Brain Health,

#082: Lion’s Mane Mushroom

June 26, 2015

American mycologist Paul Stamets said, “Lion’s Mane is maybe our first smart mushroom.”

Eric Cerecedes — expert in the field and founder of MycoFormulas — joins Jesse for a wildly interesting conversation about mushrooms. The biological headliner is Lion’s Mane mushroom, but their chat ranges from ecological food-webs and the Gaia Hypothesis, to obstacles to research funding for mushroom studies in the West.

Also in this episode, find out how scientists are using genetically modified fish to find out more about Motor Neuron Disease, and how a journalist’s elaborate hoax reinforces the idea that a healthy dose of skepticism is never a bad thing.

Before you head to a specialty food store looking for exotic mushrooms, don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter below. We promise only safe-for-human-consumption neuroscience news.

Show Notes
  • 00:00:33

    The first ever fungal edition.

  • 00:02:02

    This Week In Neuroscience: Transparent fish to the rescue.

  • 00:04:24

    Shout-out for a great iTunes review.

  • 00:05:54

    Twitter chat on Omega-3 with Dr. Michael Lewis coming up soon.

  • 00:07:13

    Teaser about an opinion piece by Jesse on cognitive enhancement.

  • 00:07:49

    Jesse introduces Eric Cerecedes.

  • 00:09:30

    Eric's early experiences with mushrooms.

  • 00:12:03

    Mushroom cultivation.

  • 00:12:54

    A common misconception.

  • 00:14:14

    Lack of mushrooms in Western diet.

  • 00:15:54

    Poisonous mushrooms - a hype?

  • 00:16:34

    Research on cognitive and other benefits of Lion's Mane mushroom.

  • 00:19:33

    External and internal healing properties.

  • 00:21:34

    Mechanism of action.

  • 00:22:22

    The Circle of Life and different types of mushroom.

  • 00:25:17

    The Gaia Theory.

  • 00:26:38

    Challenges facing mushroom research.

  • 00:28:37

    When the oyster mushroom was taken to court.

  • 00:29:57

    Dosage - dependent on cultivation source.

  • 00:31:54

    Cultivation techniques at Eric's company.

  • 00:36:15

    Ruthless Listener Retention Gimmick: The importance of healthy skepticism.


  1. Nootropos says:

    This was very interesting!
    Lion’s Mane is not sold in Argentina AFAIK. We can’t order from abroad.
    Is this something we can cultivate?
    Are there any other fungus with similar neural properties?

  2. Rocky says:

    My first experience with this amazing mushroom was prepared in a meal. Lightly sauteed chopped Lion’s Mane (found in the woods) with onion and then added eggs. Great breakfast! I didn’t know what effects this particular mushroom had on the brain and was surprised that I felt very clear headed and was eager to go for a hike as I had an increased amount of energy. That was over a decade ago.
    On another note, my mother currently takes a full spectrum Lion’s Mane supplement powder and has shown great improvement. Her memory and thought processes had been declining in her mid seventies but in her early eighties, she is driving, living on her own and travels independently around the country to visit family. Miraculous indeed. Very grateful to have found this awesome supplement.
    Thanks for having Eric on the show to educate us not only on Lion’s Mane, but other mushrooms as well. The research sounds very exciting.

    1. Jesse Lawler says:

      Thanks Rocky — Glad you enjoyed the episode; me as well. I don’t think that’ll be our last fungal episode, by a long-shot. Looking into some follow-ups now…

  3. Mikhail says:

    Mr. Cerecedes said “On the ground we look at plants breathing in carbon dioxide and breathing out oxygen…” — this is not accurate. All cells (I am aware of), if they are “breathing” (not all cells breath), are breathing in oxygen and breathing out carbon dioxide, because of the purpose of breathing is to consume / release energy from the chemical reaction call “oxidation”. Probably what Mr. Cerecedes meant was that in the process of Photosynthesis, glucose (and other sugars) is being produced (trapping the energy from sun) with the side effect of consuming carbon dioxide and releasing out oxygen. Not that important for this discussion, but IMHO requires a correction.

    1. Jesse Lawler says:

      Mikhail — I think you’re right: photosynthesis would have been a better choice of terminology for the “net output of oxygen by plants” that Mr. Cerecedes was talking about. Plants do go through “respiration” (breathing) as well — which is when they convert the sugars they’ve stored during photosynthesis to use for energy, giving off carbon dioxide. In plants, respiration is secondary to photosynthesis; it is the second step of the process, and it happens less frequently. Fungi, like animals, don’t do photosynthesis at all – neither kingdom makes, or stores energy in the same way as plants, and we’re net producers of CO2, unlike plants who are net consumers of CO2. (I know *you* know this; I just got a little long-winded here in case it’s of benefit to anyone else reading.)

  4. Thanks for this episode! I have since included Lions Mane to my stack. It seems to take the edge off and have calming well being qualities (though I feel it works well when part of a stack). I recently added Vitamin B8 (Inositol) in a pint of water before bed (Lions Mane, B/C Complex and Inositol as I have heard the body absorbs vitamins particularly well while you sleep) and wow! Some pretty awesome dreamscapes and particularly good mood upon awakening. In fact, had to journal dreams so I would not forget these cool ideas! Have you heard much about Inositol aka B8 as a cognitive enhancer? (Perhaps on an episode I missed?).

    1. Jesse Lawler says:

      Hey there Jonathan — No, no Inositol episodes as of yet, but I’m shunting this into the recommendations pile and we’ll see what we can do. Anything that enhances dream vividness or dream recall is kind of automatically interesting, right? We appreciate the nudge!

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