Subscribe Today & Receive 15% Off

< class="article__title title should-you-consume-lions-mane-with-or-without-food"> Should You Consume Lion's Mane With Or Without Food?>
Should You Consume Lion's Mane With Or Without Food?
Aug 29, 22
This article has been vetted by the Onnit Advisory Board. Read more about our editorial process.
Author: Sony Sherpa

Should You Consume Lion's Mane With Or Without Food?

  • by Sony Sherpa

    Medically reviewed by

    Sony Sherpa

    Dr. Sony Sherpa is a board-certified Clinical Doctor and dedicated advocate for holistic medicine, specializing in functional mushrooms. Her blend of medical expertise and passion for alternative wellness lends authenticity to her role as a contributor for Natures Rise.

  • |
  • 17 min read
Should You Consume Lion's Mane With Or Without Food?

Lion's mane mushrooms can be consumed with or without food, depending on personal preference and desired benefits. For example, consuming Lion's mane with food may improve absorption and digestion while allowing you to enjoy its unique flavor in various recipes. On the other hand, taking Lion's mane without food, typically in supplement or tea form, can result in increased bioavailability and faster absorption. 

Some experts suggest taking Lion's mane mushrooms on an empty stomach to maximize effectiveness. This is because when taken without food, the active compounds in Lion's mane are absorbed quickly and efficiently into the bloodstream. This fully allows the body to utilize the mushroom's neuroprotective and cognitive-enhancing properties. 

However, taking Lion's Mane without food may cause gastrointestinal discomfort in some people, particularly those with sensitive stomachs. For this reason, some experts recommend taking Lion's Mane with food to avoid digestive issues. 

When taken with food, Lion's Mane is absorbed more slowly, possibly reducing the risk of stomach upset. Additionally, consuming Lion's Mane with a meal that contains healthy fats can improve its bioavailability. This is because the active compounds in Lion's Mane are fat-soluble, and consuming them with fat can help your body absorb them more efficiently.

Ultimately, it's essential to experiment and determine the best method for your individual needs, considering each approach's potential benefits and side effects.

This article will examine the benefits of taking Lion's mane with or without food. If you are considering taking advantage of the health benefits of Lion's Mane, including fighting dementia, Alzheimer's, and depression, stick with us so you can figure out how to avoid side effects. 

Factors To Consider When Determining Whether To Take Lion's Mane With Or Without Food

Factors To Consider When Determining Whether To Take Lion's Mane With Or Without Food

1. Absorption

Taking Lion's Mane on an empty stomach may facilitate faster absorption and bioavailability. This is because the absence of food in the stomach means fewer substances compete for absorption. 

However, taking Lion's Mane with food can also improve absorption efficiency, particularly if taken with a meal that contains healthy fats. For example, taking Lion's Mane with avocado, nuts, or olive oil can improve its bioavailability since its active compounds are fat-soluble. 

However, taking Lion's Mane with food high in fiber, particularly insoluble fiber, may interfere with absorption. This is because the fiber can bind to the active compounds in Lion's Mane and prevent their absorption into the bloodstream.

2. Digestive Health

People with sensitive stomachs or a history of digestive problems may experience discomfort when taking Lion's Mane on an empty stomach. In these cases, taking Lion's Mane with food may help you avoid the side effects of mushroom supplements.

However, some may find that taking Lion's Mane on an empty stomach is better tolerated than taking it with food. This is because taking supplements with food may interfere with the absorption of other nutrients in the meal, leading to digestive discomfort.

3. Personal Preference

Some people may prefer to take Lion's Mane on an empty stomach because they feel it is more effective. Others may take it with food to avoid any potential digestive issues.

4. Overall Health Status

Individuals with diabetes or other blood sugar issues should consider taking Lion's Mane with food to help regulate blood sugar levels.

Read More: See how Lion's Mane treats diabetes.

People with pancreatic insufficiency or other conditions that affect fat absorption may not absorb the active compounds in Lion's Mane as efficiently if taken without food.

5. Dosage And Frequency

If the recommended dosage of Lion's Mane is high, it may be better to take it with food to avoid any potential gastrointestinal issues. If the recommended dosage of Lion's Mane is low, taking it on an empty stomach may be more efficient since the body doesn't need to compete for absorption with other substances.

6. Form Of The Mushroom

You can take Fresh Lion's Mane mushrooms with food when cooked because they are a whole food source. In this case, the nutrients and bioactive compounds in the mushroom are naturally bound to other food components. 

On the other hand, supplements like tinctures, powder, and capsules are typically more concentrated sources of Lion's Mane extract. In addition, these forms of Lion's Mane are often designed to be taken without food. 

Consuming Lion's Mane With Food

Consuming Lion's Mane With Food

Lion's mane mushroom, a popular medicinal mushroom in traditional Chinese medicine, can be taken with food to maximize its health benefits. By consuming Lion's mane mushrooms with meals, you can enjoy improved absorption and digestion while savoring their unique flavors and complementary nutrients.

Benefits of Consuming Lion's Mane with Food

Improved Absorption and Digestion

Taking Lion's mane mushroom with food—especially foods rich in healthy fats—can help you absorb its beneficial compounds, lowering blood sugar levels and enjoying anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, this approach may enhance digestion and reduce the risk of upset stomach or gastrointestinal discomfort.

Complementary Nutrients and Flavors

Lion's mane mushrooms offer a distinct taste and flavor that pairs well with many dishes. You can benefit from their medicinal properties by incorporating them into meals while enjoying a delicious culinary experience.

Delicious Lion's Mane Recipes to Try Today

When taking the mane mushrooms with food, you can take advantage of the following Lion's mane mushroom recipes to create a tasty meal filled with health benefits: 

Lion's Mane Sauté

Sauté fresh Lion's mane mushroom with garlic, onions, and olive oil for a tasty and nutritious side dish. This recipe highlights Lion's mane's unique texture and flavor while showcasing its traditional medicine benefits.

Stuffed Lion's Mane Mushrooms

Stuff Lion's mane mushrooms with a mixture of sautéed vegetables, breadcrumbs, and herbs for a tasty and healthful entrée. This dish highlights the versatility of the Lion's mane and demonstrates its potential to lower blood sugar levels and support heart health.

Lion's Mane Mushroom Soup

Prepare a creamy lion's mane mushroom soup by simmering Lion's mane mushrooms in a rich broth with onions, garlic, and fresh herbs. This comforting Lion's mane soup showcases the mushroom's powerful antioxidant and nerve growth factor properties, promoting a healthy nervous system.

Pair Lion's Mane with Other Brain-Boosting Foods

Incorporating Lion's mane mushroom into your diet can be a valuable addition to a brain-boosting meal plan. Consider taking Lion's mane mushroom with other cognitive-enhancing foods like blueberries, nuts, and leafy greens.These ingredients may work synergistically to support cognitive functioning and overall health, allowing you to enjoy all the benefits of Lion's Mane.

The Best Foods To Take With Lion's Mane Mushroom to Boost Absorption

Whether your goal is to use Lion's mane to reduce the risk of cancer or to fight obesity and boost weight loss, you may want to use the medicinal mushrooms with food to reduce the risk of stomach discomfort. Certain foods can help enhance the absorption of bioactive compounds when consuming Lion's Mane mushroom. Here are some examples of foods that work well with this herbal supplement:

Healthy Fats

As mentioned earlier, Lion's Mane mushrooms contain fat-soluble compounds, so consuming them with healthy fats in a high-fat diet can enhance absorption. Foods high in healthy fats include avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil. 

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruits, including oranges, lemons, and limes, are high in vitamin C, which can help increase the absorption of Lion's Mane.Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can fight oxidative stress and boost the immune system.

Black Pepper

Black pepper has piperine, which can enhance the absorption of certain nutrients, including the bioactive compounds in Lion's Mane. Therefore, adding black pepper to your Lion's Mane supplement or meal can increase the absorption of its beneficial compounds.

Green Tea

Green tea contains EGCG, which enhances cognitive function and improves brain health. In addition, consuming green tea along with Lion's Mane can improve the bioavailability of the mushroom's active compounds.

Probiotic-Rich Foods

Probiotic-rich foods—for example, yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut—contain beneficial bacteria that boost gut health and enhance the absorption of nutrients. Probiotics can also reduce inflammation and support the immune system, making them a great addition to a diet that includes Lion's Mane.

Consuming Lion's Mane Without Food

Consuming Lion's Mane Without Food

Lion's mane, a medicinal mushroom well-regarded in traditional Chinese medicine, can also be consumed without food for various health benefits. By taking Lion's mane on an empty stomach, you may experience increased bioavailability and faster absorption, optimizing its positive effects on neural health.

Benefits of Consuming Lion's Mane on an Empty Stomach

Increased Bioavailability

Animal research suggests that taking Lion's mane without food can enhance the bioavailability of its bioactive substances, ensuring that your body fully absorbs the beneficial effects of this medicinal mushroom.

Faster Absorption

Consuming Lion's mane on an empty stomach allows the powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds to enter your bloodstream more quickly, supporting brain cells, nerve damage repair, and overall neural health.

How to Consume Lion's Mane Without Food

Supplements and Extracts

Lion's mane extract, derived from the mushroom's fruiting body, is a convenient way to take Lion's mane without food. Available in capsule or liquid form, these supplements offer a concentrated dose of Lion's mane's beneficial effects, including promoting mature neurons and reducing depressive behaviors.

Lion's Mane Tea

Lion's mane tea, made by steeping the dried mushroom in hot water, is another option for consuming Lion's mane without food. Popular in Asian countries, this tea boasts powerful antioxidant activity, making it an excellent choice to boost immunity and neural health. Enjoy your tea early morning to keep brain fog at bay throughout the day or in the early afternoon to relax your body and fight anxiety and stress. 

Potential Side Effects and Precautions

Potential Side Effects and Precautions

While Lion's Mane is generally considered safe, some individuals may experience side effects, such as skin rashes or allergic reactions. Therefore, it's essential to exercise caution when trying any new supplement, particularly if you have a history of allergies to medicinal mushrooms like reishi mushrooms.

Additionally, Lion's mane may affect blood clotting, so it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional before taking Lion's mane if you have a bleeding disorder or are taking medications that affect blood clotting.

Why Take Lion's Mane Mushrooms

Why Take Lion's Mane Mushrooms

Research shows that(1) Lion's Mane has neuroprotective properties. For example, a research study conducted in 2013 (2) confirmed that it contains compounds that may help stimulate brain cells' growth and protect against neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. 

Some studies have also suggested(3) that Lion's Mane may fight memory loss and improve cognitive function. As a result, Lion's mane mushroom is often called a "smart mushroom" because it boosts mental functions, fights brain fog, and eliminates mild cognitive impairment. 

Moreover, Lion's Mane has anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation is associated with various health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and cancer cells. Lion's mane contains compounds that may reduce inflammation, potentially reducing the risk of these conditions. Moreover, in people with inflammatory conditions like arthritis, this mushroom species may act as an alternative medicine for fighting symptoms like joint pain. 

Research shows that(4) Lion's Mane may have immune-boosting effects. It contains polysaccharides that stimulate the immune system. In addition, some studies have suggested(5) that Lion's Mane may improve immune function and reduce the risk of infections by regulating gut microbiota—it is one of the best mushrooms for gut health.

Lion's Mane mushrooms may lower cholesterol levels, improve digestion, and promote skin health. Research studies(6) have also suggested that Lion's mane may fight anxiety and depression and boost energy levels to fight fatigue.

FAQs About Lion's Mane With Or Without Food

What Is The Best Way To Consume Lion's Mane Mushroom?

The best way to consume Lion's Mane mushrooms depends on your preferences and needs. There are several ways of consuming Lion's mane, including:

  • Lion's Mane capsules or tablets: Lion's Mane supplements are widely available in capsule or tablet form, which can be a convenient option for those who prefer a more straightforward method of consumption.
  • Mushroom powder: You can mix Lion's Mane powder into a smoothie, juice, or other beverages. You can also add it to soups, stews, and sauces.
  • Lion's mane tea or tincture: Lion's Mane tea or tincture can be a soothing way to consume this mushroom. 
  • Cook the fresh mushroom: You can also use the fruiting body of the mane mushroom with other ingredients to create a meal that improves your brain function while providing nutrients like vitamins and minerals. 

When choosing a form of Lion's Mane to consume, it's essential to consider factors such as convenience, taste, and absorption. 

What Should You Not Take Lion's Mane With?

While Lion's Mane is generally considered safe for most people, there are some potential interactions and precautions to consider. One of the main things to be cautious of when taking Lion's Mane is its potential to interact with medications. 

Specifically, Lion's Mane may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with certain blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin or aspirin.Therefore, speaking with a healthcare provider before taking Lion's Mane if you are taking blood-thinning medications or have a bleeding disorder is essential. Moreover, talking to a doctor can help determine how much Lion's mane mushroom is safe. 

Is It Safe To Take Lion's Mane Every Day?

Lion's Mane mushroom extract is safe when consumed in moderate amounts, and there is no evidence to suggest that taking it daily would harm most people. Many people take Lion's Mane supplements daily as part of their routine to potentially support cognitive function, immune health, and other health benefits.

However, it is essential to remember that there is limited research on the long-term effects of Lion's Mane supplementation and the optimal dosage for different individuals. Additionally, while Lion's Mane is generally well-tolerated, some people may experience gastrointestinal side effects such as stomach upset or diarrhea. Therefore, seek advice and information from your doctor before taking Lion's Mane.

Key Takeaways

While you can take Lion's mane with or without food, you may need to consider several factors, including the fungi's absorption, the possibility of stomach discomfort, and your overall health. For example, Lion's mane absorption is often high on an empty stomach, but you can still boost the product's absorption with fatty foods. In addition, people with a health condition like diabetes may want to take the mushroom with food since the mushrooms lower blood sugar levels. 

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. Always choose the best Lion's Mane supplement to avoid consuming Lion's Mane mushroom products that may cause side effects or not produce the benefits you seek. 

How do you usually use your Lion's mane? With or without food? Let us know in the comments. 

We Would Love To Here Your Comments Leave A Comment


  1. The Neuroprotective Properties of Hericium erinaceus in Glutamate-Damaged Differentiated PC12 Cells and an Alzheimer’s Disease Mouse Model, (1) 
  2. Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia, (2) 
  3. Hericium erinaceus Improves Recognition Memory and Induces Hippocampal and Cerebellar Neurogenesis in Frail Mice during Aging, (3) 
  4. Immunomodulatory effects of Hericium erinaceus derived polysaccharides are mediated by intestinal immunology, (4) 
  5. Immunomodulatory Activities of a Fungal Protein Extracted from Hericium erinaceus through Regulating the Gut Microbiota, (5)
  6. Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake, (6)

Let Us Know Your Comments