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Does Lion's Mane Mushroom Have Side Effects?

Key Takeaways

  • Lion's Mane: centuries-old remedy for various ailments.
  • Available in diverse forms: capsules, powders, topical applications.
  • Potential benefits: stress relief, anxiety reduction, heart disease, cancer prevention.
  • Generally safe, with rare side effects like nausea or headaches.
  • No official dosage, but suggested range: 750mg to 5g per day.
  • Limited long-term use evidence; rare cases of stomach discomfort reported.
  • Users advised to start with small doses, consult healthcare professionals.
  • Further research needed to confirm benefits and safety profile.

From Echinacea and Ginseng to acupuncture and naturopathy, the world of alternative medicine is thriving.

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With millions of people now incorporating natural remedies into their daily lifestyle, the demand for herbal medicines and energetic therapies is booming.

Even though these alternative medicines are generally freely available and easy to purchase - it’s always important to know whether or not they have any side effects or contraindications with other medications you might be taking.

Below, we take you through everything that science currently knows about the side effects of the lion’s mane mushroom.

What Is Lion's Mane Mushroom?

Lion's Mane is a type of edible mushroom that grows on dead hardwood trees in temperate climates and can be found all over North America, Asia, and Europe.

It has been used for centuries by various cultures around the world - including Native Americans as a herbal remedy to treat various ailments.

It was also widely used during the American Civil War (1861-65) to treat wounds and other injuries.

These globe-shaped mushrooms have a distinctive appearance and are most commonly recognized for their white, furry spines (think cauliflower, but fluffier!).

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How Do You Take Lion's Mane?

You can take lion's mane orally or topically.

The oral form is usually taken as dried powder extracts, capsules or liquid tinctures and topical use involves applying the liquid extract directly to the affected area. This may include using it as a salve, ointment, or cream.

Thankfully, lion's mane is a versatile medicine that can be sourced in many forms.

So, if you don't enjoy popping pills for every ailment, you can get your daily dose of lion's mane from your morning cup of tea, or even in powder form, where you can mix it into your favourite recipes!

(FYI, lion's mane powder doesn't have an overpowering taste making it user-friendly in most drinks and meals!)

Health Benefits of Lion's Mane: What The Science Says

side effects of lion's mane mushroom extracts

Lion's mane medicinal mushroom has been hailed as a trusted treatment for centuries. It is an adaptogen that work in harmony with your body's systems, so it might take some time to work

In oriental medicine, lion's mane tonics have been used to treat various ailments affecting the five internal organs (the lungs, the heart, the liver, the spleen, and the kidney).

Some say it can even improve your immune system, cognitive function, and even provide benefits in treating the likes of dementia and cancer.

So, is it all tall tales, or does the science swing in lion mane’s favour?

Let's take a look below.

1.) May Help To Relieve Stress And Anxiety

Research has found that lion's mane may reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

For example, one study found that when used in a dried powder form, lion's mane may improve the responses of the hippocampus, which can enhance our emotional responses and even regenerate new brain cells. This is all thought to contribute to the reduction of depression and anxiety.

Keep in mind that this was an animal study so the results are only indicative at best.

2.) May Provide Preventative Effects In Heart Disease And Cancer

Lion's mane is thought to have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Animal studies have indicated that the bioactive compounds in lion's mane and other mushrooms can enhance antioxidant enzymes, including superoxide dismutase (SOD), GSH, and CAT.

These enzymes can all reduce the reactions of free radicals, which may help prevent inflammation and oxidative stress.

The thought currently goes that by enhancing antioxidant enzymes in the body, the lion's mane mushroom may help prevent cancer and heart disease.

This is because heart disease and cancer are closely associated with high levels of oxidative stress, so by enhancing antioxidant enzymes in the body and reducing oxidative stress, the risks of these diseases may be reduced.

Much more research in this area is needed before any clinical claims can be made.

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Additional Benefits

Lion’s mane has been celebrated for its preventative and curative properties in cultures around the world for millennia now, and now modern science is starting to shed some light on the mechanisms behind these benefits.

Apart from the above - these little medicinal mushrooms are also thought to help with the following illnesses, diseases, and ailments:

... and many more. Exciting times ahead with more studies to come.

Does Lion's Mane Have Side Effects?

lions mane capsules side effects

So, you may be wondering... what's the catch?

Well - to be honest, the studies so far indicate that there really isn’t one. Lion’s mane is generally considered very safe and well-tolerated by almost everyone.

That being said, of course, exceptions exist and there are a very small number of reports of users experiencing mild symptoms of:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Muscle Cramps
  • Increased Appetite
  • Itching
  • Trouble Sleeping

Although these side effects have been reported, we should note that they tend to occur only in users with an existing sensitivity to mushrooms.

Even though the evidence so far shows Lion’s Mane mushroom to be safe, you should always consult your GP before taking any alternative supplements, particularly if you are pregnant, looking to fall pregnant or taking any other medications.

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Lion’s Mane Dosage:

There are no official dosage guidelines for Lion’s Mane mushroom in place - most manufacturers will have their own recommendations in place for their products.

As it is generally considered safe there aren’t any trials to find the upper limits - however, studies suggest that lion's mane is effective and tolerated at doses between 750mg to 5g per day for up to sixteen weeks - depending on how it’s taken.

There are various ways to take Lion's Mane supplements, including capsules, liquid Lion's Mane extract, Lion's Mane mushroom powder, and consuming the mushroom itself.

However, evidence of the long-term use of lion's mane is lacking, so you may be advised to take it for short periods only.

At the time these studies were performed, side effects were also monitored.

Although the presence of unwanted effects was limited, one study reported a case of mild stomach discomfort and diarrhea.

In another study, one case of hypomenorrhea was reported. Hypomenorrea is a condition where menstrual bleeding stops.

It's important to note that these side effects occurred only when lion's mane was taken orally. When applied topically, no side effects were observed.

Whether you're taking this as a supplement, tea, or topical lotion, you should start out with a relatively small dose and notice how your body reacts to it before increasing it to larger doses.

lion's mane mushroom negative effects

Is Lion's Mane Safe?

Lion's mane has been used safely for centuries in traditional medicine - and is recognised as a safe supplement across the board.

Side effects are very rare, however, the most commonly reported issue is mild nausea.

Most people report only report nausea in the first few days of taking lion’s mane, however, if you experience this side effect, it can usually be alleviated by simply reducing your dose or taking it with meals.

Although adverse side effects of lion's mane have been reported, these seem to be most common in patients with an existing sensitivity to mushrooms.

If you aren't allergic to mushrooms and follow the correct dosage guidelines, it's unlikely that you'll experience any unwanted side effects - that being said, you should always consult your GP before taking any alternative medicines.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What should you not take lion's mane with?

Avoid it if you have diabetes or take blood thinners, as it may affect blood sugar control and clotting. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should also consult a doctor before use due to limited research.

Q2. What happens when you start taking Lion's Mane?

Some people experience cognitive benefits like improved memory and focus. It may also take time to feel any effects, so consistency is key.

Q3. Can I drink coffee while taking Lion's Mane?

Generally yes, but both can be stimulating. Monitor your energy levels and adjust your intake accordingly.

Q4. Is Lion's Mane bad for liver?

There's no strong evidence it harms the liver, but speak with your doctor before use, especially if you have existing liver issues.

Final Thoughts

Further research is needed, however, preliminary evidence suggests that lion's mane could potentially help treat various conditions such as memory loss, cognitive function, digestive health, leukemia, diabetes, and others.

Although some side effects have been reported in humans, these appear to be very rare and manageable. Lion’s mane is considered very safe and well-tolerated.

However, we still advise caution when using lion's mane as research is limited, and there's no guarantee that users will not experience any adverse reactions when using it, especially at high doses and for prolonged periods.

Everyone's constitution is different - if you do experience any adverse effects with Lion’s Mane (or any other supplement), stop taking it immediately and seek professional medical advice.

Darcy Ogdon-Nolan

Holding a Bachelor Of Science (Hons.) combined with close to a decade now in the health food and wellness industry, I believe I'm uniquely positioned to provide a depth of knowledge and first-hand experience on emerging health products, trends and ideas! From greens powders and medicinal mushrooms through to protein powders and workout nutrition - I'm particularly interested in what modern science can uncover about what human cultures have been using to treat ailments for millennia!

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