12 Health Benefits of Lion's Mane Mushroom
Photo Credit: Kevin Lewis
Lion’s mane mushrooms (Latin Name: Hericium Erinaceus), also known by many names such as bearded tooth mushroom, bearded hedgehog mushrooms and pompom fungus are big, white, pom-pom like mushrooms that develops long dangling spines as it continues to mature. The Lion's Mane mushroom can be found on hardwood trees within the northern hemisphere.
The Lion's Mane mushrooms contain two main compounds (diterpenoids) that promote brain health; these molecules are referred to as hericenones and erinacines. These molecules are said to be neurotrophic meaning they work in the regulation of growth, maintenance, survival, and proliferation of nerve and brain cells. (1)
Lion's Mane Mushroom has a fair background in both Asia's Food and Health industries (2).
The Lion's Mane Mushroom can be consumed cooked, raw, dehydrated, tinctured, capsulated, steeped into a tea, or consumed as a liquid or powder extract form.
The mushroom has reports of a lobster-like taste.
Here are the 12 Potential Health Benefits of Lion's Mane Mushroom based on today's research!
Lion's mane contains two neurotrophic diterpenoids known as hericenones and erinacines (2)
Neurotrophic compounds are biological compounds that support the growth, survival, and differentiation of both developing and mature neurons. (3)
One study showed an aqueous Lion's mane extract possessing neuroactive compounds which may induced Nerve Growth Factor synthesis and promote neurite outgrowth in nerve cells. (2)
2. BLOOD SUGAR MANAGEMENT
Diabetes is a disease, in which, the body cannot control blood sugar levels. This results in having to take the hormone insulin for constant blood sugar control.
Lion's mane controls blood sugar, in part, by blocking the biological activity of the enzyme alpha-glucosidase, which breaks down starch and disaccharides to glucose. This enzyme blocking activity results in carbohydrates not being broken down and absorbed by the body (lower blood sugar). (5)
3. DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY
One study shows Lion's Mane extract reduces anxiety and depressive behavior in mice by promoting hippocampal neurogenesis in adult mice brains. This increased activity in the hippocampus area of the brain is believed to be the cause of a reduction of depressive symptoms (6)
Amycenone is one molecule that has been identified in Lion's Mane which has been studied to reduce inflammation-induced depression. One study shows that amycenone extracted from Lion's Mane mushrooms may act as a potential supplement to preventing inflammation-related depression. (7)
5. NERVOUS SYSTEM REPAIR
Studies show that Lion's Mane Mushroom may help catalyze recovery from certain types of nervous system injuries. There is evidence to suggest Lion's Mane Mushroom may also help in the recovery of strokes. (8)(9)
Cancer occurs when deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in the cells becomes compromised and results in cells dividing and replicating in excess proportions.
Isolating an compound (named 'cerebroside E ') from Lion's Mane; One study points out that Lion’s Mane Mushroom may have cancer-reducing properties. (10)
Anti-oxidants are the molecules that neutralize free radicals that we inherit every day from our diet and environment.
Free radicals can induce cancerous growth by damaging DNA and causing cells to replicate excessively. Anti-oxidants work by neutralizing free radicals by donating a hydrogen atom to the free radical in turn neutralizing the free radical and preventing it from causing further harm.
One study shows mice taking Lion's Mane extract over 42 days with results showing an increase in anti-oxidant levels. (11)
Many variables play into heart diseases such as genetics, diet, and environment.
Research shows that Lion’s Mane extract may affect some of these variables and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
One study shows in mice and rats that extracts taken from Lion's Mane increase fat metabolism and decrease fat levels (12)
Another study shows isolates from Lion's Mane of hericenone B, can decrease the rate of blood clotting and lower the possibility of cardiac arrest or stroke in mice and rats. (21)
9. IMMUNE SYSTEM SUPPORT
Lion's mane mushroom may provide benefits to the immune system, as well, as the nervous system. (20)
Studies show that lion’s mane mushroom can increase immune support by increasing the cellular activity of the immune system stemming into the intestinal tract.
10. BODY RECOVERY
Aqueous extracts from Lion's Mane show potential healing benefits for reduced scarring.
A study shows rats that had inflicted neck wounds once treated topically with lion's mane extract the scars with topical application had a decreased scar width compared to those rats that had distilled water as their topical application. (14)(18)
11. COGNITION AND CLARITY
Lion's Mane Mushroom may encourage nerve growth and sheath brain cells from neurodegenerative-related damage that can result from aging.
A study shows mild cognitive improvements in elderly people. Researchers discovered by subjecting older adults to consuming 3000 milligrams of powdered lion’s mane mushroom daily for four months there was a significant improvement in mental functioning, but these benefits slowly dissipated when consumption stopped. (15) (17)
Lion’s mane may reduce inflammation and prevent lining damage in the intestines. (16)
Lion's Mane has also been studied in terms of treating ulcers.
Research on Lion's Mane suggests that Lion's mane can play a part in the regulation of intestinal activity.
Regulation of intestinal activity is most likely attributed to Hericium Erinaceus Polysaccharides (HEP). (13)
HEALTH CANADA RECOMMENDATIONS
"According to the Health Canada Mushroom Monograph:
Decoction(Tea): Up to 1.2g (1200 mg) dried Lions Mane, per day
Dry, Powder, tincture, fluid extract: Up to 2.8 g (2800mg) dried Lions Mane, per day"
Concentrated Extract(Water/Alcohol): Up to 700mg per day @ 4:1 concentration
Cautions & Warnings: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, consult a health care practitioner before use.
Lion's Mane undeniably has many promising benefits, but more research on humans would be needed to make any finite claims on the above statements.
There has also been some studies done with humans in recent years. One study looked at potential cognitive improvements of participants as they took lion's mane powder over time and found a significant improvement over the control group. Check it out by clicking here or down below.
(15) Human Clinical Trial of Lion's Mane Mushroom (2008)
(17) Human Clinical Trial of Lion's Mane Mushroom (2019)
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Author: Mario Vitali
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27481156 (Anti-Inflammatory Study)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3852124/(Antihyperglycemic and Antihypertension Study)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26244378 (Bioactive Compounds Study)
(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24266378 (Neurotrophic Properties Study)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31562049 (Effects on Cognitive Function Study)
(11) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25746618 (Antidiabetic and Antioxidant Activity Study)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29091526 (Anxiety and Depression Study)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26150007 (Depression Study)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12675022 (Myelination Study)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25167134 (Anti-Inflammatory in the Brain Study)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26547693 (Hericium erinaceus and its applicability to cancer treatment Study)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4415746/ (Effects of Hericium erinaceus on alloxan induced diabetic neuropathic pain in laboratory rats Study)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3714447/ (Hypolipidaemic Effect of Hericium erinaceum Grown Study)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28266682 (Immunomodulatory effects of Hericium erinaceus Study)
(18) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22135902 (Accelerating wound healing in rats Study)
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18844328 (Improving effects of the mushroom Lion's Mane Mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment Study))