How Lion’s Mane Can Support Your Overall Health
This is a mushroom Dr. Davis consumes, as a supplement and tea, on a regular basis...and for good reason. Next to Nature recently shared on the wonderful benefits of lion's mane and how you can find it locally.
5 reasons Lion’s Mane can support your health
Lion’s mane mushrooms contain bioactive substances that have beneficial effects on the body, especially the brain, heart and gut. Here we will breakdown each of our top ways it can support us.
1. Could Protect Against Dementia
The brain’s ability to grow and form new connections typically
declines with age, which may explain why mental functioning gets worse in many older adults. Studies have found that lion’s mane mushrooms contain two special compounds that can stimulate the growth of brain cells: hericenones and erinacines. Additionally, animal studies have found that lion’s mane may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative brain disease that causes progressive memory loss. In fact, lion’s mane mushroom and its extracts have been shown to reduce symptoms of memory loss in mice, as well as prevent neuronal damage caused by amyloid-beta plaques, which accumulate in the brain during Alzheimer’s disease. A study in older adults with mild cognitive impairment found that consuming 3 grams of powdered lion’s mane mushroom daily for four months significantly improved mental functioning.
This is our go-to for anyone looking to improve memory, clarity, or mental function.
2. May Speed Recovery from Nervous System Injuries
The nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord and other nerves that travel throughout the body. These components work together to send and transmit signals that control almost every bodily function. Injuries to the brain or spinal cord can be devastating. They often cause paralysis or loss of mental functions and can take a long time to heal. However, research has found that lion’s mane mushroom extract may help speed recovery from these types of injuries by stimulating the growth and repair of nerve cells. Lion’s mane extract may also help reduce the severity of brain damage after a stroke.
3. Protects Against Ulcers in the Digestive Tract
The most fundamental traditional herbal use for lion’s mane is for gastrointestinal (GI) support. Traditional use suggests that lion’s mane has the potential to repair and protect gastrointestinal tissue, particularly the stomach in the case of ulcers. Ulcers are capable of forming anywhere along the digestive tract, including the stomach, small intestine and large intestine. Stomach ulcers are often caused by two major factors: overgrowth of a bacteria called H. pylori and damage to the mucous layer of the stomach that’s often due to long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Lion’s mane extract may protect against the development of stomach ulcers by inhibiting the growth of H. pylori and protecting the stomach lining from damage. Lion’s mane extract can also reduce inflammation and prevent tissue damage in other areas of the intestines. In fact, they may help treat inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. One study in people with ulcerative colitis found that taking a mushroom supplement containing 14% lion’s mane extract significantly reduced symptoms and improved quality of life after three weeks.
4. Reduces Inflammation and Oxidative Stress
Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress are believed to be at the root of many modern illnesses, including heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune disorders. Research shows that lion’s mane mushrooms contain powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds that may help reduce the impact of these illnesses. In fact, one study examining the antioxidant abilities of 14 different mushroom species found that lion’s mane had the fourth highest antioxidant activity and recommended it be considered a good dietary source of antioxidants. Lion’s mane mushrooms may also help reduce some of the health risks associated with obesity, as they have been shown to decrease the amount of inflammation released by fat tissue. More studies are needed to determine the potential health benefits in humans, but the results from lab and animal studies are promising.
5. Boosts the Immune System
A strong immune system protects the body from bacteria, viruses, and other disease-causing pathogens. On the flip side, a weak immune system puts the body at a higher risk of developing infectious diseases. Animal research shows that lion’s mane mushroom can boost immunity by increasing the activity of the intestinal immune system, which protects the body from pathogens that enter the gut through the mouth or nose. These effects may partly be due to beneficial changes in gut bacteria that stimulate the immune system. One study even found that supplementing with lion’s mane extract daily nearly quadrupled the lifespan of mice injected with a lethal dose of salmonella bacteria.
Lion’s Mane is exceptionally high in protein, having an average of 22 grams of protein per 100 grams of dry mushrooms. It is also an incredible non-animal source of essential amino acids. The nutritional quality of these mushrooms is quite high and that the content of essential amino acids approaches that of egg protein. For vegans, or those wanting to consume less animal protein, a mushroom like this can become an integral part of your diet.
Safety and Side Effects
No human studies have examined the side effects of lion’s mane mushroom or its extract, but they appear to be very safe. Anyone who is allergic or sensitive to mushrooms should avoid lion’s mane, since it is a species of mushroom. There have been documented cases of people experiencing difficulty breathing or skin rashes after exposure to lion’s mane mushrooms, likely related to allergies and improper preparation.
Dosage and Preparation
Lion’s mane is commonly consumed in many Asian countries for medicinal and culinary purposes. However, recommended dosage for various benefits is unknown due to a lack of studies. Pregnant women should avoid using lion’s mane products as insufficient evidence is available to determine if any dosage is safe during pregnancy.
Concluding our highlights
Lion’s mane mushroom and its extract have been shown to have a variety of health benefits. Research has found that lion’s mane may protect against dementia, reduce mild symptoms of anxiety and depression and help repair nerve damage. It also has strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune-boosting abilities and has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, ulcers and diabetes in animals. Overall, Lion’s mane strengthens the stomach, regulates Qi, tones the spleen, promotes digestion, calms the shen, and strengthens the brain, making this mushroom plant highly beneficial in its consumption.