Its sweet, delicate flavor means that the Lion’s Mane mushroom is highly sought after and sometimes difficult to find. Lion’s Mane supplements are equally as popular, promising a slew of brain and body-boosting benefits.
Its cognition-enhancing benefits are still being explored, but anecdotal reports are consistent: Lion's Mane is one of the best nootropic mushrooms for enhancing both focus and memory.
The question is–where do you find it and how do you verify its quality? If you’re wondering where to buy Lion’s Mane mushrooms, you’re in the right place.
This is what you need to know:
Fresh Lion’s Mane needs to be bought locally because it spoils quickly.
If you want to enjoy the mushroom's therapeutic benefits, Lion’s Mane supplements are easy to find and last longer on the shelf.
Look for a product made with an extract derived from Lion’s Mane fruiting body and avoid mycelium products when buying Lion’s Mane online.
What is Lion’s Mane?
Lion’s Mane, scientifically known as Hericium erinaceus, is an edible mushroom that’s well known for various therapeutic benefits–but mostly for it’s cognition enhancing effects. It is, after all, nicknamed “the mind mushroom” thanks to its potential benefits for enhancing learning, memory, focus, nerve growth, and more.
The mushroom is native to North America, Europe, and Asia, though it tends to be ready to harvest in the late summer or fall when the temperatures begin to drop. You’ll find it growing on hardwood trees, especially fallen or dying logs. The entire fruiting body can be used for culinary purposes, and some manufacturers may also use the mycelium for making supplements.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find Lion’s Mane in the wild unless you happen to live next to a dense forest…in the perfect temperate zone…at the right time of the year. So, most people buy their Lion’s Mane, assuming they can find a good source.
Where to Buy Fresh Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
If you can’t harvest your own Lion’s Mane, you can possibly source it from your local health food stores. Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Sprouts, or maybe even Kroger may carry Lion’s Mane when seasonally appropriate.
You can even look for fresh Lion’s Mane online and order from Amazon or from small online sellers on Etsy, but there's a catch–fresh Lion’s Mane mushroom spoils quickly. You have a window of a few days to a week before the fresh mushroom is a goner, so ordering online isn’t always ideal.
Where to Buy Lion’s Mane Supplements
The good thing is–you aren’t limited to the fresh mushroom if you’re trying to reap its therapeutic benefits. You can also grab Lion’s Mane supplements–and they may even be the better option, assuming they are good quality.
We’ll discuss more about the quality of Lion’s Mane supplements below. For now just know that you can order Lion’s Mane mushroom online from many different distributors–a quick web search will pull up hundreds of options–but the quality varies greatly from brand to brand.
Types of Lion’s Mane Supplements
When you search for Lion’s Mane supplements online, you’ll find a variety of different dosing styles, formulas, and potencies. Perhaps the most significant differentiator in Lion’s mane supplements is whether its made from whole mushroom powder or mushroom extract. Here’s the difference:
Whole Mushroom Powder is made by drying and grinding the whole mushroom down. This type of supplement contains all of the fiber, vitamins, and minerals found in fresh Lion’s Mane mushroom, but there’s one problem–the bioactive compounds (known as beta-glucans) are locked in the mushroom’s chitin, the polymer that makes up the mushroom’s flesh.
Unfortunately, chitin is hard for the human body to digest, so this isn’t the best way to reap Lion’s Mane’s therapeutic benefits.
- Lion’s Mane Extract is a hot-water-extracted version of the mushroom that contains all of its beta-glucan content. This version is bioactive, bioavailable, and incredibly concentrated, so it’s best for regular therapeutic dosing. This might be the best kind of mushroom formula for Lion's Mane Coffee.
Once you choose a formula, you’ll find several dosing options, including powders, capsules, and tinctures. Both powders and capsules are viable options, though powders give better control over your dosage amount.
Be wary of tinctures, though, since they are alcohol extracted. Many companies will claim that this extraction process (called a “double extraction–with the second step being an alcohol extraction) is superior to single-extraction (hot water extraction). However, most of the beta-glucan content is lost when the mushroom material is exposed to alcohol, so these formulas are actually heavily degraded.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom Quality Concerns
Finally, you need to consider the quality of any Lion’s Mane product you choose. Most importantly, you need to consider whether the product is made from fruiting bodies, mushroom mycelium, or a combination of both. These differences affect everything about the quality of the final product. Let us explain:
Mycelium vs Fruiting Body Lion’s Mane Products
The fruiting body is the “stem and cap” portion of the mushroom. Fruiting bodies contain more beta-glucans than the mycelium, around 30 to 40 %. The beta-glucan content of the mycelium is much lower–around 5-7 %.
Mycelial products are also severely degraded. The mycelium, which grows as a thick mass of fibers similar to roots, is grown on blocks of grain. At harvest, the mycelium is not separated from the grain, rather the entire grain blocks are thrown into a blender and ground up together. So, mycelial products contain a large portion of grain, like oats or rice, and are not pure mushroom material.
Companies may suggest that products that contain both the mycelium and the fruiting bodies are superior, but this isn't true. Using mushroom mycelium is just a way of cutting costs and cutting corners since the company can use any low-quality materials and still market a mushroom product.
Other quality concerns
Like other supplements in the U.S., mushroom supplements are not regulated in the same way as medications. So, its up to the consumer to verify things like potency and purity. Check to see if the product you choose is made in a cGMP compliant facility, as this will help to ensure that the manufacturing processes used are up to par according to FDA standards.
Next, check to see if the product is third party tested. This will help you ensure dosage accuracy and rule out any possible contaminants that could be introduced during manufacturing. Both are these things are necessary to create a high-quality Lion’s Mane supplements that’s safe and effective.
Where to Buy Lion’s Mane Supplements Online
You could pilfer through the best Lion's Mane supplements available online, but we want to propose a better option–A once-a-day, all-in-one mushrooms+nootropic beverage that's designed to upgrade your body and mind in a way that Lion’s Mane can’t accomplish on its own.
Our Lucid beverages combine Lion’s Mane with a blend of powerful nootropics like BCAA's, Alpha-GPC, Ginkgo Biloba, plus other therapeutic mushrooms like Cordyceps, Tremella, and Maitake to create a full-coverage, synergistic blend that's unmatched by any single mushroom supplement. It's simple to use and comes in three delicious flavors–Colombian Coffee, Masala Chai, and Japanese Matcha.
There's not a more straightforward way to reap the benefits of Lion’s Mane with other functional mushrooms–or to unlock your brain and body's true potential. Ready to become Lucid? Check out one of our three mushroom+nootropic blends.
Curious to know more? Read "Why We Chose Our Ingredients: What’s in a Lucid Stack?"