Being a new mom can take a toll on your memory, focus, and immune system–sending many postpartum mothers in search of natural supplements to help them feel better. Lion’s mane checks the boxes as a super sidekick for boosting cognition, focus, energy, and more, but there’s a caveat–Can you use lion’s mane during breastfeeding?
The answer is yes! Mushroom supplements like lion’s mane are generally considered to be safe to take during breastfeeding as long as you dose them correctly. At least, they are just as safe as eating any culinary mushrooms–meaning you mainly have to worry about the risk of rare allergic reactions.
So, ready to get started? Here’s everything you need to know about adding Lion’s Mane to your postpartum wellness regimen:
Table of Contents
- Lion's Mane is generally considered safe for breastfeeding moms, offering potential cognitive benefits, stress reduction, and immune support.
- Always consult your healthcare provider before adding Lion's Mane or any supplement to your postpartum routine.
- Start with a small amount and monitor both yourself and your baby for any adverse reactions. Safety is key in this adventure!
What is Lion's Mane?
Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus) is a mushroom that resembles a lion's mane, and it's more than just a quirky-looking fungus. It can be enjoyed as a cuisine delicacy and is often used as a vegan seafood substitute thanks to its crab-like texture and flavor. Or, it can be made into high-quality mushroom supplements that offer the benefits of its bioactive compounds in a convenient, concentrated dose.
Lion’s Mane has gained popularity for its potential cognitive benefits, particularly in supporting nerve growth factor (NGF), a protein crucial for brain cell growth and cognitive function. More specifically, for nursing moms, it may help to support energy balance and fight postpartum brain fog.
Before we dig too far into the details, though, let’s take a look at how it works:
How Does Lion's Mane Work?
Lion's Mane is like a superhero supporting your brain's health. It aids in brain cell regeneration and overall cognitive function by boosting nerve growth factor (NGF), the brain's sidekick that helps with cell growth and maintenance.
How does it work? Magic. Just kidding–it’s because of bioactive polysaccharides.
Lion’s Mane is composed mostly of polysaccharides, or complex carbohydrates. In fact, Lion’s Mane is estimated to be composed of about 60-70% polysaccharides. These polysaccharides are present in two different varieties–alpha-glucans and beta-glucans.
Alpha-glucans provide sustainable energy to the body, while beta-glucans are the more bioactive compound that may be responsible for many of the health benefits associated with the mushroom. Lion’s Mane contains at least 35 completely unique beta-glucans which is why it may be responsible for such a wide range of health benefits.
Furthermore, Lion’s Mane is a rich source of terpenoids, a modified classification of terpenes. These are lipids that are often associated with the fragrance of many plants, but they also carry unique benefits of their own.
Now, let's address the pressing question: Can this brain-boosting fungi be a friend to breastfeeding mothers?
Benefits of Lion's Mane for New Moms
As a new mom, you're the superhero, ensuring the well-being of your little one. The good news is that Lion's Mane is generally considered safe for consumption and is not known to have adverse effects on breastfeeding or the baby–so you can use it as your superhero sidekick to help keep you focused and energized.
Here's a deeper dive into the potential benefits of incorporating Lion's Mane into your postpartum routine:
Boost Vitamin D And Strengthen Your Bones:
Many mom’s experience low Vitamin D and calcium levels after giving birth. As an added complication, it can be hard in the first few weeks of your baby’s life to get enough sunshine, leading to even lower Vitamin D levels.
Whole Lion's Mane mushrooms are a fantastic source of vitamin D, crucial for maintaining calcium levels in the body, especially while nursing. Ensuring both you and your baby have strong bones is essential.
Keep in mind that this nutritional benefit will mostly come from the whole edible mushroom or whole mushroom powders, not extracts.
Beta-Glucans May Increase Milk Production
Lion's Mane extract is rich in beta-glucans, bioactive compounds that may aid in boosting prolactin levels. Prolactin is a hormone vital for breast milk production. Maintaining an adequate milk supply is vital for your baby's growth and health.
Although it may have minimal impact on mothers who aren't struggling with supply, it may help to provide a substantial boost for mothers who are struggling with milk supply due to low prolactin levels.
An Excellent Source Of The B Vitamins
Loaded With Vital Minerals
Your mood may wax and wane with the moon just after having a baby–its normal. Your hormones have constantly shifted for the last nine months to support different phases of your baby’s growth, and now they’ll spend months (sometimes years) shifting back to normal.
Luckily, lion’s mane may be useful for managing low mood or mood disorders. According to a 2015 study, lion’s mane may be useful for combating both anxiety and depression. This study, which involved animal subjects, found that subjects displayed fewer depressive behaviors and improved blood markers indicating a decrease in depression after taking lion’s mane regularly.
Another 2018 study also suggests that lion’s mane could potentially be useful for treating depressive disorders, though more evidence is needed to fully understand this potential application.
It May Make Breastfeeding With Diabetes Easier
Diabetes can complicate pregnancy and breastfeeding. Irregular blood sugar can have a negative impact on the body’s ability to produce milk. Lion's Mane can aid in diabetes treatment, helping to regulate blood sugar levels and ensure adequate milk supply for diabetic mothers.
Research suggests that lion’s mane has antihyperglycemic effects that may pair well with common diabetes treatments to help reduce the risk of blood sugar spikes.
Supports Cognitive And Mental Health
Promotes Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) Production
One of the most popular benefits of Lion's Mane is its ability to stimulate neurogenesis, the production of new nerve cells.
One study found that Lion’s Mane extract may encourage the growth of new nerve cells and may stimulate faster healing within the nervous system by stimulating the production of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). Another study confirmed these effects–Lion’s mane was capable of increasing nervous system repair in rats with nerve damage compared to control subjects.
Supports Immune System
Lion's Mane possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, strengthening the immune system and aiding in disease prevention for both the nursing mother and her baby. According to one animal study, lion’s mane may be able to boost the activity of healthy gut bacteria. This gut bacteria, known as “flora,” plays a heavy role in the body’s immune system and the production of neurotransmitters.
Another study even confirms that lion’s mane’s ability to improve the growth of gut bacteria may have a positive impact on the immune system. This is one way that lion’s mane can have a significant impact on both physical and mental health over time.
Safety First: Navigating Lion's Mane while Breastfeeding
- Consult Your Doctor: Always consult your healthcare provider before adding any supplement to your diet, especially while breastfeeding. They can guide you based on your specific circumstances.
- Start Slow: Begin with a small amount and monitor how your body and baby react. Every superhero's tolerance level is unique! Gradually adjust the dosage based on your tolerance.
- Monitor Your Baby: Keep an eye on your baby for any unusual reactions while you enjoy the potential benefits of Lion's Mane. Your baby's well-being is your top priority.
- Monitor Your Milk Supply: It’s unlikely that lion’s mane will negatively affect your milk supply, but it's important to keep a watch on your milk supply when trying new supplements.
- Choose a High-Quality Supplement: Opt for a reputable brand to ensure you consume a safe and effective Lion's Mane product. Look for third-party tested supplements for purity and potency.
- Regular Check-Ups: Maintain regular check-ups with your healthcare professional or lactation consultant to monitor progress and make informed decisions about using Lion's Mane during breastfeeding.
Conclusion: How and Why to Use Lion’s Mane During Breastfeeding
Lion’s Mane targets many of the issues that a new mom might face, from stress to brain fog to fatigue. It also supplies support with very little risk–the side effects of Lion’s Mane are rare and mild. Therefore, Lion’s Mane supplements may be a good choice for breastfeeding moms looking to support their body’s natural energy levels without caffeine (hello lion’s mane coffee!) and boost neural processing and cognition.
In the world of Lion's Mane and breastfeeding, safety and caution are the true superheroes. With the right guidance and a touch of fungi magic, you can harness the potential benefits of Lion's Mane while rocking the world of motherhood.
Remember, you're the superhero in your baby's world. Keep thriving, stay informed, and embrace the Lion's Mane adventure!
If you want to take full advantage of the "functional" side of functional mushrooms, consider a mushroom super-blend like our Lucid Coffee, Chai, or Matcha powders. It takes full advantage of the benefits of these superfood mushrooms by pairing Cordyceps, Maitake, Tremella, and Lion's Mane, plus powerful nootropics, like BCAA's, L-Theanine, Alpha-GPC, and more.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Is Lion's Mane safe to consume while breastfeeding?
Q: What are the potential benefits of Lion's Mane while breastfeeding?
Q: How can Lion's Mane aid in bone health during breastfeeding?
Q: Can Lion's Mane help with milk production for nursing mothers?
Q: Are there precautions to consider when using Lion's Mane while breastfeeding?
Q: Are there any potential allergic reactions or side effects associated with Lion's Mane?
Q: How can I ensure the quality of the Lion's Mane supplement I choose?
Q: Can Lion's Mane help with mental health and cognitive function in nursing mothers?
- “The effect of β-glucan on prolactin secretion in GH3/B6 cells” https://www.researchgate.net/publication/228515439_The_effect_of_b-glucan_on_prolactin_secretion_in_GH3B6_cells
- “Effects of amycenone on serum levels of tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-10, and depression-like behavior in mice after lipopolysaccharide administration” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26150007/
- “Erinacine A-Enriched Hericium erinaceus Mycelium Produces Antidepressant-Like Effects through Modulating BDNF/PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β Signaling in Mice” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5855563/
- “Antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic activities of aqueous extract of Hericium erinaceus in experimental diabetic rats” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3852124/
- “Lion's Mane, Hericium erinaceus and Tiger Milk, Lignosus rhinocerotis (Higher Basidiomycetes) Medicinal Mushrooms Stimulate Neurite Outgrowth in Dissociated Cells of Brain, Spinal Cord, and Retina: An In Vitro Study” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26853959/
- “Peripheral Nerve Regeneration Following Crush Injury to Rat Peroneal Nerve by Aqueous Extract of Medicinal Mushroom Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae)” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3176599/
- “Immunomodulatory effects of Hericium erinaceus derived polysaccharides are mediated by intestinal immunology” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28266682/
- “Immunomodulatory Activities of a Fungal Protein Extracted from Hericium erinaceus through Regulating the Gut Microbiota” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5492111/