In the ever-evolving landscape of health trends and gourmet delights, a unique fusion has captured the attention of both health enthusiasts and coffee lovers alike: lion’s mane coffee.
Don’t worry—this blend does not require you to snip off a piece of a lion’s golden mane and stir it into your morning brew. So, what exactly is lion’s mane coffee, and should you try it? Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Lion’s Mane?
Lion’s mane is a unique, edible fungus with a distinctive appearance characterized by cascading, white tendrils that resemble a lion’s flowing mane. Native to regions spanning North America, Europe, and Asia, this intriguing mushroom can be commonly found gracing the sides of hardwood trees during the late summer and fall months.
Along with other medicinal mushrooms like chaga, reishi, and cordyceps, lion’s mane is considered an adaptogen, which is a natural substance that helps the body adapt to stress and normalize its functions.
Lion’s mane has long held a revered spot in traditional Chinese medicine, prized for its therapeutic properties. Ancient practitioners believed in its capacity to promote longevity, bolster digestion, and enhance brain health.
Fast forward to our modern times, and the allure of lion’s mane remains strong. Except now, its benefits are not just rooted in age-old traditions, but are also supported by modern scientific research. As a result, this mushroom has now found its way into everything from supplements to coffee.
The Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane Coffee
Lion’s mane coffee is a unique fusion of traditional coffee beans and lion’s mane extract or powder. This combination is relatively new, so specific research on this particular blend is scant.
However, the individual components—coffee and lion’s mane—have been extensively studied. By extrapolating from the known benefits of these two ingredients, we can estimate the potential advantages when combined. Let’s take a look at the potential benefits:
#1: Protects Against Neurological Conditions
Research indicates that both coffee and lion’s mane may play a protective role against neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
A review analyzing 13 studies found that habitual caffeine consumers displayed a notably reduced risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. What’s more, consistent caffeine intake slowed the progression of Parkinson’s over time.[*]
Another analysis of 11 studies revealed a compelling pattern: higher coffee consumption correlated with a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.[*]
Similarly, lion’s mane mushroom contains two special compounds—hericenones and erinacines—that have been shown to stimulate the growth of brain cells.[*] These compounds have also been shown to help prevent neuronal damage caused by amyloid-beta plaques, which accumulate in the brain during Alzheimer’s disease.[*]
#2: Supports Mental Health
Feeling blue? Lion’s mane coffee may help. Caffeine, the primary psychoactive substance in coffee, has been linked to the release of certain feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. These play a pivotal role in mood regulation, helping to lift one’s spirits and stave off feelings of gloom.
One review of seven studies found that each cup of coffee people consumed per day was linked to an 8% lower risk of depression.[*]
On top of that, animal studies have highlighted the anti-inflammatory properties of lion’s mane mushroom extract, which appear to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression in mice. [*] Other animal studies have found that lion’s mane can aid in the regeneration of brain cells and enhance the functionality of the hippocampus, a brain area pivotal for memory processing and emotional regulation.[*][*]
#3: Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
Contrary to popular belief, caffeine does not increase the risk of heart disease.[*] In fact, research indicates that men and women who consume between 1-4 cups of coffee daily—which equates to roughly 100-400 mg of caffeine—have a 16–18% reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.[*]
Lion’s mane may also help in this regard. In one study, rats who were fed a high-fat diet and given daily doses of lion’s mane extract showed 27% lower triglyceride levels and 42% less weight gain after 28 days.[*] Since obesity and high triglycerides are both risk factors for heart disease, this is one way lion’s mane mushrooms may contribute to heart health.
#4: Reduces Risk of Diabetes
According to some studies, regular coffee consumption may be linked to a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
In fact, a review of 30 studies highlighted that every daily cup of coffee a person drank was associated with a 6% decreased risk of type 2 diabetes. .[*] This protective effect is believed to stem from coffee's potential to maintain the health of beta cells in the pancreas, which produce insulin to manage blood sugar levels.[*]
Similarly, various animal studies have shown that lion’s mane significantly helps reduce blood sugar levels in both normal and diabetic mice, even with doses as modest as 2.7 mg per pound of body weight.[*][*] One mechanism by which lion’s mane achieves this is by inhibiting the enzyme alpha-glucosidase, which is responsible for carbohydrate breakdown in the small intestine.[*]
How to Make Lion’s Mane Coffee
At this point, you’re probably wondering how you actually make this brain-boosting brew. Fear not! There’s no need to dawn your explorer’s hat or embark on a woodland quest to source lion’s mane. Why? Because IQJOE has done the hard work for you! Each handy, single-serve packet of IQJOE instant coffee boasts:
- 200 mg of natural caffeine
- 250 mg 8X-concentrated lion’s mane mushroom extract
- 750 mg Magtein® (magnesium L-threonate) for additional cognition and mood benefits
The preparation? It’s a cinch. No coffee maker required! Just open one packet of IQJOE and pour the contents into 8-12 ounces of hot water. Give it a good stir until fully dissolved, and voilà! You’re all set to enjoy a surge of jitter-free, crash-free, and long-lasting energy.
Written by Katie Koschalk, a health and wellness writer, certified holistic nutritionist, and certified personal trainer based in California.