Are you or someone you know struggling with ADHD? If so, you're not alone.
ADHD, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, affects millions of people worldwide. While traditional treatment options include medications and therapy, some individuals may be looking for a more natural solution.
One potential alternative is lion's mane mushroom.
In this article, we'll take a closer look at the research surrounding lion's mane and ADHD, as well as the potential benefits and precautions of using it as a treatment.
By the end, you'll have a better understanding of whether or not lion's mane mushrooms could be helpful in treating ADHD and its symptoms.
What is lion’s mane?
Lion’s mane is a large, white, shaggy-looking mushroom that resembles a lion's mane as it grows. Its proper name is Hericium erinaceus and it grows natively in North America, Europe and Asia.
Usually found growing on dead hardwoods, lion’s mane has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and its production is widespread within Asia. Lion’s mane is also common in gourmet cooking, with young specimens offering a great steak-like texture when pan-fried.
What are the main effects of lion’s mane?
Lion’s mane has become very popular among people with ADHD. This is largely thanks to its cognitive benefits including its ability to increase NGF (nerve growth factor) levels and promote neurogenesis (growth of new brain cells).
These properties mean that many people who use lion’s mane experience:
- Clarity of thought
- Enhanced memory
- Enhanced focus
- Enhanced cognition
- Increased energy
The unseen benefits of lion’s mane are even more profound and include:
- Protection of the brain against neurodegenerative disease
- Reduction in inflammation, particularly in the gut
- Reduction in depression and anxiety
- Enhance recovery from nervous system injuries
- Lower risk of blood clotting and heart attack and stroke
- Control blood sugar and manage diabetes
- Possible anti-cancer effects
- Boost immune function
You’d be wise not to expect instant results with lion’s mane supplements, however. Clinical studies done with lion’s mane are typically done over at least two months of use.
What is ADHD?
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can make it difficult for individuals to focus, pay attention, and control their impulses. It's a common condition, affecting around 11% of children and 4% of adults worldwide.
Symptoms of ADHD can include difficulty staying organised, following through on tasks, and completing work on time. It can also lead to problems with social interactions and relationships.
How is ADHD treated?
Currently, the most common treatment options for ADHD include medications like Ritalin and Adderall, as well as therapy and counselling.
These treatments can be effective, but they don't work for everyone and they can also come with unwanted side effects. That's where natural alternatives like lion's mane mushrooms come in.
Can lion’s mane mushroom help with ADHD?
There have been no studies investigating the effects of lion's mane mushroom on ADHD symptoms, but there is research that suggests it could be useful in managing common symptoms of ADHD.
One study found that supplementation with lion's mane extract improved attention and cognitive function in individuals with mild cognitive impairment.
Another found that consuming lion's mane prevents cognitive dysfunction in healthy adults.
So while more research is needed to confirm these findings and to determine the optimal dosage, there is enough anecdotal and scientific research suggesting lion’s mane could help treat ADHD symptoms.
Potential benefits of lion’s mane for ADHD
The potential benefits of lion's mane for individuals with ADHD includes:
- Improved cognitive function: Lion's mane mushroom has been found to improve attention, concentration, and working memory in healthy adults. This could be beneficial for individuals with ADHD, who often have difficulty with attention and concentration.
- Reduced inflammation: Lion's mane has have anti-inflammatory properties which may help to reduce oxidative stress in the brain, a condition that has been linked to cognitive decline and ADHD symptoms.
- Increased nerve growth factor (NGF): Lion's mane contains compounds such as hericystin and erinacine, which can stimulate the production of NGF, a protein that plays a crucial role in the development and maintenance of neurons in the brain. This increase in NGF may lead to the growth and repair of neurons in the brain, which could improve cognitive function and reduce symptoms of ADHD.
- Modulation of neurotransmitters: Lion's mane may have a positive effect on the neurotransmitters and enzymes that are involved in cognitive function, such as acetylcholine, dopamine and phosphodiesterase-4. This can help to improve attention, focus and mood in individuals with ADHD.
Best ways to take Lion’s Mane
When it comes to consuming lion’s mane, you have a number of options.
Of course, you can pick and eat lion’s mane mushrooms and it’s actually quite nice. Its texture can be quite tough so it’s best to cook - ideally pan fry - beforehand.
Capsules containing dried lion’s mane powder or an extract are very convenient and accurate ways of taking lion’s mane.
Dried lion’s mane powder is a versatile way to add the mushroom to smoothies or various dishes.
Alcohol-based extracts offer a way to consume concentrated lion’s mane easily and effectively. These tinctures can be quite potent and are great for adding to coffee, tea or other drinks.
Is lion’s mane safe?
Consuming lion's mane is considered safe for most people as its been widely consumed in as a food for centuries. However, as with any supplement, there may be some potential side effects or risks, including:
- Allergic reactions: Some people may be allergic to lion's mane, which can cause symptoms such as skin rash, hives, itching, and difficulty breathing.
- Gastrointestinal issues: Consuming large amounts of lion's mane mushrooms may cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal symptoms.
- Interaction with medication: Lion's mane may interact with certain medications, such as blood-thinning medications, and may increase the risk of bleeding. If you are taking any medications, consult with a healthcare professional before consuming lion's mane mushrooms.
Consuming lion's mane mushrooms as a food is considered safe. However, more research is needed to understand the safety and efficacy of consuming it as a supplement, particularly in large doses and over a long period of time.
Lion’s mane vs ADHD medication
There are several potential benefits of using a natural treatment option such as lion's mane mushroom instead of traditional ADHD medication:
- Fewer side effects: Natural treatment options like lion's mane may have fewer side effects compared to traditional ADHD medication, which can have a range of side effects such as loss of appetite, insomnia, and headaches.
- Less risk of addiction: Traditional ADHD medication such as stimulants can be addictive and may have negative long-term effects on brain development. Using a natural treatment option like lion's mane reduces the risk of addiction and other negative side effects.
- Tailored treatment: With natural treatment options like lion's mane, it's possible to tailor the dosage and frequency of treatment based on an individual's specific needs. This can be more effective than using a one-size-fits-all approach with traditional ADHD medication.
- Complementary treatment: Natural treatment options such as lion's mane mushroom may be used in conjunction with other therapies, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy, to provide a more comprehensive treatment plan for individuals with ADHD.
- Cost-effective: Natural treatment options like lion's mane may be less expensive compared to traditional ADHD medication, which can be costly and require long-term use.
While lion's mane may have potential benefits as a natural treatment option for ADHD, more research is needed to confirm the safety and efficacy of this supplement.
Current research on the effects of lion's mane mushrooms on ADHD is limited.
Studies have found that compounds in lion's mane may have potential benefits for cognitive function and overall brain health, and anecdotal evidence suggest it may be helpful for certain ADHD symptoms, but more research is needed to fully understand the effects on ADHD specifically.
As a natural treatment option with limited side effects lion's mane mushrooms may be useful in conjunction with other therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, to provide a more comprehensive treatment plan for individuals with ADHD.
If you're interested in trying lion's mane, we stock the one of the strongest standardised extracts on the market here.
This article was written strictly for educational purposes and is not intended to offer medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of any kind.