and contrast sensitivity. However, further research is needed to determine its efficacy in preventing neurodegenerative diseases.

Side effects and precautions

A lion's mane is generally considered safe. Animal studies found no significant adverse side effects. However, some mild side effects were found in research, such as nausea and stomach discomfort, among a few others.

Allergic reactions are possible and may be serious. There have been case reports of people experiencing skin reactions or difficulty breathing. People with a mushroom allergy or who are sensitive to mushrooms should avoid taking lion's mane.

Because of the possible effects of lion's mane on blood sugar levels and blood clotting, people with diabetes, bleeding disorders, or those taking blood thinners should consult a healthcare professional before using lion's mane. Lion's mane should also not be used by people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How to use lion's mane?

Lion's mane mushrooms come in various forms, and depending on your lifestyle and preferences, extracts and supplements may be more convenient.


There are no standard or recommended dosage guidelines for lion's mane. Lion's mane dosing will depend on one's health status, the concentration of active compounds in the supplement, and the purpose of taking the supplement, among other individual factors. However, it is important to follow the brand's guidelines on recommended daily doses.

That being said, the doses used in studies typically range between 250 mg and 1 g. One study reported an improvement in cognitive function at a dose of 250 mg three times a day. In another study involving postmenopausal women, a daily dose of 2 g showed notable enhancements in symptoms associated with mood, specifically depression and anxiety.

Possible interaction with medications

Studies have not been done to identify specific drug interactions. However, based on what is known about the effects of lion's mane, caution should be used in people taking diabetes medications, blood thinners, or immunosuppressant medications.

  • Diabetes medications. Lion's mane may lower blood glucose levels. When taken with diabetes drugs, lion's mane could cause blood sugar to become too low.
  • Anticoagulant medications. Lion's mane may have antiplatelet effects. An increased risk of bleeding is possible when it is taken with anticoagulants.
  • Antidepressants. There is limited information on lion's mane’s effect on depression or interactions with antidepressant medications.

How to choose the best lion's mane supplement

There are many supplements on the market, and choosing which supplement to use can be challenging. There are a few aspects to consider when choosing a lion's mane supplement to ensure its safety and quality.


Supplement products come in many different concentrations. When choosing a product, check to see if it is a stand-alone mushroom extract that contains a high concentration of lion's mane or if it is combined with other additional ingredients. Also, look for a product that is certified by NSF or USP for safety and purity.

Extraction method

How the compound is extracted can affect the potency and bioavailability of lion's mane in the supplement. Choose supplements that use a dual-extraction (water and alcohol) process.


Choose supplements that use organic lion's mane mushrooms to reduce the risk of exposure to harmful or toxic chemicals.

📝Healthnews editor's top picks

Check out our compiled list of the best lion's mane supplements to find the most suitable option for your personal needs.

BATCH — overall best lion’s mane gummies with additional mushrooms

BATCH Brain Boost Mushroom Gummies
  • Contains cordyceps, lion's mane, and reishi mushrooms
  • Sustainably cultivated organic mushrooms
  • No fillers, mycelium, or grain

Future Kind — best vegan lion’s mane mushroom supplement

Future Kind Lion's Mane Mushroom Complex Supplement
  • Contains chaga, shiitake, reishi, and maitake
  • Designed for cognitive clarity support
  • cGMP and B Corporation-certified

Real Mushrooms — best value for the money for lion’s mane

Real Mushrooms lions mane supplement bottle

  • Best dose-to-price ratio
  • 30% beta-glucan content
  • 1000 mg of lion's mane in a daily serving


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