Lions Mane Mushroom vs. Lions Mane Mycelium

Most beneficial part of Hericium erinaceus? The mushroom or mycelium? Both have bioactive compounds. Some compounds are only found in the mushroom or only in the mycelium. Supplement companies rarely offer mushroom & mycelium combinations. Our personal opinion is that it is best to consume both parts, the mushroom and its' mycelium, for optimum benefits consistency is key. 

lions mane mushroom on birch tree

Lions mane mushroom benefits

Fruiting lions mane bodies research has shown:
  1. Moderate effects on cellular antioxidant activity suggested that H. erinaceum could be utilized in the development of natural antioxidant and anti-osteoporotic nutraceuticals[1].
  2. Exhibited inhibitory potency against tumor growth[2,3].
  3. Active compound may inspire the development of a new pharmacologically useful substance to be used in the treatment and prevention of age-related diseases[4]. 
  4. Results of potential for preventing and treating inflammatory diseases[5].

Lions mane mycelium benefits

Lions mane mycelia research has shown:
  1. Protection against environmental pollutants [6].
  2. Hericium erinaceus polysaccharide was effective in preventing gastric cancer progression[7].
  3. Significantly decreased the blood glucose (GLU) levels and could be used as a functional food and natural drug for the prevention of diabetes and its complications[8].
  4. Nerve growth factor (NGF) to NGF precursor (proNGF) was increased and hippocampal neurogenesis was promoted and the results highlight the therapeutic potential of lions mane mushroom and lions mane mycelium on Alzheimer's [9]. 
  5. Exhibit antioxidant and neuroprotective effects on Aβ-induced neurotoxicity in neurons.[10]. 
  6. Preclinical studies have shown that there can be improvements in ischemic stroke, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, and depression if H. erinaceus mycelia enriched with erinacines are included in daily meals[11].

Mycelium cultured on grain leaves leftover traces of grain. Basically a creation of fermented fungus on grain. We see no issues with grain fermented with fungus if the cultured grain is of high quality; organic and gluten free with no pesticides. Pure mycelium culture grown in a liquid medium is also available. Liquid cultured mycelium is about is as pure and potent as it may get.

Another concern is the quality of the fruit/mushroom bought wholesale from China. The challenge with fungus bought from China is pollution factors and heavy metals known to accumulate in the mushroom body. It is important to know where your fungus product comes from and the health of the environment it is cultivated in, as fungus is known to ingest and absorb toxic pollutants & heavy metals from the surrounding environment. It is also ethically questionable to purchase a product that requires shipping some thousands of miles, when there are healthy, mindfully grown options closer to home, if possible. 

sliced and diced lions mane mushroom

A challenge for many can be finding the optimal daily dosage, at a reasonable cost that can be taken long term for optimal benefits. The recommended serving varies widely from vender to vender. One may recommend a one gram serving, another 1.5 gram, and another sells bulk powder so you chose how much. Regardless of how much you wish to eat per day, buying loose organic powder mushroom/mycelium from a trust worthy source may be the best option. We feel that it is more cost effective, waste reducing, and ethical to purchase a full spectrum lions mane powder that is organically grown and locally sourced.


Reference List


  1. Li W, Lee SH, Jang HD, Ma JY, Kim YH. Antioxidant and Anti-Osteoporotic Activities of Aromatic Compounds and Sterols from Hericium erinaceum. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) 2017;22(1):E108. PMID 28085076
  2. Wang XL, Xu KP, Long HP, Zou H, Cao XZ, Zhang K, Hu JZ, He SJ, Zhu GZ, He XA, Xu PS, Tan GS. New isoindolinones from the fruiting bodies of Hericium erinaceum. Fitoterapia 2016;111:58-65. PMID 27094113
  3. Li W, Zhou W, Kim EJ, Shim SH, Kang HK, Kim YH. Isolation and identification of aromatic compounds in Lion's Mane Mushroom and their anticancer activities. Food chemistry 2015;170:336-42. PMID 25306354
  4. Noh HJ, Yang HH, Kim GS, Lee SE, Lee DY, Choi JH, Kim SY, Lee ES, Ji SH, Kang KS, Park HJ, Kim JR, Kim KH. Chemical constituents of Hericium erinaceum associated with the inhibitory activity against cellular senescence in human umbilical vascular endothelial cells. Journal of enzyme inhibition and medicinal chemistry 2015;30(6):934-40. PMID 25676326
  5. Noh HJ, Yoon JY, Kim GS, Lee SE, Lee DY, Choi JH, Kim SY, Kang KS, Cho JY, Kim KH. Benzyl alcohol derivatives from the mushroom Hericium erinaceum attenuate LPS-stimulated inflammatory response through the regulation of NF-κB and AP-1 activity. Immunopharmacology and immunotoxicology 2014;36(5):349-54. PMID 25090632
  6. Mukai M, Kasai A, Hiramatsu N, Hayakawa K, Okamura M, Tagawa Y, Yao J, Nakamura T, Kitamura M. Blockade of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor pathway triggered by dioxin, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and cigarette smoke by Phellinus linteus. Biological & pharmaceutical bulletin 2008;31(10):1888-93. PMID 18827349
  7. Wang M, Zhang Y, Xiao X, Xu D, Gao Y, Gao Q. A Polysaccharide Isolated from Mycelia of the Lion's Mane Medicinal Mushroom Hericium erinaceus (Agaricomycetes) Induced Apoptosis in Precancerous Human Gastric Cells. International journal of medicinal mushrooms 2017;19(12):1053-60. PMID 29431066
  8. Zhang C, Li J, Hu C, Wang J, Zhang J, Ren Z, Song X, Jia L. Antihyperglycaemic and organic protective effects on pancreas, liver and kidney by polysaccharides from Hericium erinaceus SG-02 in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice. Scientific reports 2017;7(1):10847. PMID 28883631
  9. Tsai-Teng T, Chin-Chu C, Li-Ya L, Wan-Ping C, Chung-Kuang L, Chien-Chang S, Chi-Ying HF, Chien-Chih C, Shiao YJ. Erinacine A-enriched Hericium erinaceus mycelium ameliorates Alzheimer's disease-related pathologies in APPswe/PS1dE9 transgenic mice. Journal of biomedical science 2016;23(1):49. PMID 27350344
  10.  Cheng JH, Tsai CL, Lien YY, Lee MS, Sheu SC. High molecular weight of polysaccharides from Hericium erinaceus against amyloid beta-induced neurotoxicity. BMC complementary and alternative medicine 2016;16:170. PMID 27266872
  11.  Li IC, Lee LY, Tzeng TT, Chen WP, Chen YP, Shiao YJ, Chen CC. Neurohealth Properties of Hericium erinaceus Mycelia Enriched with Erinacines. Behavioural neurology 2018;2018:5802634. PMID 29951133