Other names Shiitake Mushroom, Lentinula Edodes, Sawtooth Oak Mushroom, Black Forest Mushroom, Oakwood Mushroom, Golden Oak Mushroom


Shiitake is a mushroom used by many people as food. When certain active ingredients from it are included in extracts, it may yield several cognitive benefits, including improvements in mood, energy, and memory. But is it actually effective? Read on to find out what the science says.

This nootropic has no healthy human placebo-controlled studies that meet our inclusion criteria. Negative side effects can occur if used carelessly, so make sure you’re aware of the risks of Shiitake.


Read about the effects of Shiitake in relation to the amount of evidence we've found

Why do people use shiitake?

People who self-experiment with shiitake often state they use it to improve their:

  • Mood
  • Energy
  • Focus
  • Memory
  • Sociality

There is a lack of scientific evidence for the effectiveness of shiitake for any of these purposes, especially in healthy humans

Can shiitake boost your mood?

No studies have examined the effects of shiitake mushrooms on mood in healthy humans. It is impossible to know if it can enhance mood in the average healthy person.

In one study which examined the effects of shiitake in cancer patients [1], lentinan (β-1,3-Glucan) which is an active ingredient in shiitake, improved quality of life after 12 weeks of daily use. There was no control group in this study.

In another study [2], lentinan improved quality of life in cancer patients when compared with a control group.

Shiitake impacts levels of inflammation and the immune system [3], both inflammation and immune system functioning have an impact on mood [4][5].

Shiitake may improve mood, or it may not, the data in healthy humans that is needed to find has not been collected so far.

Can shiitake improve cognition and brain health?

No studies have examined the effects of shiitake mushrooms alone on cognition in humans.

In one study [6], it was found that the consumption of various mushrooms was associated with, not necessarily the cause of, reduced risk of cognitive decline.

This evidence is not very robust. While it is promising that the effects that were found were positive, it is impossible to do anything with these findings in practice since the study only examined correlation, not causation. Another catch with this study was that the consumption of many different mushrooms (total mushroom servings per week) were studied. Shiitake was only one of many mushrooms, so it is possible that one of the other mushrooms is responsible for all of the cognition-preserving effects that were found. Moreover, the study showed that cognition was preserved better in people who consumed more mushrooms, not that it was enhanced from a solid baseline.

While consuming mushrooms might be good for your long-term brain health, valid conclusions cannot be made with confidence as regards the efficacy of shiitake products for cognitive enhancement.


The legality and side effects of Shiitake


Frequently asked questions about Shiitake


Studies conducted on the effects of Shiitake in healthy humans

Last updated Saturday, June 10, 2023