Lion’s Mane for ADHD: Could This Mushroom Help?
Over the course of the last year and a half, those dealing with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD for short, have been affected heavily by the persisting shortage of stimulant medication. If you have ADHD, it’s an issue that you’re likely all too familiar with.
As a result, many people with ADHD have been searching—often in vain—for alternative treatments that can help ease their everyday, ADHD-related struggles. With hallmark symptoms such as inattention, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, “brain boosting” herbs have become popular as a way to lessen the effects of the disorder.
One natural remedy frequently recommended is lion’s mane… but does it really work?
Here’s everything you need to know about lion’s mane for ADHD.
What is Lion’s Mane?
Unlike many of the herbs used in holistic medicine, lion’s mane isn’t a leafy plant, but a mushroom. Also known by its Latin name, Hericium erinaceus, lion’s mane is a fully edible mushroom that is native to Asia, Europe, and North America. It’s not your typical, hat-wearing mushroom, either. Instead, lion’s mane grows in thick, white, hair-like clumps that somewhat resemble a lion’s mane, which is where the fungus gets its name.
The lion’s mane mushroom has a rich history in traditional Asian holistic medicine, and is widely thought to have the potential to support neurological health, cognitive function, and overall well-being.
What Are the Potential Benefits of Lion’s Mane for ADHD?
As mentioned, lion’s mane is touted as a “brain-boosting” herb that can potentially help ease the symptoms of ADHD. Though many of these claims are unsubstantiated, some of the benefits of lion’s mane for ADHD may include:
Lion's mane Mushroom displays promise in bolstering cognitive function. Its neuroprotective and neurotrophic qualities may contribute to improvements in attention and concentration, which are often heavily affected by ADHD. Although more research is necessary in this realm, initial studies hint at Lion's Mane's capacity to positively influence cognitive abilities, offering a potential complementary avenue for ADHD management.
Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) Stimulation
A primary bioactive component within lion's mane, hericenones, has been believed to stimulate the production of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) in the brain, as found by this 2013 study. NGF plays a pivotal role in nurturing the growth, maintenance, and repair of neurons. By fostering the expansion of nerve cells, lion's mane has the potential to assist in enhancing brain function.
One of the most pervasive symptoms for those with ADHD is a lack of mood regulation, which can lead to swings between exciting euphoria, to boredom and depression. Some studies suggest that lion’s mane may have a positive effect on anxiety (also check herbs for stress and anxiety), irritability, and depression, which could make the mushroom beneficial for those with mood regulation issues related to ADHD.
Chronic inflammation has been implicated in various neurological conditions. Lion's mane wields anti-inflammatory properties, like herbs for inflammation, that may serve to mitigate inflammation within the brain. However, studies supporting this have only been conducted on rodents and have not examined the effects of inflammation in the brain. Furthermore, inflammation is not necessarily a symptom of ADHD, though many people with ADHD have additional inflammation-related maladies.
Enhanced Sleep Quality
With a mind that moves a thousand miles a minute, many people with ADHD struggle to get a full night’s rest on a consistent basis. Though there is little peer-reviewed evidence on the topic, lion’s mane has traditionally been used as a support for restful sleep.
Lion’s Mane for ADHD: Can It Really Help?
Unfortunately, there is simply not enough solid, scientific evidence supporting claims that the lion’s mane mushroom can make a real difference for those with ADHD. People with ADHD often feel as if their brain’s “wiring” is different from neurotypical individuals. Especially when going head-to-head with a prescribed stimulant medication, lion’s mane pales in comparison, as it doesn’t treat the true cause of ADHD: the brain’s function.
Additionally, the majority of studies that have examined the effects of lion’s mane on the body have been conducted on animals, not individuals with ADHD.
That being said, trying lion’s mane supplements for ADHD couldn’t hurt. The mushroom is edible and comes in many, easy to swallow forms, such as herbs, tinctures, and supplements. It is unlikely to be a replacement for the sought-after medications during this shortage, but it may offer some peace of mind for those looking for some type of alternative relief.