Mushrooms and Focus: Beating Brain Fog with Lion’s Mane

You know those days when you're ready to hit the ground running and blow through your to-do list — only to be stopped in your tracks when your brain refuses to cooperate?

Say hello to brain fog.

Brain fog is a pretty common complaint regardless of age, and it can strike at the most inopportune times. Not being able to think clearly is more than a little frustrating when you're trying to stay focused on a goal!

But did you know mushrooms can help cut through the fog, keep you sharp and even protect your brain?

For focus and memory, lion's mane is one of the best mushrooms.

You'll get an idea of why as we dig into the causes of brain fog and explore how compounds in lion's mane might work to counteract them.

What Does Brain Fog Feel Like?

When you're struggling with brain fog, you might experience:

  • Trouble remembering things or recalling information
  • Lack of clarity and/or focus
  • Inability to concentrate
  • "Fuzzy" thinking
  • Slower reaction times
  • Difficulty making decisions

Sometimes, the foggy feeling in your head is only a minor annoyance that slows you down for a day or two. However, it can also be severe enough to interfere with work, relationships and personal goals.

What Causes Brain Fog?

Everyone struggles with the sense of not being quite with it from time to time. By tracing your attacks of "fuzzy focus" back to its source, you can take steps to address it.

Here are some of the most common causes of brain fog:

  • Stress
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Medication side effects
  • Too much or too little sleep
  • Blood sugar imbalances
  • Hormonal changes, such as pregnancy or menopause[1]
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Inflammatory conditions[2]
  • Food sensitivities or allergies
  • Depression and/or anxiety

Although brain fog itself isn't a medical condition, lingering symptoms could be an indication of a more extensive problem. If your symptoms persist or get worse, it's time for a visit to the doctor.[3]

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Benefits of Lion's Mane for Brain Fog

So, back to lion's mane mushrooms.

How can a funky, shaggy white fungi help you get back in the game when your brain takes an unexpected vacation?

Lion's mane contains as many as 70 bioactive metabolites, meaning there are a lot of ways this medicinal mushroom can work in your body.[4]

Traditionally, it's been used to support cognitive ability and improve brain health.

Modern science has uncovered at least part of the reason for this: Some of the compounds in lion's mane have the unusual ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and trigger positive changes in the brain itself.

Thanks to these unique effects, lion's mane may:

  • Support nerve health by increasing nerve growth factor (NGF) production and possibly improving growth of the protective myelin sheath that surrounds nerves
  • Stimulate neuronal growth and development through the activity of hericenones and erinacines, two compounds of which lion's mane is the only food source
  • Reduce anxiety by regenerating brain cells in the hippocampus to improve emotional responses, as well as reducing stress-induced physiological changes[5]
  • Lower inflammation, which is associated with a number of conditions known to cause brain fog — perhaps due to how inflammation affects areas of the brain responsible for keeping you alert[6]
  • Boost immunity, an effect possibly linked to lion's mane's ability to enhance immune function in the gut, leading to a more balanced immune response and a lower risk of illness and/or allergic reactions[7]

By addressing the root causes of brain fog — instead of trying to elevate yourself out of it with something unhealthy like energy shots or entire pots of coffee — lion's mane provides a solution for restoring true and lasting focus.

Potential Lion's Mane Side Effects

Of course, you can cook and eat whole fresh Lion's Mane mushrooms (if you can find them) but the easiest way to get the benefits of this mushroom is through supplementing with an extracted powder, capsule, or tincture.

There are no known side effects to lion's mane supplements, but if you've had allergic reactions to mushrooms in the past or are taking prescription medications, check with your healthcare practitioner.

The most important consideration for a lion's mane supplement is getting it from a trusted source to ensure safety and maximize benefits.

Reduce Your Brain Fog Naturally

Using lion's mane is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to beating brain fog.

For best results, follow diet and lifestyle patterns that support overall health. That includes getting the right amount of sleep, eating nutrient-dense foods, correcting vitamin deficiencies and reducing stress.

If you struggle with anxiety or depression, seek a qualified doctor or therapist to help you address the symptoms and move toward healing.

You don't have to keep battling brain fog and falling short of your goals. No matter what you're dealing with, lion's mane is a powerful ally.

Make this mushrooms part of your daily routine, and say goodbye to the mental fuzzies.

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About the Author

Tegan Shields

Hi, I'm Tegan. I have a degree in Nutrition and Food Science and a deep passion for real food and natural health. I am a huge believer in the power of mushrooms, and want to help you get some in your life!

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