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Lions Mane: The Ultimate Brain-Boosting Mushroom

Updated: Jul 8, 2023



Lions Mane (Hericium erinaceus) has gained popularity in the Western world after being used in Eastern traditional medicines for centuries. The uniqueness of this particular mushroom comes from its nootropic (brain nutrients) properties.


Lions Mane mushroom growing on a tree
Wild Lions Mane mushroom

A unique-looking fruiting body and unique benefits may give your body some brain-boosting power and general health benefits for your central nervous system. So let me take you on a short learning journey and point out some key facts and findings from another well-studied functional mushroom.


Lions Mane, what is it and a little history


Lions Mane is a fascinating mushroom that grows mainly in Asia. As its commercial popularity grows, mycologists have been able to adapt ways to develop this as they did for Reishi, producing potent and viable fruits to harvest extracts. It grows mainly in the summer months in Asia, North America and Europe, where it grows on hardwood trees such as the Birch tree.

Lions Mane has long tendrils and a white appearance, making its unique look which has gained it many names, with monikers like Lion's Mane, "bearded tooth", "pom-pom", and my personal favourite "Monkey head mushroom". Used as both a culinary and functional ingredient for thousands of years, its unique appearance holds secrets in its special extracts. It has been revered in traditional Eastern medicine for a long time, and modern science is delving into the nootropic mushroom. The findings are that the extracts of Lion's mane have physical benefits that improve cognitive functions and give your central nervous system a helping hand in many ways. In what ways can it benefit you? Well, the following may answer that.


Lions Mane and cognitive function past and present.


This blog will ignore the physical benefits, as they have similar benefits to the other mushrooms in this series. But the mental benefits stand Lion's mane on a pedestal and why it is climbing up the order of popular functional mushrooms. Its main characteristics are the benefits of inflammation response and boosting brain and nerve power.

Having a long history of use in Chinese culture for brain-boosting powers, it was used by Chinese Buddhist monks who claimed it increased focus in their meditation. But is this just an ancient anecdote, or is there something in this? Modern science has started to delve into this mushroom, and its possible benefits and findings are pretty exciting.

Lions Mane and your neurons.


Lions Mane has two compounds which help your neurons. In the extracts, these compounds, Hericenones and erinacines, may help protect your body's nerves and neurons. This may have benefits that shield your brain from the effects of ageing by protecting it from cognitive decline as you advance through your years. But that is not all these compounds do.

The Hericenones and erinacines found in Lions Mane have also been shown in actual animal studies to promote increased nerve growth factor (NGF) levels in the study. This may have benefits in:

  • Supporting motor function

  • Promotes growth of nerve tissue

  • Counteract oxidative stress on the brain

  • Support memory for both long and short term

  • Support impulse transmission in nerves

Other studies also support these findings. These studies showed increased cognitive function in middle-aged people on their short-term memory. One further study from Japan found that people with age-related memory problems scored better when taking lion's mane extract than those who did not take the supplement. More interestingly, when the subjects stopped taking the extract, their scores fell again.



Other possible benefits of using Lions Mane extract


But that's not where the benefits end; Lions Mane's nootropic properties also have counter benefits. Making the brain and nerves work optimally has counter effects that happen naturally. These are:

  • Reduced anxiety

  • Better moods

  • Improved focus

  • More mental energy

  • Clearing brain fog

  • Reduces inflammation

  • Improves heart health

  • Aids in digestion

As said throughout this series, we are just scratching the subject's surface. If you need to learn more, I think you should read some references and follow the wormhole. It is a fascinating subject to research.


Takeaway information for Lions Mane


Lions Mane has many health benefits that have been shown throughout history in Eastern medicine and now in modern science. The brain-boosting properties are exceptional, and the extracts can now be obtained in many forms and should be considered for your dietary supplementation. It helps promote healthy neurons and can help with age-related memory loss, which is impressive on its own, but throw in the other benefits obtained through the nootropic side as well as the inflammatory response and other benefits not in this blog. Is it worth not adding it to your diet?

The unique nootropic side is why we included it in our blend for MycoCollagen and the other effects that boost the other functional mushrooms in the mix. As it is a fantastic extract, we plan to add Lions Mane to future products, showcasing it here on the blog, Facebook, and other social media platforms. So start taking this extract today to help protect your brain, nerves, neurons and whole body.

The following blog will be on the very studied Turkey Tail. This will be the series's final part and introduce the mushrooms in our blend. We also have blogs on collagen and the product MycoCollagen shortly, so look out for those and sign up for the mailing list for future news.


Once again, thank you for taking the time to read this post, and I hope you read the rest of the blogs.






References

  1. Healing mushrooms, Book by Tero Isokaupila

  2. Lai, P. L., Naidu, M., Sabaratnam, V., Wong, K. H., David, R. P., Kuppusamy, U. R., Abdullah, N., & Malek, S. N. (2013). Neurotrophic properties of the Lion’s mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia. International journal of medicinal mushrooms, 15(6), 539–554. https://doi.org/10.1615/intjmedmushr.v15.i6.30

  3. Tsai-Teng, T., Chin-Chu, C., Li-Ya, L., Wan-Ping, C., Chung-Kuang, L., Chien-Chang, S., Chi-Ying, H. F., Chien-Chih, C., & Shiao, Y. J. (2016). Erinacine A-enriched Hericium erinaceus mycelium ameliorates Alzheimer’s disease-related pathologies in APPswe/PS1dE9 transgenic mice. Journal of biomedical science, 23(1), 49. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12929-016-0266-z

  4. Chiu, C. H., Chyau, C. C., Chen, C. C., Lee, L. Y., Chen, W. P., Liu, J. L., Lin, W. H., & Mong, M. C. (2018). Erinacine A-Enriched Hericium erinaceus Mycelium Produces Antidepressant-Like Effects through Modulating BDNF/PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β Signaling in Mice. International journal of molecular sciences, 19(2), 341. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19020341

  5. Mori, K., Inatomi, S., Ouchi, K., Azumi, Y., & Tuchida, T. (2009). Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytotherapy research : PTR, 23(3), 367–372. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.2634

  6. Abdullah, N., Ismail, S. M., Aminudin, N., Shuib, A. S., & Lau, B. F. (2012). Evaluation of Selected Culinary-Medicinal Mushrooms for Antioxidant and ACE Inhibitory Activities. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2012, 464238. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/464238

  7. Hou, Y., Ding, X., & Hou, W. (2015). Composition and antioxidant activity of water-soluble oligosaccharides from Hericium erinaceus. Molecular medicine reports, 11(5), 3794–3799. https://doi.org/10.3892/mmr.2014.3121

  8. Kim, S. P., Kang, M. Y., Choi, Y. H., Kim, J. H., Nam, S. H., & Friedman, M. (2011). Mechanism of Hericium erinaceus (Yamabushitake) mushroom-induced apoptosis of U937 human monocytic leukemia cells. Food & function, 2(6), 348–356. https://doi.org/10.1039/c1fo10030k

  9. Rahman, M. A., Abdullah, N., & Aminudin, N. (2014). Inhibitory effect on in vitro LDL oxidation and HMG Co-A reductase activity of the liquid-liquid partitioned fractions of Hericium erinaceus (Bull.) Persoon (lion’s mane mushroom). BioMed research international, 2014, 828149. https://doi.org/10.1155/2014/828149

  10. Wang, M., Konishi, T., Gao, Y., Xu, D., & Gao, Q. (2015). Anti-Gastric Ulcer Activity of Polysaccharide Fraction Isolated from Mycelium Culture of Lion’s Mane Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes). International journal of medicinal mushrooms, 17(11), 1055–1060. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28087447/

  11. Wu, T., & Xu, B. (2015). Antidiabetic and antioxidant activities of eight medicinal mushroom species from China. International journal of medicinal mushrooms, 17(2), 129–140. https://doi.org/10.1615/intjmedmushrooms.v17.i2.40

  12. Diling, C., Xin, Y., Chaoqun, Z., Jian, Y., Xiaocui, T., Jun, C., Ou, S., & Yizhen, X. (2017). Extracts from Hericium erinaceus relieve inflammatory bowel disease by regulating immunity and gut microbiota. Oncotarget, 8(49), 85838–85857. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.20689

  13. Kim, S. P., Nam, S. H., & Friedman, M. (2013). Hericium erinaceus (Lion’s Mane) mushroom extracts inhibit metastasis of cancer cells to the lung in CT-26 colon cancer-tansplanted mice. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 61(20), 4898–4904. https://doi.org/10.1021/jf400916c

  14. Diling, C., Chaoqun, Z., Jian, Y., Jian, L., Jiyan, S., Yizhen, X., & Guoxiao, L. (2017). Immunomodulatory Activities of a Fungal Protein Extracted from Hericium erinaceus through Regulating the Gut Microbiota. Frontiers in immunology, 8, 666. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2017.00666

  15. Vigna, L., Morelli, F., Agnelli, G. M., Napolitano, F., Ratto, D., Occhinegro, A., Di Iorio, C., Savino, E., Girometta, C., Brandalise, F., & Rossi, P. (2019). Hericium erinaceus Improves Mood and Sleep Disorders in Patients Affected by Overweight or Obesity: Could Circulating Pro-BDNF and BDNF Be Potential Biomarkers?. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2019, 7861297. https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/7861297

  16. Diling, C., Chaoqun, Z., Jian, Y., Jian, L., Jiyan, S., Yizhen, X., & Guoxiao, L. (2017). Immunomodulatory Activities of a Fungal Protein Extracted from Hericium erinaceus through Regulating the Gut Microbiota. Frontiers in immunology, 8, 666. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2017.00666

  17. Saitsu, Y., Nishide, A., Kikushima, K., Shimizu, K., & Ohnuki, K. (2019). Improvement of cognitive functions by oral intake of Hericium erinaceus. Biomedical research (Tokyo, Japan), 40(4), 125–131. https://doi.org/10.2220/biomedres.40.125




*The statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA. The products sold on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information provided by this website or this company is not a substitute for a consultation with your doctor and should not be taken as medical advice.

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