Lion’s Mane Mushroom is one of the best brain supplements in the world right now. That all of the best nootropic stacks contain Lion’s Mane Mushroom is no accident; this mushroom has some incredible and unique nootropic properties.
As Lion’s Mane Mushroom gets added to pretty much every comprehensive, daily nootropic stack today, more and more people are learning about the amazing benefits that this medicinal mushroom has to offer.
Yet at the same time, few people seem to know how to properly use Lion’s Mane Mushroom for maximum benefits.
Even more worryingly, very few people seem to understand how Lion’s Mane works, what the real benefits are, and the side effect risks.
One question we get asked quite often is “what is the best time of day to take Lion’s Mane”?
To properly explain whether you should take Lion’s Mane in the morning or at night, we first need to explain what Lion’s Mane does, how it works, and what the side effects are.
What does Lion’s Mane do?
Lion’s Mane Mushroom has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine for a variety of purposes, from boosting immune system function and reducing inflammation to improving memory function.
While many of the “traditional” uses of Lion’s Mane Mushroom have no support from science, one certainly does: cognitive enhancement.
Dozens of clinical trials have shown that Lion’s Mane Mushroom supplementation significantly improves multiple different measures of cognitive performance, particularly memory retention, recall, and information processing speeds.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom’s positive effects on memory appear to be far more pronounced in older people, particularly those experiencing some mild, age-related cognitive decline.
There is also evidence that supplementing with Lion’s Mane Mushroom can help reduce anxiety, improve mood, and boost confidence. The evidence from clinical trials is much weaker on this front, but anecdotal evidence abounds; lots of users claim that Lion’s Mane calms their mind and promotes relaxation.
So to sum up, the known benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushroom include:
- Enhanced memory function
- Sharper focus
- Longer attention span
- Faster informaiton processing
- Improved mood
- Reduced anxiety
So how do Lion’s Mane Mushroom do all of this?
How does it work?
How Does Lion’s Mane Mushroom Work?
We actually understand how Lion’s Mane Mushroom works extremely well thanks to extensive research carried out in recent years on this fascinating nootropic substance.
Studies demonstrate that Lion’s Mane Mushroom consumption triggers the release of a substance in the brain called Nerve Growth Factor (NGF).
Nerve Growth Factor is a neurotrophic factor. This means it is a chemical which controls the growth, proliferation, death, and maintenance of brain cells. Increasing the expression of NGF in the brain leads directly to an increase in neuron growth and proliferation.
Specifically, higher levels of NGF encourages the growth of neuron dendrites; the branches that connect your neurons to one another. NGF also triggers the maintenance of damaged neurons, and the growth of new neurons, increasing neuronal density in the brain.
This is what drives the dramatic cognitive enhancements we see from Lion’s Mane Mushroom supplementation.
Lion’s Mane Dose Timing
Since Lion’s Mane Mushroom works by increasing neuron growth and enhancing neuron maintenance, does it really matter what time of day you take Lion’s Mane?
The answer is no, not really.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom is very much a long-term nootropic. The main benefits associated with Lion’s Mane Mushroom use come from long-term, daily use. You will not benefit from increased neuron growth until you have had elevated NGF for several weeks.
So the exact time of day you take Lion’s Mane doesn’t really matter if your goals are improved memory function and enhanced overall cognitive performance over the long-term.
However, you need to consider how you’re taking your Lion’s Mane Mushroom.
If you’re using stim-free, daily nootropic stacks like Mind Lab Pro, then taking Lion’s Mane either in the morning or at night is fine.
But, if your Lion’s Mane comes in a stack containing caffeine, then you do need to avoid taking it at night or else it will disrupt your sleep.
You should also consider the short-term benefits of Lion’s Mane. Lion’s Mane supplementation does improve focus and learning in the short-term, and it appears to improve mood too.
That’s why we recommend taking Lion’s Mane first thing in the morning. That way, you can enjoy the benefits all day long.
Conclusion: When should you take Lion’s Mane?
Lion’s Mane is most effective when taken in the morning to stimulate brain function for the entire day. People often pair Lion’s Mane Mushroom with their coffee, as the combination of Lion’s Mane and caffeine can quickly improve focus, clarity and energy. However, this does not mean that you need to take Lion’s Mane Mushroom in the morning to see benefits. Lion’s Mane has very long-term nootropic effects, with improvements in focus, memory and learning becoming measurable after several weeks and months of daily use. So taking Lion’s Mane at night is fine.
Brian Johnson is current Editor of Vagarights.com and a long-time writer for VAGA. A former psychologist, Brian is passionate about improving mental health and finding ways to stave off cognitive decline. He is an expert on nootropics, cognitive enhancement and biohacking more broadly. You can see his work on Google scholar.