Elephant’s mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) has been commonly used throughout Asia for years as both a dietary and medicinal supplement. The top of the mushroom is large, white, and fluffy and looks similar to an elephant’s mane – hence the name.
Lion’s mane mushrooms provide nutritional benefits when added to your diet or taken as a supplement. Mushrooms have anti-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory properties, etc. Most of the research on elephant mane has been done on animals, but there are some studies that have investigated its effects on humans.
Lion’s mane mushrooms have anti-inflammatory properties that may help protect your brain from diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
In one study, participants with Alzheimer’s disease ate 1 gram of elephant’s mane mushrooms daily for nearly a year. The results found that those who took the supplement performed better on cognitive tests than those who received a placebo.
Another study found that participants showed improved cognitive function after taking a supplement containing elephant mane mushrooms for 12 weeks. Researchers have noted that elephant mane mushrooms may have a potential effect on nerve cells in the brain leading to improved cognitive function.
Elephant’s mane mushrooms may help relieve symptoms of major depression. Depression is a common mental health condition that affects more than 280 million people in the world.
Elephant’s mane mushrooms may be used as an additional or alternative treatment for depression. Mushrooms have anti-inflammatory properties, which may have an antidepressant effect. Research also indicates that the elephant’s mane mushroom has an effect on brain and nervous system activity that may help reduce depression. However, it is important to consult your health care provider before changing or starting a new treatment for depression.
Lion’s mane mushroom may be useful for other mood disorders and some sleep disorders. One study found that eating elephant’s mane mushrooms for eight weeks reduced depression and anxiety and improved sleep quality in obese or overweight people.
As a food, the elephant’s mane mushroom provides many vitamins and nutrients. 100 grams (g) of elephant’s mane mushroom contains:
- Calories: 43
- Protein: 2.5 g
- Carbohydrates: 7.6 a
- fiber: 4.4 a
- fat: 0.26 g
- Potassium: 443 milligrams (mg), or 15% of the daily value (DV)
- Phosphorus: 94 mg
- water: 88.6 a
- Biotin: 16.9 micrograms (µg)
- Folate: 30 (µg)
Elephant’s mane mushroom is a good source of potassium. Potassium is an important mineral that helps in kidney and heart function as well as muscle contraction and nerve transmission.
It also provides minerals such as phosphorus, which helps grow and maintain cells, and magnesium, which helps regulate muscle and nerve function, among other things.
Lion’s mane mushrooms are available raw, cooked, or dried. You can add them to soups, sauces, or stir-fries or saute and cook them for a side dish. There are also elephant mane mushroom burgers available in some grocery stores.
In addition to food items, Lion’s mane mushrooms are also available as supplements in the form of capsules, powders, or liquid extracts.
Elephant’s mane mushrooms have been shown to be safe to take in doses of one gram per day for up to 16 weeks.
A study based on self-reported use of elephant’s mane mushrooms showed that people ate up to 3 grams of the mushroom twice a day.
Since the research is limited, consult with your health care provider before you take elephant’s mane mushrooms and they can recommend a specific dosage for you.
As food, the elephant’s mane mushroom is safe to eat. As a dietary supplement, Lion’s mane mushroom has been well tolerated in research with very few side effects reported.
There isn’t enough research on consuming elephant’s mane mushrooms while pregnant or breastfeeding, so it’s best to avoid them during that time.
Potential drug interactions
Lion’s mane mushrooms may have an antiplatelet effect, which means it prevents blood clots. This may increase the risk of bleeding, especially when used with anticoagulants, or blood thinners.
Some research shows that elephant’s mane mushrooms may lower blood sugar levels. It may have an additional effect when paired with other herbs or supplements that lower blood sugar, causing your levels to drop too low.
Talk to your healthcare provider about any concerns you may have about drug interactions with elephant’s mane.
What to look for
You can buy elephant’s mane mushrooms at most grocery stores. When purchasing elephant’s mane mushrooms as a dietary supplement, it is important to look for products that have been third-party tested for quality and safety. The US Food and Drug Administration does not regulate dietary supplements in the same way that it regulates food and drug products.
Organizations such as ConsumerLab.com, NSF International, and the US Pharmacopeia test to ensure that products contain the correct ingredients and dosages, and are free of harmful contaminants. Products that have been tested by these organizations will display the seal of approval.
Can you have too many Elephant’s Mane Mushrooms?
Elephant’s mane mushrooms are generally safe to eat, but currently there are no established standards for elephant’s mane supplements. One gram per day has been shown to be a safe dose for up to 16 weeks.
It is best to follow the dosage instructions listed on the supplement product.
There are few reported side effects of taking elephant mane mushroom supplements. Some side effects may include:
- Abdominal pain
- Skin rash (when used topically)
Overall, the majority of people who eat elephant’s mane mushrooms do not experience side effects and the mushrooms are safe to eat in moderate amounts.
Elephant’s mane mushrooms can be eaten as food or taken in the form of supplements, powders, or liquid extracts.
Research on the health benefits of this mushroom is limited, but shows promise for improving brain function and symptoms of depression. Mushrooms also have many vitamins and nutrients, and are a good source of potassium.
Elephant mane supplements have limited side effects, but it is important to talk to your healthcare provider to determine if elephant mane mushroom is right for your individual health needs.
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