5 Brain Boosting Benefits of Lions Mane MushroomDr. Miranda Wiley, ND
February 24, 2022
Are you looking to develop a stronger brain and more energized body? The answer may lie in an edible and medicinal mushroom called Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus). Native to many areas across the northern hemisphere including North America, Europe, China, and Japan, this unique looking mushroom has found a way into our medicinal toolbox as a remedy for several conditions and support for a healthy body, a healthy brain, and healthy emotions.
- Cognitive Improvement
Who doesn’t want a sharper brain? It’s the information age, there is SO much coming at us and a lot of it is very cool (and a lot of it is junk but that’s another story…) so any edge to aid in the comprehension and retention of that information is a priority in my books!
A Japanese study from 2009 tested Lion’s Mane on men and women aged 50-80 years over a period of 16 weeks. Compared to the control group those who took a daily dose of Lion’s Mane mushroom had higher scores on cognitive function tests at various stages during the study, but when tested again 4 weeks after the intervention was stopped their cognitive scores had declined again. It appears then that while Lion’s Mane has benefits for brain health when it comes to understanding and comprehension, those effects are not permanent. Instead, the benefit correlated with the daily ingestion of the mushroom. It’s interesting to note that Lion’s Mane is an edible mushroom too, implying a high level of safety.
Another recent scientific study was done at the department of preventive medicine in Milan, Italy to see if Lion’s mane would improve mood disorders in people suffering from obesity. In the study they used two different enzyme kits to evaluate circulating levels of pro-BDNF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor) and BDNF. After eight weeks of daily ingestion of Lion’s mane mushroom, the fungi was able to decrease depression, sleep disorders and anxiety. The mushroom was also shown to increase the circulating pro-BDNF levels without any change in BDNF circulating levels.
- Mood Regulation
Lion’s mane has historical use as a treatment for anxiety and depression. Recent studies on mice are exploring the biochemical pathways by which this could happen. A daily dose of Lion’s Mane is a good way to smooth out snags in our emotions and it appears to do so by supporting the health and growth of nerves within the hippocampus rather than through altering neurotransmitters (like most anti-anxiety and anti-depressive drugs). The hippocampus is a part of our brain that controls emotions AND memory (see point #1 above!).
Furthering the discussion on nerve growth specifically happening in the hippocampus, another scientific study was done showing that Lion’s Mane Mushroom helps to prevent neuronal death after seizures. It appeared that the number of hippocampal cyclooxygenase 2 (COX2) expressing cells were hugely decreased by 60 and 120 mg/kg of Lion’s Mane.
- Reduces anxiety
After experiencing a global pandemic that has lasted over 2 years.., it is fair to say that we could use some support to help us deal with the associated chronic stress. Lion’s Mane Mushroom is known to have a dual potential role for having anxiety relief through improving sleep disruptions. In this particular study looking at sleep disruptions, mice were tested through a tail suspension test for 15 minutes daily for 9 days straight. During this time, Lion’s Mane was given to the mice orally 20 minutes before the TST test to see the effects it has on sleep. The results showed that Lion’s Mane mycelium can regulate certain pathways in the brain to induce an antidepressant-like effect. Further, it showed that the mice were not affected by sleep disturbances when they had taken the oral doses of the mushroom.
- Digestive Health
I know, I know, this is a blog about brain health. But perhaps you’ve heard of the digestive tract being dubbed “the second brain” of the body? If not, check out such books as The Second Brain (Michael Gershon), The Brain Maker (David Perlmutter), or many others. The bottom line is that your brain’s capacity for excellence is influenced, either positively or negatively, by your digestive health and gut flora. Lion’s Mane may have an indirect benefit to our mental prowess by the role it plays in supporting the digestive tract.
- Nerve Regeneration
Lion’s Mane has been shown to be of use in the regeneration of peripheral nerves (that is, those outside of the spinal cord), suggesting it could have a benefit to help the physical recovery of those who have undergone trauma7. Of course, part of the slog in healing the body is the necessity for strong mental health. Depression and frustration can be obstacles to healing after a trauma whether it be major or minor. Considering the benefits demonstrated by Lion’s Mane in improving cognitive function, AND helping to reduce both anxiety and depression, AND supporting physical endurance, it certainly seems to have a potential role in helping you or a loved one get back to rocking life!
- Helps to produce Neurite Outgrowth
With neurological conditions being on the rise, we can see that treatments that preserve the neurite network are very much needed on our planet. Why not take Lion’s mane as a daily ritual to be proactive for your brain health!
Neurite Outgrowth is a crucial event in neuronal pathfinding. In a particular study found by CWP, we were able to see that Lion’s mane mushrooms help to stimulate nerve growth factor in the human body. It is also shown to exhibit neurite outgrowth stimulatory effects in specific cell lines.
- Anti Gastric Ulcer Effects
Lets face it, anything gastrointestinal related in the body is definitely worth taking seriously. More and more we are seeing evidence that the gut is so closely connected to the brain and that having a healthy gut is extremely important for everything to function happily in our bodies. A current study was working to identify the active component in Lion’s mane that is creating anti-gastritis activity.
The findings in the study showed that the extracts of the fruiting body of Lions mane demonstrated anti-gastritis activity but the principle in the extract and the mechanism to treat gastric ulcers is still unknown.
So, are you ready to think more clearly, experience more inner peace and joy, have greater physical performance, and smoother digestion? Then it’s time for a new, powerful mushroom to enter your life, which you can easily incorporate with Botanica’s new Perfect Protein Elevated Brain Booster. It contains 750mg of Lion’s Mane per serving, along with other brain-boosting superfoods and 20g of complete vegan friendly plant protein for an easy all-in-one approach.
Botanica’s Lion’s Mane Iced Tea is also another great option for giving your brain a daily boost. Let Lion’s Mane help you to be the best that you can be…every day.
- Mori, K., Inatomi, S., Ouchi, K., & Tuchida, T. (2009). Improving the effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium Erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Mar;23(3):367-72. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2634. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18844328?dopt=Abstract
- Chiu C,H., Chyau C,C., Chen C,C., Lee L,Y., Chen W,P., Liu J,L., Lin W,H., Mong M,C. (2018). Erinacine A-Enriched Hericium erinaceus Mycelium Produces Antidepressant-Like Effects through Modulating BDNF/PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β Signaling in Mice. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Jan 24;19(2). pii: E341. doi: 10.3390/ijms19020341. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29364170
- Ryu S., Kim H,G., Kim J,Y., Kim S,Y., Cho K,O. (2018). Hericium erinaceus Extract Reduces Anxiety and Depressive Behaviors by Promoting Hippocampal Neurogenesis in the Adult Mouse Brain. Journal of Medicinal Food. Feb;21(2):174-180. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2017.4006. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29091526
- Liu J., DU C., Wang Y., Yu Z. (2015). Anti-fatigue activities of polysaccharides extracted from Hericium erinaceus. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine. Feb;9(2):483-487. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25574220?dopt=Abstract
- Yang Y., Zhao C., Diao M., Zhong S., Sun M., Sun B., Ye H., Zhang T. (2018). The Prebiotic Activity of Simulated Gastric and Intestinal Digesta of Polysaccharides from the Hericium erinaceus. Molecules. Nov 30;23(12). pii: E3158. doi: 10.3390/molecules23123158. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30513668
- Wang M., Konishi T., Gao Y., Xu D., Gao Q. (2015). Anti-Gastric Ulcer Activity of Polysaccharide Fraction Isolated from Mycelium Culture of Lion’s Mane Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes). International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 17(11):1055-60. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26853960
- Lai P,L., Naidu M., Sabaratnam V., Wong K,H., David R,P., Kuppusamy U,R., Abdullah N., Malek S,N. (2013). Neurotrophic properties of the Lion’s mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 15(6):539-54. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24266378