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Lion's Mane ALS: We Explored The Potential Benefits
Jun 29, 23
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Author: Sony Sherpa

Lion's Mane ALS: We Explored The Potential Benefits

  • by Sony Sherpa

    Medically reviewed by

    Sony Sherpa

    Dr. Sony Sherpa is a board-certified Clinical Doctor and dedicated advocate for holistic medicine, specializing in functional mushrooms. Her blend of medical expertise and passion for alternative wellness lends authenticity to her role as a contributor for Natures Rise.

  • |
  • 10 min read
Lion's Mane ALS: We Explored The Potential Benefits

Western culture has generally frowned upon traditional alternative remedies. However, they appear to be increasing in popularity in recent years, with more research into their possible advantages and more doctors suggesting them. Among these is Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus), a medicinal fungus named for its fluffy look that resembles a lion's mane.

Lion's mane is an alternative medicine mainstay and one of the world's healthiest mushrooms. One of its numerous advantages is its ability to heal injured nerve cells and enhance neurite outgrowth. Lion's mane ALS benefits can be pretty effective in its treatment.

Below, we look at the link between Lion's mane and ALS.

Understanding ALS

Understanding ALS

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that destroys brain and spinal cord nerve cells over time. The term "amyotrophic" is derived from the Greek language. The letter "A" stands for "no." The term "myo" refers to muscle. 

The word "trophic" means "nourishing." So, amyotrophic means "no muscle nourishment." When a muscle is starved of nutrients, it "atrophies" or wastes away. "Lateral" means the parts of the spinal cord where nerve cells that signal and regulate muscles are located. Scarring or hardening ("sclerosis") of the region occurs as this area degenerates.

ALS frequently begins with muscular twitching and paralysis in an arm or leg and difficulty swallowing or slurred speech. It frequently begins in the feet, hands, arms, or legs. The infection then spreads to other parts of the body. As more nerve cells die, muscles get weaker. ALS eventually compromises muscle control, affecting the ability to speak, move, breathe, and eat.

Although treatments cannot reverse the damage caused by ALS, they can decrease the course of symptoms. They can also assist in preventing issues and make you feel more at ease and autonomous.

Riluzole ( Exservan, Rilutek, Tiglutik), Sodium phenylbutyrate-taurursodiol (Relyvrio), and Edaravone (Radicava) have all been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat ALS. Your doctor may also prescribe medications to alleviate additional symptoms.

When ALS interferes with your capacity to breathe, speak, and move, therapies and other forms of assistance, such as breathing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, nutritional support, and psycho-social support, can be beneficial. There is a need for novel interventions to help alleviate symptoms and slow disease progression.

So, can Lion's mane cure ALS? ALS has no cure and no effective treatment to reverse its progression. However, anecdotal evidence suggests Lion's mane mushroom ALS benefits, making it a potential alternative treatment for neurological conditions.

Let’s look at the potential benefit of Lion's mane mushroom for ALS.

Lion's Mane Mushroom and its Potential Benefits in ALS

What Is Lion’s Mane?

What Is Lion’s Mane?

Lion's mane, often known as yamabushitake, hedgehog mushroom, or hou tou gu, is an edible mushroom of the hydnoid fungus group. The adaptogenic mushroom, scientifically known as Hericium erinaceus, has long been utilized in alternative medicine. It is native to North America, Asia, and northern Europe and grows best in temperate to cool regions.

Lion's mane mushroom improves memory, cognition, and attention span by enhancing brain function. It has a fantastic brain-supporting function. Lion's mane has been nicknamed a "smart mushroom" due to its benefits for brain health.

Lion's mane mushroom is a highly effective brain tonic. The mushroom's nootropic properties are attributable to high levels of the antioxidant beta-glucoxylan. It also contains four additional polysaccharides and polypeptides that significantly boost the human immune system.

Neuroprotective Effects Of Lion’s Mane

Neuroprotective Effects Of Lion’s Mane

One of the most frequent claims made by Lion's mane mushroom proponents is that they can boost brain health by stimulating neurogenesis, which is the formation of new neurons in the brain.  The synthesis of nerve growth factors (NGF) in Lion's mane stimulates neurogenesis.

According to an in vitro study(1), one of Lion's mane mushroom's features is the capacity to induce neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells. Bioactive chemicals extracted from the fruit bodies of Hericium erinaceus considerably boosted the presence of nerve growth factor proteins in these cells.

Human clinical trials reveal positive outcomes (for example, a double-blind, placebo-controlled(2) research on the effects of Lion's mane on moderate cognitive impairment).

This claim is then expanded to include the assumption that Lion's mane mushrooms can aid in the treatment of ALS.  When it comes to using this mushroom to manage ALS symptoms, clinical trials(3) on the benefits of Lion's mane on neurite outgrowth and nerve healing indicate promising findings. Lion's mane appears to reduce muscle spasms, cramps, stiffness, and weakness, all of which are classic ALS symptoms.

An animal study(4) examined the potential of Lion's mane mushrooms for nerve healing. In this study, rats with peripheral nerve injury were administered an oral extract from the fresh fruit bodies of Hericium erinaceus.

A walking track investigation revealed that function recovery was considerably faster in rats given an extract of Lion's mane than in the control group.

Oxidative stress(5) is essential in ALS, which causes motor neurons to malfunction. Another notable advantage of Lion's mane mushrooms is their ability to minimize oxidative stress and inflammation throughout the body. According to the findings of this investigation, these mushrooms have high antioxidant activity.

There is mounting evidence that inflammation precedes motor neuron loss in ALS. Lion's mane may have anti-inflammatory qualities(6),making it a possible supplementary therapy for ALS treatment.

Practical Considerations and Precautions

Practical Considerations and Precautions

If you wish to start taking Lion's mane to help with ALS symptoms, you should first get specific guidance from a healthcare provider. They will give you safe dosage and administration guidelines to get the most out of this unique mushroom.

Dosage Of Lion's Mane Mushroom To Treat ALS

Lion's mane mushroom dose for ALS varies by individual. To avoid gastric discomfort, start with a 750-1000 mg dose if you're new to adaptogens. Once you're used to the benefits of Lion's mane, you can increase the dosage to 2000 mg or more till you're satisfied.

How To Choose A High Quality Lion’s Mane Product?

If you want to benefit from the bioactive compounds found in these mushrooms, it's critical to understand which part you're getting when you buy a supplement.

Mushroom Fruit Body

Hericenones and beta-glucans are commonly found in fruiting bodies, while erinacines are generated from mushroom mycelia. To benefit from both of these bioactive compounds, on paper, you should choose a supplement that contains both the fruit bodies and the mycelium of Lion's mane mushrooms.

However, because Lion's mane mushroom is cultivated on grain and accounts for most of the final finished product, it contains relatively little mycelium. As a result, always choose goods with 100% fruiting bodies and never myceliated biomass.

Beta-Glucan Content

The advantages of functional mushrooms such as Lion's mane stem from bioactive components such as beta-glucans. That is why it should be included in your mushroom supplement. And the more beta-glucans there are, the better!

Polysaccharides refer to all complex carbohydrates found in the product, not just beta-glucans. This contains inactive alpha glucans derived from grain starch.

If the product specifies both polysaccharides and beta-glucans, the former should not outnumber the latter by more than 5%.

High quantities of polysaccharides indicate grain starch adulteration, especially when the beta-glucan concentration is not mentioned.


Always opt for organic Lion's mane supplements that are USDA-certified. This ensures that the growing method adheres to the United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Organic Program rules.

Look for a third-party Certificate of Analysis (COA) as well. This is necessary in order to prevent external pollutants such as heavy metals and to identify beneficial substances. This might be produced upon request by your seller or displayed on their website.

FAQs About Lion’s mane ALS

Does Lion's Mane Increase Nerve Growth Factor?

Hericium erinaceus stimulates the synthesis of Nerve Growth Factor. This protein controls the proliferation, growth, development, and survival of neurons. Lion's mane mushroom is also well known for its capacity to boost the expression of Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF), another protein that is essential for the growth and survival of neurons.

Can Lions Mane Cause Nerve Damage?

No, Lion's mane does not damage the nerves. This mushroom appears to aid in nerve repair and prevent nerve damage linked with neurodegenerative disorders such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer's disease. Neuropathic pain, which is a typical indication of nerve injury, is also relieved by Lion's mane.

What Happens If You Take Lion's Mane Every Day?

Taking Lion's mane mushrooms every day is not only absolutely safe but also very beneficial.  Taking Lion's mane mushroom on a daily basis may help prevent dementia, ease minor symptoms of sadness and anxiety, and accelerate healing from nervous system injuries.

Key Takeaway

While most motor neuron diseases have no cure, there are methods to delay their course and even restore some of the damage caused. That's where the Lion's mane ALS benefits come in. This mushroom appears to have the opposite effect on the brain as neurodegenerative illnesses, making it a prospective adaptogen to treat motor neuron disease.

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  1. Chemical constituents from Hericium erinaceus and their ability to stimulate NGF-mediated neurite outgrowth on PC12 cells. (1) 
  2. Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial, (2) 
  3. Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia, (3) 
  4. Peripheral Nerve Regeneration Following Crush Injury to Rat Peroneal Nerve by Aqueous Extract of Medicinal Mushroom Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae), (4) 
  5. Oxidative Stress in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: Pathophysiology and Opportunities for Pharmacological Intervention, (5)
  6. Protective Effects of Hericium erinaceus Mycelium and Its Isolated Erinacine A against Ischemia-Injury-Induced Neuronal Cell Death via the Inhibition of iNOS/p38 MAPK and Nitrotyrosine, (6)

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