Also known as yamabushitake or hou tou gu, lion’s mane mushrooms look like the mane of a lion as they grow. In Asian nations such as Japan, Korea, and China, lion’s mane is widely used for medical purposes.
These mushrooms are linked with many benefits, although they are generally associated with improved cognitive function. For instance, there’s evidence that lion’s mane can prevent neuronal damage caused by amyloid-beta plaques. Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease have significant levels of these plaques in their brains.
Lion’s mane is becoming mainstream and already, the market is saturated with brands and products.
With so many people championing these mushrooms, it was only a matter of time before lion’s mane became mainstream in the West. That day has come, and already, the market is saturated with brands and products. With scant regulation, the industry is filled with poor-quality options.
This article will help you sift through the detritus by focusing on the best lion’s mane supplements and the brands that sell them. It concludes by outlining the ranking factors we use to separate the best from the rest.
Best Lion’s Mane Pills
With mushrooms like reishi, there’s a desire to purchase pills to avoid the exceedingly bitter taste. On the other hand, lion’s mane has a fairly pleasant flavor. Even so, you may decide to buy lion’s mane capsules for convenience. Each one contains a pre-measured dose, making it easy to determine how much you’re consuming. Here are three excellent options followed by our #1 choice.
The 60-count lion’s mane mushroom pills from NOW Foods contain 500mg of fruiting body per capsule. The brand recommends a serving size of two capsules per day. Each aspect of NOW’s manufacturing process is strictly examined, and all of the brand’s products are GMP certified. It is a high-quality product from a health supplement company trusted for over 50 years.
According to FreshCap, its lion’s mane mushroom capsules “will have your brain firing on all cylinders.” The brand sells its pills in a 120-count container, each consisting of 500mg of fruiting body lion’s mane. As is the case with Now Foods, FreshCap recommends taking two capsules per day, the equivalent of 1,000mg of lion’s mane.
Although this brand isn’t as well-known as many of the names mentioned in this article, Gaia Herbs has produced an excellent lion’s mane product. According to the brand, each pill contains 450mg of lion’s mane fruiting body extracts, which is equivalent to 2,500mg of dry mushrooms. As such, you only need to consume one capsule a day.
WAYOFLEAF’S CHOICE – FreshCap
Overall, we feel that FreshCap deserves recognition as the creator of the #1 lion’s mane mushroom capsules product. Its pills are standardized to contain a highly impressive 31% beta-glucans. These polysaccharides are key components of mushrooms and are responsible for many benefits linked with fungi. Later in this article, we highlight the importance of beta-glucan content in lion’s mane supplements.
Best Powdered Lion’s Mane Extract
Unlike many other medicinal mushrooms, lion’s mane is widely regarded as having a pleasant taste. Users sometimes compare it to lobster or crab meat. As a result, you may want to include powdered lion’s mane extract in seafood dishes. Powdered extract is generally less expensive than pills and is more versatile. Now, let’s check out three brands that sell high-quality lion’s mane powder and crown a winner.
Like all Real Mushrooms products, its lion’s mane extract consists of 100% mushrooms. The brand uses hot water extraction, and its powder contains all non-water-soluble components. You know you’re getting a high-quality product with at least 25% beta-glucans and no starch, mycelium, or grain. Real Mushrooms provides 60 grams of extract per package, enough for 30-60 daily servings, depending on your intake.
This brand highlights the purported ability of lion’s mane to support memory, focus, and nerve health. Its extract consists of lion’s mane mycelial biomass and fruit body and comes in the following sizes:
- 100 grams
- 200 grams
- 500 grams
Om Mushrooms recommends using 2 grams a day, but you get 250 days’ worth of lion’s mane for an outstanding price even at this dosage.
This Hawaiian-based brand sells a USDA-certified product made from organic lion’s mane mushroom fruiting body extract. There is no added starch, grain, mycelium, or fillers. Moreover, Malama Mushrooms can prove this claim through third-party tests from accredited labs. Each package contains 100 grams of lion’s mane extract that’s gluten-free and vegan friendly.
WAYOFLEAF’S CHOICE – Om Mushrooms
Once again, it was tough to separate three outstanding products. Each one contains premium-grade lion’s mane extract, and we’re confident you’re on safe ground if you choose any of the trio of products mentioned above. Nonetheless, Om Mushrooms is our #1 pick because it has created a fabulous extract for a remarkable price. You’ll struggle to find 500 grams of real lion’s mane extract anywhere for less.
Best Lion’s Mane Drink
There is plenty of information online regarding creating lion’s mane tea. Most people use powdered extract and combine it with water, plant milk, and sweeteners. However, a few intrepid brands have created delicious lion’s mane beverages, and we’ve included three of the best below.
FreshCap – Focus Lion’s Mane Elixir
FreshCap has a trio of beverages on its site, including Mushroom Coffee and Unwind Mushroom Elixir. However, its Focus Lion’s Mane Elixir is of greatest interest. It combines lion’s mane, rosehips, organic monk fruit extract, and a Neumentix® Spearmint Extract. Using it is as easy as adding the powder to hot water. There are 20 servings in a container.
Four Sigmatic – Lion’s Mane Elixir
This brand specializes in mushroom beverages, particularly coffee, so it’s no shock to discover that it sells a lion’s mane option. Like FreshCap, Four Sigmatic’s Lion’s Mane Elixir contains 20 servings of a powder designed to be added to hot water. Alternatively, put it in coffee or tea to give yourself a boost. Apart from the lion’s mane, this beverage contains rosehip extract and rhodiola.
Teeccino – Lion’s Mane Rhodiola Rose Mushroom Herbal Tea
This brand also offers lion’s mane coffee, but we preferred the tea. You can purchase a 10-bag or 25-bag box with this product combining the lion’s mane mushroom with chicory root, carob pods, rhodiola root, figs, and a natural rose flavor. The result is a tasty drink you can enjoy hot or cold. If you want a cool beverage, steep a bag in hot water, allow it to cool, and pour the drink over ice cubes.
WAYOFLEAF’S CHOICE – Four Sigmatic
Despite the quality of the other drinks, we had no qualms awarding Four Sigmatic first place in this category. The brand is a lion’s mane drink specialist, a fact that’s clearly illustrated in its elixir. Not only does it provide an impressive 1,500mg of the mushroom, but the elixir also tastes amazing! Add it to your morning coffee to start the day in turbo-charge mode.
Who Is the Best Lion’s Mane Supplement Brand?
When it comes to finding the best lion’s mane supplement, understanding who the top brands are is essential. Unfortunately, this market’s immense hype means there are probably more dubious companies than legitimate ones. Many shady organizations make outrageous claims about some compounds in medicinal mushrooms. Some make it seem as if the fungi have magical healing properties!
You’re best served sticking with a handful of tried and trusted brands until better regulation is in place. This means companies that don’t make ludicrous claims and instead let the quality of their products speak for themselves. Here are three such brands.
Established by Tony and Tegan Shields, FreshCap is well placed in the mushroom industry. It offers an impressive array of supplements, including powdered extracts, capsules, drinks, gummies, and dog treats. However, the brand limits the quantity of products in each section, preferring to focus on quality.
The official website’s blog is filled with useful information on mushrooms, and it’s clear that the founders are extremely knowledgeable. All mushrooms used in FreshCap’s products are organically grown, professionally extracted, and subjected to rigorous testing. The brand uses the potent fruiting body to create its extracts, which are also non-GMO.
If you want a reputable brand that makes it easy to find what you need, check out FreshCap.
Founded by Sandra Carter and Steve Farrar, Om Mushrooms is a brand with over 30 years of experience in mycology and preventative medicine. It cultivates 11 species of mushrooms in its cGMP-certified facility in California, making it one of the few top-rated brands to source its products from the United States.
Om Mushrooms offers among the most substantial variety of products of any brand, including coffee, creamers, and mighty broths, to go along with its capsules and powders. The strict cultivation standards Om adheres to means you can rest assured its products contain no pesticides, heavy metals, or toxins.
Skye and Jeff Chilton are responsible for creating the Real Mushrooms brand. Jeff founded Nammex, a leading organic mushroom extract ingredient supplier, and his son, Skye, decided to get involved in the industry by creating a family brand. The company uses “real” mushrooms grown in China to create its fine range.
The organization keeps things simple by selling capsules, powders, blends, and pet products. When you buy a Real Mushrooms product, you know it contains no mycelium or grains, and the company is refreshingly transparent when it comes to the ingredients it uses and its extraction process.
WAYOFLEAF’S CHOICE – FreshCap
While there’s no question that the above brands are among the best in the entire industry, we’ve decided that FreshCap deserves the #1 ranking. It has many positive customer reviews and makes it incredibly easy to buy products. The FreshCap site is well designed and highly user-friendly. Its product selection isn’t enormous, but you’ll surely find whatever you need on the official website.
Crucial Ranking Factors We Take into Account
Given the potential health benefits of lion’s mane mushrooms, it is understandable that you want to make a purchase immediately. Sadly, the dismal standard of regulation in the health supplement industry makes it easy for brands to get away with mislabeling, dubious marketing claims, and outright lies.
Too many companies prey on uninformed customers, so we take our reviews very seriously. This means performing detailed research into medicinal mushrooms themselves before analyzing brands. We can quickly separate the companies worth considering from those to avoid through this process.
Here are some of the most pertinent factors we consider when reviewing lion’s mane extract.
Beta-glucans are polysaccharides found in the cell walls of medicinal mushrooms such as lion’s mane, turkey tail, reishi, maitake, and shiitake. They are a type of soluble fiber linked with benefits including:
Since humans don’t produce beta-glucans, mushrooms can play a significant role in supporting our daily health.
We ensure that brands sell products with a high level of beta-glucans. Top-rated products tend to have at least 15%, with some exceeding 25%. Products low in beta-glucans tend to contain less of the lion’s mane mushroom, more fillers, and fewer health benefits.
Although beta-glucans are the major bioactive polysaccharides in mushrooms, other types offer benefits. Believe it or not, however, excessive polysaccharides in your lion’s mane product could be bad!
Most lion’s mane extracts contain a maximum of 30-35% beta-glucans. Therefore, if you see a product with 50% polysaccharides, you would probably be impressed. Yet, this percentage is potentially misleading.
A lion’s mane extract with a huge percentage of polysaccharides could contain a multitude of rice “filler.”
In such products, polysaccharides relate to every type of complex carbohydrates in the supplement. These can include alpha-glucans (which offer none of the benefits of beta-glucans) from grain starch. Lion’s mane contains few alpha-glucans, but they are available in great quantities in rice. Rather than being the sign of a high-quality product, a lion’s mane extract with a huge percentage of polysaccharides could contain a multitude of rice “filler.”
Therefore, we’re extra wary of brands that indicate the product’s total polysaccharide content but no information on beta-glucans. We are also concerned with extracts containing a level of polysaccharides more than 5% higher than the beta-glucan content.
Ultimately, we have no regard for any brand that makes outrageous health claims. Yes, there is research outlining many benefits of mushrooms, such as lion’s mane.
However, as this report from the Food Consulting Company points out, the FDA pre-authorizes health claims. There are 17 approved health claims, and mushrooms qualify for none of them. Therefore, we can’t take any company seriously if it insists on adding unauthorized health claims to its lion’s mane extracts.
Testing & Certification
Certain brands claim that mushrooms cultivated in China are low-grade. In reality, a huge majority of mushroom supplements come from fungi cultivated in China. Furthermore, there are plenty of products featuring lion’s mane supposedly grown in the United States or Europe that contain minimal fruiting bodies.
The how is far more important than the where when it comes to lion’s mane cultivation.
The how is far more important than the where when it comes to lion’s mane cultivation. One surefire way to determine the quality of an extract is to check its lab reports. We only consider extracts tested for heavy metals and other unwanted chemicals at various steps of the production process. We also check to ensure that the lab in question is reputable.
Another important consideration is whether the supplement is certified organic. It is important to note that lion’s mane capsules can’t be certified organic. However, you can find out if the powder inside the shell is by looking at the supplement facts on the product label.
When it comes to medicinal mushrooms, there are three extraction methods:
- Hot water
- Dual (Both alcohol and hot water)
The debate as to the best method of extraction rages on. However, we know that it varies according to the mushroom. Also, different brands have their own extraction process.
Certain companies prefer hot water extraction on lion’s mane and use the whole mushroom. Others claim that dual extraction preserves the greatest number of nutrients. Ethanol is typically used in alcohol extraction, with the solvents removed to leave behind a powder. However, we know of brands that leave the solvent behind to create a liquid tincture.
In general, dual extraction is useful for chaga and reishi mushrooms because the process helps remove triterpenes like ganoderic acids, which are non-water soluble. However, there aren’t any noteworthy non-water-soluble compounds in lion’s mane. Therefore, alcohol extraction is unnecessary for lion’s mane extracts.
Final Thoughts on the Top-Rated Lion’s Mane Supplements
There is a significant growth in the number of people interested in lion’s mane extracts and a substantial increase in the number of companies selling them. This mushroom is associated with cognitive benefits, reduced inflammation, and nervous system support.
With so many choices, narrowing the field is a potentially time-consuming process. Hopefully, this article helps you search for a high-quality lion’s mane supplement. We believe that the brands and products featured above are among the best in the industry. While you’re free to continue your research, you should certainly look at the information in this guide as a reference point.
You’ll also notice that we didn’t go into detail about the benefits of lion’s mane mushrooms. That’s because you can read all about them in the following article.