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< class="article__title title lions-mane-mycelium-vs-fruiting-bodies-complete-guide"> Lion's Mane Mycelium VS. Fruiting Bodies: Complete Guide>
Lion's Mane Mycelium VS. Fruiting Bodies: Complete Guide
Feb 09, 23
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Author: Sony Sherpa

Lion's Mane Mycelium VS. Fruiting Bodies: Complete Guide

  • by Sony Sherpa

    Medically reviewed by

    Sony Sherpa

    A rising star in the holistic health field, Dr. Sony Sherpa has been studying medicinal mushrooms for more than 7 years. Although she started writing on Nature’s Rise one year ago, her knowledge of medicinal mushrooms is backed by a master's degree in Holistic Medicine.

  • |
  • 14 min read

The mycelium of fresh Lion's mane mushrooms is the underground network of thread-like fibers that grow throughout the soil or substrate. The mycelium acts as the mushroom's root system, absorbing nutrients from the soil or substrate and breaking them into usable forms for the mushroom to grow. The Lion's mane fruiting bodies are the visible, above-ground portions we typically consider the "mushroom." 

Mycelium is rich in polysaccharides which boast immune-boosting properties. Mycelium extracts are often used in supplements and tonics to support immune function, reduce inflammation, and promote overall wellness. 

On the other hand, the fruiting body of Lion's mane mushroom is rich in erinacines and hericenones, linked to improved cognitive function, memory, and nerve regeneration. Fruiting body extracts are often used in supplements and nootropic stacks to support brain health and cognitive function.

This detailed guide will examine how Lion's mane mycelium and fruiting body differ. Then, we will take a deeper look at the benefits of each part of this traditional Chinese medicine, weighing their benefits against each other to determine which option would be better. 

Mycelium for Immunity and Well Being

Mycelium for Immunity and Well Being

While Lion's mane mushroom mycelium may share some benefits with other parts of this fungi, it has several benefits that stand out. The mycelium is largely known for immune function improvement and boosting overall well-being.  

1. Immune System Support

The mycelium contains beta-glucans, complex polysaccharides that may stimulate the immune system and improve overall immune function. Research conducted in 2021(1) proved that beta-glucans from fungi have immuno-modulatory properties, boosting immune health when used in food. 

2. Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Polysaccharides in the mycelium have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help to reduce inflammation throughout the body and alleviate symptoms associated with inflammatory conditions

A research study conducted in 2020(2) showed that polysaccharides effectively suppress the excessive production of nitric oxide and pro-inflammatory cytokines (including TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6) while promoting the secretion of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. Another study supported(3) these results, indicating that polysaccharides can improve inflammation. 

3. Antioxidant Properties

Oxidative stress can cause chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease (heart disease), diabetes, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic kidney disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. 

It damages cells, including blood vessels, DNA in cells, and neurons in the brain, lungs, and kidneys, leading to inflammation, joint damage, insulin resistance, and increased cancer risk. It may also damage beta cells in the pancreas, making it impossible for the body to regulate blood sugar levels

Read More: See how Lion's Mane fights cancer.

Lion's mane mycelium contains antioxidants that can help to neutralize harmful free radicals and protect cells from oxidative stress, which may help to prevent cellular damage and reduce the risk of these chronic diseases. 

4. Digestive Health

Polysaccharides in the mycelium may also support healthy digestion by promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria and improving gut health. 

Research conducted in 2022(4) proved that polysaccharides enhance immunity and act as a natural medicine by improving gut health. In addition, another study conducted(5) in the same year demonstrated that polysaccharides improve gut health, thereby working as a treatment for high-fat-induced metabolic diseases.

Read More: See the best mushrooms for boosting gut health and digestion

Lion's Mane Fruiting Bodies for Brain Health

Lion's Mane Fruiting Bodies for Brain Health

The fruiting bodies boast neuroprotective properties, with their bioactive components promoting neurogenesis. Therefore, this part of the mushroom is a gift from nature that improves brain health and the nervous system. Here are some brain health benefits to expect from Lion's mane fruiting bodies. 

1. Improved Memory

Lion's mane mushrooms improve memory and cognitive function, especially in older adults.One research study(6) on mice determined that Lion's mane extract can boost recognition memory. In addition, the study confirmed that this unique fungus could fight dementia which causes memory loss. 

2. Enhances Focus and Supports Mental Clarity

Lion's mane fruiting bodies may improve focus and mental clarity by supporting the growth of new neurons in the brain. Some people also report feeling more alert and productive after taking Lion's mane supplements.

Read more: See how Lion's Mane fights brain fog.

3. Reduced Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression

Some research suggests that Lion's mane mushrooms may reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression by supporting the growth of new brain cells and promoting nerve growth and repair. 

An animal research study conducted in 2022(7) confirmed that Lion's Mane has anxiolytic effects. Another study demonstrated(8) that the mushroom fights anxiety and depression after four weeks of consumption.

4. Potential Treatment for Neurodegenerative Diseases

The Lion's mane medicinal mushroom has shown promise as a potential treatment for neurodegenerative conditions such as mild Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's.Some studies have found that Lion's mane supplements may help reduce these diseases' symptoms by promoting nerve growth and repairing damaged nerve cells.

Read More: See how Lion's Mane fights Parkinson's disease.

5. Increased Neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity refers to the brain's ability to change and adapt over time. Lion's mane mushroom may help to increase neuroplasticity by stimulating the growth of new neurons and supporting the connections between brain cells.

Lion's Mane Fruiting Body Vs. Mycelium: Which Is Better?

Lion's Mane Fruiting Body Vs. Mycelium: Which Is Better?

The health benefits of Lion's Mane may be most significant when both of the mushroom's parts are consumed rather than just one. This is because the fruiting body will improve your brain health while the mycelium boosts your immune health. 

But, when the mycelium is grown on grain (the most common method), separating it from the grain is impossible, so you get a diluted mushroom product. In addition, growing mycelium on filler substrates like grain is more affordable, simpler, and quicker than growing fruiting bodies. This explains why Lion's Mane mycelium is used in many products and supplements.

But when it comes to your well-being, cheaper, quicker, and more accessible (especially with lots of filler) are not what you want. The mycelium or roots often lack many vital bioactive chemicals and can contain up to 70–90% grain filler. 

When we put our science cap on, mycelium lacks the hericenones, DLPE, amyloban, 3-hydroxyhericenone F, amycenone, Hericenes, erinacerins, and Hericerins, which are well-researched compounds for promoting nerve growth factor and general cognitive health. 

You should opt for 100% fruiting bodies in your Lion's mane mushroom product for these reasons. This way, you won't have to worry about the product being overly watered down, lacking the excellent stuff, or being filled with fluff or fillers.

Boost Your Brain Health With Our 100% Organic Lion's Mane Powder - Claim Your 10% Discount Now!

What To Look For When You Purchase Lion's Mane Mycelium?

What To Look For When You Purchase Lion's Mane Mycelium?

Distinguishing between the different Lion's mane mushroom products that continue to overwhelm the market can be tricky. Experts say there are things you can do to make sure you're getting the most out of your medicinal mushroom intake, though.

It is best to read the label from front to back. Ensure Lion's mane mushroom product specifies each of its contents in detail. Additionally, draw attention to products that list how much beta-glucans they contain.

To determine how much mycelium is in your mushroom supplements, check the label's number of carbs or starches. Also, consider the flavor and aroma of any Lion's mane mushroom products you purchase. It shouldn't smell like starch (for example, cereal or crackers).

The color of the mushroom powder is another crucial factor to consider. Light-colored mushroom powders are almost definitely formed of grains.

If the product's maker doesn't provide adequate information about its contents, it might be considered low-quality. A lack of transparency is a major warning sign that the product doesn't include the premium mushroom extracts you're looking for. Therefore, avoid Lion's mane extracts that are ambiguous.

Buy Lion's mane mushroom supplements that are certified organic. Everything the manufacturer uses must also be organic. In addition, every item they use and sell is given a batch number that allows easy tracking.

Read More: See our detailed guide on what to look for when buying Lion's Mane.

How to Grow Lion's Mane Mycelium

How to Grow Lion's Mane Mycelium

As noted earlier, the mycelium in the market is of low quality mainly. Foraging mushrooms and mycelium in the forest may be a good idea as it may grow on a nutrient-rich log or tree. However, you may not have the time to forage for Lion's mane mushrooms. 

Therefore, the next best option will be to get your spores and invest some time in mushroom cultivation. Following these steps, you can grow high-quality mycelium free from contamination and rich in beneficial compounds.

Prepare the Substrate

Choose a suitable substrate for the mycelium to grow on. Hardwood sawdust or straw are standard options.

Sterilize the Substrate

Sterilize the substrate to kill off any competing bacteria or fungi that could infect the mycelium. This can be done using a pressure cooker or an autoclave.

Inoculate the Substrate

Inoculate the sterilized substrate with Lion's Mane spores. This can be done using a spore syringe or adding a small amount of colonized material to the substrate.

Incubate the Substrate

Place the inoculated substrate in a warm, dark environment with consistent temperature and humidity. The ideal temperature for mycelium growth is between 70°F and 75°F (21°C and 24°C).

Monitor and Maintain the Mycelium

Check the substrate regularly to ensure that the mycelium is growing and healthy. Maintain a consistent temperature and humidity, and provide fresh air exchange to prevent contamination.

Harvest the Mycelium

Once the mycelium has fully colonized the substrate, it's ready to harvest. This can be done by breaking up the substrate and separating the mycelium from any remaining substrate.

Dry the Mycelium

Dry the harvested mycelium in a dehydrator or low-temperature oven to remove excess moisture.

Read More: See our detailed guide on how to grow Lion's Mane at home.

FAQs About Lion's Mane Mycelium

What Does Lion's Mane Do To The Brain?

Lion's Mane contains compounds such as erinacines and hericenones that stimulate the growth and repair of nerve cells in the brain. This can lead to improved cognitive function, including better memory and concentration.

Studies have suggested that Lion's Mane may have antidepressant and anxiolytic effects, potentially due to its ability to reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain. Lion's Mane also appears to have neuroprotective effects. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which may help protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals and other harmful substances.

Finally, Lion's Mane may help with nerve regeneration. The erinacines found in Lion's Mane stimulate the production of nerve growth factor (NGF), a protein that promotes the growth and repair of nerves in the brain and throughout the body.

What Are The Side Effects Of Lion's Mane Mycelium?

The Mycelium of Lion's mane mushrooms is generally considered safe for consumption and is not associated with many side effects. However, some people may experience adverse reactions or allergic responses l. In addition, some individuals may experience gastrointestinal discomforts such as bloating, gas, or stomach upset after consuming the mycelium.

There is also some concern about the potential for the mycelium to interact with certain medications. For example, people taking medicines that affect blood clotting, such as warfarin, should be cautious about consuming mycelium as it may increase the risk of bleeding. Additionally, those with low blood pressure or scheduled for surgery should consult their healthcare provider before consuming mane mushroom mycelium.

Can You Eat Lions Mane Mycelium?

While Lion's Mane mycelium is not typically consumed as food, it is generally considered safe for consumption. It is typically harvested and processed for its medicinal properties rather than as a culinary ingredient.

If you eat the mycelium, cook it thoroughly before consuming it. However, it is essential to note that consuming mycelium is not a common culinary practice. Instead, it is typically consumed in supplement or extract form for its health benefits.

Key Takeaways

While Lion's mane fruiting body and mycelium are parts of medicinal mushrooms, they have varying concentrations of bioactive ingredients. For example, Mycelium boasts high immune-boosting compounds, while the fruiting body has compounds that boost brain health. 

You can select Lion's mane supplement that best suits your needs by knowing the differences between the fruiting body and Lion's mane mycelium. However, it is worth noting that the therapeutic benefit is substantially higher when using the mushroom fruiting body rather than the mycelium. 

Have you used Lion's Mane before? Did you use the mycelium or the fruiting body? What difference did you notice when using the different parts of the mushroom? Please share your experience with our readers in the comments section. 

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  1. Beta-Glucans from Fungi: Biological and Health-Promoting Potential in the COVID-19 Pandemic Era, (1)
  2. Anti-inflammatory activity of a water-soluble polysaccharide from the roots of purple sweet potato, (2) 
  3. Anti-Inflammatory Effect of Sulfated Polysaccharides Isolated from Codium fragile In Vitro in RAW 264.7 Macrophages and In Vivo in Zebrafish, (3) 
  4. Polysaccharides influence human health via microbiota-dependent and -independent pathways, (4) 
  5. Targeting Gut Microbiota With Natural Polysaccharides: Effective Interventions Against High-Fat Diet-Induced Metabolic Diseases, (5) 
  6. Hericium erinaceus Improves Recognition Memory and Induces Hippocampal and Cerebellar Neurogenesis in Frail Mice during Aging, (6) 
  7. Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) Exerts Anxiolytic Effects in the rTg4510 Tau Mouse Model, (7)
  8. Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake, (8)

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