Microdosing on Lions Mane

I’m all for experimenting. Especially with mushrooms - hallucinogenic or otherwise.

Medicinal mushrooms have been hella trendy these days and I’ve shamelessly jumped on the bandwagon. I’m curious, k! After hearing a Tim Ferris podcast with Paul Staments and then receiving an email from one of my spiritual teachers both of whom were promoting lions mane, I took it as a sign to give it a try.

What is lion’s mane?

Lion’s mane mushroom has been recognized as a powerful food for enhancing brain function and helping with a number of physical aliments, depression and anxiety. It’s also know as the “bearded tooth fungus” (eeerrrrmm, appetizing?) or “hedgehog mushroom” (kinda cute?). I quite like the name, “pom pom blanc”, a reference to a cheerleader's white pom poms.

Below are just a few benefits of lion’s mane. Please see the references listed at the end of the article for further reading.  

Improves Cognitive Function and Longevity

It helps stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF) production. NGF is a neuropeptide that assists to maintain neurons and stimulates the differentiation and re-myelination of neurons. Neurons are cells responsible for helping our brain’s process and transmit information, thus improving cognitive function. The mushroom has shown to also regenerate damaged cells in the brain as well as help protect neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. As I have had a family member diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, this was my main reason to start taking lion’s mane.

Reduces Depression and Anxiety

The NGF-enhancing action of lion’s mane supports our body’s fight or flight responses, thereby streamlining and reducing feelings of depression, anxiety and irritability.

Improves Physical Performance

Lion’s mane is rich in antioxidants that support cellular health. The more antioxidants in the body, the easier it is for the body to produce energy. The mushrooms has been shown to reduce lactic acid in the blood, meaning you can recover quicker after intense physical activity.

Lion’s mane is safe to consume, widely available online and through health stores. There are no side effects to taking lion’s mane.

Day 1, week 1 of microdosing

It’s day one and the spots on the tiled floors are moving in the office bathroom. The walls are heaving. The bathroom stall is feeling very cramped. My sight is extremely vivid and I can see all the veins in the leaves of my little bonsai tree that sits next to me at my desk. My body feels beautifully soft and floaty.

Is this even lion’s mane?

I realised I took the wrong pills.

So the first day of microdosing was a “fail”. I had ordered both lion’s mane and Psilocybin and didn’t scrutinize the two jars, carelessly opening up the one and popping two pills. Even though I’ve microdosed and experimented with Psilocybin mushrooms before at much higher doses, I wasn’t exactly prepared for a hallucinogenic experience in the office.

The verdict:

Next time, read the jars properly.

Week 1 of microdosing - take #2

I started off conservatively, with one capsule, dosing twice in the first week. For a good few hours of the day, I felt alert, focused and tuned into the tasks at hand. My energy was heightened but there was an underlying sense of easefullness. There was a greater sense of coming into my body and being able to feel my body with more awareness. The initial hour or so, my sight was more vivid . Overall, there was a more directed focus and energy. The effects were noticeable on the days when I took the lion’s mane, with no major differences experienced on the days when I didn’t take the mushrooms.

The verdict:

There were definitely some changes in alertness, focus and energy, albeit slight. I plan to increase to two capsules (as per the suggestions on the bottle) in Week 2, taking five days on, two days off. This is suggested for any kind of microdosing, whether it be with Psilocybin mushrooms or even caffeine for that matter.

Week 2 of microdosing

Monday morning began with some yerba mate tea and two caps of lion’s mane. It lit me up pretty quickly, with a smooth-sailing effect throughout the morning. By Day 3, the effects were less as my tolerance started to increase. I can still feel the hum of the mushrooms working slowly and steadily in the background.

The verdict:

Week 2 was good. I still felt the effects immediately each time I swallowed them down. I got those lit body tingles and then… the toilet calls!

Does lion’s mane make you wanna go to the loo by the way…?

Week 3, I will experiment with one capsule for five days.

Week 3 of microdosing

Right, I decided to keep things more moderate and take one capsule once a day with a hot drink for five days. The effects were smoother and softer. I think my body developed a bit of a resistance but I was happier taking one capsule a day. My focus was clear and my fitness and agility was feeling on form.

The verdict:

One capsule a day for five days seemed to be my happy place. I felt alert, calm and focused.

I believe I am giving my brain a gift in the long run by including lion’s mane regularly at my ripe age of 27. Do you take any form of medicinal mushroom on a microdosing basis? Let me know what you take and why! I would love to experiment with other varieties in the future.