The North American market has been flooded with Lion’s Mane supplements, but which brands are the best? Our team has reviewed and selected 3 medicinal mushroom producers that create highly potent Lion’s Mane supplements.
Lion’s mane mushroom is an edible fungus packed with many compounds that have health-boosting effects. In recent decades, the mushroom has gone mainstream and there is a growing number of options available. In the United States, supplements containing Lion’s Mane mushroom are one of the most sought-after health foods.
Even though the dietary supplement industry is regulated, there are still concerns about confusing marketing and mislabeling. It is essential to filter through the buying options to find a supplement of the highest quality.
If you have spent any time looking up extracts containing Lion’s mane mushroom, you may realize that there is a lot of conflicting information. This no-nonsense guide will assist you in understanding what to look for when shopping for the best Lion’s Mane supplement in the United States.
- The Best Lion’s Mane supplement
- Real Mushrooms – our findings
- What is Lion’s Mane Mushroom?
- Our Review and Selection Process
Our top 3 picks for the best Lion’s Mane Mushroom supplement
Before buying from these companies, we strongly advise that you reading our buying guide and selection process below on how we chose the best Lion’s mane products. Our main goal here at WorldMushroomSociety.com is for consumers to choose the best medicinal mushroom products to get the full health benefits for themselves and their families.
Our top 3 picks for the best Lion’s Mane supplements in the United States are from these medicinal mushroom companies:
#1. Real Mushrooms Lion’s Mane Mushroom Capsules
- Skye Chilton is the founder of Real Mushrooms. He is also the son of Jeff Chilton, the founder of Nammex with over 40 years of experience in medicinal mushrooms!
- High amount of 25% beta-glucans mentioned on the label
- Made from 100% organic Lion’s Mane mushrooms
- Improves cognitive function, mental clarity and focus
- Also available in powder forms
- Does not ship internationally. Countries outside of the United States and Canada need to access Real Mushroom products via iherb or Amazon. We hope to see direct access soon!
- Certificate of analysis available on request only. It would be great to see this on the website publicly, however it is worth noting that many medicinal mushroom companies don’t provide this publicly.
- Ingredients: 100% Lion’s Mane mushrooms
- Extraction Method & Extraction Ratio: Hot water extraction
- Mycelium or Filler: No added starch, mycelium, or grain of any kind
- Contains Fruiting Bodies? Yes
- Beta Glucans: >25%
- Other ingredients mentioned: Hypromellose (vegetable capsule), silicon dioxide, microcrystalline cellulose, may contain stearic acid
- Non GMO: Yes
- Organic: Yes
- Vegan: Yes
$29.95 120 Capsules
$59.95 300 Capsules (25% Bonus)
- Number of servings: 60 servings; 150 serving
- Serving suggestion or serving size: 2 capsules a day
#2. FreshCap Lion’s Mane Capsules
- Extracted from mushroom fruiting bodies
- Dual-extracted for increased bioavailability
- Does not contain any grain filler
- An impressive amount of 31% beta-glucan amount specified on the label
- Tegan, one of the founders of FreshCap, has a degree in nutrition and food science
- Sometimes low stock availability
- No international shipping outside of Canada and the United States
- Certificate of analysis available on request only.
- Ingredients: Organic Lion’s Mane Extract
- Extraction Method & Extraction Ratio: Dual extraction; 4:1 extraction ratio
- Beta Glucans: 31%
- Non GMO: Yes
- Contains Mycelium or Grain? No
- Contains Fruiting Bodies? Yes
- Organic: Yes
- Vegan: Yes
- Number of servings: 60 servings
- Serving suggestion or serving size 1 scoop (1g)
#3. Nootropics Depot Lion’s Mane Extract Powder
- Contains 100% mushroom fruiting bodies
- Hot water extracted for bioavailability
- Does not contain any grain filler
- Manufactured in cGMP certified facility and iso17025 certified
- Health benefits include promotion of cognitive function, immune function and cardiovascular function
- Low beta-glucan content
- Ingredients: Lion’s Mane mushroom extract (Hericium erinaceus)
- Extraction Method & Extraction Ratio: Hot water extraction , 1:1 extraction ratio
- Polysaccharides: ≤ 5%
- Beta Glucans: ≥ 25%
- Contains Mycelium or Grain? NO
- Contains Fruiting Bodies? YES
- Other ingreidnets mentioned: Vegetable cellulose
- Non GMO: Yes
- Organic: Yes
- Vegan: Yes
- Number of servings: 60 servings or 180 servings
- Serving suggestion or serving size: 1-2 times daily
What is Lion’s mane mushroom?
Lion’s Mane Mushroom, or Hericium erinaceus, is a medicinal fungus that has a long history of usage in traditional Chinese medicine. Hericium erinaceus mushroom has many beneficial properties; however, it is most well-known for its ability to support overall cognitive functioning and promote positive brain and nerve-health-related activities.
While it is a top supplement to use for a healthy and sharp brain, it is not going to magically transform you into a brainiac overnight. However, you can get the best out of Lion’s mane mushroom when coupled with a healthy lifestyle consistently over time.
What are the health benefits?
Hericenones and erinacines which are derived from the mushroom, have various neuroprotective properties. They enhance the release of Nerve Growth Factors (NGF) which encourages neurogenesis (neural growth).
Furthermore, the mushroom mycelium has also been shown to activate the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). These are proteins that promote the survival of nerve cells by playing a role in their growth, maturation, and maintenance.
Both these factors in Lion’s mane mushroom are known to protect against:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’ disease
- Neuropathic pain
- Hearing defects
Additionally, the mushroom contains beta-glucans, which are polysaccharides that:
- Promotes gut health by promoting the growth of good bacteria
- Reduces blood cholesterol levels
- Supports the immune system
Buying Guide for A highly potent Lion’s Mane Mushroom supplement
Throughout our research, we have a certain criteria that we follow to identify a highly potent Lion’s Mane supplement. If you are unsure about what to look for when buying Lion’s mane supplements, we are here to help you.
There are several vital things we look for when evaluating the quality of a lion’s mane mushroom supplement. Here are the important ones that will help you determine the safety and purity of your desired product.
It must derive from Lion’s Mane mushroom fruit body
The fruiting body is the umbrella shaped part of the mushroom which consists of the stalk and the cap. Mycelium, on the other hand, is the root system of the mushroom, present underground. They are thin and thread-like and are spread under the soil.
So why is this important?
If you want to benefit from the bio-compounds in these mushrooms, it is extremely important to know which part you’re getting when you purchase a supplement.
Hericenones and beta-glucans are typically found in the fruiting bodies, and erinacines are derived from the mycelia of the mushroom. To get the benefit of both of these bioactive compounds, it is necessary to select a supplement that contains both the fruit bodies and the mycelium of lion’s mane mushrooms. However, there is a catch!
Mycelium on grain (or myceliated Rice, myceliated biomass) is an approach to growing Lion’s mane mushrooms to create supplements, without producing an actual mushroom. Here the mushroom is cultured on a grain substrate, that is most commonly oats, rice, or sorghum.
While these grains may provide a base for the mycelium to grow on, it also makes up the bulk of the final finished supplement. This means that it contains very little of the actual mycelium. Furthermore, it may contain no mushroom fruiting bodies and may have as much as 70% of starch from grain. It is also cheaper and easier to grow mycelium on grain than it is to grow fruiting bodies, so many products use Lion’s Mane mycelium.
We recommend products with fruit bodies as the main ingredient. Remember that supplements produced from the Lion’s Mane mycelium itself are not inferior to the ones containing fruiting bodies. It is the filler grains that degrade their quality.
The Extraction Method
Medicinal mushrooms contain a wide variety of active components which needs to be extracted for your body to access them. A fungal extract is made by soaking the raw mushroom parts in alcohol or hot water. This breaks down the cells of the mushroom, releasing the trapped components.
A hot water extract can isolate beta-glucans, while alcohol extraction may be better in isolating the hericenones and erinacines, which are known to induce NGF.
A dual extract is a two-step process that combines the extraction with alcohol or hot water followed by a second extraction using other methods. The liquid obtained from both the steps is combined to form an ultimate dual-extract. When purchasing a Lion’s mane supplement, look for those with a dual extraction as it pulls out all of the beneficial constituents.
Regardless of the extraction method, the most important markers of quality we look for is beta-glucans. “With any extraction method, you need to verify your results. We’ve seen reishi mushroom hot water extracts with more triterpenes than reishi mushroom dual extracts. If you’re not analyzing for the important compounds then it’s basically marketing speak.” says Skye Chilton, the founder of Real Mushrooms.
The extraction ratio refers to the amount of raw material used to produce the finished extract. For instance, a 4:1 extract would mean it took 4 lbs of mushrooms to make 1 lb of extract. Sometimes you’ll come across supplements that are labeled as having high extraction ratios. You may think that these are way more concentrated and more powerful, however, this is deceiving.
A higher extraction ratio past a certain point provides no additional benefits and in fact, may be detrimental to the overall quality of an extract. The potency of an extract is also not measured by an extraction ratio, but rather determined by the percentage of bioactive compounds present. The ideal Lion’s mane mushroom extracts will have an 8:1 extraction ratio or less.
Beta glucan amounts must be stated on the label
The benefits of functional mushrooms, like Lion’s mane mushroom, are derived from their bioactive compounds such as beta-glucans. That is why you should look for it in your mushroom supplement. And the higher amount of beta-glucans, the better it is!
Beta glucans are a type of polysaccharide that occurs within the cell walls of the mushroom and have been shown to exhibit a wide array of health properties. The benefits of beta-glucans are diverse but usually tied to improved immune function, digestive health, improved well-being, and anti-cancer properties.
The term polysaccharides include all types of complex carbohydrates present in the product and not just beta-glucans. This also includes the inactive alpha glucans from grain starch. If the product mentions both polysaccharides and beta-glucans, the total amount of the former should not exceed the latter by more than 5%.
High levels of polysaccharides are a sign of adulteration with grain starch, especially when the beta-glucan content is not stated.
The Lion’s Mane supplement must be organic
Always look for organic Lion’s mane supplements. This verifies that the cultivation process compliant and is grown without using harmful chemicals, herbicides, and pesticides.
Look for the widely recognized stamp of quality and integrity of a Certificate Organic from the regulatory body:
- the United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic certification for the United States
Certificate of Analysis
Also, look for a third-party Certificate of Analysis (COA). This is important to avoid foreign contaminants such as heavy metals as well as to identify the beneficial compounds. This can be either produced by your seller upon request or displayed on their website.
Chinese grown Lion’s Mane Mushroom vs North American grown
There is frequent discussion about the quality of health foods and supplements coming from China. Yes, some areas of China have high rates of air pollution which can negatively affect the quality of soil with unwanted pollutants and heavy-metals. But this does not mean that all Chinese mushroom products are bad.
China has been using mushroom-based medicine for Tradition medicine for thousands of years, long before it became popular in the West. China is the largest producer of organic medicinal mushrooms in the world and grow their products from provincial areas in rural mountain provinces.
With decades of research and usage, China produces some of the most potent medicinal mushroom products on the market, and also has some of the most sophisticated extraction labs in the world.
Growing Lion’s Mane Mushroom in North America
Growing organic mushrooms in North America to create extract powders from the fruiting body is not economical and profitable for many companies, which is why myceliated grain is grown instead. Majority of American grown mushroom companies sell supplements where the main ingredient is myceliated grain and mycelium biomass. While there are studies showing the efficacy of mycelium, these studies are on pure mycelium, and not mycelium grain.
High Quality Mushroom Supplements
Our team of contributors specializing in mycology, agronomy, environmental science, neuroscience, molecular biology, and general health look for the best quality medicinal mushroom supplement on the market. Check out our guides:
- Best Chaga Supplements
- Best Cordyceps Supplements
- Best Reishi Supplements
- Best Turkey Tail supplements
Are you in Australia? Check out our recommendations for the best Lion’s Mane mushroom supplements in Australia
Are you in the Canada? Check out our recommendations for the best Lion’s Mane mushrooms in Canada
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Lion’s Mane Mushroom Legal in the United States?
Yes, Lion’s Mane mushroom is legal for purchase and consumption in the United States.
In the US, all Lion’s Mane supplements and medicinal mushroom products must be registered with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration(FDA).
Can lion’s mane be purchased from my doctor?
Although Lion’s Mane is considered a Medicinal Mushroom, you cannot buy it from your doctor. You also do not need a prescription for it. It is considered a complementary therapeutic medicine, that can be purchased online or in stores. You may however be able to purchase dried Lion’s Mane mushrooms from a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner.
Can lion’s mane be purchased from a naturopath?
Yes, many US naturopaths sell Lion’s Mane supplements as part of their treatment for various illnesses.
Does Walgreens and Safeway sell lion’s mane?
Yes, recently we have seen Lion’s Mane supplements on shelves at Walgreens and Safeway.
Where can I purchase fresh Lion’s mane mushrooms?
Fresh Lion’s mane mushrooms have been spotted at the following locations across the US:
- Hillcrest Farmers Markets, California
- Little Italy Nercato, California
- Santa Monica Farmers Markets, California
- Leucadia Farmers Markets, California
- Central Market, Austin
- University District Farmers Market, Washington
How much does lion’s mane mushrooms cost in North America?
The price of Lion’s Mane in the United States can vary, depending on the product type and producer.
Lion’s Mane Extracts, powders and capsules can range from $20 USD per product to over $80 USD.
Not all Lion’s Mane mushroom products are created equal and that’s where our buying guide and selection process can help you make an informed purchase. Make sure you keep in mind everything that we have discussed to ensure you buy only the best Lion’s mane mushroom supplements in the United States.