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Lions Mane Brain Fog & Brain Health Benefits
May 20, 22
This article has been vetted by the Onnit Advisory Board. Read more about our editorial process.
Author: Sony Sherpa

Lions Mane Brain Fog & Brain Health Benefits

Do you suffer from brain fog? You’re not alone. Many people experience an inability to focus, poor memory recall, and a general feeling of being out of it. While there are many potential causes of brain fog, one possible solution is to use lion’s mane mushrooms. 

These mushrooms are known for their beneficial effects on brain health and cognitive function. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at Lion’s Mane mushrooms and explore how they can help reduce brain fog. We’ll also discuss the scientific evidence behind these benefits and share some tips for using Lion’s Mane mushrooms for brain fog relief. So, if you’re looking for an effective natural remedy for brain fog. Keep reading to learn more!

Lion's mane (Hericium Erinaceus), also known as hedgehog mushroom, hou tou gu, or yamabushitake, is a type of edible mushroom belonging to the hydnoid fungi group. The mushroom has numerous health benefits and functions, including, boosting brain function, and improving cognition, memory, and attention span. 

It has exceptional brain cells supporting function—the mushroom also helps with regenerating brain cells. Based on the benefits of Lion’s mane mushrooms for brain health, Hericium Erinaceus has been dubbed a “smart mushroom”.

The use of medicinal mushroom species for brain health is not a new thing. Lion’s mane has been in use for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. It is believed that the mushroom was used by Chinese people—Buddhist monks—to heighten the ability to focus during meditation. It is also believed that in other parts of Asia, the mushroom has played a key role in brain health development for years.

Since the early ’90s, a dozen peer-reviewed research studies have been published regarding the benefit of Lion’s mane for memory, cognition, and Alzheimer's disease. The mushroom, however, does not just benefit one area when it comes to brain health. 

Research shows that when it comes to the brain booster abilities of Lion's Mane, the mushroom does more than just protect your memory. Research shows that the right dose of Lion's mane can help with mental fog. What's even better, lion's Mane's brain fog benefits can be further improved by using the fungi to prepare coffee and tea. 

If you are considering taking advantage of the lion’s main brain fog benefits like many others who order the lion's mane mushroom extract online—this guide shows you what to look for when buying Lion's mane extract—you may want to know how the mushroom operates. 

In this detailed guide, we will help you understand how one of the best mushrooms for the brain eliminates brain fog and helps you focus. We will also look at other major lion’s mane benefits for the brain. Read on to understand the structure of the lion's mane supplement and know how—as a person—you can derive a maximum amount of benefits from one of the most functional brain health supplements. 

How Does Lion’s Mane Mushroom Supplement Help The Brain?

When it comes to improving and supporting the brain, the lion's mane carries a large number of health benefits. Research information shows that Lion’s mane mushroom is a powerful brain tonic—the mushroom components create a variety of changes in the brain material and cell, improving overall brain health. 

The nootropic effects of the mushroom are due to the presence of high amounts of the antioxidant, beta-glucoxylan. Taking lion's mane gives you access to four other polypeptides and polysaccharides that significantly enhance the human immune system and overall body health.

Taking lion’s mane stimulates the synthesis of the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). These are special types of proteins that regenerate the neurons and support brain plasticity. 

The Lions mane Nerve Growth Factor prevents neuronal death while also enhancing its growth and survival. The Lion's mane Nerve Growth Factor is produced in the hippocampus of the brain and is essential for learning, memory, and neuroprotection following brain injury. 

Hericenones and erinacines are the two natural products isolated from the fruiting bodies and the mycelium of Lion's mane mushroom. These products easily cross the blood brain barrier and induce the synthesis of the nerve growth factor NGF. 

This makes Lion's mane for the brain a good solution to many brain health problems people deal with. Helping break the blood brain barrier, Lion's mane is gives the brain enough oxygen to facilitate its processes. This leads to increased development of the nerve growth factor and a reduced risk of mild cognitive impairment. 

It is worth noting that the mushroom's ability to break blood brain barrier offers benefits for all types of people—even if you do not have a mild cognitive impairment, the mushroom does its job by reducing the risk of this problem in your old age. 

Many health supplements cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. It is due to this fact that the benefits of Lion's mane mushrooms for brain health are widely revered. 

However, the exact mechanism by which Lion’s mane extracts synthesize nerve growth factor is still unclear—however, there is a belief that the mushroom's ability to break the blood brain barrier is a contributing factor to the synthesis of the nerve growth factor NGF.

How Do You Feel After Taking Lion’s Mane Extract?

How Do You Feel After Taking Lion’s Mane Extract?

Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, like many other herbal supplements and medicinal mushrooms, takes around two weeks to build in your system. Immediate benefits of the lion's mane medicinal mushroom are not seen. Continued and consistent use of an ideal Lion’s mane dosage leads to a boost in mental energy and mood. 

Improvement in the sense of smell and depth perception is also noted after using Lion's mane extract for several weeks. Some individuals have reported improved ability to solve problems, learn, and make decisions, all of which come with the use of Lion's mane mushroom extract. 

Lion's mane supplement also decreases the symptoms of anxiety and depression while improving concentration and eliminating brain fog. People using Lions mane for Alzheimers often report improved memory and cognition. 

What Are The Lion’s Mane Mushrooms Brain Fog Benefits?

When it comes to the lions mane brain fog capabilities, several benefits combine to make the brain fog benefits a reality. People using lion's mane for brain fog often end up enjoying all these benefits—therefore, instead of just beating brain fog, Lion's mane mushrooms do a lot more for the brain. 

Lion’s mane extract has powerful anti-inflammatory, immunostimulant, and antioxidant activity that are beneficial in many neurological diseases and brain health. The following are the various ways in which people using Lion's mane for the brain benefit:

1. Lion’s Mane Extract Promotes Neurogenesis

One of the best mushrooms for brain fog, Lion’s mane mushroom, by stimulation of NGF, promotes neurogenesis. Whether you are taking lion's mane for pregnancy benefits or you are using Lion's mane recipes for other benefits, you will still enjoy neurogenesis.

Researchers(1) found that Lion’s mane increased the levels of NGF in the hippocampus of mice. The mice were fed 5% freeze-dried extract of the mushroom for a week. Information sourced from research has shown that more NGF helps people with beating brain fog. 

In another research study(2) exploring Lion's mane brain fog benefits, the lion's mane supplements promoted neuron regrowth after injury. Rats with gluteal nerve damage consumed Lion’s mane extract and were able to walk afterward—this shows that Lion's mane was able to improve nerve health. As a result of improved nerve health, disabled rats also regained their walking function after consuming lion's mane supplements.

Animal studies on Lion's mane benefits for brain have also shown that the mushroom extracts stimulate the synthesis of Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF). BDNF is a protein that supports brain health by increasing the production of new cells while strengthening existing ones. 

It also increases brain plasticity, which helps the brain remain resilient in stressful times or with age. In addition to offering Lion's mane Parkinson's disease benefits, the synthesis of BNDF protects the brain from chronic inflammation.

One of the top-rated mushrooms for focus, Lion's mane fixes brain fog problems by supporting overall brain health. For example, by supporting the production of new brain cells, Lion's mane fruiting body helps the brain handle more tasks without getting tired too quickly. What's more, Lion's mane testosterone benefits impact the brain health of men positively. 

2. Lion’s Mane Mushrooms Have Therapeutic Potential In Alzheimer’s Disease

Brain fog is characterized by confusion, forgetfulness, and a lack of focus and mental clarity. These symptoms are closely related to Alzheimer's disease which is largely characterized by loss of memory. Lion's mane brain fog benefits often materialize in the mushroom's fruiting body ability to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer’s disease is related to(3) the functional deficiency of NGF. This protein plays an integral part in the pathogenesis of the disease. 

Lion's mane cognitive studies conducted in 2009 on patients with Alzheimer’s reported significant improvements in mental functioning—part of these benefits were a result of the mushroom extracts helping with the improvement and support of nerve health, especially the nerve growth factor (NGF). 

The older individuals with mild cognitive impairments were given 3 grams of Lion’s mane powder for consumption for four months. The researchers also noted the decline in its benefits four weeks after cessation of the use of Lion's mane extract and supplements. 

The conclusions from the study suggested that Lion's mane powder is a mushroom extract that reverses Alzheimer's in older people and supports nerve health.  

Pre-clinical and human studies on the effects of Lion's mane for Alzheimer's have also indicated that Lion’s mane mushroom extracts reduce the beta-amyloid plaques in the brain and build the neurons’ protective myelin sheaths. 

Research suggests that these plaques are the biological markers of Alzheimer’s that accumulate and cause neuronal damage in the disease. Therefore, when people use high-quality lion's mane products, they reduce the accumulation of the plaques, which, in turn, reduces their risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. 

Another study conducted on mice to determine Lion's mane mushroom Alzheimer's benefits showed that Lion’s mane is the best mushroom for Alzheimer's. The mushroom prevented short-term memory reduction induced by beta-amyloid peptides.

As there are limited human studies on Lion's mane for Alzheimer's, Lion's mane for the nervous system, the therapeutic potential of Lion’s mane on Alzheimer’s disease remains unclear. However, animal studies suggest a very deep treatment connection between Lion's mane and Alzheimer's disease. 

The animal studies also suggest that Lion's mane Alzheimer's benefits may also work for humans. While we wait for more human studies to verify the effects of lion's mane on Alzheimer's, you can take Lion's mane before bed or at any time of the day to support your overall human health. 

The current research suggests that including Lions mane in your food and diet may be a good way to eliminate memory problems from your life. All you have to do before you start using Lion's mane for mental fatigue or to protect yourself from Alzheimer's is seeking individual medical advice. This should help you take Lion's mane at the right time and use a dosage that will improve cognitive function with zero mane side effects.  

3. Lion’s Mane Improves Dementia And Memory

Alzheimer's disease is a leading cause of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of dementia cases. Dementia is not a normal part of aging. It is caused by damage to brain cells that affects the ability to communicate, which, in turn, can affect thinking, behavior, and feelings. 

As noted earlier, one of the lions mane brain benefits is reducing the risk of Alzheimer's. This further reduces the risk of Dementia. Dementia has been known to make brain fog worse. 

Lion’s mane has the potential to improve memory according to a few studies(4) performed on animal models. In the past, a Lion's mane dementia study(5) has demonstrated that the fruiting bodies of the mushroom provide anti-dementia activity. 

When using Lion's mane for dementia, the compounds in the mushroom protect against progressive memory loss by reducing plaques in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus.

A research study taking a deeper look at the relationship between Lion's mane and dementia was published recently by the journal of Behavioral Neurology. Published in 2018(6), the study confirmed that in addition to Lion's mane cognitive function and Lion's mane memory abilities, Lion's mane mushroom is one of the foods that can stop dementia before it starts. 

Most of the recorded Lion's mane dementia and Lions mane for memory studies indicate that the mushroom has a positive impact when it comes to the treatment of these conditions.

4. Lion’s Mane Improves Mood And Depression

Depression is a known cause of brain fog. For example, the lack of sleep—which is a common symptom of depression—tends to make the brain foggy. When it comes to the lion’s mane mushroom brain fog benefits, Lion’s mane mushroom fixes depression, which, in turn, fixes brain fog. 

Lion’s mane improves mood with its anti-inflammatory properties. Some evidence suggests the role of inflammation in depression. Amycenone extracted from Lion’s mane has antidepressant effects(7) and could be potentially used as a supplement to prevent inflammation-related depression. Amycenone is an activator of brain function.

The mushroom also helps to calm the nerves—this means that Lion’s mane reduces anxiety and irritability in post-menopausal women. Lion’s mane also improves pre-menopausal symptoms like fatigue and mood swings.

What’s more, research has shown that taking Lion’s mane before bed improves sleep quality. Better sleep further improves depression and mood.

5. Lion’s Mane Reduces Stress And Anxiety

Lion’s Mane Reduces Stress And Anxiety

While brain fog is a pretty common condition, it is rarely a medical problem on its own. In most cases, it is a symptom of several cases—for instance, it can be a symptom of stress and anxiety. 

If we use an analogy where your brain is a computer, then anxiety and stress are the programs that run in the background and take up tons of memory. The programs running in the background slow down your memory, causing brain fog. 

When using lion’s mane mushroom for brain fog benefits, people eliminate the programs running in the background—stress and anxiety—which, in turn, allows the brain to function optimally. 

As noted earlier, one of the main benefits of Lions mane mushrooms for brain health is that it increases the level of BDNF which is also a natural antidepressant. Amyloban, a bioactive compound extracted from the mushroom, has been shown to improve neurocognitive function in patients with recurrent depressive disorder(8).

Another research study(9) also found that the mushroom significantly reduced depression and anxiety. The results were obtained after an eight-week oral administration of three mushroom capsules containing extracts of Hericium Erinaceus.

When people use Lion’s mane pre-workout, the superfood boosts energy and reduces fatigue. This allows people to work out more. A research study published in 2004(10) found regular exercise to be beneficial for people suffering from depression and anxiety.

6. Lion’s Mane Mushrooms Inhibit Ischemic Stroke-Induced Neuronal Cell Death And Promote Nerve Growth

Another way through which Lion's mane eliminates mental fog is through fighting Ischemic Stroke-Induced Neuronal cell death. The Lion's mane nerve growth properties prevent ischemic injury to neurons. The nerve growth properties of the medicinal mushroom inhibit neuronal cell death in transient stroke providing a beneficial effect on the injured brain(11)

Some preclinical studies on the mane mushroom benefits for brain health have indicated a reduction in infarct volume with the use of the medicinal mushroom. These are promising results that need further clinical studies. 

However, even though these benefits of the medicinal mushroom are yet to be proven, you can get them when enjoying other proven benefits of lion's mane—for example, Lion's mane's spiritual benefits

It is worth noting that lion's mane also eliminates nerve health problems that are a result of other underlying health issues. For example, Lion’s mane mushroom has been known to eliminate diabetic nerve pain and promote the repair of damaged nerve cells. 

7. Lion’s Mane Improves Motor Skills In Parkinson's Disease

While this lion's mane benefit is not directly related to brain fog, it has an impact on clear thinking. Oral administration of Hericium Erinaceus acts as an anti-neuroinflammatory agent that leads to neuroprotection in Parkinson’s disease. 

The neuron-protective effect(12) of the mushroom seems to exist both in vitro and in vivo. It has also been shown to improve motor skills in studies performed on mouse models with Parkinson’s. Three different dosage levels (5.38, 10.76, and 21.52 mg/kg) of Lion’s mane mushroom were able to decrease the motor deficits.

8. Lion’s Mane Improves Cognition

If you are still trying to answer the question, "does lion’s mane help with brain fog?" the mushroom's benefits on cognition should prove that the mushroom is very effective. 

Cognition problems are characterized by slow thinking, difficulty focusing, confusion, lack of concentration, forgetfulness, or haziness. All these symptoms are directly related to brain fog.

One of the most referenced Lion's mane cognitive studies—a double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group randomized trial(13) performed in 2008—found that Lion’s mane mildly improved cognitive function. To study Lion's mane brain benefits when it comes to cognition, researchers requested the subjects to take four 250 mg tablets of 96% Yamabushitake dry powder thrice a day for 16 weeks. 

Post-termination, the study subjects, consisting of older Japanese men and women, showed significantly improved cognitive function scale scores. The laboratory tests showed no adverse effects of the mushroom.

Another double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted on patients to determine the effectiveness of Lions mane for Alzheimer's disease. This 2020 human study(14) investigated Lion's mane cognition benefits. To study the Lions mane brain neurocognitive benefits, scientists gave the participants three 350 mg of Lion’s mane capsules per day for 49 weeks. 

A significant decrease in the Cognitive Abilities Screening Instrument score was noted in the placebo group. Meanwhile, the study group showed a significant improvement in the Mini-Mental State Examination score. A significant difference in the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living score was found between the two groups.

From the conclusions drawn in the two Lion's mane cognitive studies, it is easy to see that Lions mane mushroom can be a safe and effective solution for people dealing with cognition problems.

9. Lion’s Mane Mushrooms Improve Memory And Focus

When it comes to the benefits of Lions Mane mushrooms for brain health, we can't leave out the mushroom's ability to improve focus and memory. The anti-inflammatory effect of the mushroom improves the flow of blood in the brain. This provides the brain with more oxygen which leads to enhanced performance.

Is Lion’s Mane Safe?

Now that we have answered the question, "does lion’s mane help with brain fog?", you may want to know whether the mushroom is safe before starting the process of taking the fungi to clear your mind. 

One thing we would like to note is that in addition to being one of the most beneficial mushrooms for brain health, Lion's mane carries a wide range of other benefits, including: 

  • It can help you lower blood sugar levels 
  • It boosts mental energy 
  • Lion's mane mushrooms reduce inflammation 
  • The fungi repair damaged nerve cells 
  • Helps with the treatment of cancer cells and prevents tumor growth 
  • Improves emotional responses to stressful conditions 

The crab meat-tasting mushroom, however, like other medicinal mushrooms, may carry very few side effects. When you take lion's mane the right way, however, avoiding these side effects is extremely easy. 

Lion’s mane mushroom is non-toxic. Small clinical studies suggest that this mushroom nutraceutical is safe for consumption. The most common adverse effect is gastrointestinal discomfort like nausea.

When using the mushroom to improve your brain chemistry, repair nerve damage, boost your cognitive ability, improve mental function, boost immunity, and improve overall health, you won’t have to worry about major side effects. However, if you are allergic to the mushroom, always talk to your doctor to avoid suffering from an allergic reaction when using the mushroom. 

Apart from that, there are no reports of toxicity due to long-term consumption of the mushroom. There is limited evidence to support these claims as most studies on the impact of the beneficial compounds in Lion's mane have been performed on rodents. However, there are no side effects or toxicity on animals, even in doses up to 5 grams per kilogram of body weight.

Final Thoughts

The use of Lion’s mane mushrooms for brain health has long been valued due to its unique ability to stimulate the growth of new neurons. What's more, the lions mane brain fog benefits are now coming into play, with most people realizing that the mushroom can improve their ability to focus and think clearly. The mushroom also offers reduced inflammation as a benefit for brain health—this benefit reduces the risk of brain damage.  

Literature highlights its neuro-regenerative potential and the benefit of Lions mane mushrooms for brain health. Lion's mane may provide a cognitive boost as a benefit within the first few weeks of its use—this has been confirmed through several animal studies. 

What's more, as part of boosting brain health, Lion's mane helps with anxiety and depression. A small study has confirmed that the hericenones and erinacines in the mushroom are vital when it comes to optimal brain performance.

Clinical trials indicate the effectiveness of the mushroom in improving cognitive functioning, mood, and memory. It is also beneficial in senile dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurodegenerative diseases.  Lion’s mane mushroom, due to these fierce medicinal properties, is rightly called nature’s nutrient for neurons.

Have you tried lions mane mushrooms yet? They’re a great way to improve your brain health and protect yourself from cognitive decline. In this blog post, we’ve explored the evidence behind the benefits of lions mane mushrooms for brain fog and cognitive function. We hope you’ll give them a try! How have you incorporated these medicinal fungi into your life? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. Nerve Growth Factor-Inducing Activity of Hericium erinaceus in 1321N1 Human Astrocytoma Cells, (1)  
  2. Peripheral Nerve Regeneration Following Crush Injury to Rat Peroneal Nerve by Aqueous Extract of Medicinal MushroomHericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae), (2)  
  3. Neuronal Health – Can Culinary and Medicinal Mushrooms Help? (3)  
  4. Dietary Supplementation of Hericium erinaceus Increases Mossy Fiber-CA3 Hippocampal Neurotransmission and Recognition Memory in Wild-Type Mice (4) 
  5. Erinacine A-enrichedHericium erinaceus mycelium ameliorates Alzheimer’s disease-related pathologies in APPswe/PS1dE9 transgenic mice, (5)  
  6. Neurohealth Properties ofHericium erinaceus Mycelia Enriched with Erinacines, (6)   
  7. Effects of amycenone on serum levels of tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-10, and depression-like behavior in mice after lipopolysaccharide administration, (7)
  8. Marked improvement of neurocognitive impairment after treatment with compounds from Hericium erinaceum: A case study of recurrent depressive disorder, (8)
  9. Hericium erinaceus Improves Mood and Sleep Disorders in Patients Affected by Overweight or Obesity: Could Circulating Pro-BDNF and BDNF Be Potential Biomarkers?, (9) 
  10. The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed, (10) 
  11. Protective Effects ofHericium erinaceus Mycelium and Its Isolated Erinacine A against Ischemia-Injury-Induced Neuronal Cell Death via the Inhibition of iNOS/p38 MAPK and Nitrotyrosine, (11) 
  12. Hericium erinaceus mycelium and its isolated erinacine A protection from MPTP-induced neurotoxicity through the ER stress, triggering an apoptosis cascade (12) 
  13. Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial (13)   
  14. Prevention of Early Alzheimer's Disease by Erinacine A-Enriched Hericium erinaceus Mycelia Pilot Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study, (14)

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