Mushrooms are known for their various medicinal properties. Moreover, study results show that some mushrooms, like Lion's Mane mushrooms, have positive effects on testosterone levels.
Does this mean that Lion's Mane can be used as a natural testosterone booster? This has been a significant topic of discussion for men who want to boost and maintain high testosterone levels.
If you are someone who wants to know how to use Lion's mane extract for testosterone, several questions may pop into your head.
Like, does Lion's mane lower testosterone? Or does Lion's mane have testosterone? Even more, does Lion's mane increase testosterone?
We feel you and are here to answer all that and more! Read through the article as we explore Lion's mane's effect on testosterone and find out what does lion's mane do for men?
Let's jump right to it!
What Are Lion's Mane Mushrooms?
Lion's mane mushroom, also known as Hericium Erinaceus,yamabushitake, or hou tou gu, is a shaggy white mushroom resembling the mane of a lion. In the wild, this unique-looking mushroom grows on dead logs in the late summer and fall.
If you are not much of a mushroom forager, lion's mane mushroom extract is widely available as an over-the-counter health supplement.
With the availability of ready-to-use lion's mane organic mushroom powder, people nowadays rarely go out in search of wild Lion's mane medicinal mushrooms. This is a significant benefit because you won't have to worry about confusing Lions mane with other mushrooms and bringing home something that will worsen your symptoms.
Lion's mane mushroom is renowned for its numerous health-boosting effects. It has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine.
Even in Asian countries like Japan, Korea, and India, Lion's mane has been used for culinary and medicinal(1) purposes.
One of the best mushrooms for brain health, Lions mane lowers the risk of Alzheimer's, dementia, brain fog, Parkinson's, and other brain-related diseases.
In this article, we aim to look at Lion's mane's benefits on testosterone—we, therefore, won't focus on other mane mushroom uses. Below, we will look at what the research has determined above Lion's mane's ability to boost testosterone production.
Lion's Mane And Testosterone: What Is The Link?
Few studies have explored the direct relationship between lion's mane mushroom testosterone effects. Moreover, various health benefits of Lion's mane directly impact testosterone production. Below, we will explore Lion's mane's direct and indirect benefits on testosterone production.
1. Lion's Mane Mushroom Can Potentially Stimulate Hypothalamic Hormones
The mushroom promotes the development of nerve cells by stimulating Nerve Growth Factors(2) (NGF).
Read More: Learn how Lion's mane neurogenesis promotes NGF production.
These chemicals act on the hypothalamus, the brain area regarded as the body's hormone-production plant, helping humans regulate certain hormones.
The mushroom also has bioactive compounds that can promote the production of brain-derived Neurotrophic Factors (BDNF). These substances, in turn, can stimulate the hypothalamus and regulate the production of different hormones, including testosterone.
The hypothalamus is a structure located deep in your brain and is the main link between the endocrine and nervous systems.
The hormone system operates in a feedback loop. It signals the hypothalamus to release more hormones or to stop releasing them. The result is balanced hormones in the body of the users and patients.
One of the organs that the hypothalamus influence when it comes to hormone production is the testicles which are sites for the production of testosterone. Therefore, the fungus can ensure testicles produce more testosterone.
In women, testosterone is produced in various locations, such as the ovaries, the adrenal gland (right above the kidneys), and other tissues. Taking Lion's mane can also help females' ovaries and adrenal glands produce the vital hormone needed for reproduction.
Lion's mane testosterone-altering effects may be due to its ability to stimulate the hypothalamus. However, there is no direct link between the two, and more research is required to fully understand Lion's mane mushrooms testosterone benefits for both men and women.
2. May Block Testosterone Conversion
One concern men using Lion's mane have is that the fungus lowers libido. However, this is rarely the case.
Testosterone is initially produced as an inactive hormone that needs to be converted into an active form. The enzyme 5 alpha-reductase converts this inactive male hormone to the active form known as dihydrotestosterone or DHT.
Lion's mane is known to block testosterone conversion to DHT. When testosterone fails to convert to DHT, this can lead to underutilization of the hormone, resulting in side effects like low sex drive. The low sex drive symptoms are, however, infrequent.
Again, there is not much research done at this moment and not enough studies to back this claim. However, if you are someone that experiences low sex drive, you may want to use this mushroom with caution.
While Lion's mane may be one of the best mushrooms for testosterone, the fact that it blocks the conversion of testosterone to DHT could mean that it hinders the maximum use of testosterone by the body. But as they say, one man's loss is another man's gain; this potential side effect of Lion's mane could be an advantage.
DHT blockers are a clinically proven treatment for hair loss caused by excessive androgen. Male pattern baldness, or hair loss from the scalp in men, is due to the actions of DHT. The hair follicles are sensitive to the hormone, causing them to shrink and fall off.
In women, natural supplements that block DHT may improve the symptom of unwanted facial hair (hirsutism), often associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
3. Lion's Mane Extract Helps With Sleep
Sleep is a vital component when it comes to testosterone production. A research study conducted in 2011(3) determined that skipping sleep reduces the testosterone levels of a young man by the same amount as aging 10 to 15 years. Another study conducted in 2014(4) determined that sleep disorders often cause a reduction in testosterone levels.
Luckily for people with sleeping problems, research suggests that lion's mane improves sleep quality. The mushroom can help the male body synthesize more testosterone as a significant contributing factor to sleep quality. The improved testosterone production resulting from better sleep (made possible by Lion's mane) leads to healthier and more vibrant males.
Learn More: See how taking Lion's mane before bed improves sleep quality.
4. Lion's Mane Mushrooms Controls Blood Sugar Levels
In addition to improving brain function and health, taking lion's mane has been shown to help regulate blood glucose levels. Several animal studies(5) have shown that the Lion's Mane mushroom can cause significantly lower blood glucose levels in diabetic and normal mice.
Learn More: See how Lion's mane fights diabetes.
High blood glucose levels lower testosterone levels in the human body. Studies in 2013 determined(6) that glucose ingestion was associated with a significant decrease in testosterone. According to the researchers, consuming 75 grams of sugar resulted in a 25% drop in testosterone levels for up to two hours after consumption.
The fact that Lion's mane helps control blood sugar levels means that the mushroom can also help keep testosterone levels in the human body from plummeting.
Consuming Lion's mane mushrooms could mean maintaining ideal blood sugar levels, which will, in turn, result in higher testosterone levels in your body. This could result in better muscle growth and improved fat metabolism.
5. Lion's Mane Extract Helps With Weight Loss
In addition to increasing your risk of heart disease and chronic inflammation, weight gain also affects testosterone levels.
A research study conducted in 2014(7) confirmed that moderate obesity decreases total testosterone levels. The study noted that more severe obesity is additionally associated with reduced free testosterone levels due to suppression of the HPT axis.
The good news, however, is that researchers have helped draw conclusive results that using a lion's mane can help control body weight. Studies in rats and mice(8) have concluded that a Lion's mane mushroom extract boosts fat metabolism and lowers triglyceride levels.
One research study in rats(9) fed with a high-fat diet and given daily doses of Lion's mane mushroom extract determined that the rats had 27% lower triglyceride levels and experienced 42% less weight gain after 28 days.
There is no doubt that more human studies are needed. However, the current results suggest that the mane mushroom can help humans control their body weight.
Learn More: See how Lion's aids weight loss by boosting fat metabolism.
The fact that Lion's mane can reduce body weight means that the medicinal mushrooms can help boost the testosterone levels of people who are already overweight.
There is not enough scientific evidence regarding Lion's mane testosterone effects. However, anecdotal evidence does suggest that the mushroom may influence the production of the hormone.
The effects of lion's mane on other health issues—for example, weight gain and high blood sugar—positively impact testosterone levels. It is, therefore, easy to see that mane mushroom benefits may positively impact testosterone production.
Have you used Lion's mane for testosterone production? What were the results? Let us know in the comments.
- Chemistry, Nutrition, and Health-Promoting Properties of Hericium erinaceus (Lion’s Mane) Mushroom Fruiting Bodies and Mycelia and Their Bioactive Compounds, (1)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26244378/
- Dietary Supplementation of Hericium erinaceus Increases Mossy Fiber-CA3 Hippocampal Neurotransmission and Recognition Memory in Wild-Type Mice, (2)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5237458/
- Effect of 1 Week of Sleep Restriction on Testosterone Levels in Young Healthy MenFREE, (3)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4445839/
- The relationship between sleep disorders and testosterone in men, (4)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3955336/
- Antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic activities of aqueous extract of Hericium erinaceus in experimental diabetic rats, (5)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3852124/
- Abrupt decrease in serum testosterone levels after an oral glucose load in men: implications for screening for hypogonadism, (6)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22804876/
- Lowered testosterone in male obesity: mechanisms, morbidity and management, (7)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3955331/
- Hypolipidaemic Effect of Hericium erinaceum Grown in Artemisia capillaris on Obese Rats, (8)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3714447/
- Yamabushitake mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) improved lipid metabolism in mice fed a high-fat diet (9)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20622452/