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< class="article__title title"> Lion's Mane Extract VS. Powder: Which One Is Better For You?>
Lion's Mane Extract VS. Powder: Which One Is Better For You?
Aug 29, 22
This article has been vetted by the Onnit Advisory Board. Read more about our editorial process.
Author: Sony Sherpa

Lion's Mane Extract VS. Powder: Which One Is Better For You?

Supplements containing Lion's mane mushrooms are available in various forms. In the market, there are powders, capsules, tinctures, and extract powders.  But, of course, with the avalanche of Lion's mane supplements out there, you may find yourself mystified as to what the difference between Lion's mane extract vs powder is and what exactly is a Lions mane extract powder.

While Lion's mane powder and mushroom extract may sound like the same thing, they are not. Lion's mane extract can be alcohol-based (ethanolic extract) or water-based (aqueous extract), whereas a Lion's mane organic mushroom powder is made from dried mushrooms. As a result, lions mane mushroom extracts are usually more potent than mushroom powders.

Let's help you figure out the key differences between Lion's mane powder vs extract.  We will also explain its benefits and some crucial things you should know before buying it.

Why Are More People Using Lion's Mane Mushrooms?

Adding superfood mushroom products, like Lion's mane, to your daily routine will help you achieve your health and wellness goals. Research on the health benefits of Lion's mane indicates that the fungus is popular amongst mushroom enthusiasts as it is a powerful brain tonic. Often labeled one of the best mushrooms for brain health, Lion's mane is known to improve cognitive function and memory and eliminate depression and anxiety. 

Not only does the mushroom boost brain health(1), but it also protects the gut(2) and liver(3), reduces the risk of heart disease(4), inflammation(5), and oxidative stress. In addition, Lion's mane has diabetes benefits and helps people manage the symptoms of diabetes by reducing blood sugar. 

The mushroom may aid in fighting cancer(6) cells—it is known to reduce chronic inflammation, which is a leading cause of cancer. In addition, when used with other medications prescribed for cancer, the mushroom helps with tumor size and weight reduction.

Lion's mane supplements have been spreading across the wellness aisle like a fungus for several years. Although it is a new fad in the Western world, Lion's mane mushrooms have been used for centuries in traditional Chinese practices.

The mushroom's health benefits and medicinal properties are a result of the bioactive ingredients and nutrients in the mushroom. However, what has more bioactive compounds? 

Will you have more beta glucans and polysaccharides in Lion's mane extract or powder? When it comes to the benefits of Lion's mane on Alzheimer's disease, what supplement offers more improved brain health benefits—Lion's mane extract or powder? 

Let's jump in and find out. 

Lion's Mane Mushroom Powder Vs Extract

Regarding medicinal mushrooms, any mushroom extract, including Lion's mane, involve the extraction, the process of transferring the property of the mushroom to a liquid. The beneficial bioactive compounds present in Lion's mane mushrooms are trapped inside the hard chitinous cells wall of the fungus that our bodies cannot easily access. 

These need to be extracted using a water or alcohol-based extraction process. Companies involved in creating a mushroom extract—whether a Lion's mane extract or turkey tail extract—use these mechanisms to make the beneficial nutrients in Lion's mane more accessible. 

Typically, extracts are infused into the water, while tinctures are extracted into drinkable alcohol. However, in some cases, these terms are used interchangeably. On the other hand, Lion's mane powders are created by milling or grinding the dried mushrooms.

When it looks like extracts and powders are sorted out, enter Lion's mane extract powders.

This confusion occurs because some powders are cooked in water or a water/ alcohol mix to extract beneficial compounds (like beta-glucans and triterpenes) and make them more bioavailable. So now, depending on your desired wellness goals, you may purchase a whole Lion's mane mushroom powder, an extract, or an extract powder.

However, before buying medicinal mushroom extracts, let us break down this complicated topic further. First, let's see what you need to look for when purchasing medicinal mushroom powders or other medicinal mushroom supplements. 

Lion's Mane Powder

Lion’s Mane Powder

Any lion's mane supplement labeled as a Lion's mane powder utilizes the whole mushroom structure in its production. Therefore, the fungus is harvested from the fruiting body (the reproductive structure) and the mycelium (the vegetative root-like underground structure) when producing a Lion's mane mushroom powder.

Once the harvesting is done, these components are heated to dehydrate them completely.

The dried form of the mushroom is then milled or ground into a fine powder. This Lion's mane mushroom powder contains the fruit body, mycelium, and the myceliated growth medium on which the mushroom was grown.

To enjoy Lion's mane health benefits when using this medicinal mushroom supplement, you can consume Lion's mane mushroom powder by adding it to drink mixes and smoothies, mixing it with water, or making tea. Even Lion's mane supplements such as mushroom coffee and capsules usually use mushroom powder. 

In cases where you would like to enjoy the powder in your food, you can always combine the fruiting body and the powder in Lion's mane mushroom recipes. You can also add the powder to dishes such as risotto and pasta or baked goods

Now, because mushroom powders are made from ground-up mushrooms, you may have trouble including it in your diet if you don't like their taste. However, you can always come up with a workaround that can help you enjoy the mushroom—the same way we have recipes that make fresh Lion's mane tastier, you can always mix the powder with other ingredients to make it more delicious. For example, adding the actual mushroom powder to your smoothie can make this traditional Chinese medicine easier to consume. 

Also, powders are less potent than extracts. Therefore, you'll have to take a higher dosage to reap the full scope of health benefits of Lion's mane mushrooms.

The daily recommended Lion's mane dosage for the mushroom extracts may be around 2,000 mg. However, when using Lion's mane powder, you may need to increase the dosage slightly for maximum results—you can always discuss this with a healthcare professional to determine what will work for you. 

Lion's Mane Extract

While most people may assume this is the same Lion's mane powder we discussed, this is an entirely different medicinal mushroom product. It is processed to make it more potent—this means that a mushroom tea made of Lion's mane extract offers more benefits compared to a similar tea using the powder form of the mushroom. 

After harvesting Lion's mane mushroom, it is dried, ground, and placed in a solvent, which is either alcohol or water. If water-soluble components are to be extracted, hot water is used. Likewise, alcohol is used for alcohol-soluble compounds. 

This ensures that all the beneficial compounds in the lions mane mushroom are extracted. The goal is to ensure that when you take Lion's mane for cancer—or a different health condition—you get maximum benefits. 

After steeping in the liquid solvent for some time, the mushroom may be drained, and the solvent will be retained. This process may be repeated several times. Afterward, the mushroom solids are discarded.

If alcohol is used in the extraction process, it is allowed to evaporate. The extracted compounds' liquid is further cooked to condense them to a standardized concentration. The extract may be sold in this form or undergo further processing.

As noted earlier, Lion's mane mushroom extracts are usually more potent than mushroom powders. Due to their increased potency, mushroom extracts are often used in scientific research. 

A combination of hot water and alcohol in the extraction process ensures the beneficial active compounds in lions mane mushroom species are in the mushroom supplement you receive. In addition, compared to using a whole mushroom, the extract is processed by the body more quickly—this means that the body can access all the benefits of hericium erinaceus more quickly compared to when you cook the fruiting body of the fungi or use Lion's mane powder to improve your immune system. 

Lion's mane extracts are more effective, making them ideal for people who want the mushroom's results fast. For example, if you take Lion's mane for brain fog or to boost your brain function during a tough work day quickly, Lion's mane extract may be better than the powder. 

On the other hand, people taking Lion's mane for neurogenesis may be more willing to give the mushroom enough time to facilitate the production of the nerve growth factor. For this reason, taking powders from real mushrooms may work for these people. 

What Is The Best Form Of Lion's Mane Medicinal Mushrooms?

Now that we have compared Lion's mane powder vs extract, let's see whether you should use Lion's mane powder or Lion's mane extract. 

When it comes to mushroom products, the choice between Lion's mane mushroom powder and extract comes down to personal preference and your wellness goals. As each has its pros and cons, it can be challenging to determine the best option. 

However, there are several things you may want to consider when choosing between Lion's mane extract vs powder. Below, we will show you what to look for when buying Lion's mane powder or extract. 

1. Price

Lion's mane powder is usually less expensive than extracts. For this reason, if you are currently operating under a tight budget, getting powder derived from the actual mushrooms may be a good idea. 

2. Ease of Use

Lion's mane powder is not processed in a way that alters its taste—it comes with the same overpowering (and not so impressive) raw Lion's mane taste. However, since the powder can have an overpowering taste, it may not be preferred by some. 

The extract from mushroom fruiting bodies may be processed to make it more palatable and improve its taste. This makes the mushroom extract easier to include in your diet. While you may need to prepare the powder to make it more palatable before enjoying the essential medicinal compounds in the mushroom, taking Lion's mane extract is easier since you can enjoy it on the go without having to worry about complicated preparation processes. 

3. Flexibility

Remember that when comparing powder and extracts, you must go beyond the standard extracts to know that the comparison also involves Lion's mane tincture vs powder and Lion's mane capsules vs extract. While Lion's mane powder is only available in powder form, Lion's mane extract is available in various forms—from powder extract to tinctures and capsules you can take on the go. 

This means that when using Lion's mane extract, you can choose from various options. However, when using Lion mane powder, you will have to be creative as all you will find in the market is the powder. By "be creative," we mean that you will have to devise ways to make the powder more enjoyable at home. 

4. Potency

A lion's mane extract is more concentrated as it undergoes multiple rounds of processing. To produce Lion's mane extract, the best companies will use the best extraction methods to ensure they get each useful compound and substrate from the whole fruiting body. Hence, even if the extract is more expensive than powders, a little will go a long way. 

Greater potency can also be beneficial if you want to prevent or combat symptoms of any progressive illness. For example, if you use Lion's mane for diabetes, the extract will have more potential benefits than the powder.  An extract is also best to avoid the taste of Lion's mane mushroom powder.

Regardless of the form of the mushroom, the end product should contain high levels of beta-glucans and low levels of starch. Also, ensure that Lion's mane powders or extracts have been analytically tested and are guaranteed to contain beneficial compounds.

5. Organic Mushrooms Certification

This property applies to both powders and extracts—they should be sourced from mushrooms that have been certified organic. You do not want to consume genetically modified mushrooms. 

For this reason, before consuming any form of Lion's mane dietary supplement—whether it has undergone hot water extraction or not—ensure it is certified organic. The best mushroom companies include this information on their product package—they will show you that they only use non gmo ingredients in the production of their Lion's mane mushroom products. 

6. Presence of Fillers

If you are like most people, you are probably taking Lion's mane with a goal—and you would like to see the results. For example, you could take Lion's mane before bed for its ability to boost your sleep quality. Also, you could be taking Lion's mane pre-workout for its ability to fight fatigue and deliver an energy boost during a workout. 

These benefits of Lion's mane dietary supplements result from the mushroom's bioactive ingredients. For this reason, you do not want a product whose medicinal properties have been reduced by unnecessary fillers. 

Lion's mane extract, when it comes to fillers, is much better than Lion's mane powder. As noted earlier, the best extracts undergo a double extraction process to acquire all the best bioactive ingredients for maximum health effects. This means extracts using the dual extraction method and featuring good extraction ratios have almost zero unnecessary fillers. 

Lion's mane powder, on the other hand, involves drying and grinding the fruiting bodies and mycelium biomass. Some powders may even carry grain starch—an unnecessary filler—as an ingredient. Since there is no extraction happening when producing Lion's mane powder, the product does not boast a good extraction ratio. 

For this reason, if you want to use a product that does not carry fillers, Lion's mane extract may be a better option. If you still prefer powder, using Lion's mane extract powder may be the best option for maximum results. 


Is Lion's Mane Powder Effective?

Lion's mane mushroom powder is effective, but higher doses may be required to reap its benefits. 

Final Thoughts

Now that we have compared Lion's mane extract vs powder, the two main ways of consuming Lion's mane, you can decide which one is best for you based on your personal preference. Irrespective of the form of the product, choose a high-quality mushroom product and use it consistently to get the best out of it.

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  1. Dietary Supplementation of Hericium erinaceus Increases Mossy Fiber-CA3 Hippocampal Neurotransmission and Recognition Memory in Wild Type Mice, (1) 
  2. Gastroprotective Effects of Lion’s Mane Mushroom Hericium erinaceus (Bull.:Fr.) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae) Extract against Ethanol-Induced Ulcer in Rats, (2)
  3. Antioxidant and hepatoprotective potential of endo-polysaccharides from Hericium erinaceus grown on tofu whey, (3)//
  4. Inhibitory effect on in vitro LDL oxidation and HMG Co-A reductase activity of the liquid-liquid partitioned fractions of Hericium erinaceus (Bull.) Persoon (Lion's mane mushroom), (4)
  5. Evaluation of Selected Culinary-Medicinal Mushrooms for Antioxidant and ACE Inhibitory Activities, (5)//
  6. Hericium erinaceus: an edible mushroom with medicinal values, (6)//

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