Lion’s Mane: A Mighty Medicinal Mushroom To Boost Brain Power (2018) 5/5 (2)

A medicinal mushroom that has made a name for itself as a nootropic, Lion’s Mane boasts a unique name and an interesting appearance. It is known for a number of brain-boosting benefits along with some immune strengthening potential presenting minimal side effects. You may even have heard about its amazing cancer-fighting properties. In fact, if you look closely enough, there is quite an exhaustive laundry list of benefits added to its credentials. But is all of it true? Here I will attempt to investigate the promised potential of this wonderful nootropic and look at what it can do to benefit your brain power.

Prevents cognitive dysfunction

Promotes neurogenesis

Induces Nerve Growth Factor

May cause itchy skin

Can induce headaches

1. What Is Lion’s Mane Mushroom?

Resembling a fur ball, or if you’re a dog lover, then perhaps a Havanese, this is a mushroom variety that is used for culinary as well as medicinal purposes. Given its unique appearance, it has earned many interesting names such as Hedgehog Mushroom, Monkey’s Mushroom, Old Man’s Beard, Bear’s Head and even the Pom Pom Mushroom among many others. However, it best goes by the name of Lion’s Mane or Hericium erinaceus.

Lion's Mane

Lion’s Mane

Historically, the mushroom has been used in traditional Japanese and Chinese medicine for a very long time. Other Asian countries like Korea and India are also known to use it as a curative ingredient for a number of conditions.

While many other nootropics work by modulating the production of assorted neurotransmitters, Lion’s Mane’s mechanism of action is slightly different. Instead, it works on increasing the amount of a specific protein needed to regenerate neurons.

Derived from its scientific name, Hericium erinaceus, the two main active compounds present in Lion’s Mane go by the names of hericenones and erinacines. Both have different but complementary functions that give Lion’s Mane its brain-boosting potential.

Of the two, hericenones assist the brain to generate more Nerve Growth Factor. On the other hand, erinacines crosses the blood-brain barrier to encourage neuron production.

Together, by crossing the blood-brain barrier, they stimulate NGF levels and boost the health and survival of neurons in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Since external sources of NGF cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, its production needs to be boosted internally. As such, hericenone and erinacine are potent inducers of Nerve Growth Factor synthesis.

Then there are beta-glucans which are polysaccharides responsible for immune boosting and immunomodulating properties.

There have been a number of clinical trials conducted to study the mushroom’s efficacy but human trials are few. Most of the studies have been done on animal subjects and await confirmation in humans.

2. Lion’s Mane Benefits

What are the main Lion’s Mane Benefits? Let’s check them out:

  • Nerve Growth Factor

Lion’s Mane Mushroom has been studied to increase NGF levels in the brain. NGF or Nerve Growth Factor is responsible for the maintenance and growth of neurons in the brain. It is a part of a large family of biomolecules known as neurotrophic factors. These biomolecules support the growth and survival of neurons.

The presence of NGF improves cognition by promoting the growth and branching of axons which are thread-like nerve extensions. The more healthy axons there are, the more efficiently they will conduct impulses. On the contrary, not enough NGF impairs cognition by triggering neural decay and the collapse of nerve cells.

Many neurological disorders such as Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s are associated with neural degradation over time. It is believed that neurotrophic factors like NGF may play a part in preventing the onset of such conditions. [1]

  • Prevents neurodegeneration

Neurons have the potential to regenerate but need the right conditions to do so. For instance, a decrease in NGF levels can cause brain cells to die without being replaced. This impacts neurogenesis, which is the natural birth and growth of neurons.

As the human brain ages, the production of new neurons slows down. The old ones begin to die and when replacement gets slow, age-related diseases start to set in.

At the same time, neuroplasticity, which refers to the ability of the brain to change the structure, including the internal structure of neurons, also slows down. This means that your short and long-term memory suffers.

To prevent such issues with cognitive impairment, studies show that supplementing with Lion’s Mane may be beneficial to averting neural degeneration. [2]

Lion's Mane Benefits

Lion’s Mane Benefits

  • Immunomodulation

Poor immune response and function are the underlying causes of many chronic diseases. However, a response system known as immunomodulation can help support the immune system using biological cofactors along with nutrients and herbs. This response in critical or modifying the immune response to thoroughly defeat infections in the body.

In this respect, beta-glucans can be effective tools to modulate the immune system. However, these do not occur naturally within the body and need to be consumed from sources such as Lion’s Mane mushrooms among others.

Beta-glucans contain sugar molecules joined together. These branch-like structures bind and help specific immune cells to attack hostile targets. These modified responses support immunomodulation by stopping inflammation and an autoimmune response.

In addition, beta glucans also stimulate immune stem cells inside bone marrow. This production releases new immunocytes into the blood and improves the immune response against potential invaders for everything from the common cold to tumor cell growth. [3]

  • Inflammation fighter

Lion’s Mane bears an anti-inflammatory effect by a few different mechanisms. For instance, it reduces excessive nitric oxide which is an important signaling molecule and a component of the inflammatory response. [4]

Lion’s Mane also regulates prostaglandin production. Prostaglandins get produced in response to infection or injury causing inflammation. While this is an important part of the body’s healing process, this natural process can sometimes lead to excess and chronic production of prostaglandins. This can lead to inflammatory conditions brought on by unwanted inflammation. When this happens supplementing with Lion’s Mane can help regulate inflammation. [5]

Other areas where Lion’s Mane shows anti-inflammatory activities is by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines as well as oxidative stress. Together all these mechanisms can have a significant impact on conditions such as autoimmune diseases, digestive disorders, metabolic disorders and much more.

  • Cancer-fighting properties

The immune-strengthening effects of this edible mushroom can have immense benefits for cancer patients who already suffer from compromised immune systems. In such individuals, this can happen either due to the disease itself or by the strong and sometimes toxic anticancer therapies they need to undergo.

In this regard, one animal study shows Lion’s Mane extracts to reduce the weight of transplanted colon tumors in mice. At the same time, the extracts also doubled the number of NK or Natural Killer cells while enhancing macrophage activation.

Of these, NK are a kind of white blood cells that target and attack infected cancerous cells. And macrophages are another white blood cell type which disposes of anything not identifiable as healthy or normal body tissue including cancer cells.

The study also showed that Lion’s Mane extract prevented angiogenesis. This is the process whereby new blood vessels form from old ones. When this happens, it becomes much easier for cancerous cells to spread and invade neighboring organs and tissues.

But when angiogenesis halts, this mechanism also stops and prevents benign tumors from becoming malignant. [6]

  • Anti-depressant properties

Lion’s Mane mushroom has also shown potential in reducing anxiety and depression. A study that involved investigating menopausal symptoms such as irritability, loss of concentration, and anxiety all went down when treated with Lion’s Mane. [7]

In addition, when these bothersome symptoms subsided, subjects also reported improved sleep quality.

One component of Lion’s Mane known as amyceneon has shown antidepressant in animal studies. [8]

There is also some evidence that depressive symptoms may be linked to neurological inflammation and given its anti-inflammatory effects, Lion’s Mane may be able to ward off such unwanted emotional responses.

3. Lion’s Mane Side Effects

Lion’s Mane is contraindicated for individuals who have heavy allergies or an overactive immune system. This could be because, during episodes of allergic reactions, there is a degranulation of mast cells.

This basically means that when mast cells degranulate, they release histamine among other things, which causes anxiety and other issues. NGF has been shown to cause such mast cell degranulation and aggravate the condition.

Otherwise, it is non-toxic and well tolerated by most people.

Unlike other nootropics, Lion’s Mane doesn’t produce quick-yielding results and needs to be taken for extended time periods for any noticeable effects.

Lion's Mane Side Effects

Lion’s Mane Side Effects

4. Lion’s Mane Dosage

As with other nootropics, the dosage will be determined by the extract’s strength. Commercial preparations can vary significantly in purity, strength and composition making it very difficult to establish an optimal dose.

However, with a 30% polysaccharide content, it is recommended that daily dosage should be between 500-1,000 mg taken one to three times daily.

Or, for other options, dosage ranges can vary between 300 and 3,000 mg taken 1-3 times every day.

Having said that, human studies on Lion’s Main are limited so no optimal dosage standard has been maintained. It is best to read the label to follow the manufacturer’s recommended dose. Also, start off with a lower dose to see how well your body tolerates it.

To stack with other nootropics for a quick cognitive boost, you can use Lion’s Mane with alpha GPC, aniracetam, and omega 3s.

For long-term cognitive enhancement, which can take from several weeks to a few months, stacking options vary somewhat. Experts recommend using Lion’s Mane mushroom with uridine and fish oil. Both these offer cellular protection. Then there is zinc which can regulate synaptic function. And finally, there is acetyl-L-carnitine or ALCAR that reduces brain death cell.

 5. Lion’s Mane Reviews and Feedbacks

There are mainly positive feedbacks on Lion’s Mane. Here are some of them:

“I’m 25 years old and heard about Lion’s Mane supporting Neurogenesis. I took this for a couple of months and I DID notice more mental clarity. I believe that over long periods of time this helps regrow neurons.”

“Works great to enhance mental clarity and performance. As a writer, I love this product. A must have for those who need help with focus. My wife has also stared using this herb. Has been beneficial to her stomach problems and focus.”

“I am a medical student, and was having brain fog. It was really bad, I kept forgetting everything! I kept getting lost in the hospital. I tried many things, then I heard of Lion’s mane through my husband. Skeptically I ordered a bottle. To My surprise I could tell the difference during the second week! I am an A student but was struggleling, now I am back on my game.”

“I typically have trouble remembering little things like where I put my keys, or to bring something with me when I leave the house, and have definitely seen an improvement since starting this supplement. I can’t rule out the placebo effect, but hey, whatever works!”

6. Where To Buy Lion’s Mane?

If you want to buy Lion’s Mane as an individual compound, you can buy it here >>

Otherwise, you can use it as part of a more advanced nootropic stack.

My vote goes to Mind Lab Pro. You can read more about it & order it here >>

 7. My Recommendation

After looking at the evidence available, I would think that in a world where the average person struggles with concentration, motivation and health problems, a nootropic such as Lion’s Mane could resolve a lot of these issues. It is a promising natural remedy that not only boosts brain function but also immunity to keep you healthy.

But keep in mind Lion’s Mane is still under-researched, so the long-term safety is questionable. At least until we get more scientific studies done on humans.

 8. FAQ

  • What are the benefits of taking Lion’s Mane?

It prevents cognitive dysfunction, promotes neurogenesis and induces nerve growth factor.

  • Is it safe taking Lion’s Mane?

It is well-tolerated by most people. However, it is always good to consult your doctor before taking any kind of nootropics or supplements.

  • 0Shares
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
  • 0

Please rate this

By |2018-12-06T08:17:52+00:00December 6th, 2018|Categories: Nootropics|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Leave A Comment

close
Thanks !

Thanks for sharing this, you are awesome !