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What Does Lion's Mane Mushroom Do for You | Australia

by Hamza Jamal |

If you're looking for a natural brain booster that can keep your mind sharp, it's time to meet your new best friend: Lion's Mane mushroom.

Lion's Mane grows on dead hardwood and has an unmistakable funky pom-pom-like appearance. It looks like nothing else, and that's probably why a curious but unknown person during the Han Dynasty ate it and documented its medicinal benefits in "Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing" (The Divine Farmer's Materia Medica) around 200 AD.

TCM, or Traditional Chinese Medicine, uses Lion's Mane mushrooms to regulate Qi (vital energy) and balance our Yin and Yang energies.

Plenty of other medicines from Ancient China claim to do the same thing, like ginseng and astragalus, but Lion's Mane has a special power—it appears to improve mood and cognitive function with no side effects.

In other words, Lion's Mane is a brain booster.

Let's Take a Scientific Step Back

Traditional medicine pegs Lion's Mane as an energy regulator, while modern medicine suggests it's good for the brain. But what does this mean when you take it? What happens?

Let's fall back on scientific research [1], which tells us:

Bioactive compounds like hericenones and erinacines get to work in your brain, stimulating the growth of new neurons and increasing the levels of BDNF, a protein that supports the health and function of your brain cells. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of Lion's Mane also protect your brain from oxidative stress.

Interestingly, the study found that a single dose of Lion's Mane led to faster performance on the Stroop task, which tests mental speed and flexibility, and longer-term supplementation over 4 weeks shows a trend towards reduced subjective feelings of stress.

While that's pretty impressive for a humble mushroom, this was a pilot study—i.e., it had a small sample size. Translation: a pinch of salt is required.

Or maybe not, because other studies show similar results [2]:

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 30 Japanese adults aged 50-80 with mild cognitive impairment found significant increases in cognitive function tests. Half took 3000 mg of 96% dry powder daily for 16 weeks, while the other half got a placebo.

After 8, 12 and 16 weeks, the Lion's Mane group showed significant increases in scores on a cognitive function scale compared to placebo, and the benefits grew the longer they took the supplement.

Oh, and four weeks after stopping the 16-week supplementation, their cognitive scores decreased significantly—this suggests that the positive effects on mild cognitive impairment require continuous intake of Lion’s Mane.

Importantly, no adverse effects were seen in lab tests, indicating that it was safe and well-tolerated by the test groups.

These studies tell us that Lion's Mane affects the brain on a chemical and impulse level, but a critical disclaimer.

Other Potential Lion's Mane Benefits

Other Potential Lion's Mane Benefits


Lion's Mane has strong immunomodulatory effects from a protein called HEP3 [3], which has anti-inflammatory activity in cell cultures and animal models of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

HEP3 reduces the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines like TNF-α, IL-1β and IL-6 in immune cells. In IBD model mice, HEP3 alleviated tissue damage and inflammation in the colon. Interestingly, the immunomodulatory effects of HEP3 are through the gut microbiota.

HEP3 was found to modulate the composition and metabolism of the gut bacteria, promoting the growth of beneficial microbes like Bifidobacterium, leading to activation of T-cell mediated immunity and reduced inflammation.

The study provides compelling evidence that the Lion's Mane mushroom and its bioactive proteins can regulate immune function by optimising the gut microbiome.


Supplementation with Lion's Mane mushroom appears to significantly improve sleep disorders in overweight and obese people [4].

The study used the SCL-90 test to assess sleep quality before and after an 8-week supplementation period with an H. Erinaceus extract.

The results showed that sleep disorders decreased by 34.4% after the 8-week supplementation compared to baseline, and this improvement persisted even after a 2-month washout period, with sleep disorders remaining 39.1% lower than baseline values.

When looking at patients who had high sleep disorder scores at the beginning of the study, the results were even more pronounced—these patients saw their sleep disorder scores decrease from a very high 2.06 to 1.15 after supplementation—a 44.25% reduction.

Stress, anxiety, depression

Several bioactive compounds in Lion's Mane have been found to modulate key pathways involved in depression and stress [5].

For stress and anxiety, studies in mice show that extracts have anxiolytic effects in the open field test and antidepressant-like effects in forced swim and tail suspension tests, suggesting Lion's Mane could alleviate both anxiety and depression-related behaviours.

In animal models of depression, Lion's Mane was found to restore depleted levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine in the hippocampus - these neurotransmitters play a key role in mood regulation, so this normalisation of monoamine levels could be one mechanism behind the antidepressant effects.

Lion's Mane extracts also demonstrated anti-inflammatory benefits, reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines like IL-6, TNF-α and NFκB, often elevated in depression.

What Does All This Mean?

Lion's Mane looks like a super-supplement that's good for your brain, mind, body, and sleep, although there's no scientific consensus on it.

One thing is clear – side effects from Lion's Mane are practically unheard of, with complaints of stomach discomfort and nausea only occurring in high doses. Controlled, steady supplementation is key to realising its benefits.  

How to Take Lion's Mane Mushroom

vybey Lion's Mane Mushroom comes as a powder or capsule:

  •         Powder: 1/2 - 1 tsp and mix with your choice of tea, coffee, soup, or smoothies.
  •         Capsules: 3 - 4 capsules per day with water or your choice of liquid. It's best taken with a meal, but no biggie if not.

We also include Lion's Mane as an ingredient in vybey Complete Meal Powder.

Summing Up

Summing Up

Overall, Lion's Mane stands out as an exceptional candidate for a super-supplement due to its array of potential benefits. Research indicates its positive impact on sleep, mood, memory, and critical thinking skills, making it a unique powerhouse in the supplement world. As more studies delve into its effects, Lion's Mane could very well emerge as a frontrunner in promoting overall cognitive health and well-being.

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