Paul Stamet’s Niacin & Lion’s Mane Nootropic Stack Improved My Cognition & Jiu Jitsu Performance

Paul Stamet’s Niacin-Lion’s Mane Protocol: Good News, It Works!

By James Whelan

I’m a huge fan of nootropics, substances alleged to increase mental performance. The problem with most nootropics is that they have no measurable effect. I call this the “effectiveness problem” and I find it is common to virtually all commercially available supplements.

As the name implies, a supplement typically replenishes a deficit. Even genuinely useful supplements are rarely effective for those of us lucky enough to afford a balanced diet.

The number of supplements that a particular person can benefit from taking regularly is extremely small, and the benefits rarely persist after replenishing the deficit.

“Supplement” is also a legal term used to imply that a substance is a type of food, and therefore not subject to regulation as a pharmaceutical.

Nootropics promise to improve the function of the brain beyond it’s normal healthy state.

Caffeine increases alertness by altering the brain’s natural state rather that addressing a deficit. This is in contrast to Iodine which can prevent or reverse mental retardation, but cannot improve cognitive function in a healthy person.

Despite research to the contrary, most of us believe that we will be happier and better off with a raised IQ. The idea that the brain can be improved beyond it’s natural state is extremely seductive.

The Formula

Lion’s Mane” is a true nootropic because it permanently enhances cognition by improving the brain’s ability to alter itself structurally. The extract is alleged to improve improve the body’s ability to cover nerve tissues with myelin, which is a crucial factor in nerve growth. If true, this property could heal nerve damage and increase a person’s ability to learn. This means that Lion’s Mane consumption could lead too increased quality of life and economic productivity. In my personal experiment with lion’s mane, I have found this to be the case.

“The next quantum leap in the evolution of the human species?”

During my three years at law school and during a subsequent 2 year period, I suffered weekly severe epileptic seizures which left me feeling disoriented and harmed my memory. Despite 2 seizure free years to recover, I found that lion’s mane improves the faculties I lost during my illness. My verbal fluency, my ability to recall nouns, my sense of wellbeing, and my Jiu Jitsu performance are all noticeably improved by lion’s mane. Additionally, my written output improves in terms of quality and volume when I take lion’s mane.

I discovered lion’s mane because of Paul Stamets. Paul is a mycologist who specializes in psychedelic and mushrooms, and medicinal applications for compounds found in mushrooms. Stamet’s claims about lion’s mane on the Joe Rogan Experience lead me to investigate further and I decided to take lion’s mane after discovering that it was dirt cheap. The good experience I had with Lion’s Mane (LM) lead me to take Stame’s claims more seriously. My newfound respect made me curious about his experiments with psilocybin and niacin.

Artists interpretation of my 2017 mental state

Stamets hypothesizes that niacin’s ability to stimulate the peripheral nervous system could extend the nootropic benefits of lion’s mane and psilocybin to the entire body rather than limiting them to the central nervous system. If this were possible, it could strengthen the mind/body connection and counter the effects of degenerative nerve diseases. Stamets is very enthusiastic about the potential of this “stack”, in a lecture to other mycologists Stamets goes further, saying that the combination of these three compounds is potentially a second step in the process that began when humans first tried psilocybin.

Sure why not

Stamets advocates the “stoned ape” hypothesis, the idea that contact with entheogens caused the cultural explosion that took place in the late paleolithic period. His claim that the niacin, psilocybin, lion’s mane, stack(NPLS) could produce a shift in human progress equivalent to the original emergence of art and culture 100k years ago, is too bold to ignore.

Stamets mentions NPLS often, but never goes into much detail. He has mentioned the idea multiple times over a number of years, always with great enthusiasm. From what we have heard it seems that the psilocybin component of the stack is a non hallucinogenic dose equivalent to a silicon valley style microdose, the niacin dose must be fairly large to produce an uncomfortable dermal flush ( around 100-1000mg depending on sensitivity) and presumably the lion’s mane dose is 300mg (equivalent to the daily dose recommended by Host Defense Stamets’ supplement company). This is reasonable to suppose because Stamets claims that the regimen will be physically unpleasant rather than recreational.

The inciting incident.

We can also deduce the intended frequency of the an NPLS dose based on Stamet’s comments. Stamets believes that the optimal micro dosing regimen is 5 days on 2 days off (to avoid psilocybin tolerance), and the optimal lion’s mane dose is daily (based on Host Defense product recommendations). Optimal niacin dosage, should be high but not daily due to the possibility of tolerance destroying the flush effect and the risk of side effects. 3–5 days per week seems reasonable. Finally, lion’s mane and the microdose can be taken in at the convenience of the “NPLS”er and the niacin should be taken ten minutes later, so that the flush coincides with the effects of the other two substances. In my opinion the above and its variations, can safely be called the Stamets NPLS protocol. So now that the details are clarified, let me tell you how this worked for me.

I suddenly gained the flexibility to perform this useful move.

NPLS markedly improved my mental and athletic performance. After 20 minutes the itchy niacin flush covered my entire body and made me feel like my skin was slightly sunburned. Curiously, the itchy burning feeling quickly gave way to the feeling of being in a hot bath. I became acutely aware of my entire body, and realized that many of the smaller muscles of my back and neck were cramped. As I noticed the cramps I found I was able to get rid of them and as I did, my overall level of physical comfort increased. I found myself becoming more flexible and discovering new points of articulation in my back and shoulders. I assumed that these improvement would go away quickly, similar to the loose feeling one gets from a massage. To my surprise, the increased flexibility and body control seems to be permanent.

The change in my body awareness caused a noticeable change in my Jiu Jitsu performance. I am suddenly able to perform granby rolls effortlessly, and have an improved sense of balance. Previously, my back was too stiff to perform a correct granby roll. The most obvious improvement is in my “hand fighting”, I am much more coordinated now and have improved shoulder mobility which allows me to control my opponent’s arms more effectively. I’m free of stiffness in my hips and shoulders despite training 5–6 days per week. My training partners noticed the difference immediately, and noted that my moments have improved and that my repertoire of moments has changed. I recharge eScooters as a hobby and my ability to climb over fences and natural obstacles has also increased. All this came from one session.

Not exactly a “party drug.”

I strongly recommend lions mane, especially to epileptics recovering from post ictal trauma. I also recommend NPLS to anyone interested in experimenting with nootropics. Although I have not seen anything to remotely suggest that NPLS can launch a second wave of Stoned Ape style evolution, I found it a very powerful tool for dissolving ambient muscle stiffness, relieving cramps, and increasing athletic coordination.

Of the three NPLS ingredients Stamets only sells this one.

Check out the original post by James on here.

MindLab Pro

MindLab Pro

Summary: MindLab Pro is a pre-formulated nootropic. A blend of 11 natural and potent ingredients in 1 pill. It offers a great convenience while delivering measurable and obvious increases in physical and mental performance.


I have come across Mind Lab Pro after the rebranding and introduction, and was immediately drawn to its overall presentation. I care about companies images just as much as I care about the product itself. After immersing myself into reading every word on the extensive ingredient list and description of each, I thought to myself, and I owe it to myself to give it a shot. The price was reasonable for the content, and I ordered my first bottle.

Fast forward about a year later, I still have it standing amongst the first on my shelf. Except now I also have my mom and two sisters, as well as a friend or two, all enjoying supplementing and using it on a daily basis.

We all got easily attracted to the product because of its moderate dosage, and commitment to natural ingredients. I don’t mind other nootropics but I know people who wouldn’t come near anything synthetic, so Mind Lab Pro seemed appealing to them. Each serving (2 pills) contains the following 11 “enhanced potency form”

The Formula

With such an impressive list of ingredients formulating together into one (or two) pills, it’s no surprise why Mind Lab Pro made quite a name for itself and maintaining a loyal, returning customers.

Benefits & Effects

Unlike any other nootropic on the website, it’s a little bit more challenging to list down the benefits and effects of using Mind Lab Pro because it consists of 11 different ingredients, each of which serves many benefits. However, you can click on each component and see the list of its benefits and effects.

I’ve used it short term and long term and have seen results in both ways. What I like the most about Mind Lab Pro is the fact that it has citicoline, which means I can perfectly pair it with a racetam without having to get an additional choline source (currently I take Alpha GPC when taking racetams). As well as the fact that it also has Lion’s Mane Mushroom which I think is one of the most profound nootropics I have come across. So when I wake up in the morning and wanting to head out to work fast and arrive fresh and mentally prepared, (also because I’m almost always late), I would only take 2 pills instead of reaching out to 11 different containers and taking 1 by 1 – I am one who really goes the extra mile for convenience.

Side Effects

Again, from personal experience, and at least six people that I know from friends and family, none of us have encountered any side effects that were leading back to Mind Lab Pro. I’ve recommended that they take it with a fat source for better absorption and to avoid any stomachache, but I almost always take it first thing in the morning and never had any adverse effects.

Personal Experience

Honestly, if anyone asks me for a recommendation when first starting on nootropics, I would recommend Mind Lab Pro. And I am not even an affiliate nor sponsored by them whatsoever (although I should be…)  – it is a genuine suggestion.

It has many good ingredients and at moderate dosages. Beginners can easily understand the mix and expand their knowledge further intro nootropics if they wanted to. Moreover, I also really enjoy the (if not mistaken) buy two get 3rd free & buy three get 4th free. It makes a good value for money and always comes in handy for last minute packing, late and rushing situations, and can even be carried out in your bag on day to day basis unlike when you’re using a stack of different products. I don’t think I can’t even fit all the containers I have from various companies in my car trunk.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Lion’s Mane Mushroom

SummaryLion’s Mane Mushroom has become one of nature’s most potent nootropic supplement for the brain. There is evidence that is can permanently enhance brain function as well as protect the brain and promote NGF and neurogenesis.


What is Lion’s Mane Mushroom?

Lion’s Mane Mushroom (also known as Hericium erinaceus), or rarely “monkey head mushroom,” is a traditional medicine that’s developing a strong fan base around the world. It has been voted as one of the top 10 natural nootropics of 2018 in terms of best selling, according to Nootropics Depot, as well as most beneficial. The list also included L-Theanine, Citicoline, as well as L-Theanine & Caffeine synergistic combo.

The profound effects it has on cognitive function while being neuroprotectant, as well as supporting NGF production, make it an appealing nootropic. 

The nerve growth factor is a discovery from 1986 that led Dr. Rita Levi-Montalcini to win a Nobel Prize. NGF is one of the primary building blocks of neuroplasticity.

Furthermore, it is part of a group of molecules responsible for neurodevelopment.

A go-to tonic for years, Lion’s Mane (Hericium Erinaceus) is native to Japan, China, Europe, and North America. It offers many benefits to the brain. It’s in use as an alternative medicine to treat neurodegenerative disorders.

It is becoming more popular after the discovery of connections to promoting neurodevelopment. It raises the quantity of NGF in the brain, which improves cognition by decreasing inflammation, promoting neural growth, and enhancing brain health. Furthermore, studies verify that Lion’s Mane is a powerful neuroprotectant that can be valuable in the treatment of a variety of conditions ranging from cardiovascular health to obesity and even to certain types of cancer. Thus, Lion’s Mane has become a novel nootropic.


Enhances Memory and Brain Function

Lion’s Mane Mushroom benefits are diverse.

One of which is that it boosts cognition, especially in memory and recall speed.

Additionally, it helps in maintaining concentration, increasing mental stamina, and heightening focus.

It is one of the most praised nootropics due to being organic and natural. Furthermore, it provides a variety of benefits, often surpassing pharmaceutical products. 

A study in Japan on subjects diagnosed with a mild cognitive decline receiving Lion’s Mane mushroom extract at a daily dose of 3 g for 16 weeks found a measurable increase in scores on the cognitive function scale. And amazingly, without adverse effects. (R) (R)

Promotes Nerve Growth Factor and Neuroprotection

Lion’s Mane Mushroom extract has an impressive ability preventing and healing damaged nerves. Studies support the claim of Lion’s Mane promotion of neurogenesis. The promotion of neurogenesis is also called neurodevelopment or generation. Neurogenesis results in long-lasting and continuous improvements in brain health (R) (R). In a study by Tohoku University on Lion’s Mane and nerve growth states Lion’s Mane has most profound impact on nerve regeneration.

Post digestion, Lion’s Mane distributes through the body – crossing the blood-brain barrier. Then becomes capable of stimulating the generation of enzymes that release the Nerve Growth Factor, and additionally repairing nerve myelin. Those capabilities turn out useful in the cases of Alzheimer’s, dementia, neurodegeneration, muscular weakness, Parkinson’s Disease, and other neurological disorders. (R) (R)

Lion Mane Reduces Anxiety and Symptoms of Depression

Studies show that Lion’s Mane Mushroom benefits depression as well as anxiety symptoms after several weeks of supplementation. In a clinical trial where thirty women have been receiving Lion’s Mane for four weeks versus women receiving placebo, it concluded that lion’s mane intake indeed reduces depression and anxiety. (R), (R)

Reduces Inflammation, Boosts Immune System, Supports Healthy Digestion

Due to its potent anti-inflammatory properties, lion’s mane mushroom might improve the function of your stomach and digestive system. In many studies, lion’s mane mushroom has been shown to protect from or shrink gastric ulcers. Moreover, according to a survey by the Mushroom Research Centre at the University of Malaya, experts from the field concluded that the bioactive compounds in lion’s mane extract are responsible for the gastroprotective action. (R)

Another research from China published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms verifies that “results indicate that polysaccharide fraction is the active component of the H. erinaceus mycelium culture, which protects against gastric ulcers.” (R)

Lion’s mane also significantly improve symptoms of two major inflammatory disorders of the digestive system; inflammatory bowel disease, and gastritis. (R, R)

Another study in Japan found that lion’s mane was able to reduce inflammation in fatty tissue, the factor in the formation of metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that increase the risk of heart diseases, strokes, and diabetes. (R)

Lion’s mane can improve immune system function like the polysaccharide content in the fungus according to mice studies. (R, R)

Lion’s mane additional benefits is its antibacterial effects against what is now known to be “the world’s most successful virus in human history.” (R, R)

Supports Heart and Circulatory System Health and Prevents Strokes

Experiments observed that extracts of lion’s mane block the spread of LDL cholesterol, sometimes referred to as the “bad” cholesterol, while simultaneously raising HDL, the good cholesterol. (R, R)

A stroke, which happens as a result of lack of sufficient blood supply to the brain, is often caused by blood clots. An extract of lion’s mane mushroom may be useful in the prevention of blood clots accumulate. Thereby helping decrease the risk of stroke, according to a study by the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Japan. (R)

Improves Mental Health and Overall Well-Being

Lion’s mane helps feeling better by improving sleep rhythm and reducing the effects of mental health issues. The powerful extracts from the mushroom have been shown to combat fatigue (R).  They also possess the ability to regulate the body’s circadian rhythms, which is especially important for people at risk of developing dementia. (R)


Lion’s Mane mechanism of action is completely different from other nootropics. Lion’s Mane enhances cognition by increasing the amount of nerve growth factor in the brain (NGF). Nerve growth factor is one of a group of molecules named neurotrophins that are essential for the growth, development, maintenance, and survival of neurons.

Concerning Nerve Growth Factor

A discovery in the 1980s that led Dr. Rita Levi-Montalcini to win a Nobel Prize – NGF is confirmed to be one of the primary building blocks of neuroplasticity. The presence of sufficient NGF improves cognition by stimulating growth as well as axons branching. Inadequate NGF, on the other hand, decreases brain functionality by leading to neuronal degeneration and eventually, the death of nerve cells. The more axons existing, and the better health they possess, the more efficiently impulses are transmitting. The more efficiently impulses are transmitting; the better cognition and overall brain function are.

Concerning Myelination

Another way in which NGF enhances cognition is by promoting myelination. Myelin works much like an electrical insulator, raising the speed which impulses progress onward the axons by increasing the electrical resistance of neural cell walls. Furthermore it inhibits the pulse from dissipating the axon. Myelination lays the groundwork for the restoration and regrowth of damaged axons, providing a track along which regrowth occurs. This activity is a crucial process in preserving the brain from the ravages of aging and is useful in the treatment of neurological complications. Some of which are multiple sclerosis and psychiatric disorders including depression, schizophrenia, dementia, as well as autism and Alzheimer’s disease.

Ongoing research hint that NGF production stimulated by Lion’s Mane may have anti-anxiety and mood enhancing effects. Furthermore, it could also facilitate weight-loss by improving metabolism.


Where to Buy Lion’s Mane Mushroom?

I’ve personally only tried Nootropic Depot’s Lion’s Mane Mushroom capsules which come in a 500mg dose. I’ve found great results from them that I never purchased or refilled it from any other vendor. And I have been using it for over a year now.

Nootropic Depot also carried Lion’s Mane Mushroom powder form for those who prefer a powder form over capsules. I personally never tried it because I like the convenience of capsules.

And now, finally, with the integration of ND products to Amazon’s platform, you can simply purchase Lion’s Mane Mushroom from Nootropics Depot, through Amazon’s website. Brilliant move!

If you prefer to get Lion’s Mane Mushroom powder form, it is also available from Nootropics Depot.


How to take Lion’s Mane Mushroom?

The lowest effective dose is 500 mg and the limit per day is 3000 mg. However, higher doses don’t necessarily result in more benefits.

A dose of 1000 mg once or twice a day is what I find the most beneficial for my needs.

I remember coming across posts on Reddit r/Nootropics where people were going really, really next level megadosing this. None of which reported anything more than a “slight” psychostimulant effect though – I am going to try to find that thread.


What are Lion’s Mane Mushroom Side Effects?

There are barely any side effects that arise from taking Lion’s Mane. The most common side effect is an itchy skin which is likely due to the increase in Nerve Growth Factor. It most likely is the cause and could be a good sign that NGF levels are increasing.


Lion’s Mane is an exceptional, one of a kind,  organic nootropic that has many health benefits; additional to its nootropic ones. Research and clinical trials support its wide variety of perks. It’s a nootropic to consider if you are looking for profound benefits to memory, cognition, detoxification, physical, and brain function. It is one of the few nootropics I have been continuously refilling from the very first use.


Here is an on-going Lion’s Mane Reddit experience thread:

After reading about its memory and nervous system injury healing properties, I figured I’d give it a try. I simply purchased a bottle and take two after putting food in my stomach. Previously I had spent a year on adderall and endured more physical anxiety than I should have had to. I do feel more…evened out, if that makes sense. Less on edge and less anxious than I’d ordinarily be. Still on the lookout for other effects, and still willing to accept it could all be a placebo, but I’m remaining curious.