Medicinal mushrooms have been used for centuries for their perceived benefits. As of now, we are learning more about them because emerging scientific research is shedding light on their potential therapeutic properties and mechanisms of action.
Some data suggest that mushrooms could be beneficial for one’s brain. In this article, we will explore this notion in more detail and look over a few mushrooms for brain health products that are, in our view, worth considering.
Best mushrooms for brain health: a shortlist
- Nooceptin — overall best mushrooms for brain health
- Mind Lab Pro — best mushrooms for memory and focus
- Real Mushrooms — best affordable mushrooms for brain health
- Focl — best mushrooms for cognitive function support
- Oweli — best brain health supplement with a wide range of mushrooms
Criteria we follow for choosing the best mushrooms for brain health
|Mushroom type||Includes science-backed mushrooms|
|Additional ingredients||May also support brain health|
|Manufacturing||GMP-compliant or/and FDA-registered|
|Price||$0.50-$2.57 per serving|
- Mushroom type. We picked products that include mushrooms that have been evaluated by scientific research and showed possible benefits for brain health. However, it is important to understand that, although promising, the data on medicinal mushrooms is currently scarce.
- Additional ingredients. We analyzed the product’s label carefully to understand what benefits it may potentially deliver. Our preference leaned towards products that include a variety of additional ingredients that promote brain health.
- Manufacturing. We looked for products that adhere to strict manufacturing standards. Manufacturing in FDA-registered and GMP-compliant facilities could indicate that the company produces products containing no industrial contaminants such as heavy metals.
- Price. We calculated the price per serving to roughly estimate how much these products would cost you daily.
Best mushrooms for brain health: an overview
After analyzing several products on the market, we picked a few mushroom supplements that may be good for brain health.
1. Nooceptin — best mushrooms for brain health overall
Nooceptin is a popular brain supplement that contains a diverse range of ingredients, including lion’s mane — one of the most renowned mushrooms for brain health.
The emerging studies suggest that several compounds in lion’s mane may have neuroprotective properties, enhance cognitive function, and improve mood and sleep. As of now, lion’s mane is one of the most researched mushrooms for brain health.
One serving of this product delivers 400 mg of lion’s mane extract from the fruiting body. Supplements made from fruiting bodies are seen as more potent compared to mycelium-derived products.
The remaining six active ingredients in Nooceptin are additional compounds potentially advantageous for brain function, e.g., citoline, l-theanine, and Panax ginseng extract.
As of now, one bottle of 60 capsules of Nooceptin is priced at $77.00. As one serving is 2 capsules per day, a daily dose of Nooceptin is $2.57. You can opt for a bundle purchase and save in the long run.
2. Mind Lab Pro — top mushrooms for memory and focus
If you are seeking mushrooms for memory and focus, this Mind Lab Pro supplement is worth considering.
In addition to other ingredients that may be associated with brain health, including citicoline, l-theanine, and vitamins B6, B9, and B12, Mind Lab Pro features 500 mg of organic lion’s mane extract per serving.
Lion’s mane is seen as the first choice among people exploring medicinal mushrooms for memory and focus. A few clinical trials on supplementation with lion’s mane extract have suggested that this mushroom could be beneficial for cognitive function. Although presently there is a limited amount of studies, and most of them were conducted on animals only, the lion’s mane takes the prize as being the most researched mushroom for brain health.
One bottle of this product is priced at $69.00. Each bottle contains a monthly supply of 60 capsules. By following the recommended dosage of 2 capsules per day, you would spend $2.30 on this supplement per day.
3. Real Mushrooms — the best affordable mushrooms for the brain
Real Mushrooms is a renowned medicinal mushroom company that offers comparably lower-priced but high-quality products. This supplement features organic lion’s mane mushroom extract and delivers 1000 mg per serving.
Although this Real Mushrooms product does not contain any other active ingredients, it is worth considering if you are seeking to introduce mushrooms into your routine because lion’s mane is one of the most studied medicinal mushrooms out there.
In addition, Real Mushrooms products are made from fruiting bodies rather than mycelium. As a result, this particular Real Mushrooms product is expected to boast a higher concentration of active beneficial compounds compared to mycelium-based counterparts.
A bottle containing 120 capsules is currently priced at $29.95. The recommended serving of this product is 2 capsules per day, which amounts to $0.50 per day.
4. Focl — best mushroom supplement for cognitive function support
If you are seeking a product that may provide cognitive function support, consider the Focl product as an excellent choice. It contains a significant 1000 mg of lion's mane mushroom, which is one of the most extensively researched medicinal mushrooms for promoting brain health.
Moreover, it includes a wide range of ingredients that are often promoted to be useful for brain health support: vitamin B6, Bacopa monnieri, Rhodiola rosea, and l-theanine.
This supplement is produced in a GMP-certified facility within the United States, guaranteeing rigorous manufacturing standards.
One bottle of this Focl supplement is priced at $49.00 and contains 60 capsules. As the manufacturer recommends taking 2 capsules per day, this product would cost you $1.63 per day.
5. Oweli — best brain supplement with a wide range of mushrooms
10 SHROOMS by Oweli provides a combination of ten different types of mushrooms in one supplement.
The main mushroom extracts in this supplement complex are lion’s mane, cordyceps, shiitake, and reishi. Emerging evidence from preclinical studies suggests that lion’s mane, cordyceps, and reishi may have neuroprotective properties.
Moreover, the proprietary blend includes other mushrooms such as turkey tail and maitake extracts which may be beneficial for immune system support.
Besides mushrooms, this Oweli product does not include any other active ingredient.
The official Oweli website asserts that their product undergoes third-party testing. Moreover, it's worth noting that 10 SHROOMS are produced in FDA-registered and cGMP-compliant facilities, suggesting the supplement's adherence to stringent manufacturing quality criteria.
One bottle (60 capsules) of this Oweli product is priced at $49.99. As one serving is 2 capsules, this supplement comes to $1.67 per day.
Comparing the best mushrooms for brain health
|Brand||Mushroom type||Additional beneficial ingredients||Manufacturing||Price per bottle||Price per serving|
|Nooceptin||Lion’s mane||Citicoline, Rhodiola Rosea, Bacopa monnieri, L-theanine, Ginkgo biloba, Panax ginseng||FDA-registred facilities||$77.00||$2.57|
|Mind Lab Pro||Lion’s mane||Citicoline, Bacopa monnieri, Rhodiola rosea, N-Acetyl-L-tyrosine, Maritime pine bark extract, L-theanine, vitamins B6, B9, and B12||FDA-registered, GMP-compliant facilities||$69.00||$2.30|
|Real Mushrooms||Lion’s mane||None||NSF-certified facility||$29.95||$0.50|
|Focl ||Lion’s mane||Vitamin B6, Bacopa monnieri, Rhodiola rosea, and l-theanine||GMP-compliant facilities||$49.00||$1.63|
|Oweli||Lion's mane, cordyceps, shiitake, and reishi, and others||None||FDA-registered, cGMP-compliant facilities||$49.99||$1.67|
* — If purchasing one bottle or without a subscription.
While some individual active ingredients in dietary supplements may have been studied for their potential benefits discussed in this article, their interactive effects, as well as the safety and effectiveness of the overall formulation has not been fully established.
Can mushrooms help brain health?
As the practice of using mushroom-based supplements, also known as mushroom stacking, is rising in popularity, many are left wondering whether medicinal mushrooms can help brain function.
As of now, certain types of mushrooms are associated with improvement in brain health — although scientific research on them is in its infancy. For example, the majority of evidence supporting the positive effects of mushrooms on brain health is derived from studies conducted on cells or animals only.
Below we will go into more detail about the proposed medicinal mushroom benefits for brain health.
Cognitive function is a broad term and includes various abilities such as memory, attention, problem-solving, and decision-making. Some medicinal mushrooms could potentially support some of these abilities.
Mushrooms that have been studied and showed promising results for cognitive function include lion’s mane, chaga, and cordyceps, although only lion’s mane was studied on humans. More research is needed to establish the full extent of their cognitive benefits.
It has been postulated that some medicinal fungi may carry neuroprotective properties. This could be possible because of certain bioactive compounds found in medicinal mushrooms such as erinacines and hericenones found in lion’s mane.
Other mushrooms are also linked to neuroprotective properties. Although the research is very limited, and scientists are not ready to draw conclusions, early mouse models show that supplementation with Reishi could reduce cognitive decline. This is seen, for example, in a study that analyzed reishi's effects on mice with Alzheimer’s disease.
Mental health support
Some limited data suggests that medicinal mushrooms could be useful in supporting mental health. Just like with other indications, there is little scientific data on mushroom usage and mental health, but what is available suggests that they may be introduced as adjunctive interventions.
For instance, the lion's mane mushroom was used in a clinical trial to assess its impact on sleep and mood while on a caloric-restrictive diet. The study included 77 overweight or obese participants and showed better outcomes for people taking lion’s mane compared to placebo, meaning they self-reported improvement in symptoms of anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances.
Although mushrooms for anxiety and depression have been attracting people’s attention not without a reason, more scientific data is needed to fully grasp their benefits. It is best to consult your primary healthcare provider if you are planning to use mushrooms for mental health support or any other indication.
Other health benefits of medicinal mushrooms
Mushrooms for the brain may offer other benefits. Below we outlined a few of the most eminent ones.
Improve immune function
According to early studies, some medicinal mushrooms could have positive effects on the immune system.
For example, reishi mushroom is rich in several active compounds, such as ganoderic acid, that may stimulate immune system defense responses. Turkey tail is also popular for this indication as they are both believed to potentially boost the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines and support the activity of cells responsible for eliminating infections.
Improve energy and endurance levels
Medicinal mushrooms are often included in nootropic supplements as they are believed to help increase energy levels. Although scientific research is still lacking, certain studies suggest some mushrooms may possess this property.
For instance, cordyceps is linked to improved endurance. Some scientific research suggests that it may improve oxygen uptake, fatigue resistance, and tolerance to high-intensity exercises.
Medicinal mushrooms are also finding application in the realm of digestive health.
Chaga is the most popular one when it comes to this indication, although further research is needed to fully understand its effectiveness and potential benefits in this area.
Contraindications and side effects to consider
Mushrooms for brain health are usually considered to be safe. However, they may also cause side effects, especially if taken in larger doses. Keep in mind that we still lack human trials to fully understand the possible side effects of medicinal mushrooms.
Here are some of the most commonly mentioned side effects that some individuals may have from mushrooms for brain health:
- Digestive stress
- Dry mouth
Also, keep in mind that the side effects will highly depend on the mushroom type.
It is best to avoid medicinal mushrooms if you are pregnant, have any underlying conditions or allergies to mushrooms. Moreover, it is always worth consulting with your doctor before starting any supplement, including mushroom-based ones.
What to consider before buying mushrooms for the brain?
Presently, scientists are still trying to answer: are mushrooms good for your brain? Certain mushrooms have been studied by scientists and shown positive effects. However, there is still too little data to conclude their effectiveness for brain health as most studies were not actually conducted on humans but on animals or cells.
If you decide to try mushrooms for brain, you should consider the factors mentioned below to find the most suitable products for you.
- Mushroom type. Certain mushrooms have been studied for brain health. For example, lion’s mane is the most widely studied mushroom for this indication and has undergone human clinical trials. Other mushrooms may be promoted using data from animal and cell studies.
- Mushroom part. Mushroom supplements are made from either the fruiting body (the part that grows above ground) or mycelium (the underground root system of the fungus). While mycelium-derived products may be cheaper (as they are easier to produce), extracts from fruiting bodies will be more potent as they contain more active ingredients.
- Other ingredients. There are plenty of brain supplements to choose from on the market. They oftentimes feature a wide range of active ingredients and thus can deliver various benefits depending on their formula. However, products that contain a huge range of ingredients may also be more expensive than their minimal ingredient counterparts.
- Personal goals. Different mushrooms will deliver different benefits, thus it is important to understand your goals. For example, it could be said that one of the best mushrooms for memory is lion’s mane because right now it is the most studied one.
Best mushrooms for brain health — conclusion
The field of medicinal mushrooms and their potential benefits for brain health is both intriguing and constantly evolving. While centuries of traditional use have laid the foundation for their interest, emerging scientific research is shedding light on their possible benefits.
In this article, we have explored the potential mushrooms may have for brain health and highlighted five products that, in our opinion, stand out as worthy options for those seeking to explore mushroom-based products.
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What mushrooms help with mental clarity and focus?
Certain medicinal mushrooms like lion’s mane may be helpful for mental clarity and focus according to a few pilot and preclinical studies. However, we still need more data to fully understand their benefits and confirm their effectiveness.
What does lion's mane do for the brain?
It is currently believed that lion's mane mushroom could have neuroprotective properties, meaning it could help to protect brain cells from degeneration. For this reason, taking lion's mane mushrooms may be beneficial for brain health and may improve cognitive function.
Who should not take lion’s mane?
Pregnant women or people with underlying conditions are not advised to take lion’s mane supplements. Also, if you are already taking other supplements or medications, it is best to consult your healthcare provider before you incorporate lion’s mane in your routine.
Are mushrooms good for your brain?
Early scientific studies suggest that certain mushrooms may be beneficial for the brain. For example, lion’s mane may have neuroprotective and cognitive enhancement properties. However, the idea that mushrooms are good for your brain is mostly drawn from small animal and cell studies.
- International journal of medicinal mushrooms. Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia.
- Antioxidants. Lion’s Mane Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. Suppresses H2O2-Induced Oxidative Damage and LPS-Induced Inflammation in HT22 Hippocampal Neurons and BV2 Microglia.
- Phytotherapy research. Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial.
- Biomedical Research Foundation (Japan). Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake.
- Stem Cell Reports. Polysaccharides from Ganoderma lucidum Promote Cognitive Function and Neural Progenitor Proliferation in Mouse Model of Alzheimer's Disease.
Show all references
- Microorganisms. Mycelium vs. Fruiting Bodies of Edible Fungi—A Comparison of Metabolites.
- Journal of Dietary Supplements. Cordyceps militaris improves tolerance to high intensity exercise after acute and chronic supplementation.
- The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Effect of Cs-4® (Cordyceps sinensis) on Exercise Performance in Healthy Older Subjects: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial.