Diet is part of the things that can make or break your kid's health. Sometimes, as a parent, you may want to go beyond the regular balanced diet and give your kids something extra, like a functional mushroom. Lion's Mane has been making headlines as one of the most beneficial mushrooms—and it does carry impacts that could benefit your kid.
But is Lion's Mane safe for kids? Or does using Lion's Mane for kids increase the risk of detrimental side effects? If Lion's Mane is safe, what dosage is ideal for kids?
Since there is little information on the safety of these mushrooms in youngsters, there is no definitive answer. However, research has indicated that youngsters with learning difficulties or impaired memory function may benefit particularly from Lion's Mane. Additionally, adults and kids can consume Lion's mane mushrooms, in moderation, without any severe side effects.
Let's explore the safety and benefits of Lion's mane mushrooms for kids, what we know, and how you can incorporate the mushroom into your child's active lifestyle.
What Makes Lion's Mane Mushroom So Popular?
Traditional Chinese medicine has a long history of using Lion's mane mushrooms, a form of edible fungi. They are believed to have various health benefits, such as improving cognitive function and reducing inflammation. In addition, the mushroom promotes the growth of neural growth factors (NGF) and Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factors (BDNF), two compounds that stimulate neural development, growth, and survival.
Read More: See how Lion's Mane promotes neurogenesis, boosting NGF and BDNF.
Lion's mane mushrooms are packed with nootropics and adaptogens. Nootropics help increase and improve focus, while adaptogenic herbs help the body recover from and resist stressors, relax the nervous system, and promote your child's capacity to concentrate.
The mushroom can be whipped into a meal or taken as a supplement. But, if you are considering giving Lion's mane mushrooms to your child, it is best to consult a healthcare provider first.
So, how do you ensure your kids enjoy Lion's Mane's benefits without suffering side effects? Read on to learn more.
Boost Your Brain Health With Our 100% Organic Lion's Mane Mushroom Powder - Claim Your 10% Discount Now!
Lion's Mane For Kids: Benefits And Safety
1. Lion's Mane Improves Nerve Growth Factor in Kids
Hericium Erinaceus, known by various names like bearded tooth fungus or mountain-priest mushroom, is a safe and natural supplement to improve mental health and encourage nerve growth.
Read More: See all the mushrooms that improve mental health.
It promotes the synthesis(1) of the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), which is in charge of neurogenesis, or the regeneration of new nerve cells, in the brain. This can enhance cognitive performance, mood, and memory.
2. Lion's Mane Fights Inflammation in Kids
Most people use Lion's Mane as a holistic or nature's solution to inflammatory conditions. The mushroom carries unique bioactive ingredients that lower the risk of inflammation.
Through lowering levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-17a, the NGF produced by Lion's Mane also reduces inflammation throughout the body (IL-17A).
3. Lion's Mane Fights ADHD
The most prevalent neurodevelopmental illness in children is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The present anecdotal evidence on Lion's mane mushrooms and ADHD suggests that the medicinal fungus may be highly effective in conjunction with conventional treatment options.
Even though there is little data on how Lion's Mane treats ADHD, it helps with many of the condition's symptoms.
4. Lion's Mane May Fight Some Allergies That Affect Kids
Lion's Mane is also a fantastic choice for kids with allergies or chronic inflammation because it has anti-inflammatory(2) and immunomodulating properties. According to recent research into the anti-inflammatory properties of Hericium Erinaceus, Lion's Mane displayed anti-inflammatory benefits by inhibiting TLR4-JNK signaling. This could mean that children with chronic inflammation and allergies could benefit from this fuzzy-looking mushroom.
Apart from the health benefits that facilitate allergy treatment, Lion's mane mushroom has a delicious lobster-like taste that can entice your child's taste buds.
Read More: Use our Lion's mane mushroom recipes to prepare lobster-tasting food for your kids.
5. Lion's Mane Fights Obesity
Obesity is a growing pandemic in the United States. According to the CDC(3), the prevalence of childhood obesity was 19.1% in the United States in 2017—that is, 14.7 million kids had obesity. Sadly, this number is only expected to continue growing.
Luckily, Lion's Mane is not just good for brain health—in addition to reducing the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's in your kid's life, Lion's mane capsules and powders also help with weight loss.
Read More: See how Lion's Mane fights Alzheimer's disease.
Various research studies have analyzed Lion's mane weight loss benefits. One research study from 2013(4) examined the effects of Lion's mane mushroom on rats fed a high-fat diet. After feeding the rats with Lion's mane mushroom for two weeks, the researchers determined that the extract of Lion's mane mushroom improves fat metabolism and lowers triglyceride levels.
Researchers conducted another study(5) to analyze the direct impact of a Lion's Mane on weight gain. After 28 days, rats fed a high-fat diet and given daily doses of Lion's mane extract had 27% lower triglyceride levels and 42% less weight gain, according to the study. This study shows that Lion's mane mushrooms could effectively fight weight gain in human beings.
Lion's Mane could be an ideal natural solution if you are looking for a natural way to keep your kid's weight in check. Lion's Mane will facilitate weight loss if your child is already overweight. If your kid has a healthy body weight, you can keep them from gaining excessive weight.
Read More: Learn how Lion's Mane facilitates weight loss.
6. Lion's Mane Fights Cancer
According to the WHO (World Health Organization)(6), about 400,000 kids are diagnosed with cancer annually. This shows that cancer is a growing concern even in the younger generations.
Luckily, however, Lion's Mane fights cancer. In a research study conducted in 2013(7), researchers determined that extracts of Lion's mane mushroom strongly elicited cancer cell death via apoptosis and inhibited cancer cell metastasis to the lungs by 66% and 69%, respectively.
It is important to note that Lion's Mane does not just treat cancer. The mushroom also fights cancer development, reducing the risk of your kids developing the condition.
7. Lion's Mane Promotes Better Sleep
According to the AAFP(8) (The American Academy of Family Physicians), up to 50% of kids deal with sleep disorders. Moreover, the Sleep Foundation(9) notes that insomnia affects 20 to 30 percent of kids.
High-quality sleep is an essential part of your kid's life. Therefore, you must take all the necessary steps to improve your kid's sleep quality. John Hopkins Medicine notes(10) that poor sleep increases the risk of diabetes, obesity, and even cancer.
Luckily for parents planning to improve their kid's sleep, Lion's mane supplements can help. When taken before bed, Lion's mane mushrooms benefit people with their ability to calm the body, allowing it to enter deep sleep faster. The mushroom also promotes REM and non-REM sleep cycles, allowing your kid to wake up well-rested and with maximum mental clarity the following day.
Read More: See why more people are taking Lion's Mane before bed.
8. Lion's Mane Mushrooms Fights Depression and Anxiety
According to the CDC(11), 9.4% of kids in the United States (about 5.8 million) have been diagnosed with anxiety. The CDC also notes that depression affects about 4.1% of the kids in the United States—that is, about 2.7 million kids.
Surprisingly, this is an increase from 2003, when only 5.4% of the kids in the United States had anxiety or depression. These figures show that this is the ideal time for parents to take the necessary steps to fight depression and anxiety in their kids.
Luckily, Lion mane mushroom goes beyond improving cognitive health to fight depression and anxiety. Hericium Erinaceus is an adaptogen mushroom—it helps the body adapt to stress, reducing the risk of developing depression and anxiety.
Read More: See how Lion's Mane fights anxiety.
Various research studies have confirmed the Lion mane anxiety and depression benefits. For example, in 2021, researchers conducted a study(12) to analyze the anti-depressant-like behaviors of Lion's mane mushrooms. In the study, researchers subjected animals to chronic restraint stress and fed them with Lion's Mane for four weeks. The researchers later screened the animals for depressive and anxiety symptoms.
The results from this study showed that four weeks of Lion's mane treatment ameliorated depressive-like behaviors of the mice. The researchers concluded that the fungus could be an effective treatment for depression.
Read More: See how Lion's Mane fights depression.
In a different research study(13), researchers analyzed the impacts of Lion's Mane on depression in a group of women. In the study, the researchers randomly assigned either placebo cookies or Lion's mane cookies for four weeks. The researchers noted that the group taking Lion's mane cookies had lower stress, depression, and anxiety than those consuming the placebo cookies.
Therefore, the research studies cited above show that Lion's mane mushroom is a great choice for parents who want to help their kids avoid depression and anxiety.
Are There Kids Who Should Not Take Lion's Mane Mushroom?
While Lion's Mane is a generally safe fungus that rarely causes side effects, some kids should avoid the mushroom as it may cause harmful effects. Remember that if your child has the conditions mentioned below, you can always work with a healthcare professional to adjust their Lion's mane dosage to a point where it does not cause side effects.
Children with Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes—also known as juvenile diabetes—is a health condition that affects children. According to the CDC(14), the peak age for a type 1 diabetes diagnosis is 13 years, although some kids are diagnosed as early as three years old.
Various research studies have proven that Lion's Mane helps with diabetes treatment. For example, a research study conducted in 2013(15) analyzed Lion's Mane's ability to fight hyperglycemia (high blood sugar levels). The effects of Lion's mane mushroom on glucose and insulin (the hormone that lowers blood sugar) in diabetic rats were studied for 28 days. The results showed that the fungus significantly reduced blood glucose levels while increasing insulin levels. This suggests that Lion's mane extract can be used to manage high blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
While this is a benefit, it can be a disadvantage if one cannot balance Lion's mane dosage with anti-diabetic medications.
According to an article published in 2019(16) by the National Library of Medicine, the most common treatment option for people with type 1 diabetes is insulin replacement therapy. If your kid has type 1 diabetes, they will have to inject insulin daily for the rest of their life. In rare cases where your type 1 diabetic kid also has insulin resistance, they may also need to use additional diabetes medications together with insulin—the diabetes medications will ensure insulin is working optimally.
The sole purpose of insulin in the human body is to lower blood sugar levels. The same case applies to Lion's mane mushroom, which also lowers blood glucose levels. Therefore, when your kids combine the two, there is always a high chance of the blood sugar levels falling below healthy levels, putting your kid at risk of hypoglycemia.
Hypoglycemia makes it hard for your kid to think straight. Moreover, if hypoglycemia is not taken care of quickly, it increases the risk of a coma and, in extreme cases, death.
For this reason, if your kid has to combine insulin and Lion's mane mushroom, you must monitor them closely to reduce the risk of hypoglycemia. Also, if you are in a position where you cannot watch your kid—for example, if he is at school while you are at work, refraining from giving your kid Lion's mane mushroom might be a better idea.
Kids with Asthma
Asthma is a leading chronic disease in kids. According to the AAFA(17) (Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America), Asthma affects approximately 5.1 million kids in the United States. While some mushrooms may be effective in controlling Asthma, some may aggravate symptoms of this chronic condition.
Read More: See how cordyceps improves lung health to fight Asthma.
There is quite a debate about whether Lion's mane mushroom is beneficial or non-beneficial for kids with Asthma. Currently, no research verifies whether using Lion's mane mushrooms with Asthma is safe or unsafe. However, to ensure your kid is on the safer side, we would recommend approaching the use of Hericium Erinaceus in kids with Asthma with extreme care.
Lion's Mane can trigger the release of leukotrienes. One research study(18) confirms that Leukotrienes are involved in asthma pathogenesis. They are inflammatory compounds that produce airways and bronchioles constriction, worsening asthma symptoms.
It is important to note that Asthma is a form of allergic reaction. Therefore, we recommend extreme care when giving Lion's Mane to kids at a higher risk of allergies.
Read More: See how Reishi mushroom fights allergies.
Kids with a Bleeding Disorder
Hemophilia is the most common type of bleeding disorder among kids. Kids with hemophilia cannot stop bleeding because they lack the clotting factor in their blood. The problem with Hericium Erinaceus is that it also tends to slow blood clotting.
One research study(19) analyzed the impact of a Lion's Mane on blood clotting. The researchers determined that Lion's Mane contains a bioactive compound, Hericenone B, which inhibits platelet aggregation and reduces blood clotting. While a reduction in platelet aggregation in healthy people may not be a problem, in kids with bleeding disorders, lack of platelet aggregation can compound the problem, increasing the risk of uncontrollable bleeding.
According to John Hopkins Medicine(20), Hemophilia is an inherited bleeding disorder. Therefore, if anyone in your family has had a bleeding disorder, you may want to be extra careful when giving Lion's Mane to your kids.
Kids Taking Anticoagulants
Anticoagulants are medications that aid in the prevention of blood clots. They are given to people at high risk of clotting to reduce their chances of developing severe conditions like strokes and heart attacks.
A blood clot is a seal formed by the blood to stop the flow of blood from wounds. While they help stop bleeding, if they form in the wrong place, they can block blood vessels and prevent blood from flowing to organs such as the brain, heart, or lungs.
Anticoagulants work by interfering with the process of blood clot formation. They are sometimes referred to as "blood-thinning" medications, even though they do not thin the blood.
As noted earlier, Lion's mane mushroom is also known to impact blood clotting negatively. Therefore, combining anticoagulants and Lion's Mane may increase the risk of bleeding conditions. Your kid may end up suffering from extreme bleeding in the case of an injury, as Lion's Mane will compound the effect of the anticoagulants they are already consuming.
Read More: Learn more about Lion's mane drug interactions.
If Your Kid Has an Upcoming Surgery
Lion's Mane reduces blood clotting, as noted above. This is another reason you should consider eliminating Lion's Mane consumption if your kid has an upcoming surgery.
Blood clotting minimizes blood loss during surgery. However, since Hericenone B inhibits blood clotting, taking Lion's Mane ahead of surgery could create bleeding issues.
Lion's Mane Dosage For Kids
Currently, Lion's mane dose for kids has not been precisely determined, as minimal information is available. To determine if Lion's mane powder benefits your child, we recommend combining one scoop of the mushroom powder into milkshakes and smoothies once a day for a week or two weeks.
Alternatively, Lion's Mane is also available as easy-to-take liquid drops, which can be taken up to 1 ml, 1 to 3 times daily. This can be taken directly by mouth or added to water.
Older kids can take the mushroom capsule and tablets to enjoy improved cognitive health and other benefits offered by the natural supplement.
Read More: Learn how to use Lion's Mane for maximum benefits.
FAQs About Lion's Mane For Kids
What Are The Side Effects Of Lion's Mane?
Low doses of Lion's mane supplements are safe, although they can have some adverse side effects. On the other side, consuming too much of it could result in digestive pain like indigestion or bloating. But, in general, Lion's Mane is harmless because it is a form of mushroom that is occasionally used as natural medicine.
What Does Lion's Mane Do To The Brain?
The mushroom shows excellent potential for overall brain function improvement. It has been shown to help with focus, memory, and clarity. Lion's mane mushroom has also been demonstrated to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.
What Is Lion's Mane Good For?
Lion's Mane is good for boosting brain function, combating inflammation and oxidative stress, and strengthening the immune system. The mushroom also fights obesity and high blood sugar in people with diabetes and may help control blood pressure.
Does Lion's Mane Work Immediately?
No, it does not. Lion's mane mushrooms need two weeks to build in the system and show their effects. To enjoy Lion's mane benefits, take the mushroom consistently—that is, avoid missing a dose of the mushroom.
- Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia, (1)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24266378/
- 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, (2)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26559695/
- Childhood Obesity Facts, (3)https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/childhood.html
- Hypolipidaemic Effect of Hericium erinaceum Grown in Artemisia capillaris on Obese Rats, (4)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3714447/
- Yamabushitake mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) improved lipid metabolism in mice fed a high-fat diet, (5)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20622452/
- Childhood cancer, (6)https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/cancer-in-children
- Hericium erinaceus (Lion's Mane) mushroom extracts inhibit metastasis of cancer cells to the lung in CT-26 colon cancer-tansplanted mice, (7)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23668749/
- Common Sleep Disorders in Children, (8)https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2014/0301/p368.html
- Sleep Disorders in Children, (9)https://www.sleepfoundation.org/children-and-sleep/sleep-disorders-in-children
- Health Risks of Poor Sleep, (10)https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/health-risks-of-poor-sleep
- Anxiety and depression in children: Get the facts, (11)https://www.cdc.gov/childrensmentalhealth/features/anxiety-depression-children.html
- Neurogenesis-dependent antidepressant-like activity of Hericium erinaceus in an animal model of depression, (12)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8650354/
- Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake, (13)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20834180/
- Just Diagnosed With Type 1 Diabetes, (14)https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/diabetes-type-1-diagnosis.html
- Antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic activities of aqueous extract of Hericium erinaceus in experimental diabetic rats, (15)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3852124/
- Therapies for Type 1 Diabetes: Current Scenario and Future Perspectives, (16)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6501476/
- Asthma Facts and Figures, (17)https://aafa.org/asthma/asthma-facts/
- An update on the role of leukotrienes in asthma, (18)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2838730/
- Inhibitory effect of hericenone B from Hericium erinaceus on collagen-induced platelet aggregation, (19)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20637576/
- Hemophilia in Children, (20)https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/hemophilia-in-children
Let Us Know Your Comments