Lion's mane is a medicinal mushroom known for its cognitive and nerve support benefits, making it a popular natural supplement. However, while there is a growing interest in using lion's mane during breastfeeding for its potential benefits, such as enhanced memory, focus, and immune system support, there is limited research on its direct impact on breastfeeding mothers and their babies.
Before using lion's mane while breastfeeding, it is essential to consider potential allergic reactions, side effects, and drug interactions. Consult a healthcare professional before starting supplementation and closely monitor for any changes in milk supply or adverse impact on both mother and baby.
Below, we will examine the benefits of Lion's mane while breastfeeding. Moreover, we will discuss the safety of consuming Lion's Mane's fruiting bodies or supplements while pregnant or nursing.
Benefits Of Taking Lion's Mane While Breastfeeding
Lion's mane (Hericium Erinaceus) is an edible mushroom used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. This functional mushroom offers various health benefits, making it an attractive supplement for nursing mothers.
1. A Vitamin D Source That Strengthens Your Bones
Lion's mane mushrooms are a fantastic source of vitamin D. Vitamin D aids in controlling calcium levels in the body, so maintaining a high intake is essential while nursing.
Your body may steal calcium from your bones to feed the baby while breastfeeding. Your bones may become brittle and fragile if your body lacks calcium and vitamin D.
The baby's bone development may be affected if breast milk does not provide enough Vitamin D and Calcium. Luckily, consuming Lion's Mane mushroom products gives you enough vitamin D, increasing calcium levels and ensuring you and your baby have strong bones.
2. A Source Of Beta-Glucans Which Increase Milk Production
Lion's mane extract is a good source of beta-glucans. Research suggests that(1) beta-glucans can increase the body's prolactin levels, a crucial hormone in breast milk production.Drops in prolactin levels can cause a decrease in milk production, which is where beta-glucans can help.
Interesting Read: See the role of beta-glucans in the body.
3. An Excellent Source Of The B Vitamins
Lion's mane medicinal mushroom is abundant in vitamin B, including niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), and riboflavin (B2). These vitamins support the healthy growth and development of the bones and teeth and boost the body's ability to produce energy.
Therefore, making fresh Lion's mane part of your healthy diet gives you the energy to care for your baby. Moreover, Lion's mane gives you the nutrients your baby needs for bone development.
4. Loaded With Vital Minerals
Lion's mane mushroom supplements are packed with nutritional value. In addition to providing B vitamins, these medicinal mushrooms are rich in potassium, a mineral that supports the body's ability to regulate fluid balance.
This is crucial during pregnancy and lactation when fluid losses rise due to increased blood volume and urine output brought on by hormonal changes. Additionally, potassium lowers blood pressure and controls how muscles and nerve cells work.
Lion's mane is also high in antioxidants like selenium, which guards against free radicals and unstable molecules that can harm our body's cells. In addition, selenium aids T-cells in their defense against viruses and diseases, including the flu and colds, which strengthens the immune system.
These fungi are also a good source of copper, a vital trace mineral involved in synthesizing hemoglobin responsible for carrying oxygen in red blood cells, and melanin, a pigment found in skin cells. A lack of copper can cause anemia and bone abnormalities such as kyphosis (hunchback).
5. It Makes Breastfeeding With Diabetes Easier
Both pregnancy and breastfeeding can be complicated for diabetes patients, with diabetic women experiencing trouble building and maintaining their milk supply. In addition, irregular blood sugar levels can affect how much milk women with diabetes produce.
Leveraging a good diet and proper medications can regulate blood sugar levels, ensuring women with this condition have enough milk for their babies. Interestingly, however, Lion's mane aids in diabetes treatment.
Research has confirmed(2) that the bioactive ingredients in Lion's mane mushrooms demonstrate antihyperglycemic effects, indicating that when used alongside other diabetes treatments, they can reduce the risk of high blood sugar levels.
6. Supports Cognitive and Mental Health in Nursing Mothers
Lion's mane has been shown(3) to improve cognitive function, specifically memory, and focus. This is especially helpful for nursing mothers who often experience sleep deprivation and may suffer from mild cognitive impairment. Consuming fresh Lion's mane or taking Lion's mane supplements can provide the necessary support to maintain optimal cognitive function during this demanding period.
Hericium Erinaceus reduces mental fatigue, anxiety, and stress, common mental health issues among breastfeeding mothers. Therefore, incorporating Lion's mane fruiting bodies into their diet helps nursing mothers better cope with the exhaustion of caring for a newborn.
7. Promotes Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) Production
Lion's mane stimulates neurogenesis, producing brain-derived neurotrophic factors like the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). NGF is critical in nerve repair and maintenance, helping with postpartum recovery.
By taking Lion's mane, nursing mothers may experience accelerated postpartum recovery. In addition, Hericium Erinaceus can help repair and maintain nerves that may have been affected during childbirth, contributing to a smoother recovery process.
8. Supports Immune System of Nursing Mothers
Research shows that(4) Lion's mane has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help protect nursing mothers from unhealthy chemicals in processed foods and unhealthy fats.
These properties also boost the immune system, assisting the nursing mother in fighting diseases. In addition, incorporating Lion's mane into a nursing mother's diet can help bolster her immune system and, in turn, benefit her baby.
Is Lion's Mane Safe for Breastfeeding Mothers: Precautions and Safety Concerns to Consider
While Lion's mane (Hericium Erinaceus) offers numerous benefits for nursing mothers, addressing the precautions and safety concerns associated with its use during breastfeeding is essential. Below, we will look at some things to remember when using Lion's mane mushroom while breastfeeding:
Limited Research On Lion's Mane And Breastfeeding
Lack Of Direct Studies On Breastfeeding Mothers
Although research suggests that Lion's mane can benefit memory, cognitive function, and immune support, there is a lack of direct studies on breastfeeding mothers. Most studies have been conducted on animal models or individuals with mild cognitive impairment, which may not accurately represent the effects of Lion's mane on nursing mothers and their babies.
Caution When Interpreting Available Research
Given the limited research on Lion's mane and breastfeeding, it is crucial to exercise caution when interpreting the available data. While the edible fungus has been consumed for centuries and is generally considered safe, nursing mothers should consult a healthcare professional before taking Lion's mane.
Allergic Reactions And Side Effects
Potential For Mild To Severe Allergic Reactions
As with any supplement, there is a possibility of experiencing mild to severe allergic reactions to Lion's mane. Symptoms may include itching, rash, or difficulty breathing.If you notice any adverse effects after taking Lion's Mane, discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional.
Monitor For Side Effects In Both Mother And Baby
When taking Lion's mane, monitoring for any side effects in both mother and baby is essential. Changes in the baby's willingness to nurse, unusual fussiness, or other signs of discomfort may indicate an adverse reaction. If you suspect that Lion's mane is causing adverse effects, avoid breastfeeding and consult a healthcare professional.
Consider Drug Interactions
Exercise Caution When Combining Lion's Mane With Other Medications Or Supplements
Lion's mane may interact with certain medications or supplements, such as those that slow blood clotting or affect cholesterol levels. Therefore, it is crucial to exercise caution when combining Lion's mane with other substances. Consult a healthcare professional to determine if Lion's mane is safe to take alongside your medications or supplements.
Recommendations for Using Lion's Mane While Breastfeeding
Suppose you decide to incorporate Lion's mane into your diet while breastfeeding. In that case, it is essential to follow these recommendations to ensure the safety and well-being of both you and your baby.
Start With A Low Dosage
Since there is very little research on how much Lion's mane is safe to consume while breastfeeding, starting with a low Lion's mane dosage is best. Then, gradually increase the amount based on your tolerance and response to the supplement. Be cautious not to exceed the recommended dosage provided by the manufacturer or your healthcare professional.
Choose A High-Quality Supplement
Not all Lion's Mane supplements are created equal. Choose a high-quality supplement from a reputable brand to ensure you consume a safe and effective product.
Look for products that have undergone third-party testing for purity and potency. This will help you avoid any potential contaminants and ensure you get the full benefits of this culinary mushroom.
Monitor For Changes In the Milk Supply
While taking Lion's mane, monitoring your milk supply is crucial. If you notice any changes in the quantity or quality of your breast milk, discuss these concerns with your healthcare professional. They may recommend adjusting the dosage or discontinuing the use of Lion's Mane to ensure the best outcome for you and your baby.
Regular Check-Ups With Healthcare Professionals
As you continue to take Lion's Mane while breastfeeding, you must maintain regular check-ups with your healthcare professional or lactation consultant. They can help monitor your progress, address any concerns, and guide the appropriate dosage and duration of supplementation. By working closely with your healthcare team, you can make informed decisions about how to use Lion's mane during breastfeeding.
FAQs About Lion's Mane Breastfeeding
What Are The Negative Effects Of Lion's Mane Medicinal Mushroom?
Lion's Mane mushroom is generally considered safe for most people when consumed in moderation. However, some individuals may experience mild side effects such as digestive system discomfort, allergic reactions, and nausea.
Some users may deal with bloating, gas, and diarrhea symptoms when consuming Lion's Mane mushrooms. In addition, although rare, some people may develop an allergic reaction to Lion's Mane mushrooms, which can cause symptoms such as itching, rash, and difficulty breathing.
High doses of Lion's Mane mushroom may cause nausea in some individuals. These side effects are generally mild and go away on their own. However, you should seek medical attention immediately if you experience severe symptoms or have an allergic reaction.
What Does Lion's Mane Do To Hormones?
Consuming Lion's Mane mushrooms could increase the production of prolactin in breastfeeding women. Prolactin facilitates milk production, and increased levels of this hormone can help boost the milk supply in nursing mothers.
Additionally, Lion's Mane mushrooms may have a regulatory effect on pregnancy hormones. It contains compounds that mimic estrogen's effects, which can help regulate hormonal imbalances during pregnancy.
However, it's important to note that more research is necessary to understand better the effects of Lion's Mane mushrooms on hormones. Therefore, pregnant or breastfeeding women should always consult their healthcare provider before consuming supplements or alternative remedies.
Is It Good To Take Lion's Mane Every Day?
Taking Lion's Mane mushrooms daily is generally considered safe as part of a balanced diet. However, the optimal dosage and frequency of use may vary depending on the individual's health status and other factors.
There is limited research on the long-term effects of taking Lion's Mane mushrooms every day, so it's recommended to consume it in moderation and under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Generally, starting with a low dose and gradually increasing it over time while monitoring for potential side effects is best.
It's also important to note that the quality of Lion's Mane supplements can vary widely, so it's crucial to choose a reputable brand and source. In addition, pregnant or breastfeeding women and individuals with pre-existing medical conditions should always consult their healthcare provider before consuming Lion's Mane mushrooms or other supplements.
Research information on using Lion's mane breastfeeding indicates this fungus has the potential to benefit both the mental and physical health of nursing mothers. As long as they were foraged by experts, produced by a reputed producer, and approved by your health care provider, it is safe to use Lion's mane mushrooms and supplements while nursing.
In addition to fighting general health concerns like heart disease, Parkinson's disease, cancer, and central nervous system impairment, Lion's mane carries numerous specific benefits for nursing women. High in vitamin D, the mushroom ensures breastfeeding women are not losing all their calcium to their babies through breast milk. In addition, Lion's mane ensures women consistently produce enough milk for their babies by increasing the quantity of the lactation hormone (prolactin) in the bloodstream.
However, when planning your breastfeeding meal plans with your dietitian, we recommend talking to qualified doctors before adding Lion's mane to your diet plan to avoid problems. The doctor can help determine whether the mushroom is safe for you and the baby. Moreover, the doctor will help you choose the ideal dosage that can help you get the results you need without causing issues.
Have you used Lion's Mane before? Did you use the mushroom while pregnant or while breastfeeding? What was your experience with this functional fungus? Let us know in the comment section.
- The effect of β-glucan on prolactin secretion in GH3/B6 cells, (1)https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228515439
- Antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic activities of aqueous extract of Hericium erinaceus in experimental diabetic rats, (2)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3852124/
- Dietary Supplementation of Lion's Mane Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Agaricomycetes), and Spatial Memory in Wild-Type Mice, (3)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29953363/
- The Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Lion's Mane Culinary-Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) in a Coculture System of 3T3-L1 Adipocytes and RAW264 Macrophages, (4)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26559695/