Lion's Mane Mushroom: 5 Benefits of ‘The Brain Mushroom’

What is Lion’s Mane?

Lion’s Mane (Hericium Erinaceus) is a type of mushroom that has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine. Its distinctive appearance, with long, shaggy spines that resemble a lion’s mane, is how it gets its name. 

The mushroom is native to North America, Europe, and Asia and can be found growing on hardwood trees, such as beech and oak. It is a delicious edible mushroom that is highly sought after for its one of a kind flavor and textures. 

Lion’s Mane mushroom has a variety of health benefits, including its ability to improve cognitive function, reduce inflammation, improve gut health, and boost the immune system. Studies have shown that the mushroom contains many different active compounds, such as hericenones and erinacines, which have shown that it might be one of the strongest natural supplements currently available. 

Benefits 

Cognition
Lion’s Mane popularity has mostly to do with its cognitive enhancing abilities. When people age, the brain’s ability to grow and form new connections typically declines. This may explain why mental functioning gets harder in many older adults. In the many studies done on Lion’s Mane, they have found that the mushroom contains two special compounds that can stimulate the growth of brain cells: hericenones and erinacines. In different animal studies, researchers found that Lion’s Mane mushroom may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative brain disease that causes progressive memory loss and is currently incurable. In addition, Lion’s Mane mushroom has 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. 

Lion’s Mane also appears to boost mental functioning. Many studies have found that older adults with mild cognitive impairment who consumed 3 grams of powdered Lion’s Mane mushroom daily for four months significantly improved mental functioning, and these benefits disappeared when they stopped taking the supplement. This included an increase of focus, memory, and other cognitive abilities. 


Improves Mood 
One-third of people living in developed countries live with symptoms of anxiety and depression. There are many causes that may result in feelings of anxiety and depression and it has been found that chronic inflammation can potentially be a major contributing reason. Studies have found that lion’s mane mushroom has anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression in mice. Other animal studies have found that lion’s mane can also help regenerate brain cells and improve the functioning of hippocampus, a region of the brain responsible for processing emotional responses.  

Another study examined the effects of lion’s mane on participants who ate cookies containing 0.5 grams of powdered lion’s mane (specifically the fruiting body) for four weeks reported less anxiety than those who ate placebo cookies. The study authors theorize that the nerve growth effect of lion’s mane mushroom contributes to its anti-anxiety effects. 

Gut Health  
There has been a growing focus recently on gut health, also known as ‘the second brain’. This is because of the strong correlation between your mental health and gut. When it comes to improving gut health, there are a wide range of foods, habits and supplements that you can follow to keep things on track. Now you can add lion's mane mushrooms to the list.

This is because they are considered a 'functional food' and can act as a 'prebiotic,' supporting the gastrointestinal tract microbiota (gut flora) due to their beta-glucan polysaccharide component. More specifically, studies have shown that lion's mane mushrooms may be able to limit the growth of the bacteria H. pylori, which is considered to be responsible for causing ulcers in the stomach. However, as of right now, this has only been seen in a test tube and not an actual stomach, so more research is needed. 

Anti-Cancer Properties
Some studies suggest that lion’s mane mushroom has cancer-fighting abilities, thanks to several of its unique compounds. When lion’s mane is mixed with human cancer cells in a test tube, they cause the cancer cells to die at a faster rate. This has been demonstrated with several types of cancer cells, including liver, colon, stomach and blood cancer cells. In addition to killing cancer cells, lion’s mane has also been shown to decrease the spread of cancer. One study found that lion’s mane was more effective than traditional cancer medications at slowing tumor growth in mice, in addition to having fewer side effects. It is important to note that anti-cancer effects of lion’s mane mushroom have only been conducted on animals, so more human research is needed.

Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidant
The root of many modern illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune disorders, are often believed to be chronic inflammation and oxidative stress. Many studies show that Lion’s Mane mushrooms contain powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds that may help reduce the impact of these illnesses. 

Several animal studies have found that Lion’s Mane mushroom reduced markers of inflammation and oxidative stress in rodents and may be especially useful in the management of inflammatory bowel disease, liver damage and stroke. 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.

Additional benefits include:

  • Improves cognitive function
  • Protects against dementia
  • Reduces anxiety and depression
  • Reduces high blood pressure
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Improves gut health
  • Helps regulate diabetes
  • Neurodegenerative disease support

Disclaimer
This article is not medical advice, and it is not meant to diagnose or treat any condition. More human studies are always needed, but the research that has been conducted so far is extremely promising. If you have a question about whether Lion’s Mane mushroom (or any other mushroom supplement) is right for you, please consult with a qualified healthcare provider.

How to Use Lion’s Mane

There are many ways that one could incorporate Lion’s Mane into their daily routine. If you’re looking to use Lion’s Mane in cooking, it can be used in many dishes such as soups, stir-fries, and risottos. It has a very unique texture and taste that is appealing to many, and can act as a replacement for other mushrooms in many recipes. 

Bloomable’s Lion’s Mane Powder can be used to make tea or added into tea, coffee or smoothies. This is a great way to enjoy the benefits of the mushroom if you don’t necessarily love the taste of the mushroom. Some people report that the mushroom has a bit of a fishy smell and taste to it, so don't be alarmed if you think that the mushroom has an "off" smell to it. 


Lion’s Mane Mushroom Powder from Bloomable Natural Products 

It’s amazing to see all the positive reviews that people have expressed about our Lion’s Mane Mushroom Powder. Here are just a few that stand out to us: 

“This is my first time purchasing mushroom powder, and I was quite skeptical it would make a difference. I really can’t believe the amount of difference it’s made in a week! This stuff is really amazing and I feel like I can think clearly (less brain fog) and the first day I took it I noticed an improvement with my mood overall. This is the best thing for people who combat the winter blues where there is lack of sunshine to give you that little happy boost.”

I'm 67. Have been on SSRI antidepressants or decades. Was able to reduce meds by 32% after taking 1 teaspoon of LionsMane every morning. I found 2 teaspoons gave me a bit of a buzz which I didn't want. Very very happy and wish this had been available decades ago.”

“Bloomable provides natural medicine to support your overall health. After just over a month of taking it daily or every other day, I feel stable and strong in my body with renewed energy in my cognitive function. I will continue to take this as I am sure the long-term effects will be even more critical.”

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