The world of supplements and health boosters can be a confusing place. If you want to increase your energy, reduce inflammation and boost your immune system, then knowing which supplement to choose can be hard.
Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, and CBD are three top contenders in the health supplement market, each promising different benefits. Numerous studies have been conducted to examine their individual effects on the body, but there’s far less information comparing all three.
So, how do you decide which one is best for you? How do they compare?
In this article, our experts examine the research to help you decide which supplement is right for your needs. We’ll explore the possible benefits of each, as well as any potential negative side effects. By the end, you’ll have an in-depth understanding of these three supplements and how they differ.
Read on to find out what research, science, and anecdotal evidence say about Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, and CBD.
What Is Lion’s Mane?
Lion’s Mane is a medicinal mushroom that grows in the wild. Its scientific name is Hericium erinaceus. It’s also sometimes called Yamabushitake, hedgehog mushroom, bearded tooth fungus, mountain-priest mushroom, or pom pom mushroom.
Its appearance is unique, with long, white spines that resemble a lion’s mane. If you want to identify it in the wild, look for a white, bristly-looking mushroom growing on deadwood in temperate parts of the world. You can identify it by its long spines that start at the base and continue to give it a cascading ‘mane’ look.
The mushroom has been used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine for centuries, with mentions of it appearing in ancient texts. It first entered modern Western medicine in the late 19th century.
Many cultures have used Lion’s Mane for its medicinal benefits for centuries. Since then, research has been conducted to look into the effects of this powerful mushroom. Let’s take a look at some of the possible benefits it offers.
Lion’s Mane Health Benefits
Research has identified various potential benefits of taking Lion’s Mane supplements. We’ve listed five of the most common ones below:
- Boosts Immune Health
- Benefits Dementia Patients
- Reduces Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety
- Supports Nervous System Injury Recovery
- Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Effects
Let’s explore each of these in more detail.
Boosts Immune Health
Supplementation with Lion’s Mane has been linked to an increase in the production of immune cells. This suggests that taking it can help your body fight infection and illness more effectively.
A study (1) on mice found that Lion’s Mane supplements could increase the lifespan of those infected with a lethal dose of Salmonella Typhimurium. The lifespans of the mice were significantly extended (up to four times longer) compared to those that did not receive it.
The active extracts from Lion’s Mane have also been found to contain β-glucan, a type of polysaccharide that activates macrophages. Macrophages are white blood cells that attack and destroy foreign bodies in your body, such as bacteria and viruses.
While this study (and others like it) was conducted on animals, it suggests that Lion’s Mane can be beneficial for boosting your natural immune system by increasing the production of these vital immune cells.
Benefits Dementia Patients
Dementia patients can benefit from participating in activities stimulating their minds. Puzzles, games, and crafts are wonderful ways to keep the brain active and prevent further deterioration of mental faculties. Lion’s Mane may also be beneficial in this respect.
Research shows that Lion’s Mane contains two compounds that can stimulate the growth of nerve cells in the brain. These compounds, hericenones and erinacines may help to regenerate lost neurons in dementia patients as well as protect existing ones from further damage.
According to one study (2), Lion’s Mane supplementation increased the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) levels in mice. NGF is a protein released by nerve cells that helps to regulate their growth, survival, and differentiation.
Injections of this mushroom extract were also found to improve the learning and memory of the mice, suggesting that it may help dementia patients improve their cognitive functioning.
Reduces Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety
Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health issues people face worldwide. While antidepressants and therapy are often prescribed, natural remedies have become increasingly popular in recent years, with Lion’s Mane being cited as one of the most effective.
In a study published in 2019, seventy-seven overweight and obese subjects with mood and/or sleep disorders and/or binge eating were recruited for an 8-week clinical trial. During this trial, the subjects were given daily oral doses of Lion’s Mane, significantly decreasing depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders.
Additionally, Lion’s Mane was found to increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) levels. BDNF is essential for the growth, development, and survival of nerve cells in the brain. Increased levels of pro-BDNF can help to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
More research is needed to fully understand the effects of Lion’s Mane on mood and anxiety disorders, but these preliminary results are certainly encouraging.
Supports Nervous System Injury Recovery
Nervous system injuries, whether caused by a stroke or an accident, can be difficult to recover from and may require surgery or physical therapy. Supplementation with Lion’s Mane may help to speed up the healing process.
The same compounds that stimulate the growth of nerve cells in the brain, hericenones and erinacines, have also been found to help regenerate damaged nerves and even stimulate the growth of new connections in the brain. Besides stimulating nerve growth, Lion’s Mane also has the potential to repair and protect the existing nerve cells from future damage.
While research in this area only focused on animals, the results look promising and suggest that Lion’s Mane may benefit those suffering from nervous system injuries.
Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant Effects
Chronic inflammation is linked to numerous health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Oxidative stress can also damage cells in the body, leading to various health issues.
Fortunately, Lion’s Mane may be able to help in this regard. Research suggests that the mushroom extract has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help protect against these conditions.
One study (3), for example, showed that Lion’s Mane extract could reduce inflammation in mouse cells without any toxic side effects. In addition, the extract was found to decrease oxidative stress and increase antioxidant enzyme levels. These effects may help to protect against disease and slow down the aging process.
Lion’s Mane Dosage
Let’s clarify that the optimal dosage of Lion’s Mane is yet to be determined. There is no universal dosage for everyone. The best way to find the right dosage is to start with a small amount and increase gradually until you reach the desired effects.
Having said that, most studies use around 3-5 grams per dose. However, some people take smaller amounts (1-2 grams) daily. It is crucial to note that it may take weeks for the effects of Lion’s Mane to be noticeable, so you may need to wait a while before increasing the dose.
Before taking lion’s mane, talking with your healthcare provider is recommended. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications, or have a serious medical condition, seek the advice of a physician before taking Lion’s Mane.
Possible Side Effects
Lion’s Mane is generally considered safe for most adults. There are no known serious side effects of taking Lion’s Mane. However, some people may experience stomach distress, skin rashes, breathing difficulty, or dizziness. If you experience these symptoms, stop taking the supplement and seek medical attention.
You should also avoid taking Lion’s Mane if you are allergic to mushrooms. Asthmatic individuals should also use caution, as Lion’s Mane may cause respiratory symptoms.
What Is Cordyceps?
Let’s move on to Cordyceps, another type of mushroom gaining massive popularity in the supplement world. Unlike Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps is not a single species but a genus of mushrooms growing in mountainous parts of the world.
Of the over 400 known species, the most popular species is Cordyceps sinensis. This mushroom extract has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine and is still widely used for its potential health benefits.
These mushrooms develop on the bodies of their insect hosts. Yes, you read that correctly! Here’s how the process works: First, the fungus spores enter an insect larva and start to grow. Then, as the fungus matures, it produces a long, thin stalk that breaks through the larva’s body. This produces an adult mushroom that grows out of the larva’s body!
To identify Cordyceps sinensis, look for a mushroom with a bright orange cap and a white stalk. The mushrooms can range in size from an inch to several inches long. The color of the stalk can vary, but it is usually white or yellowish.
Health Benefits Of Cordyceps
Like Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps has been studied extensively for its potential health benefits. Some of the most prominent benefits may include the following:
- Increased Energy and Endurance
- Anti-Tumor Effects
- Improved Heart Health
Let’s investigate how exactly Cordyceps can provide these health benefits.
Increased Energy and Endurance
Cordyceps has been studied for its potential to improve energy levels and endurance. Athletes have reported feeling energized and able to perform for longer periods of time after taking this mushroom extract.
Studies (4) suggest that Cordyceps may increase levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the body. ATP is a molecule that acts as the body’s main energy source. By increasing levels of ATP, Cordyceps may provide an extra boost of energy that can be used during physical activity.
Cordyceps has also been found to improve VO2 max, a measure of aerobic capacity and physical fitness. VO2 max is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use during exercise. In one study, researchers found that Cordyceps supplementation improved VO2 max by an average of 7% in the participants.
Cordyceps has also been studied for its potential anti-tumor effects. This mushroom extract contains several compounds that may help fight tumor growth and spread.
Researchers have found that Cordyceps may help reduce tumor size, inhibit the growth of cancer cells, and prevent the spread of tumors.
Studies suggest that Cordyceps may be most effective against certain types of cancer, including liver, colon, lung, and skin cancers. Moreover, some studies suggest that Cordyceps may help reverse the side effects of chemotherapy.
In a 3-week study, mice were treated with Taxol a day before they were given a dose of Cordyceps. The researchers found that Cordyceps reversed the leukopenia that had been induced by chemo. These results suggest the fungi may help reduce complications associated with chemotherapy.
Improved Heart Health
Heart health is something that should be taken seriously. As a herbal drug, Cordyceps has been used in China for a very long time to treat arrhythmia, a condition in which the heart beats irregularly.
Studies have shown that Cordyceps may improve heart health in several ways. First, it may help reduce cholesterol levels. High cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease, and Cordyceps has been found to lower LDL cholesterol levels as well as total cholesterol.
Second, Cordyceps may also help reduce triglyceride levels. Triglycerides are a type of fat in the blood that can increase your risk of heart disease. In one study (5), researchers found that Cordyceps supplementation reduced triglyceride levels significantly.
According to science, Cordyceps help to reduce the risk of heart disease thanks to its Adenosine content. Adenosine is a natural compound with heart-protective properties. Studies suggest that it can reduce both blood pressure and heart rate, as well as improve circulation.
Since there is limited research on humans, the optimal dosage of Cordyceps is still unknown. However, most studies suggest that 1000-3000mg (1-3g) daily is safe and effective. It’s best to talk to your doctor before taking cordyceps, especially if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Possible Side Effects
No serious side effects have been reported with Cordyceps use. However, it’s possible that some people may experience mild side effects such as nausea, dry mouth, diarrhea, or stomach upset. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s best to stop taking Cordyceps and consult your doctor.
What Is CBD?
So, by now, you know all about Lion’s Mane and Cordyceps mushroom extracts. But what is CBD? Let’s find out.
CBD (cannabidiol) is a naturally-occurring compound in cannabis plants like hemp and marijuana. You may have heard of it recently due to its increasing popularity as a natural remedy for many physical and mental health conditions.
CBD is one of the many active compounds found in cannabis plants, and it does not produce the intoxicating effects associated with marijuana use. In other words, you won’t feel “high” when taking CBD. What causes the “high” feeling is another active compound called THC, which is not present in CBD products.
Currently, CBD is used to help with a wide range of health conditions. It is believed that the compound works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which helps regulate many important functions in the body. We’ll be discussing this in more detail shortly.
CBD is legal in the United States but is regulated differently depending on the state. CBD products must be labeled and tested in most states to ensure they contain no more than 0.3% THC, the intoxicating compound found in marijuana plants.
Health Benefits of CBD
Many people have turned to CBD as a natural remedy for various health conditions. Here are some of the most common benefits associated with CBD:
- Anxiety Relief
- Pain Relief
- Epilepsy Syndromes
- Diabetes Control (Type 2)
For centuries, people have been using cannabis plants to help ease anxiety. More recently, studies have shown that CBD may help reduce anxiety symptoms and improve mental well-being.
While more research is needed to understand CBD’s effects on anxiety fully, many people have reported feeling less anxious after taking CBD gummies. It is believed that CBD helps to regulate the body’s endocannabinoid system, which can help reduce stress and anxiety levels.
A 2017 study published in the Journal of Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry found that CBD effectively reduced anxiety symptoms in participants. The study tested 57 men with social anxiety disorder and found that those who took CBD before their speech test had lower anxiety levels than those who did not take the supplement.
CBD has gained much attention recently due to its potential use in treating epilepsy syndromes.
In 2018, the FDA approved a CBD-based medication for treating certain forms of epilepsy, such as Lennox-Gastaut syndrome and Dravet syndrome, making it the first cannabinoid-based medicine to be approved in the United States.
Studies have shown that CBD may effectively reduce seizures in people with certain forms of epilepsy. One study (6) found that participants who took CBD experienced a 50% reduction in seizure frequency compared to those who took a placebo.
Diabetes Control (Type 2)
Statistics show that diabetes is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, and it is estimated that 422 million people currently suffer from it.
CBD may be beneficial in helping to manage Type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that CBD can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
In one study (7), participants with Type 2 diabetes were given either a placebo or CBD oil for 12 weeks. At the end of the 19-week period, those who had taken the CBD experienced significant improvements in blood glucose levels and insulin sensitivity compared to those who had taken the placebo.
CBD dosage varies depending on the person and their health condition. Generally, we recommend starting with a low dose and gradually increasing the amount until you find what works best for your body.
Starters should aim for the lowest dose possible, usually 5-10mg daily. If you want more relief, gradually increase the dosage until you notice an effect. We also recommend talking to your doctor before taking CBD, as it can interact with certain medications.
Also, check the label of any CBD product you purchase to ensure it is free from contaminants and contains the right amount of CBD. Follow the directions on the label to ensure you are taking the correct dosage for your needs.
Possible Side Effects
CBD is generally considered safe and well-tolerated. However, some people may experience side effects from taking CBD, such as:
- Dry mouth
- Low blood pressure
- Changes in appetite or weight
If you experience these side effects, stop taking the supplement and talk to your doctor. They may suggest a different dosage or a different type of supplement.
Lion’s Mane vs Cordyceps vs CBD: What Do They Have in Common?
Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, and CBD are different substances with distinct properties and uses. However, there are a few similarities between them. Here’s a quick look at their similarities.
- Health benefits: All three substances are associated with various health benefits. Lion’s Mane and Cordyceps are mushrooms used in traditional medicine for centuries, and they are believed to have immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. CBD, on the other hand, is a compound found in the cannabis plant that is known for its potential to relieve pain, anxiety, and other health conditions.
- Natural remedies: Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, and CBD are all-natural remedies derived from plants or fungi. They are generally considered safe and often used as prescription medication alternatives.
- Increasing popularity: There has been a growing interest in Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, and CBD due to their potential health benefits. As a result, they have become increasingly popular as supplements and alternative therapies.
- Research: Despite their long histories of use, there is still much research to be done on the potential benefits of Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, and CBD. However, some evidence suggests that they may be effective for certain health conditions. For example, studies have shown that Lion’s Mane may improve cognitive function and Cordyceps may improve exercise performance. CBD has also been effective in reducing seizures in people with epilepsy.
Lion’s Mane vs Cordyceps Vs CBD: Key Differences
Although there are some similarities between these three substances, they also have notable differences. The table below summarizes the key differences between Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, and CBD.
|Primary Benefits||Enhance cognitive function and memory||Boost energy, and physical performance||Reduce anxiety, inflammation, and pain|
|Active Components||Beta-glucans, erinacines, hericenones||Cordycepin, adenosine, polysaccharides||Cannabidiol|
|Side Effects||Rare, possible mild digestive issues||Rare, possible mild digestive issues||Possible side effects such as dry mouth, dizziness, and changes in appetite|
|Legal Status||Legal||Legal||Legal in some places, illegal in others|
|Form||Capsules, powder, tea, extract||Capsules, powder, tea, extract||Oil, capsules, edibles, topicals|
Table showing the differences between Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, and CBD
Note: This table is a summary of some of the key differences between these substances, and there may be other important aspects to consider when deciding which one is right for you. Always consult a healthcare provider before adding new supplements to your routine.
Can You Take the Three of Them Together?
No direct evidence suggests that taking Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, and CBD together is harmful. However, we strongly recommend speaking to a healthcare professional before combining these substances or taking any dietary supplement.
Choosing Which One Is the Best for You
Choosing which supplement is the best for you will depend on your individual health needs and goals. Here are some factors to consider when deciding which supplement to try:
- Health concerns: If you have a specific health concern you’re trying to address, such as cognitive decline, inflammation, or anxiety, you may want to choose a supplement that has been shown to be effective in treating that condition. For example, Lion’s Mane has been studied for its potential benefits for cognitive function and nervous system health, while CBD has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anxiolytic effects.
- Personal preferences: Consider your personal preferences when choosing a supplement. For example, if you prefer natural remedies and are looking for a supplement derived from a plant source, you may prefer CBD over Lion’s Mane and Cordyceps, which are derived from mushrooms.
- Safety: Make sure to choose a reputable brand and follow recommended dosages to minimize the risk of side effects or interactions with medications you may be taking. Always consult a healthcare provider before adding new supplements to your routine, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications.
Overall, there is no “best” supplement for everyone, and it’s important to consider your needs and preferences when choosing which supplement to try. Consulting with a healthcare provider can also help make an informed decision.
Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, and CBD are all popular supplements that have been studied for their potential health benefits.
Lion’s Mane is a mushroom that may support cognition, brain health, and mood. Cordyceps is another mushroom studied for its potential to increase energy and enhance athletic performance. CBD is a cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant that has been studied for its potential therapeutic benefits, such as reducing anxiety, relieving pain, and improving sleep.
At the end of the day, it is up to you to decide which supplement might work best for your individual needs. Try to do your research, talk to your doctor, and experiment with different supplements if you can. Each supplement has its potential benefits, so it is worth exploring them to see which works best for you. Good luck!
What Does Lion’s Mane Do to Hormones?
Lion’s Mane mushrooms has been found to be a potent nootropic, meaning it has the potential to affect hormone production in the hypothalamus. It may also support nerve health and stimulate neurogenesis.
What Does Lion’s Mane Do to the Brain?
According to past studies, Lion’s mane mushrooms have special compounds, hericenones and erinacines, which may help to promote the growth of nerve cells in the brain. This could then potentially lead to improved cognition and a better mood.
Who Should Not Take Lion’s Mane?
Lion’s mane should not be taken by anyone with a known allergy to mushrooms or other fungi.
Who Should Not Take Cordyceps?
Cordyceps should not be taken by children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, or anyone with a known allergy to mushrooms or other fungi. Diabetic, cancer, or bleeding disorder patients should also avoid taking Cordyceps.
Do Cordyceps Work Immediately?
No, the effects of Cordyceps may not be immediately noticeable. Like with any supplement, it may take some time to see the desired results. Depending on the individual, it could take anywhere from a few days to several weeks before seeing any changes.
How Does Cordyceps Make You Feel?
Some people report feeling more energized after taking Cordyceps, while others may experience an enhanced sense of well-being. Every individual is different, so what works for one person may not work for another.
Are Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, and CBD Legal?
Yes, all three supplements are legal to purchase and use in the United States. However, CBD must be sourced from hemp that contains less than 0.3% THC, according to the 2018 farm bill. It is important to research your state’s laws regarding CBD products before purchasing or using them.
Is CBD the Best for Anxiety?
No, CBD is not necessarily the “best” for anxiety as everyone’s needs and preferences are different. It may help some people, while others may find more success with other supplements or therapies.
Can You Take Cordyceps and Lion’s Mane Together?
Yes, it is generally safe to take Cordyceps and Lion’s Mane together. Taking cordyceps and lion’s mane together may help improve both physical and cognitive performance, and provide additional health benefits such as immune system support.
Can You Take CBD With Lion’s Mane?
Yes, you can take CBD with Lion’s Mane. In fact, the benefits of CBD combined with Lion’s Mane may be greater than either supplement alone. This could be because of the potential synergy between the compounds present in both supplements.
- Kim, S. W., Moon, E., Nam, S. J., & Friedman, M. (2012). Hericium erinaceus Mushroom Extracts Protect Infected Mice against Salmonella Typhimurium-Induced Liver Damage and Mortality by Stimulation of Innate Immune Cells. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 60(22), 5590–5596. https://doi.org/10.1021/jf300897w
- Lai, P., Naidu, M., Sabaratnam, V., Wong, K., David, R. P., Kuppusamy, U. R., Abdullah, N., & Malek, S. N. A. (2013c). Neurotrophic Properties of the Lion’s Mane Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 15(6), 539–554. https://doi.org/10.1615/intjmedmushr.v15.i6.30
- Kushairi, N., Phan, C., Sabaratnam, V., David, P., & Naidu, M. (2019). Lion’s Mane Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. Suppresses H2O2-Induced Oxidative Damage and LPS-Induced Inflammation in HT22 Hippocampal Neurons and BV2 Microglia. Antioxidants, 8(8), 261. https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox8080261
- Lin, B. (2011). Cordyceps as an Herbal Drug. Herbal Medicine – NCBI Bookshelf. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92758/
- Lipid-lowering effect of cordycepin (3’-deoxyadenosine) from Cordyceps militaris on hyperlipidemic hamsters and rats. (2011, June 1). PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21882527/
- Silvestro, S., Mammana, S., Cavalli, E., Bramanti, P., & Mazzon, E. (2019). Use of Cannabidiol in the Treatment of Epilepsy: Efficacy and Security in Clinical Trials. Molecules, 24(8), 1459. https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules24081459
- GWMD1092 – GWP42003 : GWP42004 Together Plus Alone in Type II Diabetes – Full Text View – ClinicalTrials.gov. (n.d.). https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01217112
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.