Lion's mane (Hericium erinaceus) is a unique mushroom known for its potential benefits on cognitive function and mental health. For example, recent research suggests that Lion's mane may help alleviate anxiety by stimulating the production of nerve growth factor (NGF), promoting neurogenesis, and providing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Incorporating Lion's mane into your routine through supplements or dietary sources may help reduce anxiety symptoms, enhance mood, and improve overall well-being. The better news is that Lion's mane mushrooms will fight anxiety without causing side effects associated with common anxiety relief medications.
Sounds too good to be true? Read on—we will show you scientific evidence backing the health benefits of Lion's mane mushroom on anxiety.
Understanding Anxiety and Common Treatments
Anxiety is a natural stress response characterized by unease, worry, or fear. However, chronic or overwhelming anxiety can interfere with daily life and cause various physical, emotional, and cognitive symptoms.
There are several types of anxiety disorders, including Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Specific Phobias, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), each with its own set of unique challenges.
Traditional treatments for anxiety disorders typically involve a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Common medications include Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), benzodiazepines, and beta-blockers. Psychotherapy approaches, such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Exposure Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), help individuals identify and change negative thought patterns and behaviors contributing to anxiety.
With growing interest in alternative and complementary treatments, many individuals are exploring options like mindfulness practices, yoga, and natural remedies, including Lion's mane mushroom, to support their mental health and alleviate anxiety symptoms.These approaches can be a valuable addition to traditional treatments, providing a holistic approach to managing anxiety and improving overall well-being.
5 Lion's Mane Anxiety Relief Benefits
Lion's Mane mushroom has demonstrated various anxiety benefits, such as brain cell regeneration, sleep improvement, oxidative stress reduction, anti-inflammatory effects, and gut health improvement. Below we will look deeper at the benefits of Lion's mane mushrooms for anxiety.
1. Stimulating The Synthesis Of Brain Cells
Research(1) has proven that anxiety is notorious for damaging brain cells, suggesting that any products that can regenerate brain cells can be an effective anxiety treatment.
Among selected culinary medicinal mushrooms, Lion's Mane promotes neurogenesis. Two bioactive compounds in Lion's Mane mushrooms—Erinacines and Hericenones—induce the production of the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF)(2) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF)(3).
NGF and BDNF build and repair brain cells, reaching the brain through the blood and promoting the differentiation of neurons. As a result, they support cognitive functions like learning and memory, thereby playing an essential role in behavioral changes, emotions, mild cognitive impairment, and anxiety(4).
Several clinical studies have found reduced levels of NGF(5) in mental health disorders, suggesting that Lion's Mane mushrooms' ability to raise NGF levels fights anxiety symptoms.
It is important to note that insufficient NGF is also a precursor for brain-related problems like Parkinson's disease, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, Lion's Mane mushrooms can also help prevent these problems.
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2. Lion's Mane Extract Improves Sleep
Research has shown(6) that acute sleep deprivation results in elevated symptoms of anxiety. Unfortunately, people with anxiety rarely have control over how much sleep they get, as anxiety often causes significant trouble with falling and staying asleep.
Fortunately, research has shown that(7) Lion's Mane extract modulates several pathways in the brain, alleviating anxiety caused by continuous sleep disturbance. This study suggests that taking Lion's Mane extract before bed could help you fight mild symptoms of anxiety and depressive behaviors.
3. Lion's Mane Mushrooms Combat Oxidative Stress
Oxidative stress is the imbalance between harmful oxygen molecules and the body's ability to neutralize them. A research paper published in 2018(8) confirmed a close relationship between oxidative stress and anxiety, with the first causing the second.
Research(9) has found that Lion's Mane mushroom extract can suppress oxidative damage and fight oxidative stress. In addition, lion's Mane extracts contain antioxidant compounds (10) like phenols that specifically target the harmful oxygen molecules and eliminate them, suppressing their dangerous activities that often cause anxiety and depressive disorders in adults and children.
4. Anti-Inflammatory Effects And Immune-Boosting Actions
Preliminary evidence(11) suggests that anxiety disorders are associated with increased inflammation. Human studies have also implicated a malfunctioning immune system as one of the causes of anxiety disorder. In addition, animal studies have shown increased inflammatory markers in anxiety.
One of the functions of Lion's Mane mushroom supplements(12) is combating inflammation and strengthening our immune system. Moreover, some of Lion's Mane mushroom benefits result from phytochemical substances like beta-glucans that can modulate the immune system, keeping it from negatively impacting the hippocampus, nerve cells, and the nervous system to trigger anxiety and other cognitive impairments.
Interesting Read: See the best mushrooms for brain health.
5. Lion's Mane Improves Gut Health
Research conducted in 2017(13) proved that the gut could significantly impact our mental health and can easily cause symptoms of anxiety and depression. However, another research study(14) indicated that it is possible to fight anxiety symptoms by regulating gut bacteria.
A research study conducted in 2017(15) showed that one of the health benefits of Lion's Mane mushrooms is boosting the gut's health with its nutrients, vitamins, and bioactive ingredients. Therefore, Lion's Mane mushroom can fight anxiety by improving gut microbiota.
Interesting Read: See the best mushrooms for gut health.
How to Use Lion's Mane Mushroom for Anxiety
Choose a High-Quality Lion's Mane Supplement
To experience the anxiety-reducing benefits of lion's mane mushrooms, selecting a high-quality lion's mane extract from a reputable source is crucial. Look for products that use organic, fruiting body extracts with a standardized concentration of active compounds (such as hericenones and erinacines) to ensure optimal potency and efficacy.
Selected culinary medicinal mushrooms, like lion's mane, are often available as herbal supplements or mushroom supplements. You can find these mushrooms as powders, capsules, and tinctures.
Use the Right Lion's Mane Dosage
The recommended Lion's mane dosage varies but typically ranges from 500 to 3,000 mg daily, taken in divided doses.Start with a lower amount and gradually increase if needed. Always follow the manufacturer's guidelines and monitor your response to the supplement, including any changes in emotional responses or mental functioning.
Incorporate Lion's Mane Into Your Diet Through Recipes
In addition to supplements, lion's mane mushrooms can be consumed naturally by incorporating them into your diet. The mushroom has a delicate flavor and can be prepared in various ways, such as sautéed, roasted, or added to soups and stews.
Experiment with different Lion's mane mushroom recipes to find delicious and creative ways to include lion's mane in your meals, which can help support brain functions and overall mental health.
Other Complementary Natural Remedies for Anxiety
While lion's mane may effectively reduce anxiety levels, it can be even more beneficial when combined with other natural remedies and lifestyle changes. For example, in addition to leveraging the antidepressant-like effects and underlying mechanisms of Hericium erinaceus extracts to treat anxiety, incorporate regular exercise, meditation, and deep breathing techniques to manage anxiety further.
Additionally, explore other natural supplements like ashwagandha, passionflower, and L-theanine, which have also shown promise in reducing anxiety symptoms. Combining these approaches may help create a comprehensive and effective anxiety management plan.
Lion's Mane Anxiety Video
FAQs About Lion's Mane Anxiety
How Does Lion's Mane Make You Feel?
Lion's Mane mushroom is a brain tonic because it improves brain health and fights emotionally triggered diseases like depression and anxiety by promoting hippocampal neurogenesis. Moreover, the mushroom is an adaptogen, helping the body adapt to stressful conditions. Because of these benefits, the mushroom supplement can improve your mood and make you feel calmer in tense situations, more focused, alert, and less anxious.
However, it's also important to note that individual responses to Lion's Mane can vary, and not everyone may experience the same benefits. Additionally, the effects of Lion's Mane on mental and emotional well-being may not be immediate and may take several days to weeks to become apparent.
What Are The Side Effects Of Lion's Mane?
Lion's Mane mushroom is safe for most people when consumed moderately as a food or dietary supplement. However, some people may experience mild side effects, such as digestive discomfort and headache.
If you experience any adverse effects after taking Lion's Mane, stop using it and consult a healthcare professional. They can help you determine the cause of your symptoms and advise you on the best course of action.
However, there is limited information on Lion's Mane's safety in pregnant or breastfeeding women, children, and individuals with pre-existing medical conditions. In addition to these individuals, people that are allergic to Lion's Mane should also avoid Lion's Mane mushrooms so as not to trigger allergic reactions that could be detrimental to their health.
Is Lion's Mane A Stimulant?
No, Lion's Mane mushroom is not a stimulant. Stimulants increase activity in the central nervous system and can produce feelings of alertness, energy, and euphoria.
While some people have reported feeling more focused and alert after taking Lion's Mane, preliminary scientific evidence suggests that Lion's Mane does not produce these results by increasing activity in the central nervous system.
Lion's mane medicinal mushroom helps tackle anxiety disorders by stimulating the synthesis of new brain cells, improving sleep quality, fighting oxidative stress and inflammation, and improving gut health.These Lion's Mane anti-anxiety benefits work for all anxiety disorders, from social anxiety disorder to generalized anxiety disorder.
There is no shortage of ways to exploit Lion's Mane for its anxiety benefits. You can cook the fungus or opt for supplements that range from capsules and tinctures to Lion's mane powder. However, before using the mushroom for your anxiety, talk to your doctor—this is especially important if you are taking other medications or have some allergies.
Have you used Lion's Mane for anxiety or any other condition? We would like to hear about your experience. Talk to us in the comment section below.
- Can anxiety damage the brain?, (1)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26651008/
- Hericium erinaceus mycelium and its small bioactive compounds promote oligodendrocyte maturation with an increase in myelin basic protein, (2)https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-85972-2
- Hericium erinaceus mycelium ameliorate anxiety induced by continuous sleep disturbance in vivo, (3)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8643634/
- Mental disorders, functional impairment, and nerve growth factor, (4)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5189700/
- Circulating levels of GDNF in bipolar disorder, (5)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21820487/
- A Test of the Effects of Acute Sleep Deprivation on General and Specific Self-Reported Anxiety and Depressive Symptoms: An Experimental Extension, (6)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2862829/
- Hericium erinaceus mycelium ameliorate anxiety induced by continuous sleep disturbance in vivo, (7)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8643634/
- The Role Of Oxidative Stress In Anxiety Disorder: Cause Or Consequence? , (8)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6218334/
- 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, (9)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31374912/
- Prospecting medicinal properties of Lion's mane mushroom, (10)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34169530/
- Neuroinflammation-Associated Alterations of the Brain as Potential Neural Biomarkers in Anxiety Disorders, (11)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7555994/
- Immunomodulatory effects of Hericium erinaceus derived polysaccharides are mediated by intestinal immunology, (12)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28266682/
- Gut microbiota's effect on mental health: The gut-brain axis, (13)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5641835/
- Effects of regulating intestinal microbiota on anxiety symptoms: A systematic review, (14)https://gpsych.bmj.com/content/32/2/e100056
- Extracts from Hericium erinaceus relieve inflammatory bowel disease by regulating immunity and gut microbiota, (15)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5689651/