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Lion's Mane Depression: 6 Reasons to Use Lion's Mane for Depression
Jun 06, 22
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Author: Sony Sherpa

Lion's Mane Depression: 6 Reasons to Use Lion's Mane for Depression

  • by Sony Sherpa
  • |
  • 14 min read

Depression is a fairly common but serious mental health disorder. It negatively affects the way you think, feel and act. Depression can lead to numerous physical and emotional problems, affecting your ability to handle your daily activities.

There are several things people can do to help reduce the symptoms of depression. Professional help, medications, talk therapy, regular exercise, and improving sleep quality are natural ways to cope.

But have you heard about Lion's mane mushroom for depression? Incredible as it may sound, researchers have found a link between Lion's mane and depression relief.

So how does Lion's mane help with depression? Or does Lion's mane make you happy?

Below we will take a comprehensive look at 4 Lion's mane depression benefits. We will also tell you how much Lion's mane is good for depression.

Lion's Mane Mushrooms: What Are They?

Lion's mane mushroom, called Hericium Erinaceus in Latin, is a medicinal mushroom with long white spines resembling a lion's mane. But unlike the ferocious jungle king, Lion's mane mushroom is something you want to get your hands on!

While this detailed article focuses on Lion's mane for depression, it is worth noting that the health benefits of Lion's mane are numerous. The Lion's mane supplement reduces the risk of Alzheimer's disease, helps you avoid suffering from dementia in old age, and gives your immune system a boost. 

One of the best mushrooms for brain health, Lion's mane extract can help you improve cognitive function and keep your memory healthy. Human and animal studies have also proven that Lion's mane is good for anxiety

If you are not fond of wild mushroom foraging and do not want to grow Lion's mane from scratch, you can find Lion's mane products at a grocery near you. Even better, they are sold as health supplements. 

As noted earlier, Lion's mane mushroom has many mental-health-boosting effects. They are most famous for their extraordinary brain-boosting power(1)and have been rightly nicknamed a "brain tonic." Moreover, Lion's mane is one of the best mushrooms for brain health

The mushroom's brain health benefits can be of help to ease symptoms of depression. If you are trying to improve depression—or avoid the mental health complication—read on to learn how Lion's mane helps mental health patients fix their depression. 

Why Use Lion's Mane Mushroom For Depression?

1. Lion's Mane Supplements Increase Happy Hormones

Lion's Mane Supplements Increase Happy Hormones

 Lion's mane may be able to raise dopamine levels, according to the information obtained from this 2018 study(2). When mice under stress were given Lion's mane mushrooms, their dopamine levels stabilized.

Before Hericium Erinaceus was administered, a dip in the happy hormone levels was found. The results suggest that Lion's mane mushroom may have antidepressant-like effects. The Lion's mane dopamine benefits can significantly impact depression levels in adult humans. 

It is also worth noting that Lion's mane testosterone benefits also play a key role in helping adults—in this case, men—deal with depression. By boosting the male hormone, Lion's mane changes men's behaviors allowing them to enjoy a more fulfilling life—this often reduces the risk of suffering from depression. 

2. Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Inflammation(3) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of depressive disorders. Inflammation is also associated with mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's disease, and other brain health conditions.

Several studies have found that Lion's mane mushroom tempers inflammation in depression. There is also evidence that inflammation could activate some signals which can trigger the transition to depression(4).

In one such 2015 study on animals, the Amycenone(5) obtained from Lion's mane mushroom extract markedly blocked an increase in the serum TNF-α levels, a marker of inflammation. 

The research study found that Lion's mane extracts also significantly attenuated the levels of Lipopolysaccharides (LPS), a substance that increases inflammation in the body.

These findings suggest that amycenone can exert antidepressant effects by controlling inflammation, thereby proving beneficial in such conditions. 

A very recent 2021 study obtained similar results after investigating the impact of the monkey head mushroom on depression. Extracts of Hericium Erinaceus were given to animals for four weeks. The mushrooms were shown to induce anti-neuroinflammatory effects6 in areas of the brain involved in depression. 

These studies suggest that the mushroom can be used for more than improving the nervous system—the mushroom will always go beyond neurological benefits to help you avoid depression. 

Learn More: Speaking of neurological benefits, see how Lion's mane prevents neuropathy

3. Increases The Growth Of Neurons In Depression-Affected Areas Of The Brain

One of the few selected culinary medicinal mushrooms, the extracts of Lion's mane mushrooms have been documented to enhance(7) the production of a nerve stimulant called Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). This NGF helps repair damaged neurons in the brain and increases the growth of new brain cells.

The hippocampus of the brain is susceptible to stress. It plays a central role(8) in depression.

Chronic administration of Lion's mane extracts showed antidepressant-like effects by enhancing the neurogenesis(9) in the hippocampal region (which shrinks in depression). This animal-based study indicated an increased proliferation of the nerve cells in this brain region.

This indicates that taking Lion's mane mushrooms can benefit depression by possibly enhancing neurogenesis. This can result in the elimination of depression and anxiety symptoms. 

Read More: See precisely how Lion's mane promotes neurogenesis

In a 2010 study(10), cookies containing the extracts of Lion's mane mushroom were given to women, and the clinical effects of the fungus on depression, menopause, and sleep quality were assessed.

The 30 women who participated in the study were randomly given either a cookie containing Lion's mane or cookies without the mushroom for 4 weeks. 

At the end of the study, several parameters related to depression and anxiety were found to be significantly reduced. The results of the study suggested that Lion's mane mushroom had the possibility of reducing depression and anxiety.

One of the best alternative medicine for treating depression, Lion's mane mushroom is also known to stimulate the production of brain-derived neurotrophic (BDN) factor(11)

This chemical supports the differentiation, maturation, and survival of neurons in the brain. An increase in the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been linked to the antidepressant effect(12) of the Hericium Erinaceus mushroom.

Before human research in the earliest years, traditional Chinese medicine relied on Lion's mane mushrooms to treat various mental-related conditions. The fact that the medication has been used in the diet for thousands of years shows that it is effective in mental diseases and conditions related to cognitive health. 

4. Improves Sleep

Lion's mane mushroom depression benefits go beyond the ones mentioned above to help people improve their sleeping patterns. The Lion's mane neurotransmitters effect promotes better sleep, which, in turn, improves depression symptoms. 

Disturbed sleep(13) is both a risk factor and a symptom of depression. About 75% of people with depression have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. There is also a 10-fold higher risk of developing depression in people with insomnia than in people who get a good night's sleep.

Lion's mane mushroom enhances sleep quality and duration(14). This is usually the case when one takes Lion's mane before bed. 

A study on students with irregular sleep patterns reported fewer symptoms of depression and insomnia(15) with the use of the fungus. The study participants also said they experienced a reduction in other symptoms like anxiety, irritability, and fatigue.

5. Lion's Mane Helps In The Treatment Of Bipolar Disorder

A leading cause of depressive behavior, bipolar disorder is a condition that is associated with mood swings—it causes episodes of mood swings that range from depressive lows to manic highs. 

Luckily, Lion's mane bipolar disorder benefits are numerous. The mushroom helps people dealing with bipolar disorder treat neurological disorders, mood disorders, sleep disorders, and other neurological diseases tied to bipolar disorder.

The Lion's mane bipolar benefits help minimize mood swings. By putting the users in a stable emotional state, the mushroom reduces the risk of depression. 

6. Lion's Mane Reduces The Risk Of Schizophrenia

In addition to treating depressive and anxiety disorders, Lion's mane mushrooms also treat other conditions that are precursors to depression. A good example, in this case, is Schizophrenia. 

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes people interpret reality abnormally. The condition often results in hallucinations, delusions, disordered thinking, and behavior that impairs daily functioning. Research has shown(16) that patients with Schizophrenia are at an increased risk of developing depression. 

Research has also shown that people can use a lion's mane for Schizophrenia. One research study showed(17) that an individual suffering from the condition used a lion's mane for Schizophrenia and recovered from the illness. 

The fact that Schizophrenia is a significant risk factor for depression means that using Lion's mane for the disease can reduce the risk of suffering from depression.  

How To Use Lion's Mane For Depression?

How To Use Lion’s Mane For Depression?

If you are wondering how to use Lion's mane for depression, you are not alone. Few people know how to use Lion's mane for depression and anxiety. Below, we will look at some of the best ways to treat depression with Lion's mane.  

You can take Lion's mane as a supplement, such as capsules, tinctures, or powders. However, if you are looking for a more creative way to take advantage of Lion's mane depression benefits, you can cook it at home—we have a detailed article that shows you the best Lion's mane recipes

You can mix a spoonful of mushroom powder with your favorite food and beverage. Capsules are convenient, travel-friendly, and fuss-free to use—with capsules, you can always use lions mane for depression on the go. Tinctures have a higher absorption rate and can be placed directly under the tongue.

Always look for high-quality brands that use the best ingredients when purchasing your Lion's mane organic mushroom powder. These supplements will offer you maximum benefits.

You can also consume Lion's mane mushroom fresh. But unless you live close to the native habitat of the mushroom, sourcing it can be quite cumbersome. Therefore, when using lions mane depression, you can rely on mushroom supplements since they are easier to find. 

Lion's Mane Dosage For Depression

The exact Lion's mane mushroom dosage for depression has not been established. However, clinical trials(18) have tested up to 3 grams of Lion's mane daily.

Talking to a professional health practitioner is a good idea for people who would like a lion's mane dosage for depression that suits their exact needs. A professional can help you figure out an ideal lions mane mood dosage that won't cause any side effects. 

In a 2014 study(19), 1950 mg/tablet of Lion's mane was used daily for six months. Similarly, a Japanese study on students also used the same amount, albeit for four weeks.

From these studies, the general recommended oral dose is 1500 to 2000 mg

Final Thoughts

Animal and human studies have suggested that Lion's mane depression benefits may be linked with its ability to promote the growth of brain cells. It has also been shown to increase dopamine levels in a few studies. The mushroom also combats inflammation and promotes sleep, two factors that may contribute to depression

Lion's mane mushroom supplements for depression may be a cost-effective complementary and alternative medicine for treating depressive disorders, generally with fewer side effects. It is, however, not intended to replace your antidepressant medications.

Have you ever tried using lions mane mushrooms for depression? Let us know about your experience in the comments below!

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  1. Neurotrophic Properties of the Lion's Mane Medicinal Mushroom,Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia, (1)
  2. Erinacine A-EnrichedHericium erinaceus Mycelium Produces Antidepressant-Like Effects through Modulating BDNF/PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β Signaling in Mice, (2)
  3. Cytokines in major depression (3) 
  4. Neuroinflammation and Comorbidity of Pain and Depression, (4) 
  5. Effects of amycenone on serum levels of tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-10, and depression-like behavior in mice after lipopolysaccharide administration, (5) 
  6. Neurogenesis-dependent antidepressant-like activity ofHericium erinaceus in an animal model of depression (6) 
  7. Neurotrophic Properties of the Lion's Mane Medicinal Mushroom,Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia, (7) 
  8. The role of the hippocampus in the pathophysiology of major depression (8) 
  9. Therapeutic Potential ofHericium erinaceus for Depressive Disorder,  (9) 
  10. Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeksHericium erinaceus intake (10)
  11. Hericium erinaceus mycelium ameliorate anxiety induced by continuous sleep disturbance in vivo (11) 
  12. Erinacine A-EnrichedHericium erinaceus Mycelium Produces Antidepressant-Like Effects through Modulating BDNF/PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β Signaling in Mice (12)
  13. Depression and Sleep, (13) 0067/20/3/607/htm?from=article_link 
  14. Hericium erinaceus extracts alter behavioral rhythm in mice (14) 
  15. The effects ofHericium erinaceus (Amyloban® 3399) on sleep quality and subjective well-being among female undergraduate students: A pilot study, (15)
  16. Schizophrenia and depression co-morbidity: what we have learned from animal models (16)
  17. Case Report: Recovery from Schizophrenia Using Amyloban 3399, Compounds Extracted from Hericium erinaceum (17)
  18. Improvement of cognitive functions by oral intake ofHericium erinaceus, (18)
  19. Marked improvement of neurocognitive impairment after treatment with compounds from Hericium erinaceum: A case study of recurrent depressive disorder, (19)

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