Lion's mane headache is a potential side effect experienced by some individuals who consume Lion's mane mushroom supplements, known for their cognitive and nervous system support benefits. The headache may be caused by compounds in the mushroom, such as hericenones and erinacines, allergic reactions, interactions with medications, or individual sensitivities.
To prevent or manage Lion's mane headache, following proper dosing guidelines, gradually introducing the supplement, identifying and avoiding triggers, and consulting with a healthcare professional before starting or continuing its use are essential.
While there's limited research on the potential side effects of Lion's mane mushrooms, the evidence suggests they're generally safe for consumption. So if you're experiencing headaches, it's unlikely that these mushrooms are to blame. If by chance they are, it's usually only during the initial stages of use for most people.
Interestingly, Lion's Mane may have some benefits for people who suffer from migraines. Migraines are debilitating neurological conditions that can cause excruciating headaches and other symptoms. But some evidence suggests that brain-boosting supplements like Lion's Mane could help alleviate migraine symptoms and support overall brain health.
Of course, it's always essential to research and talk to your doctor before trying new supplements. But if you're looking for a natural way to support your brain health and potentially alleviate migraine symptoms, Lion's mane mushrooms could be worth exploring further.
Lion's Mane Mushroom: A Brief Overview
What Is Lion's Mane Mushroom?
Lion's mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) is a unique, edible fungus known for its distinctive appearance and numerous health benefits. Often found on hardwood trees, this medicinal mushroom has been used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine for centuries. However, Lion's mane mushrooms have gained popularity recently as a natural remedy for supporting cognitive function and overall well-being.
Health Benefits Of Lion's Mane Mushroom
One of the most well-known benefits of Lion's mane mushrooms is their ability to support cognitive function. Studies have shown that(1) Lion's mane mushroom can improve memory, focus, and learning by promoting the growth and development of nerve cells. This makes taking Lion's mane mushroom an attractive option for those seeking to enhance their mental capabilities.
Nervous System Support
In addition to cognitive support, Lion's mane mushrooms have been found to provide nervous system support. Research suggests that(2) compounds in the medicinal mushroom, such as hericenones and erinacines, can stimulate the production of nerve growth factors, which play a crucial role in maintaining the health of neurons and promoting nerve regeneration.
Immune System Enhancement
Hericium erinaceus is also known for its immune-boosting properties. The bioactive compounds in this medicinal mushroom have been shown(3) to possess antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties, contributing to a more robust immune system and overall health.
Common Forms Of Lion's Mane Supplements
Lion's mane mushroom powder is a popular and versatile form of supplementation. The mushroom powder can be easily added to smoothies, coffee, or tea, allowing users to enjoy the benefits of Lion's Mane without changing their daily routine. This form is perfect for those who prefer taking Lion's mane mushrooms in a more easily customizable manner.
Hericium erinaceus supplements in capsule form offer a convenient way to consume this medicinal mushroom. Capsules are easy to carry, have a longer shelf life, and can be taken with water, making them an ideal choice for individuals who prefer a more straightforward approach to supplementation.
Lion's mane mushroom liquid extracts offer a highly concentrated form of the medicinal mushroom, which the body can quickly absorb. The liquid extract can be taken under the tongue or added to beverages, providing a potent and efficient way to enjoy the health benefits of Lion's mane.
Understanding Lion's Mane Headache
Does Lion's Mane Cause Headaches?
Hericium erinaceus headache is an adverse reaction experienced by some individuals after consuming supplements derived from Lion's mane medicinal mushroom (Hericium erinaceus).
While many people enjoy the cognitive health benefits of this natural supplement without any issues, a small percentage may experience headaches and other mild symptoms.
Lion's mane may cause headaches in individuals with low Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) levels. However, these headaches are not harmful and do not ruin your mood.Moreover, these headaches go away when Lion's mane promotes neurogenesis and ensures your body has enough NGF.
When discussing mushrooms and Lion's mane, there may be confusion between magic mushrooms and headaches. Magic mushrooms contain psilocybin, which can trigger headaches in susceptible people. Research shows(4) that higher doses of psilocybin commonly result in headaches, but they are brief and do not persist for more than a day.
Magic mushrooms are also known as psychedelic mushrooms. Lion's mane is not a psychedelic mushroom, indicating it does not contain psilocybin.
Prevalence Of Lion's Mane Headache
Although Hericium Erinaceus headache is not extremely common, it is essential to recognize its occurrence and risk factors. As the use of Lion's mane mushroom for cognitive support and Alzheimer's disease prevention increases, understanding the potential side effects and their prevalence becomes crucial. However, the exact prevalence of Hericium erinaceus headache is still unclear, as research on the topic is limited and often focuses on the mushroom's positive effects.
Potential Causes Of Lion's Mane Mushroom Headache
Hericenones and Erinacines
Hericium erinaceus contains bioactive compounds, such as hericenones and erinacines, responsible for stimulating nerve growth factor (NGF) and promoting brain cell growth. While providing numerous health benefits, these compounds may also cause headaches in some individuals, particularly those with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease.
A headache might also result from a mushroom allergy. While rare, some individuals may be allergic to the compounds found in mushroom heads, leading to an immune response that causes headaches and other symptoms. If you have a known mushroom allergy, it's best to consult with a healthcare professional before using Lion's mane supplements.
Interactions with Medications
As with any natural supplement, there is a possibility that Lion's mane may interact with medications, leading to headaches and other side effects. For example, individuals taking medications for irritable bowel disease or wound healing may experience adverse reactions when using Hericium erinaceus supplements. Always consult with a healthcare professional before combining natural supplements with prescription medications.
Lastly, individual sensitivities can play a role in causing headaches after consuming Lion's mane mushroom supplements. Some people may be more prone to headaches due to their unique genetic makeup, lifestyle factors, or other underlying health conditions. For these individuals, the best natural supplements for cognitive support may not include Lion's Mane and alternative options should be explored.
Symptoms and Duration of Lion's Mane Mushroom Headache
While the numerous health benefits of Lion's mane mushroom extracts have been well-documented, some individuals may experience adverse effects when taking Lion's mane mushrooms. The most common symptoms associated with Hericium erinaceus headache include:
Headaches are the primary symptom of Hericium erinaceus headache and can vary in intensity from mild to severe. These headaches might be caused by the mushroom's impact on nerve cells, blood pressure, or wound healing.
Some individuals may experience nausea when taking Lion's mane mushrooms, mainly if they are sensitive to the compounds that promote nerve growth and the protective effect on nerve cells.
Dizziness is another symptom that can occur in conjunction with Hericium erinaceus headache. This symptom may be related to changes in blood pressure or the protective effect of the mushroom on nerve cells.
Duration of Symptoms
The duration of symptoms associated with Hericium erinaceus headache can vary from person to person. However, the symptoms are often short-lived, lasting only a few hours to a day.
However, some individuals may experience prolonged symptoms, particularly if they have underlying health conditions such as mild cognitive impairment, blood pressure fluctuations, or sleep disorders.
When To Consult A Healthcare Professional
If you experience persistent or severe symptoms after taking Lion's mane mushrooms, it is crucial to consult a healthcare professional. The symptoms may sometimes indicate an allergic reaction, as evidenced by skin rashes or difficulty breathing.
A healthcare professional can help determine the cause of the symptoms and suggest appropriate modifications to your supplementation routine or alternative options to harness your desired Lion's Mane benefit without adverse effects.
7 Ways To Prevent and Manage Lion's Mane Mushroom Headache
1. Adjust Your Dosage
A higher Lion's mane dosage may increase your risk of suffering from Hericium erinaceus headache—this is often the case if the high dosage is introduced into the diet abruptly.Therefore, beginning with a lower dosage of your Lion's mane extract is best to avoid the risk of headaches caused by a higher dosage.
For example, if you take Lion's Mane supplements as capsules or Lion's Mane mushroom powder, start with one gram daily and gradually raise the dose until you feel comfortable at the highest amount. However, try not to exceed a dosage of 4,000 mg daily.
The suggested starting dose is one teaspoon daily for cooking with dried Lion's Mane mushrooms or using a liquid tincture. After that, this dose should be increased by one teaspoon every few days until you discover the ideal one. Also to be considered is that since everyone processes supplements differently, it could take some people longer than others to find the proper dosage level.
2. Get A Magnesium Supplement
You can add magnesium supplements to your wellness regimen if dried Lion's mane mushrooms or supplements give you headaches. An absorbable form of magnesium (such as magnesium glycinate) has been shown to prevent headaches prophylactically.
3. Get A High-Quality Lion's Mane Supplement
You can also get a headache after taking Lion's Mane dose if the supplement is of inferior quality. In addition, pesticides in mushrooms may trigger a headache. Only buy mushroom supplements from trusted brands which are certified organic.
Interesting Read: See what to look for when buying Lion's Mane products.
4. Stay Dehydrated At All Times
Also, drink plenty of water while taking Lion's mane supplement. Many people have noticed dehydration trigger headache and potentially worsens them.
5. Identify and Avoid Triggers
Understanding your headache triggers can help you prevent and manage symptoms more effectively. Triggers may include specific situations, such as taking the supplement on an empty stomach or consuming it alongside other medications or supplements that lower blood sugar levels. Keeping track of when your headaches occur and any potential contributing factors can help you identify and avoid these triggers.
6. Use Over-The-Counter Pain Relief Options
For those who experience Lion's mane headache despite following proper dosing and avoiding triggers, over-the-counter pain relief options may help alleviate symptoms.
For example, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain caused by blood clots or other factors. However, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional before using these medications, particularly if you have any pre-existing health conditions or concerns.
7. Use Alternative Supplementation Strategies
If you continue to experience headaches when taking Hericium Erinaceus supplements, consider exploring alternative supplementation strategies. For example, you may consume the mushroom's fruiting bodies in a cooked form rather than as a supplement.
This method can provide the digestive health benefits of the mushroom while potentially reducing the risk of headaches. You can also explore other natural supplements with benefits similar to Hericium Erinaceus, such as those that support cognitive function.
Lions' Mane Mushroom For Treating Migraines
Although contradictory, the Lion's Mane mushroom may be the most effective all-natural migraine remedy. Lion's mane can fight migraines with its exceptional protection against nerve pain. In addition, Lion's mane treats migraines by inhibiting cytokines, which are pro-inflammatory substances linked to migraine symptoms.
A 2020 study(5) compared the effects of natural migraine remedies like Lion's Mane with those of prescription migraine drugs. According to research, this mushroom can treat migraines similarly to prescription drugs while causing fewer adverse effects.
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Exploring Other Natural Alternatives for Cognitive Support
Other natural alternatives are available if you cannot tolerate Lion's mane mushroom supplements or seek additional options to support cognitive function. The following herbs and supplements for brain fog and health have demonstrated potential for enhancing cognitive performance, memory, focus, and overall brain health:
Ginkgo biloba is a popular herbal supplement known for its positive effects on cognitive function. Extracts from the ginkgo tree leaves have been shown(6) to improve blood flow to the brain, support memory, and enhance concentration. In addition, ginkgo biloba is believed to possess(7) antioxidant properties, protecting brain cells from oxidative stress and damage.
Bacopa monnieri, also known as Brahmi, is a traditional Ayurvedic herb used for centuries to support cognitive function and memory. Research suggests that(8) Bacopa monnieri may enhance memory recall, reduce anxiety, and improve overall cognitive performance. The herb promotes the production of essential neurotransmitters, such as acetylcholine, which play a crucial role in learning and memory.
Rhodiola rosea, a natural adaptogen, is known for its ability to help the body cope with stress and support mental clarity. This herb has been used in traditional medicine systems for centuries to combat fatigue, improve mood, and enhance cognitive function. Research indicates that(9) Rhodiola rosea may improve cognitive performance by reducing mental fatigue, improving stress resilience, and supporting overall brain health.
Ashwagandha, another powerful adaptogen, has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to support cognitive function and reduce stress. Studies have shown that(10) ashwagandha may help improve memory, learning, and overall cognitive performance. In addition, ashwagandha has been found to possess neuroprotective properties, which may protect brain cells from oxidative stress and support overall brain health.
FAQs About Lion's Mane Headache
How Does Lion's Mane Make You Feel?
Lion's mane is a nootropic that improves cognitive function, memory, concentration, and overall brain health. As a result, some individuals who take Lion's Mane may report feeling more mentally alert, focused, and less tired.
The mushroom also gives an energy boost, which could result from its ability to fight fatigue and brain fog. However, the effects of Lion's Mane can vary from person to person and depend on various factors such as the dosage, individual tolerance, and the quality of the supplement.
Does Lion's Mane Work Immediately?
The effects of medicinal mushrooms—including cordyceps, reishi, Chaga, Lion's mane, and others—may not be felt immediately. This is because the supplement may take some time to build up in the body to produce noticeable effects. For example, for Lion's Mane, some individuals may begin to notice improvements in cognitive function and memory within a few weeks of taking Lion's Mane, while others may take longer.
The length of time it takes for Lion's Mane to work may also depend on factors such as the individual's age, overall health, the severity of the illness they are treating, and the dosage and quality of the supplement. It is important to note that Lion's Mane is not a quick fix and should be taken regularly as part of a healthy lifestyle to reap its potential benefits.
Does Lion's Mane Have Any Psychoactive Effects?
Lion's mane mushroom (fruiting body and mycelia) does not contain any psychoactive compounds such as THC or CBD found in cannabis or psychedelic substances like psilocybin found in magic mushrooms. Therefore, Lion's mane is not known to have any psychoactive effects nor produce any significant alterations in perception, mood, or consciousness.
Lion's mane improves cognitive function, memory, and overall brain health by promoting nerve growth factor (NGF) synthesis and neuroprotective properties. In addition, the mushroom enhances cognitive function by promoting the development of brain cells and improving nerve regeneration through neurogenesis.
What Does Lion's Mane Do To The Brain?
Lion's mane may enhance cognitive function and memory by increasing NGF levels and promoting the growth and development of new nerve cells in the brain. Additionally, studies suggest that Lion's mane may have neuroprotective effects and potentially prevent or slow down the progression of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's.
Lion's mane has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce inflammation in the brain, reducing the risk of cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases. Furthermore, Lion's mane may promote nerve regeneration and repair in the brain and nervous system, making it beneficial for recovery from nervous system injuries.
Though extremely rare, Lion's mane may cause minor headache-like symptoms among newbies using a high dosage. These headaches could happen to people who are low on the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and could indicate that this traditional Chinese medicine is working to promote neurogenesis. Lion's mane headache can be decreased by reducing the dose, staying hydrated, and opting for a trusted organic mushroom supplement.
Interestingly, research has shown that Lion's mane mushrooms may be beneficial in easing migraine symptoms. This anti-migraine effect results from the mushroom's ability to fight pro-inflammatory substances in the brain. Lion's mane, however, produces the best results when used regularly—for example, researchers indicate that daily mushroom consumption at the proper dosage has the best results for men and women.
Have you taken Lion's Mane before? Did you experience any headaches? Did Lion's mane help you overcome your migraines? Please share your experience with us in the comments section.
- Dietary Supplementation of Lion's Mane Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Agaricomycetes), and Spatial Memory in Wild-Type Mice, (1)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29953363/
- Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia, (2)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, (3)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26559695/
- Psilocybin dose-dependently causes delayed, transient headaches in healthy volunteers, (4)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3345296/
- Migraine treatment and healthcare costs: retrospective analysis of the China Health Insurance Research Association (CHIRA) database, (5)https://thejournalofheadacheandpain.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s10194-020-01117-2
- Effects of Ginkgo biloba on cerebral blood flow assessed by quantitative MR perfusion imaging: a pilot study, (6)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3163160/
- Properties of Ginkgo biloba L.: Antioxidant Characterization, Antimicrobial Activities, and Genomic MicroRNA Based Marker Fingerprints, (7)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32349345/
- The effectiveness of Bacopa monnieri (Linn.) Wettst. as a nootropic, neuroprotective, or antidepressant supplement: analysis of the available clinical data, (8)https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-80045-2
- Rhodiola rosea L. Improves Learning and Memory Function: Preclinical Evidence and Possible Mechanisms, (9)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6288277/
- Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha Root Extract on Cognitive Functions in Healthy, Stressed Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study, (10)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8632422/