Lion's Mane has been making waves in the health world lately, with its impressive benefits becoming the talk of the town. But as women consider adding this superfood to their diets, concerns arise about its bioactive ingredients and potential risks to their growing embryos.
Fortunately, for mothers-to-be, Lion's Mane is generally considered safe to eat during pregnancy. These mushrooms provide essential nutrients like fiber, protein, vitamins like vitamin B12, and minerals like selenium. Moreover, these mushrooms have bioactive ingredients that can fight cravings for unhealthy foods, improve the pregnant mother's immunity, and fight various pregnancy-related diseases, including preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.
The whole nine months from ovulation and fertilization to childbirth, women need foods that provide the proper nutrients to facilitate embryo growth. So let's dive into the fascinating world of Lion's Mane and explore why more women use it before delivery and postpartum when breastfeeding their children.
Is Lion's Mane Safe During Pregnancy?
Lion's mane medicinal mushrooms are generally considered safe for pregnant women. Using the proper Lion's mane dosage allows expecting mothers to enjoy the unique benefits of this mushroom without suffering from side effects.
However, to increase your safety when using these edible mushrooms while pregnant, be sure to consider the following factors:
1. Lion's Mane Mushroom Source
When you see that positive pregnancy test, choosing a reputable source of lion's mane mushrooms is essential. Look for mushrooms grown clean, safe, and free from contaminants. These mushrooms should be certified organic and grown without harmful chemicals.
Moreover, do not consume wild mushrooms, as you may end up taking lion's mane look-alikes. Look-alikes could be poisonous mushrooms that could affect your overall health negatively.
If you're considering using lion's mane mushroom supplements during pregnancy, look for products specifically formulated for pregnant women. These supplements may be less likely to contain harmful contaminants or high mushroom doses.
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2. The Freshness of the Medicinal Mushrooms
Choose fresh lion's mane mushrooms whenever possible, as they are less likely to be contaminated with harmful bacteria or toxins. Fresh mushrooms will also be richer in beneficial compounds, including polysaccharides, the all-important antioxidant, hericenones, erinacines, and beta-glucans.
3. Proper preparation
Wash and cook the mushrooms thoroughly before consuming them. This will eliminate any potentially harmful bacteria or other contaminants. Also, do not eat raw mushrooms during pregnancy, as these could increase the risk of side effects.
Read More: See our hand-picked Lion's mane mushroom recipes that help you prepare a tasty meal for the entire family.
4. Your Pregnancy Dosage
Consult your healthcare provider about how much Lion's Mane is safe during pregnancy.Overconsumption of culinary mushrooms or supplements can be harmful during pregnancy, so following your healthcare provider's recommendations is essential.
5. History of Allergies
If you have a history of allergic reactions to mushrooms or other foods, avoiding consuming Lion's Nane mushrooms during pregnancy is vital. Allergies can cause serious health problems, so it's better to be safe than sorry.
Moreover, if this is the first time you plan to use these fungi, talk to your doctor before using Lion's mane supplement to prepare mushroom coffee. Your doctor will look at your unique situation, considering everything from your current health situation and morning sickness episodes to your due date, to determine if the mushroom is safe for you.
Read More: Read our detailed guide on mushrooms safe to eat during pregnancy.
What Are Lion's Mane Mushrooms Benefits During Pregnancy?
Lion's Mane, a medicinal mushroom, has several potential health benefits for pregnant women:
1. Boosts Immune Function
Lion's Mane has been shown to boost immunity—one research study conducted in 2017(1) confirmed the immunomodulatory benefits of Lion's mane mushrooms. This is due to beta-glucans in the mushroom, which enhance the immune system and protect against infections.
The immune system is more vulnerable during pregnancy, suggesting the importance of adding Lion's mane mushroom to a pregnant woman's diet and nutrition profile.
2. Lion's Mane Supports Brain Health
Lion's Mane promotes the growth of nerve cells and improves cognitive function. One research study(2) confirmed Lion's mane neurogenesis benefits which promote NGF production in the human body. Another study conducted in 2019(3) demonstrated Lion's Mane's ability to improve memory.
This benefit could be helpful for pregnant women who may experience brain fog or memory issues, which are common during pregnancy. In addition, lion's Mane's ability to improve brain health can make these fungi an effective treatment for depression and anxiety, often affecting women with a child in their uterus.
3. Fights Pregnancy Inflammation
Lion's Mane has anti-inflammatory properties that could help reduce pregnancy inflammation. A research study conducted in 2015(4) confirmed Lion's Mane's anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, another study(5) in the same year confirmed that the ethanol extract of a Lion's Mane fruiting body could also fight inflammation.
Inflammation is a common issue during pregnancy and can lead to complications such as preterm labor.By alleviating inflammation, Lion's Mane could help women with babies under development in their uterus avoid preterm labor.
4. Fights Gestational Diabetes
Lion's Mane has been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels. This benefit could be significant during pregnancy, as high blood sugar levels can lead to gestational diabetes and other complications.
Read More: See how Lion's Mane fights diabetes.
5. Boasts Nutritional Benefits
The growing baby in the uterus takes nutrients from the mother through the placenta. Therefore, expecting parents should improve the quality of their food to ensure they have enough nutrients for a healthy newborn.
Lions mane mushrooms provide essential supplemental nourishment with their vital nutrients, including prenatal vitamins like vitamin C and vitamin D (primarily when grown in sunlight), minerals like selenium and potassium, protein, and fibers. As an added benefit, Lion's mane consumption gives your body everything you need to feel full for longer, eliminating cravings and lowering your pregnancy weight gain risk.
6. Fights Preeclampsia
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a relatively common condition during pregnancy. The most common type is gestational hypertension, which develops after 20 weeks of pregnancy and usually resolves after delivery. However, gestational hypertension can sometimes progress to a more serious condition called preeclampsia, which can be life-threatening if left untreated.
Lion's Mane has blood pressure-lowering effects due to bioactive compounds such as polysaccharides and ergosterol that can relax blood vessels and improve blood flow. In addition, Lion's Mane has antioxidant activity that protects the cardiovascular system from oxidative stress, which is associated with hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases.
Can You Take Lion's Mane While Breastfeeding?
Yes, you can eat mushrooms during your postpartum period while breastfeeding. You do not have to worry about side effects as long as you follow the proper Lion's mane dosage.
The functional mushroom will provide vital nutrients you can easily pass on to your breastfeeding toddler. However, if you have not used Lion's Mane before while breastfeeding, talk to a doctor to get guidance on how to take this functional mushroom safely.
Read More: Our detailed guide on Lion's mane use while breastfeeding delves deeper into this topic.
FAQs About Lion's Mane Pregnancy
Is Mushroom Coffee Safe for Pregnancy?
It is important to note that the safety of drinking mushroom coffee during pregnancy is not fully established. However, it may be safe when used in the correct dosage. Nevertheless, it is recommended that women consult with their healthcare provider before consuming mushroom coffee or any other dietary supplement during pregnancy.
Additionally, caffeine intake during pregnancy should be limited, and mushroom coffee may contain caffeine depending on the specific product. Pregnant women should limit their caffeine intake to less than 200 milligrams per day.
Does Lion's Mane Affect Hormones?
Limited research is available on the effects of lion's mane mushrooms on hormone levels during pregnancy. However, some studies suggest that lion's Mane may have estrogenic effects, which means that it may interact with the body's estrogen receptors and potentially affect hormone levels.
It is important to note that during pregnancy, hormonal changes occur naturally in the body to support fetus growth and development. Therefore, introducing any substance that may affect hormone levels should be done with caution and under the guidance of a healthcare provider.
How Does Lion's Mane Make You Feel?
Some people who consume lion's mane mushroom report feeling more focused, clear-headed, and alert. This is thought to be due to the potential ability of lion's mane mushroom to stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF) production in the brain, a protein that helps support the growth and survival of nerve cells.
Additionally, some research suggests that lion's mane mushrooms may have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, potentially leading to improved mood and reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Read More: See how Lion's Mane fights anxiety.
When Should You Not Take Lion's Mane?
Individuals allergic to mushrooms should avoid consuming lion's mane mushrooms or any other mushroom products. Lion's mane mushrooms may have potential blood-thinning effects, increasing the risk of bleeding during or after surgery. Therefore, it is recommended that individuals stop using lion's mane mushrooms at least two weeks before any scheduled surgery.
Lion's mane mushrooms may have potential immune-boosting effects, potentially interacting with medications that suppress the immune system. Therefore, individuals taking immunosuppressive drugs should consult their healthcare provider before using lion's mane mushrooms.
Lion's Mane is safe to consume during pregnancy. When taken correctly, Lion's Mane can reduce the risk of pregnancy-related inflammation, fight gestational diabetes, reduce the risk of preeclampsia, and provide the nutrients that facilitate healthy embryo development.
Pregnant women should get a go-ahead from their doctor before using this functional fungus. Then, after considering their circumstances, the doctor will determine the ideal dose for them. The doctor will also help you decide whether or not you have allergies or are taking medicines that could interact with Lion's mane mushrooms.
Have you used Lion's Mane while pregnant? What was your experience with the fungus? Let us know in the comments.
- Immunomodulatory effects of Hericium erinaceus derived polysaccharides are mediated by intestinal immunology, (1)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28266682/
- Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia, (2)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24266378/
- Hericium erinaceus Improves Recognition Memory and Induces Hippocampal and Cerebellar Neurogenesis in Frail Mice during Aging, (3)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6521003/
- 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, (4)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26559695/
- Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ethanol Extract of Lion's Mane Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Agaricomycetes), in Mice with Ulcerative Colitis, (5)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27481156/
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