History of Lion's Mane
Found in North America, Europe, and East Asia, the Lion's Mane medicinal mushroom hericium erinaceus higher basidiomycetes has a long history of being used for various medical purposes.
The ancient Chinese believed mushrooms to be a source of longevity and wisdom. They used the Lion's Mane mushroom for digestive problems, long before modern medicine.
It and many other functional mushrooms have been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine. Lion's Mane was historically believed to be a source of longevity and spiritual wisdom. It was also used for a variety of digestive ailments.
In modern times, there are many potential Lion's Mane mushroom benefits still that are currently being researched. While most of this research is done in test tubes and on animals, the results are promising.
This guide will cover everything you need to know about Lion's Mane, including the latest research on its health benefits.
Lion's Mane Benefits
The Lion's Mane mushroom hericium erinaceus may help prevent cancer, boost energy, manage weight, and manage symptoms of anxiety and depression. The majority of these benefits could be related to the mushroom's potential for brain health.
Lion's Mane mushroom also has a high nutritional content and is rich in vitamins and minerals.
Some of the minerals contained in Lion's Mane include:
The Lion's Mane mushroom also contains a multitude of vitamins such as thiamine, niacin, vitamin B-6, biotin, and folate.
Plus, a 100 gram or 1/2 cup serving of Lion's Mane has about 43 calories, 2.5g protein, 7.6g carb, and .3g fat. This makes it a good source of protein, while still being low calorie and low fat.
Boosting Brain Health
Alzheimer's and dementia are terrible illnesses that not only affect the sufferer, but also their families and friends. Lion's Mane has neuroprotective properties that may help protect against these diseases and improve mild cognitive impairment.
It is believed that Lion Mane mushroom benefits the development and function of nerves protecting them from being damaged. This is of particular interest to science in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer's, Parkinson Disease and multiple sclerosis. Diseases which afflicts nearly 100 million people worldwide.
“Hericium erinaceus is a well known medicinal mushroom for brain health. It has been documented for its regenerative capability in peripheral nerves.”
The Lion's Mane mushroom is sometimes referred to as the 'smart mushroom' and helps to support cognitive function, memory, and focus.
The mushroom hosts a protective effect with cognitive function by
- Improving object recognition
- Improved recognition memory
- Preventing or treating diseases associated with cognitive decline, including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease
The mushroom contains two compounds called hericenones and erinacines. These compounds may help stimulate brain cell growth and improve a person's mental functions, including memory and general cognition.
The ability of Lion's Mane to stimulate brain growth may help protect against certain conditions like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease.
Alongside these compounds, Lion's Mane also contains polysaccharides.
Polysaccharides can help protect neurons and boost their functioning. Some of the other fatty acids in the mushroom may also reduce the risk of neurodegenerative cell death. The Lion's Mane mushroom may also help promote nerve growth factor secretion.
Nerve growth factor is a protein in the brain that helps maintain and organize cholinergic neurons in the central nervous system. It may prevent or treat dementia, as it can help maintain and regenerate neurons to help with regular cognitive function.
The Lion's Mane mushroom may also help slow cognitive impairment by combating the buildup of amyloid beta. This substance forms plaques on the brain, causing neuronal damage related to Alzheimer's.
Lion's mane mushroom has been shown to help protect against the onset of dementia. A 2011 report found that this mushroom has properties that could help prevent or slow the progression of this condition.
“It has been reported that [Lion’s Mane] promotes nerve growth factor secretion in vitro and in vivo. Nerve growth factor is involved in maintaining and organizing cholinergic neurons in the central nervous system. These findings suggest that [Lion’s Mane] may be appropriate for the prevention or treatment of dementia.”
Lion's Mane increases the production of nerve growth factor in the brain. Nerve growth factor is a protein that helps keep neurons healthy and can help regenerate them. This is important for normal cognitive function.
Supporting Digestive Health
Lion's Mane may help treat mild to moderate symptoms of ulcerative colitis. This condition causes inflammation and sores to form in the digestive system. The ulcers caused can form in areas like the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine.
There are two main causes of ulcerative colitis. The first cause is an overgrowth of bacteria in the gut, called H. pylori. The other is the daily use of NSAIDs, such as aspirin, causing damage to the stomach.
Lion's Mane contains compounds that can help inhibit the growth of H. pylori, a bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers.
Lion Mane's anti-inflammatory properties may also make it effective for conditions such as Irritable Bowel Disease and Crohn's. It may also ease upper abdominal pain and inflammation in those with chronic atrophic gastritis.
Managing Diabetes and Blood Sugar Levels
Diabetes can be difficult to manage, especially for people with busy lives. Lion's mane mushroom can be added to a treatment regimen to make it easier.
Lion's Mane blocks the alpha-glucosidase enzyme, which prevents the body from properly digesting carbohydrates. This leads to lower blood sugar levels. Some studies have shown that Lion's Mane can lower blood sugar levels in both healthy and diabetic mice.
Lion's Mane may increase insulin levels by blocking alpha-glucosidase. This prevents the body from properly digesting carbs, which may result in lowered blood sugar.
Blood sugar that is chronically high can cause health problems such as:
- Kidney disease
- Diabetic nerve pain
- Impaired vision
By helping maintain blood sugar levels, Lion's Mane can help prevent some of the complications of diabetes from occurring.
This includes diabetic neuropathy, a type of nerve damage that is often caused by consistently elevated blood sugar levels.
Different types of diabetic neuropathy can cause different symptoms. However, the most common type tends to cause mild to severe pain or numbness in the hands and feet. In severe cases, diabetic neuropathy can lead to amputation.
Studies shows that Lion's Mane may help ease diabetic nerve pain through its antioxidant activity. As it has the potential to help manage blood sugar levels, the mushroom may also help prevent diabetic neuropathy from occurring.
Lion's mane may help treat diabetes, but more research is needed to confirm this.
Maintaining Heart Health
Heart disease is a leading cause of death. Some causes are high cholesterol, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle. Adding Lion’s Mane mushroom to your regimen with the advice of a doctor might be worth considering if dietary and exercise changes are not enough.
While most studies have been performed on animals, Lion’s Mane has shown some promising effects for symptoms that lead to heart disease. Studies have shown that Lion’s Mane can lower triglyceride levels.
This reduces your risk for heart disease by positively affecting your cholesterol. A 2010 study showed that rats fed high-fat diets for a month had 27% lower triglyceride levels.
There is a range of factors that can increase one's risk for heart disease.
Some common risk factors are obesity or having an increased risk for blood clots. Having high cholesterol levels or oxidized cholesterol can also increase the risk of heart disease.
The Lion's Mane mushroom may help boost lipid metabolism. This can potentially help with weight management, reducing the risk of heart disease from obesity.
Lion's Mane also has the potential to lower a person's overall cholesterol levels and reduce a person's risk for heart disease. It can potentially lower "bad" triglyceride levels and low-density lipoprotein levels. It may also increase high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, otherwise known as the "good" cholesterol.
Lion's Mane may also help prevent cholesterol from becoming oxidized. When cholesterol molecules become oxidized, they harden and stick to artery walls. When this occurs, it can increase a person's risk of heart attack and stroke.
Speeding up Recovery After Nervous System Injury
The nervous system is composed of the brain, spinal cord, and network of nerves spanning the body. These parts work together to send and receive signals throughout the body, controlling most of the body's functions.
Injuries to the central nervous system often require a high amount of treatment. These injuries can incapacitate a person and lead to paralysis or death, especially if left untreated.
Lion's Mane may help improve the condition of these injuries by stimulating the growth and self-repair of nerve cells. This can potentially speed up recovery up to to 41%.
The Lion's Mane mushroom may also help reduce the severity of brain damage after a stroke. It has the potential to help prevent or decrease the severity of partial paralysis, speech dysfunction, and neurological impairment.
No studies have been done on humans yet, but there is evidence from studies on mice that Lion's Mane mushroom could help stroke victims. If these experiments are successful, we may see Lion's Mane mushroom become part of standard care for stroke victims.
Boosting Immune Health
The Lion's Mane mushroom has the potential to boost a person's overall immune health.
It is believed to be able to do this by supporting the immune system found in the gut. By boosting the part of the immune system found in the intestines, the mushroom helps to combat ingested pathogens.
While everyone can benefit from boosted immune health, Lion's Mane may be especially helpful for those with compromised immune systems.
The Lion's Mane mushroom, like many other functional mushrooms, has anti-cancer properties. It may help reduce tumor size and decrease the likelihood of cancerous cells spreading to other areas.
Studies have shown the potential of Lion's Mane to prevent certain cancers, such as liver, gastric, and colon cancer.
While Lion's Mane may be able to help treat or prevent cancer, it should not be used to replace cancer treatments. Instead, the mushroom may be more beneficial in conjunction with modern cancer treatments and with the permission of a doctor.
The Lion's Mane mushroom may help ease symptoms of depression and anxiety, especially in female patients with menopause symptoms. When menopausal patients took Lion's Mane, they reported less irritability, anxiety, and concentration problems.
As the mushroom has the potential ability to stimulate brain cell growth, including in the hippocampus. The hippocampus controls processes associated with memory and emotional responses.
By improving the functioning of the hippocampus, the Lion's Mane mushroom may also help improve emotion regulation. This can potentially reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress can have a large impact on the body. Cardiovascular disease, cancer, and autoimmune disorders are only a few of the conditions they can cause.
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds found in the Lion's Mane mushroom can help ease the symptoms of these diseases. They can also ease the symptoms of liver injury and stroke.
The mushroom may also help reduce inflammation secreted by the adipose tissue. This may reduce a portion of the health risks related to obesity.
How to Prepare Lion's Mane
Lion's Mane can be taken in a variety of ways and consumed raw or cooked like many other edible mushrooms.
The Lion's Mane mushroom has a fairly mild taste that is somewhat similar to crab, lobster, or scallops.
However, Lion's Mane mushrooms can be cooked in many other types of recipes as well. Many recommend cooking them quickly over high heat with some olive oil, though roasting them might work as well.
Dried Lion's Mane mushroom can also be steeped to make tea, coffee, or other beverage.
Some people believe that tea extracted from hericium erinaceus is a good way to benefit from the mushroom. However, medical reviewers reveal that there is no concrete proof that this is true.
Dietary supplements like lions mane mushroom extracts and tinctures are also widely available and offer the most health benefits.
That being said, many recommend sticking with the whole mushroom, whether it is fresh or dried.
The fruiting body of the mushroom is generally considered more effective than its mycelium network.
Lion's Mane Dosage
As there are only limited animal studies on the Lion's Mane mushroom, there is no general recommended dose. Many clinical trials and research suggests a dosage of around 1000 mg three times a day. But there is not enough research to know if this is the ideal dose.
To get the most Lion's Mane mushroom benefits, follow the directions provided with the mushroom or mushroom supplement.
Lion's Mane Mushroom Side Effects
There is little evidence of adverse side effects of Lion's Mane. It is non-toxic and considered generally safe to consume. However, there may be some possibility of:
- Mild gastrointestinal discomfort
- Slowed blood clotting
- Reduced blood glucose levels
If you are allergic to mushrooms, you should avoid taking any Lion's mane supplement. Possible symptoms of an allergy to the mushroom include skin rashes and difficulty breathing may develop within 16 weeks.
If you are pregnant or nursing, consult a doctor before consuming Lion's Mane mushroom supplement. Consult a doctor before giving Lion's Mane to a child or if you treating any medical condition.
Lion's Mane Mushroom Extract
Annanda Organics offers a Lion's Mane Extract which provides maximum potency and benefit from this amazing mushroom.
This article or the international journal of medicinal mushrooms is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or medical conditions and has not been rated by the food and drug administration FDA.