What is Lion’s Mane Mushroom?
Lion's Mane mushroom grows on old tree trunks, especially ones with huge leaves.
It has been used for centuries in Japanese and Chinese cuisine as food and for medicinal purposes. (1)
In Japan, this mushroom is called "Yamabushitake," which means "people walking in the mountains." They gave it that name because the Buddhist monks used to carry it with them as food during their travel.
In recent years, Lion's Mane mushroom has become very popular due to the effectiveness of its compounds on a wide range of diseases. Its benefits include strengthening memory and treatment of nerve diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's.
It also contributes to treating some diseases of the digestive system, such as colon cancer, stomach ulcers, and infections of the digestive system.
Lion’s Mane Health Benefits
1 – Regenerates the Brain and Nervous System
Lion Mane is truly unique. It stimulates the production of nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic (BDNF), these two amazing compounds stimulate the growth of new nerve tissue and brain cells. (2)
Releasing BDNF starts a series of genes that grow completely new brain cells and pathways. High levels of BDNF make you learn faster, remember better, age slower, and rapidly rewire your brain.
This mushroom also regenerates nerve cell functioning via its stimulating effects on the production of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). NGF is similar to BDNF, but it works throughout your nervous system, not just in the brain.
These compounds, among others, are also thought to help protect the brain against environmental toxins and defend against the natural effects of aging.
2 – Improves Cognitive Function
Research shows that Lion’s Mane mushroom supports cognitive function, improves memory, and boosts mental focus.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was performed on elderly Japanese men and women diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. After eight weeks, the Lion’s Mane group showed significantly increased scores on cognitive functions compared with the placebo group. (5)
There is another interesting fact. Memory is innately tied to how neurons and nerves function in the brain. Since Lion’s Mane protects them through its stimulation of NGF and BDNF, then it can improve memory and other different functions.
In one study where subjects were given Lion Mane’s extract, they demonstrated significant improvements in short-term memory. (6)
3 – Reduces the Risk of Cancer
Studies show that Lion’s Mane has cancer-fighting abilities thanks to several unique compounds. (7)
In fact, if Lion’s Mane extract is mixed with human cancer cells, they cause the cancer cells to die at a faster rate. This effect has been noticed with several types of cancer cells, including colon, liver, stomach, and blood cancer cells. (8)
One study discovered that an extract of this mushroom was more effective than traditional cancer medicines at slowing tumor growth in mice, and also had fewer side effects. (9)
4 – It Relieves Anxiety and Depression Symptoms
Some studies demonstrate a clear indication of the mood-boosting effect from Lion’s Mane mushroom.
One such study was conducted on Japanese menopausal women. It found positive results in supporting emotional well-being and alleviating stress. (10)
Also, studies in mice have shown that the mushroom boosts levels of acetylcholine, which is an essential neurotransmitter that’s important for mood and mental functioning. (11)
Not to mention that the regenerating effect of Lion’s Mane on the brain cells naturally means improving the function of the hippocampus, the region responsible for processing memories and emotional responses. (12)
Animal studies suggest that Lion’s Mane mushroom is very safe, even when taken at high doses. But if you’re allergic to mushrooms then you should avoid it.
Lion’s Mane mushroom is revered in many ancient cultures and used medicinally for thousands of years.
It’s a powerhouse of health benefits, and a must if you wish to live smarter and healthier.