The primary model for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is pharmaceutical medications, but contemporary research also evaluates the effective properties of lion’s mane mushrooms among alternative treatments.
Lion’s mane is known to enhance mental health conditions by improving cognitive function, protecting against memory loss, and boosting the immune system.
In addition, the lion’s mane has also been used in complementary medicine to manage anxiety and depression.
So, with an impressive portfolio as an effective treatment for various health conditions, here is what you need to know if you’re considering using a lion’s mane mushroom for ADHD.
- Does Lion’s Mane Help With ADHD?
- Can Lion’s Mane Cause ADHD or Make It Worse?
- Lion’s Mane Dosage For ADHD: How Much To Take?
- Lion’s Mane and Adderall: What Should You Know
Does Lion’s Mane Help With ADHD?
Among the many cognitive-enhancing health benefits of lion’s mane extract, perhaps the biggest is increasing nerve growth factor production (NGF).
Because NGF is integral to neuroprotection, it is seen as a potential means for improving cognitive function and managing ADHD symptoms.
In addition, since NGF is involved in neuronal development and plasticity, studies show a dysregulation of NGF levels in people with ADHD (1). As such, when the brain loses its ability to make new connections, treating the condition with lion’s mane may offer hope.
Lion’s mane also possesses anti-inflammatory effects that may help with stress and work in an antidepressant capacity.
Research indicates that ADHD can trigger depressive effects when people have a hard time with their symptoms, and the two conditions can often co-occur (2).
Studies show that about 30% of people with this disorder will experience a depressive episode or have a mood disorder in their lifetime.
Furthermore, individuals with the two conditions experience symptoms for each disease more acutely than what would be present if they had only one condition.
Connection With Co-Occurring Conditions
ADHD people have a dysregulation of dopamine in the brain, responsible for motivation, reward systems, and mood.
As a result, people with this disorder do not access the same neurochemical levels as their neurotypical peers. This dysregulation makes it hard to realize and support motivation and reward (3).
Emotional dysregulation is another aspect where sufferers often experience emotions more intensely than others. It can take longer for them to soothe difficult emotions with a more difficult time transitioning out of a stressful situation.
But the reason why ADHD and depression are often compared so closely is that while the research on linking lion’s mane mushrooms to the former is relatively limited, there is substantial evidence that this medicinal mushroom helps mitigate depressive symptoms.
Many people with ADHD are more likely to struggle with anxiety and depressive episodes. Here, the lion’s mane proves to be effective in minimizing depressive behavior and its associated symptomatic markers.
Different animal studies have shown that taking lion’s mane extract could reduce depressive behaviors and help manage depressive disorders (4).
Other people use lion’s mane as a supplement, which seems to have a mildly stimulating effect on brain activity. In this sense, it is often seen to treat health conditions where activity in the brain may slow down due to aging.
One small study indicated that lion’s mane could help prevent cognitive decline in age-related diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s (5).
Can Lion’s Mane Help You Focus?
Once again, clinical research in this area is limited, but we know that lion’s mane reduces inflammation. Reduced inflammation improves blood flow, providing the brain with more oxygen.
Improved oxygen supply is highly effective in boosting brain function, and the antioxidant content in lion’s mane may promote learning and concentration by extension.
Similarly, brain fog is a common deterrent to concentration and attentiveness. But when the bioactive compounds in the lion’s mane cross the blood-brain barrier, they can trigger positive changes and improve overall performance.
That being said, the lion’s mane does not work as an invigorating stimulant but rather as a regulating one.
While it does possess stimulant properties, the lion’s mane regulates excitatory neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and has even been used in an adaptogenic capacity to promote better sleep.
Unlike other stimulant drugs, lion’s mane tends to yield a steady boost of energy without the jitters of other stimulants.
Can Lion’s Mane Cause ADHD or Make It Worse?
Taking lion’s mane for ADHD is open to debate as no conclusive findings have been established whether it treats the condition or makes it worse.
The biggest problem in this scenario is the limited research done on the subject. Any supporting evidence is in relation to what lion’s mane can do for other conditions that may coexist with ADHD.
On the other hand, lion’s mane is pretty well tolerated and does not seem to present any severe side effects or concerns. As a result, it is often used by people who want to use natural supplements instead of prescription medication.
Lion’s Mane Dosage For ADHD: How Much To Take?
The dosage for lion’s mane mushrooms can vary depending on the user’s age, health, sensitivity, and the reason for wanting to try lion’s mane in the first place.
Typically, higher severity issues may need a higher dose of lion’s mane to make a noticeable difference.
For immunity boost and cognitive function improvement, a typical lion’s mane dose is around 1000 mg per day, but smaller dosages of 250 to 750 mg have also been shown to be effective.
Given the lack of scientific studies on lion’s mane and ADHD specifically, it is difficult to establish a recommended dose.
However, large quantities of lion’s mane have been seen as safe to consume for most people. It is recommended to start with a smaller dose to evaluate tolerance and build your way up to an amount that works for you.
It is essential to consider the strength when taking lion’s mane extract since commercial preparations can vary significantly in purity, potency, and composition.
Lion’s Mane and Adderall: What Should You Know
Adderall is the most prescribed medication for ADHD, and lion’s mane could make a close but natural alternative to this prescription drug.
Lion’s mane has neuroprotective and nootropic effects that could benefit people with ADHD. Many people also consider it the natural version of Adderall, with the upside of fewer side effects and not having to go back for a prescription every month.
However, it takes longer to show lion’s mane effects, but regular use can result in a more significant boost in mood and mental energy.
If you’re considering combining the two, it is recommended to talk with your doctor before using the drug with anything else, including lion’s mane.
Lion’s mane mushrooms remain one of the most effective natural remedies for improving cognitive function, treating anxiety, and boosting immunity along with other health conditions.
Although its evidence for ADHD regulation is rather limited, its benefits cover various aspects of anti-inflammation, antioxidant, and immunostimulant activity.
This makes lion’s mane incredibly supportive of neurological health and an excellent option for keeping you centered and focused.