When we go to the hospital and get medications, we are often advised to take some medicines with food, while we take others before eating.
Lion's mane is a medicinal mushroom. For this reason, people may want to know whether they need to consume the medicinal mushroom and then eat the food later, or they can consume it together with food.
This detailed guide will address all questions about using Lion's mane with or without food. However, before we do that, let's first understand what Lion's mane is.
What's Lion's Mane?
Lion's mane mushroom, also known as yamabushitake (or Hericium Erinaceus, for us science geeks), is an edible superfood fungus with a wide range of health benefits.
Shamans of traditional medicine have used the mushroom for thousands of years. Thanks to modern research that has proven its effectiveness, Lion's mane's popularity is rising. Also known as the "lobster of the woods," Lion's mane is famous for its delicious sea-food-like taste.
Read More: Want to turn the mane mushroom into a delicious meal? You can do that with our detailed Lion's mane mushroom recipes.
If you do not have time to cook Lion's mane mushrooms, you can use its supplements—Lion's mane capsules, powders, and more. These allow you a lot of flexibility when taking Lion's mane.
But when do you take it? Our readers often question taking Lion's mane with or without food. Below, we will address this vital question.
In What State Should You Take Lion's Mane: With A Full Or Empty Stomach?
Lion's mane mushroom can be taken with or without food, as it has minimal reported side effects.
However, the timing may depend on whether you take the fresh mushroom or the supplements. Fresh mushrooms are often incorporated with meals, whereas supplements can be taken on an empty stomach or paired with beverages.
It depends on convenience for the best time to use Lion's mane powder or the fresh fruiting body. For example, most people will take fresh Lion's mane medicinal mushrooms when they have enough time to cook—when they are in the kitchen preparing other meals. In this case, taking the fruiting body of the medicinal mushroom together with food makes more sense.
On the other hand, supplements of this traditional Chinese medicine offer convenience. You can easily swallow a capsule while you are hurrying to finish your preparations for work in the morning. Alternatively, you can mix Lion's mane organic mushroom powder with coffee and take it while heading to work. This is why taking supplements without food works.
Below, we will look at the essential health benefits of Lion's mane mushroom, as this also determines how we take the medicinal fungus. We will then let you know how to consume Lion's mane.
Why Is Lion's Mane So Popular?
1. Lion's Mane Improves The Brain Health
The fruiting body and mycelium of Lion's mane mushroom contain(1) two brain health-boosting compounds: Hericenones and Erinacines.
These bioactive substances stimulate the production of Nerve growth factor (NGF), a protein that supports the growth and survival of developing and mature neurons. This also involves a boost in the production of myelin, a fatty sheath that surrounds our neurons and allows electrical impulses within our brains to transmit quickly and efficiently.
Read More: Learn how Lion's mane neurogenesis improves NGF production.
Moreover, the mushroom's active ingredients help us avoid mild cognitive impairment. The mushroom slows down the decline of mental functions, which occurs with age.
Taking Lion's mane supplement in the morning may help stimulate brain function for the day. People often pair the extract with their coffee.
If you are taking Lion's mane for its brain fog benefits, taking it without food (in the morning) may offer you maximum benefits throughout the day.
2. Lion's Mane Improves Sleep Quality
Lion's mane mushroom improves sleep and dreaming. Hericium Erinaceus mushroom is an adaptogen that aids the body's stress adjustment response. It can stimulate our adrenals to reduce stress, which helps us wind down and prepare for restful sleep.
In addition to reducing stress before bed, Lion's mane can also help you shake off any anxiety or worries you might be carrying into bed. The mushroom calms frazzled nerves due to its anxiolytic properties(2).
A dose of Lion's mane before bed should help you wind down, prepare for sleep the right way, and wake up refreshed. This can be taken with your dinner or pop a pill after.
3. Lion's Mane Mushroom Improves Workout Results
When people take Lion's mane pre-workout, studies have shown that the mushroom positively impacts the results from their training session. The mushroom is known to help people reduce fatigue during workout sessions—this helps them work out longer.
Moreover, Lion's mane is known to improve muscle endurance. A research study conducted in 2019(3) determined that this mushroom species was very effective in increasing muscle endurance in mice used as test subjects.
The mushroom is also known for boosting energy. The mushroom can make your workout easier by helping you recharge your batteries before hitting the gym.
For people who want to use Lion's mane mushrooms before getting to the gym, taking the supplement without food may be a good idea. Most people take pre-workout or post-workout supplements without food.
If you head to the gym early morning or early afternoon, you may want to prepare a nice drink with Lion's mane and take it without food. You can easily mix the powder in your smoothie to enjoy:
- Improved neuronal health so that you can avoid nerve damage during complicated workouts
Read More: See how Lion's prevents neuropathy and boosts your neuronal health.
- Anti-inflammatory effects so that you can prevent inflammation during your workouts
- Improved overall cognitive functioning so that you can focus on your workout session without having to worry about anything else
4. Lion's Mane Medicinal Mushrooms Support Diabetes Treatment
The Lion's mane mushrooms are known to help people with diabetes control their blood sugars. For this reason, these people may want to combine alternative medicine and other supplements with their daily pharmaceutical drugs to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Read More: See how Lion's mane aids diabetes treatment.
However, the beneficial effects on blood sugar levels can also become a problem for people with diabetes. This can happen if diabetic people take Lion's mane with insulin or other antidiabetic medications.
If these people fail to eat after combining these medications with Lion's mane, the mushroom may lower blood sugar levels to the point of them experiencing hypoglycemia.
Hypoglycemia is a hazardous condition that makes it hard for people to think clearly or perform. In cases where hypoglycemia is not treated quickly, it can lead to a coma, and in extreme cases, it can lead to death.
For this reason, we advise people with diabetes to seek professional medical advice before taking Lion's mane mushrooms. When people with diabetes take Lion's mane mushrooms for their protective effect or beneficial effects on diabetes, it is a good idea to take the mushroom with food. This will help them avoid deficient blood sugar levels.
How To Take Lion's Mane With Or Without Food?
Fresh Lion's mane mushrooms can be a culinary delight and can be incorporated into many different foods. The crab and lobster-like taste of Lion's mane mushroom is revered by many.
Numerous Lion's mane recipes are available—you can always find something that appeals to your taste buds.
Taking Lion's mane empty stomach also works perfectly fine and is convenient if you are taking the supplement on the go.
Like any health supplement, it's always a good idea to speak to your healthcare provider before incorporating this special fungus into your daily routine.
What Time Of Day Should You Take Lion's Mane Mushrooms?
The question of when to take Lion's mane is common among people using the mushroom for the first time. However, you are not limited to the best time to take Lion's mane.
The timing mainly depends on the benefits you want from the functional mushroom. You can take Lion's mane morning or night without having to worry about Lion's mane side effects. All you have to do is take an ideal Lion's mane dosage.
It is best to take Lion's mane in the early morning to get the full benefits of its energy all day long. You can take Lion's mane mushrooms with your morning coffee to kick off your day.
However, if you want to get the benefits of the adaptogenic properties and sleep better, it is best to take the mushroom around dinner or bedtime.
No matter what time of day you decide to take your Lion's mane, you'll be starting on the right path towards decreasing stress and anxiety, improving cognitive function, and actively preventing inflammation in your body.
Read More: Learn how Lion's mane prevents memory loss and boosts cognitive function.
What Is The Best Way To Consume Lion's Mane?
There is no single best way to consume Lion's mane mushrooms. You can even combine multiple ways.
You can cook the fruiting body and still add capsules, powders, and other supplements into the mix. The only thing you will have to do is ensure the products you are consuming are high-quality.
Read More: Wondering how to get high-quality Hericium Erinaceus? Learn what to look for when buying Lion's mane.
What Should You Not Take Lion's Mane With?
Lion's mane mushrooms interact with blood-clotting drugs—such as anticoagulants and antiplatelets. The mushroom also lowers blood sugar and may interact with antidiabetics. Therefore, before using Lion's mane, seek your doctor's advice if you take these drugs.
Is It Safe To Take Lion's Mane Every Day?
The question, "can you take lion's mane every day?" is often asked by new mushroom users. The answer is simple: Yes, you can take Lion's mane every day.
To get the benefits offered by the mushroom, you need to take it consistently. However, ensure you are not going above the daily recommended dosage.
Maximum dosage of 2000 mg per day is ideal for most people. However, some people can go up to 3000 mg daily, while others can handle 1000 mg daily.
For this reason, talk to your doctor—the doctor should determine how much Lion's mane to take.
Is Lions Mane Safe?
If you are wondering, "should I take lion's mane?" you should know that the mushroom is 100% safe. The mushroom has minimal side effects—in most cases, these side effects result from taking the mushroom at a higher than the recommended dosage.
However, keeping Lion's mane drug interactions in mind is essential as these can make harmless Lion's mane food unsafe. For example, when taken with antidiabetic medications, Lion's mane can cause hypoglycemia.
Also, Lion's mane influences blood clotting, so taking the medicinal mushroom with anticoagulants may create an unsafe interaction that can lead to bleeding.
We recommend talking to a professional before using Lion's mane if you use these medications. This should help you figure out a safe Lion's mane dosage that will not impact your health.
Also, the healthcare professional should help you balance your pharmaceutical drugs with the adaptogenic mushrooms to enjoy the benefits of Lion's mane without suffering from side effects.
You can take Lion's mane with or without food, depending upon the form of the mushroom you are using and the desired effect you are looking to achieve.
Fresh mushrooms are usually taken with a meal, whereas Lion's mane supplements like powder, extract, and liquids can be taken on an empty stomach first thing in the morning.
Pair your Lion's mane with coffee to remove brain fog throughout the day. If you want to sleep better, take the mushroom around bedtime, regardless of what you eat. Either way, consistency is the key to getting the best out of Lion's mane.
How do you usually use your Lion's mane? With or without food? Let us know in the comments.
- Hericenones and erinacines: stimulators of nerve growth factor (NGF) biosynthesis in Hericium erinaceus, (1)https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/21501201003735556
- Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus) Exerts Anxiolytic Effects in the rTg4510 Tau Mouse Model, (2)https://www.mdpi.com/2076-328X/12/7/235
- Increase in muscle endurance in mice by dietary Yamabushitake mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) possibly via activation of PPARδ, (3)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30938015/