Lion's Mane is a mushroom known for its distinctive appearance and robust nutritional profile. It's a good source of dietary fiber and contains a decent amount of protein. Additionally, it provides essential micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals.
What truly sets Lion's Mane apart are its unique bioactive compounds, including hericenones, erinacines, and beta-glucans. These have been linked to numerous health benefits, like supporting cognitive health, boosting the immune system, promoting digestive health, and potential cancer-fighting properties.
A single serving of Lion's Mane, weighing 100 g, can yield approximately 43 calories and 4.4 g of carbohydrates while containing substantial quantities of potassium and iron. Moreover, this type of mushroom is protein-rich, boasting an average of 22 g of protein per 100 g of dried mushrooms, and is an excellent plant-based source of essential amino acids.
Lion's Mane can be incorporated into your diet through culinary preparations or dietary supplements. However, as with any food, it's essential to consider potential side effects or drug interactions, although Lion's Mane is generally considered safe.
Here, we will lay down Lion's mane nutrition facts and the health benefits of this incredibly popular medicinal mushroom.
Lion's Mane Nutrition Facts: Reasons to Add the Medicinal Mushroom to Your Diet
According to Lion's Mane nutritional information from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)(1), the mushroom provides a broad range of essential nutrients.
Here are Lion's mane mushroom nutrition facts (per 3.5 oz serving or 100 g of the mushroom). In addition, we will mention the health benefits of each nutrient in Lion's Mane mushroom extract, so you can know how Lion's Mane supplement benefits your overall health.
Lion's Mane is a good source of beta-glucan, providing 2.4 grams per 100-gram serving. The beta-glucan is a soluble fiber that supports immune function and reduces inflammation. Beta-glucan may also lower cholesterol levels, promote healthy gut bacteria, and lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
Interesting Read: See how Lion's Mane fights diabetes.
Low In Calories And Fat
With only 43 kcal per 100 g serving and 0.26 g of total fat, Lion's Mane is a healthy option for those looking to maintain a healthy weight and improve their overall health.
The low calorie and fat content make Lion's Mane supplements a great addition to a weight-loss diet. In addition, the mushroom can reduce the risk of weight gain in men and women, fighting obesity in adults and children and reducing triglyceride levels.
Total Dietary Fiber
This mushroom contains 4.4 grams of dietary fiber in each 100-gram serving. The dietary fiber in Lion's Mane can improve digestion, promote satiety, and lower the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, aiding blood sugar management.
The high fiber content also helps to regulate bowel movements and promote regularity. In addition, studies show that(2) dietary fiber often fights hunger pangs, reducing the risk of consuming unnecessary calories—this indicates that Lion's Mane may promote weight loss.
Lion's Mane contains the amino acid Ergothioneine—17 mg of Ergothioneine per 100 grams of mushroom product serving—which protects against oxidative stress. It also reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's, which often affect cognitive function. In addition, research suggests that(3) Ergothioneine may also boost immune function and reduce inflammation.
Read More: See how Lion's mane extract fights Parkinson's disease.
Lion's mane mushrooms contain a range of essential minerals, including iron (0.69 mg), magnesium (11.7 mg), phosphorus (94 mg), potassium (443 mg), zinc (0.74 mg), copper (0.177 mg), manganese (0.18 mg), selenium (1.8 micrograms), and a small amount of calcium (<2.5 mg).
These minerals play crucial roles in various bodily functions, including:
- Potassium: Potassium supports nerve function and helps maintain healthy blood pressure levels. Adequate potassium intake may also reduce the risk of stroke and kidney stones.
- Iron: Iron helps transport oxygen throughout the body and is essential for producing red blood cells. Iron deficiency can lead to anemia and other health problems.
- Magnesium: Magnesium is necessary for muscle and nerve function and plays a role in bone health and blood sugar regulation.
- Phosphorus: Phosphorus is essential for bone health and plays a role in energy metabolism and DNA synthesis. With its ability to improve bone health, phosphorous can help reduce the risk of arthritis, helping you avoid joint pain in old age.
- Calcium: Although not a significant source of calcium, Lion's Mane contains trace amounts of this vital mineral necessary for strong bones and teeth.
Lion's mane medicinal mushrooms contain several essential B vitamins, including thiamin (B1) at 0.146 mg, riboflavin (B2) at 0.363 mg, niacin (B3) at 1.63 mg, vitamin B6 at 0.066 mg, and biotin (B7) at 16.9 micrograms. In addition, it contains folate at 30 micrograms, vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) at 0.02 micrograms, and a total of 0.8 IU of vitamin D (D2 + D3).These vitamins play numerous roles, including:
- Thiamin (B1): Thiamin plays a crucial role in energy metabolism and nerve function. This vitamin fights various disease symptoms that often affect the nervous system.
- Riboflavin (B2): Riboflavin is essential for energy production and plays a role in the metabolism of other nutrients.
- Niacin (B3): Niacin is necessary for energy production and plays a role in DNA repair and cell signaling.
- Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 is vital for brain development and function and produces hormones and neurotransmitters.
- Biotin (B7): Biotin is essential for healthy hair, skin, and nails and plays a role in energy metabolism and DNA synthesis.
- Folate: Folate is necessary for producing new cells and plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair.
- Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol): Although not a significant source of vitamin D, Lion's Mane contains a small amount of this critical nutrient necessary for strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D also fights joint damage and reduces the risk of pain associated with arthritis.
Lion's Mane contains several types of phytosterols, including ergosterol (68 mg), ergosta-7-enol (2.52 mg), ergosta-7,22-dienol (0.819 mg), ergosta-5,7-dienol (4.41 mg), campesterol (<0.2 mg), stigmasterol (<0.2 mg), delta-5-avenasterol (<0.2 mg), delta-7-stigmastenol (<0.2 mg), and beta-sitostanol (<0.2 mg).
Research indicates that(4) phytosterols are structurally similar to cholesterol and can compete with it for absorption in the gut. As a result, consuming foods rich in phytosterols can help lower cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Hericenones And Erinacines
Hericenones and erinacines are bioactive compounds found in Lion's Mane mushrooms. These compounds promote brain health, and nerve regeneration, reduce inflammation, support immune function, and potentially have anti-cancer properties.
Hericenones and erinacines enhance cognition, boosting brain function and enhancing brain cell growth, which helps fight neurodegenerative diseases. For example, these compounds are responsible for Lion's mane neurogenesis, which promotes the production of nerve growth factors, fighting brain fog, poor memory, and other brain health issues that plague humans.
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Health Benefits of Lion's Mane
Cognitive Health and Neuroprotection
Lion's mane mushroom, also known as Hericium Erinaceus, mushroom yamabushitake, or the charmingly named pom pom mushroom, is renowned for its potential health benefits. One of Lion's Mane's most notable health benefits is its contribution to cognitive health and neuroprotection.
Various studies have shown that(5) Lion's mane mushrooms contain compounds that stimulate nerve growth factor production, supporting nerve cells' growth and health. This aspect is critical to Lion's Mane's ability to boost mental health and potentially reduce mild symptoms of cognitive impairment. As a result, Lion's mane mushroom has become one of the most sought-after natural nootropics.
In addition to supporting mental health, Lion's mane mushrooms also play a vital role in immune support. They possess anti-inflammatory effects that help manage chronic inflammation, further boosting the body's natural defenses. The mushroom extract from Lion's mane mushrooms enhances the immune system's function, promoting overall well-being.
Another health benefit of Lion's mane mushroom revolves around digestive health. Lion's mane mushrooms contain compounds that support the gut's health and aid in fat metabolism, contributing to a balanced and effective digestive system.
Potential Cancer-Fighting Properties
Interestingly, Lion's Mane may fight cancer. Some studies have found that the mushroom extract from Hericium Erinaceus can inhibit the growth of cancer cells, although more research is needed in this area.
Tips on Incorporating Lion's Mane into Your Diet
Purchasing and Identifying High-Quality Lion's Mane
When incorporating Lion's Mane, also known as Hericium Erinaceus, into your diet, it's essential to start by purchasing and identifying high-quality Lion's Mane. Fresh Lion's mane mushrooms should have a firm and spongy texture with a white or slightly yellow color.
Dried Lion's Mane or Lion's Mane mushroom powder should come from reputable suppliers known for their commitment to quality and purity. Lion's Mane is considered a medicinal mushroom in traditional Chinese medicine, so quality is paramount.
Various Ways to Prepare and Cook Lion's Mane
There are various ways to prepare and cook Lion's Mane. Fresh Lion's mane mushrooms can be sliced and sautéed in olive oil until golden brown. Given their chewy texture and flavor, similar to lobster or crab meat, they can be a great addition to stir-fries, soups, or salads. If you're on a high-fat diet, you might even want to try them in a creamy sauce.
Additional Recipe Ideas
Numerous exciting Lion's mane mushroom recipes can showcase the unique flavor and texture of Hericium Erinaceus. For instance, you can make vegan crab cakes with Lion's Mane, using the mushroom as a substitute for crab meat. Mix cooked and shredded Lion's Mane with binding ingredients like bread crumbs and spices, form into patties, and pan-fry until crispy.
For something a bit unexpected, consider using Lion's mane powder in a raw vegan chocolate cake. The powder can be mixed into the cake batter, contributing a unique flavor profile and boosting the nutritional value of the dessert.
Lion's Mane Supplements: Pros and Cons
Aside from incorporating fresh Lion's Mane or Lion's mane powder into meals, you can also consider Lion's mane supplements, typically available as capsules or Lion's mane extracts.
The advantage of supplements is that they provide a concentrated dose of Lion's Mane, making achieving the potential health benefits easier without consuming large amounts of mushrooms. They're also convenient for those who may not enjoy the taste of Lion's Mane or don't have access to fresh mushrooms.
However, supplements also have their downsides. They can be more expensive than fresh Lion's Mane and may not provide the same culinary enjoyment. Also, the quality can vary between brands, so choosing a reputable supplier is essential.
FAQs About Lion's Mane Nutrition
What Does Lion's Mane Do For The Body?
Some studies have found that Lions Mane may support brain function, including improving cognitive function and memory. In addition, the mushroom may have neuroprotective properties that help to protect against age-related cognitive decline—this is one of the reasons Lion's Mane is considered a smart mushroom.
It has also been found to promote nerve regeneration and repair. The mushroom also boosts mood, fighting depression and anxiety. Lion's Mane provides potent anti-inflammatory properties in the body and supports immune function, potentially helping to fight off infections and diseases. Additionally, it may have anti-cancer properties and could help improve heart health by lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
What Are The Negative Effects Of Lion's Mane?
Lion's Mane mushroom is generally considered safe for most people when consumed in food amounts or taken as a supplement. However, some people may experience mild side effects, such as stomach discomfort, diarrhea, or an allergic reaction.
People with a known mushroom allergy (which often manifests as skin rashes) or those taking certain medications should use caution when consuming Lion's Mane. Lion's Mane may also lower blood sugar levels, so individuals with diabetes or hypoglycemia should closely monitor their blood sugar levels when consuming Lion's Mane. Finally, consult a healthcare provider before taking any new supplements, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition or are taking medication.
Read More: Learn about Lion's mane interactions with other drugs.
Is There Vitamin D In Lion's Mane?
While mushrooms are often considered a good source of vitamin D, the Lion's Mane mushroom is not a significant source of this nutrient. However, growing Lion's Mane in UV light can increase the vitamin D content.
100 g of Lion's Mane mushroom does contain a total Vitamin D (D2 + D3) content of 0.8 IU, equivalent to 0.02 microgram.However, it is essential to note that this is a minimal amount of vitamin D, and Lion's Mane mushrooms should not be relied upon as a significant source of this nutrient.
Lion's Mane boasts one of the healthiest nutrient profiles—the functional fungus is low in unhealthy fats, carbs, and calories, making it ideal for people working on their weight loss journey. Moreover, this functional fungus contains B vitamins, D and C, and minerals like selenium, iron, potassium, calcium, and even phosphorous.
It is also worth noting that this functional fungus is high in bioactive substances that boost the brain cells' health, stimulate antioxidant activity, and promote overall health. The good thing is that this mushroom is extremely easy to include in your diet—use its powder in your beverage or use fresh mushrooms for cooking.
However, before you eat Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, talk to your doctor to determine the best Lion's mane dosage. A good dosage of these edible mushrooms will help you enjoy the health benefits of Lion's Mane without side effects.
Have you used Lion's mane mushrooms? Did you cook the fresh mushroom or use a supplement? Let us know in the comments.
- Mushroom, lion's Mane, (1)https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1999626/nutrients
- Fiber Intake Predicts Weight Loss and Dietary Adherence in Adults Consuming Calorie-Restricted Diets: The POUNDS Lost (Preventing Overweight Using Novel Dietary Strategies) Study, (2)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6768815/
- The Anti-Oxidant Ergothioneine Augments the Immunomodulatory Function of TLR Agonists by Direct Action on Macrophages, (3)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5256913/
- Phytosterols and Cardiovascular Disease, (4)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8410723/
- Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia, (5)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24266378/