What is Lion’s Mane?
Lion’s Mane (Hericium Erinaceus) is a completely natural and legal mushroom that is also known as the smart mushroom. Unlike psilocybin truffles, this is not a psychoactive mushroom, but it has other superpowers.
It is said to be used by Buddhist monks in China for over 2000 years in order to enhance focus and brainpower. But also to deepen meditation practices and to reach a clearer state of mind.
Lion’s Mane can be naturally found on decaying trees throughout the Northern hemisphere, and available in most Asian supermarkets.
What are the potential benefits of Lion’s Mane?
Below we will provide an in-depth description of all these benefits*. Note: This listing should and can not be construed as a list of medical claims.
Studies indicate that Lion’s Mane may have the following benefits:
- Could protect against dementia like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease
- May lower anxiety and depression
- May speed up recovery from nervous system injuries
- Could reduce heart disease risk
- Helps manage diabetes symptoms
- Improves your cognition and mental clarity
1. Could protect against dementia like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease
Lion’s Mane has two main bioactive compounds: Hericenones and Erinacines.
Hericenones assist the brain in producing more Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and Erinacines helps with the production of new neurons, also known as neurogenesis (Source).
Lion’s Mane has been shown to be very effective in stimulating the creation of NGF in the brain. Once the blood-brain barrier has been crossed, Lion’s Mane is shown to stimulate the release of NGF, which treats and prevents nerve damage.
In general, when your brain grows older, its ability to form new connections decreases which explains why your mental capacity declines when you get older. Therefore, the production of more NGF in your brain could possibly help to relieve symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. This was already shown in animal studies that successfully protected mice from a progressive memory loss disease like Alzheimer’s (Source, Source, Source, Source).
2. May lower anxiety and depression
Almost 30 percent of people in today’s society experience symptoms of anxiety or depression (Source). While there are many factors that play a role in causing anxiety or depression, one important factor is chronic inflammation in the body.
In addition, other studies show that Lion’s Mane supports the regeneration of brain cells and improves the functioning of the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a region of the brain which deals with processing memories and emotions. It is believed that a better functioning hippocampus may explain a relief in anxiety, irritation, and depression (Source, Source).
It is important to note that while studies already look very promising, more human studies are needed to completely confirm these benefits.
3. May speed up recovery from nervous system injuries
Studies show that Lion’s Mane extract may help to speed up recovery from injuries to the brain (stroke), spinal cord, and other nerves in the body. It does this by stimulating the growth and repair of nerve cells in the body (Source, Source, Source).
In a study conducted on rats, Lion’s Mane has shown to reduce the time that is needed to recover from a nervous system injury by 23 to 41 percent (Source).
In another study, high doses of lion’s mane mushroom extract given to rats immediately after a stroke helped decrease inflammation and reduce the size of stroke-related brain injury by 44% (Source).
However, as these studies look very promising, more human studies are needed to confirm this benefit for humans.
4. Could reduce heart disease risk
The most often named factors for heart disease are obesity, high triglycerides, large amounts of oxidized cholesterol, and an increased tendency to get blood clots.
Recent studies have shown that Lion’s Mane extract can improve some of these factors and could therefore reduce the risk of heart disease.
For example, Lion’s Mane has shown to lower obesity and triglycerides. One study in rats and mice shows that Lion’s Mane extract has improved fat metabolism and lowered triglyceride levels in the body (Source). Another one saw 27% lower triglyceride levels and 42% less weight gain after a month (Source).
Furthermore, a study found out that Lion’s Mane extract can lower the levels of oxidation of cholesterol in the bloodstream of the body (Source). The oxidation of cholesterol molecules causes them to become harder and therefore increases the risk of heart disease. And Lion’s Mane contains Hericenone B which decreases the rate of blood clotting in your bloodstream, which also lowers the risk of a stroke or heart attack (Source).
5. Helps manage diabetes symptoms
Diabetes disease prevents your body from properly regulating the sugar levels in your blood. Your body constantly regulates the levels of sugar in your blood, and if you constantly have high blood sugar levels, it might cause issues with your kidney, loss of nerves in the hands and feet, and loss of vision.
It is shown that Lion’s Mane mushroom has the power to improve blood sugar levels and also to help with lowering symptoms in the body (Source).
In multiple animal studies, it was shown that Lion’s Mane can lower blood sugar levels in normal and diabetic mice. This effect was even significant with low doses (Source, Source). Lion’s Mane has the power the block the activity of certain enzymes (alpha-glucosidase) that break down carbs in your digestive tract (Source). If this enzyme is blocked, the body is unable to digest and absorb carbs as effectively, which results in lower blood sugar levels.
Also, Lion’s Mane may have the power to lower nerve pain in your hands and feet. This was tested for six weeks on mice with nerve damage, who got Lion’s Mane on a daily basis, and as a result showed significantly less pain, lower blood sugar levels, and more antioxidants in their system (Source).
6. Improves your cognition
Besides stimulating the production of NGF, Lion’s Mane is also widely used in order to enhance focus and mental alertness. Users report a clearer state of mind and experience less brain fog. This why many people use Lion’s Mane in order to achieve better focus and enter into deeper flow states. This helps with being more productive at work or studying.
In a human trial study, they let older people with mild cognitive impairment consume Lion’s Mane on a daily basis, for four months in a row. During this period they saw significant improvements in their mental capacity, and after they stopped supplementing Lion’s Mane, the benefits disappeared (Source).
*This information is for informational purposes only and has not been reviewed or approved by EFSA. Microdose Pro supplements are not medicines and should never be used as a substitute for regular medication.