April 18, 2022 5 min read

With increasing evidence to support the benefits of Lion's Mane mushrooms, it's more important than ever that we look at all angles. Most importantly, what are the Lion's Mane side effects to be aware of before adding these magic mushrooms to your daily wellness routine?

Here, we will discuss what we know about any possible adverse reactions linked to Lion's Mane, potential drug interactions, and other safety related information you need to know. Let's jump in:

Table of Contents
Is Lion’s Mane Safe?
What are the Side Effects of Lion’s Mane?
Lion’s Mane Drug Interaction
Is Lion’s Mane Addictive?
Who Shouldn’t Take Lion’s Mane?
Lion’s Mane Side Effects FAQ
Resources

Key Takeaways

  • Lion's Mane side effects are rare and usually mild.
  • You may be at a higher risk for side effects if you have a mushroom allergy or take certain medications.
  • You may also need to be cautious about your Lion's Mane Dosage if you have blood pressure or thyroid issues.
  • Most people can take Lion's Mane without any complications, but talk to your doctor before changing your wellness routine.

Is Lion’s Mane Safe?

In general, Lion's Mane mushrooms are thought to be safe for most people when used responsibly. Many experts agree that the benefits of Lion's Mane far outweigh the risks, especially when using a high quality Lion's Mane mushroom product.

In fact, most cases of adverse reactions are linked to poor quality formulations or drug interactions. Having a mushroom allergy may also be a risk factor for reverse reactions to Lion's Mane mushrooms. Let's discuss what some of the side effects of Lion's Mane may look like when they occur:

The white shaggy mushroom known as lion's mane mushroom, which is usually dried and encapsulated before use.

What are the Side Effects of Lion’s Mane Mushroom?

It's important to note that while evidence to support the potential benefits of medicinal mushrooms is growing, there's still only scarce evidence to help identify potential side effects. The side effects we know about for now are based on limited medical reports and anecdotal reports. The most commonly reported Lion's Mane side effects include:

Headache

Some people suggest that they experienced headaches after taking Lion's Mane mushrooms, though these reports are somewhat conflicting. Some reports suggest that Lion's Mane may actually help to reduce the severity and prevalence of headaches, including migraines, but there's no research to support these claims.

Reduced Libido

Some men report experiencing a decreased libido after starting Lion's Mane. It's unknown why this may happen, but some experts suggest that it could be because of Lion's Mane's potential ability to block dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT blockers, which are frequently used to combat hair loss, are known to sometimes result in lower sex drive in men.

Difficulty Breathing

One report found Lion's Mane to cause adverse lung reactions that resulted in difficulty breathing for one 63 year old man. Experts still aren't quite sure what caused the reaction, but some experts point to a possible allergic reaction as the culprit. As far as we know, this was an isolated incident and is not a common reaction. It's important to note that the patient made a full recovery after discontinuing use of the mushrooms.

Skin Rashes

Another limited report details a case of a skin rash thought to be linked to an allergic reaction to Lion's Mane mushrooms. Again, the patient made a full recovery and the incident was isolated. Skin rashes are not a common side effect of Lion's Mane for consumers who do not have a mushroom allergy.

Other Allergies

In people with a sensitivity to mushrooms or a mushroom allergy, some allergy symptoms may be common with Lion's Mane. These symptoms may manifest in a number of ways, including:

  • Swelling of the lips, mouth, and airways
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Skin rashes or hives
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach cramping
  • Bloating
  • Loose stools

Blood Pressure Changes

Changes in blood pressure have only been anecdotally reported after Lion's Mane usage, and there's not thought to be any severe threat to those with healthy blood pressure levels who are not taking blood pressure medications. If you notice an unsafe change in blood pressure after your Lion's Mane dose, discontinue use and talk to your doctor.

Lion’s Mane Drug Interactions

To date, there's not much research regarding possible drug interactions between Lion's Mane mushrooms and common pharmaceutical or over the counter medications. Still, this is still a serious area for concern and caution should be taken when adding Lion's Mane to your regular medication routine.

Although we cannot specifically identify which drugs Lion's Mane may have interactions with, we do know that herbal supplements and medicinal mushrooms may interact with some of the following:

  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-anxiety medications
  • Thyroid medications
  • Blood pressure medications

It's always best to talk to your doctor before adding new supplements to your wellness routine, especially if you already take prescription medications. In general, there are no definitive answers to whether Lion's Mane interacts with any particular medications, so you may be able to work with your doctor and pay close attention to your Lion's Mane Dosage and possible side effects while creating your dosing regimen.

Is Lion’s Mane Addictive?

Nope! Lion's Mane mushrooms do not directly impact the body's hormone release in the same manner as many habit-forming pharmaceuticals. That means the risk of chemical dependency is almost zero, although many people enjoy the cognitive benefits so much that they hate going without their daily Lion's Mane dose.

Who Shouldn’t Take Lion’s Mane?

Generally speaking, Lion's Mane is safe for most people. It should be avoided by anyone with a mushroom allergy, and some people should definitely discuss Lion's Mane supplementation with their doctor first, including:

  • Those with bleeding disorders
  • Diabetics
  • Those expecting surgery in the next two weeks
  • Anyone with a thyroid disorder
  • Anyone taking blood pressure medication
  • Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding

Lion’s Mane Side Effects FAQ

Can you take Lion's Mane everyday?

Yes, Lion's mane can be taken daily. Some people take it up to three times daily with meals with no adverse effects.

Does lion's mane work immediately?

Although some people report feeling more alert after one dose of Lion's Mane, it may take 2-4 weeks to notice the full benefits. It takes time for Lion's Mane to create a systemic response in the body, and consistent doses are necessary to enjoy the full effects.

Is Lion's Mane hallucinogenic?

No. Although people often conflate the term "medicinal mushroom" with psychoactive or hallucinogenic effects, that's not the case with Lion's Mane. Lion's Mane does not contain psilocybin, the active chemical in some hallucinogenic mushrooms, so it will not get you high or cause any physical or cognitive impairment.

Does Lion's Mane affect your dreams?

It's rumored that Lion's Mane may have some impact on REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the portion of sleep where dreaming takes place, although this effect has been rarely studied. According to anecdotal reports, Lion's Mane creates a more active REM cycle, which makes dreams more vivid.

Resources

  1. “Hericium erinaceum (yamabushitake) extract-induced acute respiratory distress syndrome monitored by serum surfactant proteins” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14714963/
  2. “Occupational allergic contact dermatitis from the mushroom White Pom Pom (Hericium erinaceum)” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10344494/

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