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< class="article__title title"> Lion's Mane With Or Without Food: How Is It Best To Take It?>
Lion's Mane With Or Without Food: How Is It Best To Take It?
Aug 29, 22
This article has been vetted by the Onnit Advisory Board. Read more about our editorial process.
Author: Sony Sherpa

Lion's Mane With Or Without Food: How Is It Best To Take It?

When most of us go to the hospital and get medications, we are often advised to take some medications with food, while the others must be taken 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. 

When will I get maximum benefits from Lion's mane mushroom? Is it when I use Lion's mane organic mushroom powder before or after eating? Does the form in which I take Lion's mane affect the best time to use the mushroom? 

These questions are prevalent among people new to Lion's mane mushrooms. Luckily, 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 several years. Thanks to a host of modern research that has proved its effectiveness, the popularity of Lion's mane is rising in the current times.

Also known as the "lobster of the woods" Lion's mane is just as popular for its delicious sea-food-like taste of the fruiting body. When people use the right Lion's mane mushroom recipes, they manage to turn this medicinal mushroom into something they enjoy as a family meal. 

However, thanks to modern science, people do not need to spend time in the kitchen cooking medicinal fungi. Today, the mushroom is available in the form of supplements—Lion's mane capsules, powders, and more. 

These allow users a lot of flexibility regarding taking Lion's mane. People can quickly prepare and drink Lion's mane tea with modern supplements. 

Just as you would expect with natural foods that go beyond the nutrients to treat symptoms of different diseases, supplements containing Lion's mane mushrooms are flying off the shelves now. From powders to gummies, tinctures, tablets, liquids, and capsules, Lion's mane supplements, you can choose the mushroom to your liking. 

The good news is that all these products have the same health benefits—when you use the right Lion's mane dosage, the form of Lion's mane mushroom will not matter; you will get the same results from all forms of the medicinal fungus. 

But when do you take it? Our readers often question whether it is healthier to take 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.

However, when it comes to the timing for using Lion's mane powder or the fresh fruiting body, it all depends on convenience. For example, most people will take fresh Lion's mane medicinal mushroom 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, however, are made for convenience. This means that you can take a capsule while you are hurrying to finish your preparations for work in the morning. Alternatively, you can mix the lions mane powder with coffee and take it while heading to work. This is why taking supplements without food is a good idea. 

Below, we will look at the important 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.

Lion's mane mushroom will therefore allow our brain to continue rapidly and efficiently processing information, which may improve focus, cognition, memory, awareness, and intelligence. Moreover, the mushroom's active ingredients help us avoid mild cognitive impairment. Protecting our brain cells and the nervous system, Lion's mane prevents Alzheimer's disease, ensuring mental functions do not decline with age. 

Therefore, taking Lion's mane supplement in the morning may help stimulate brain function for the day. People often pair the extract with their coffee. This suggests that if you are taking Lion's mane for its brain fog (and overall brain health) benefits, taking it without food (in the morning) may offer you maximum benefits throughout the day. 

2. Lion's Mane Improves Sleep Quality

Now, another health benefit of Lion's mane mushroom is that it is known to help improve sleep and dreaming. When people take Lion's mane before bed, they end up with a night filled with restful sleep. 

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 is known to calm frazzled nerves due to its anxiolytic properties(2).

Taking a dose of Lion's mane before bed should help you wind down, prepare for sleep the right way, and wake up all the more refreshed. This can be taken with your dinner or pop a pill after.  Lion's mane before bed makes it an excellent adjunct to your lifestyle that will tend to the body, case by case.

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. 

What's more, 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. Helping you recharge your batteries before hitting the gym, the mushroom can make your workout easier. 

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. In most cases, people take pre-workout or post-workout supplements just before starting their workout. This suggests that they may not have enough time to cook the mushroom—taking Lion's mane powder or other supplements of the mushroom makes things much easier. 

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
  • 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 Supports Diabetes Treatment

Lion's mane offers diabetes benefits—the mushroom is 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. 

However, it is essential to note that 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 comma, 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 mushroom. When people with diabetes take Lion's mane mushroom for its 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?

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 choose from these recipes to 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 deciding to incorporate 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, the good news is that you are not limited regarding the best time to take Lion's mane.

The best time to take lions mane mainly depends on the benefits you would like to get from the functional mushroom—this means that you can take Lion's mane morning or night without having to worry about Lion's mane side effects. 

To get the full benefits of its energy all day long, it is best to take Lion's mane in the early morning or the afternoon. Lion's mane mushrooms can be taken with your morning coffee to get a kick start to 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, better cognitive function, and actively preventing inflammation in your body.

While the best time of day to take Lion's mane for sleep benefits is in the afternoon, people also consume the mushroom for digestive health, good gut bacteria, improved heart health, and reduced risk of heart disease; these people can take the mushroom at any point throughout the day. 


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.

What Should You Not Take Lion's Mane With?

Lion's mane mushrooms may interact with medications that work to slow blood clotting—such as anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs.  The mushroom also lowers blood sugar. That is why avoiding taking the mushroom with antidiabetic medication, anticoagulant, and antiplatelet drugs is best.

Is It Safe To Take Lion's Mane Everyday?

The question of "can you take lion's mane everyday?" is often asked by new mushroom users. If you are asking yourself, "can I take lion's mane everyday?" you should know that taking Lion's mane every day is 100% healthy.

To get the benefits offered by the mushroom, you need to take it consistently. You will only need to ensure you are not going above the daily recommended dosage. 

Maximum dosage of 2000 mg per day is recommended for most people. However, some people can tolerate more than this and can go up to 3000 mg daily, while others can handle 1000 mg daily. 

For this reason, before taking the average recommended dosage for Lion's mane for depression and other conditions, 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 together with antidiabetic medications Lion's mane can cause hypoglycaemia. 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 are using 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. 

Final Thoughts

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.

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  1. Hericenones and erinacines: stimulators of nerve growth factor (NGF) biosynthesis in Hericium erinaceus, (1)
  2. Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus) Exerts Anxiolytic Effects in the rTg4510 Tau Mouse Model, (2)   
  3. Increase in muscle endurance in mice by dietary Yamabushitake mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) possibly via activation of PPARδ, (3)

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