9 Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushroom 2023 The lion’s mane mushrooms are sizable, snow-white, and have a furry appearance that is similar to a lion’s mane during its growth. These mushrooms consist of bioactive components that offer numerous advantages to the body, particularly in the areas of the brain, heart, and digestive system.
Hou tou gu or yamabushitake, commonly known as lion’s mane mushrooms, are a popular ingredient in Asian countries such as China, India, Japan, and Korea. These mushrooms are not only used for their culinary purposes but also for their medicinal properties (1Trusted Source). Below are nine health advantages of lion’s mane mushrooms and their extracts.
9 Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushroom 2023
As people age, their brain’s capacity to create and enhance fresh links typically decreases, resulting in a decline in cognitive performance. However, research has indicated that lion’s mane mushrooms are rich in two unique substances, hericenones and erinacines, that can promote the development of brain cells. Moreover, animal studies have demonstrated that these mushroom.
It has been demonstrated through research that the lion’s mane mushroom and its extracts have the ability to alleviate dementia symptoms in mice, and also prevent neuronal harm caused by amyloid-beta plaque accumulation in the brain. Although there are no current studies inspecting the effects of lion’s mane on Alzheimer’s patients, it has proven to enhance cognitive abilities.
9 Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushroom 2023 Highlight
1. Could protect against dementia
As an individual ages, the capacity of their brain to develop and establish fresh connections generally decreases, which could be attributed to the deterioration in mental abilities observed in numerous elderly people. Research has indicated that hericenones and erinacines, two distinct components present in lion’s mane mushrooms, can trigger the growth of brain cells. Moreover, studies on animals have suggested that lion’s mane may have a protective effect against Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative illness that causes gradual memory loss.
Research has demonstrated that lion’s mane mushroom and its extracts possess the ability to alleviate memory loss symptoms in mice and prevent neuronal harm caused by amyloid-beta plaques, which gather in the brain during Alzheimer’s disease. Moreover, a study conducted in 2020 on individuals with mild Alzheimer’s disease revealed that taking 1 gram of lion’s mane mushroom per day for 49 weeks considerably boosted cognitive test scores when compared to a placebo .
The positive impact of lion’s mane mushroom on brain health can be attributed to its potential in encouraging nerve growth and safeguarding the brain against Alzheimer’s-induced harm. It is crucial to acknowledge that the majority of research has been carried out on animals or through laboratory tests, indicating a necessity for additional studies involving humans.
2. Helps relieve mild symptoms of depression and anxiety
Approximately one-third of individuals residing in developed nations encounter indications related to anxiety and depression (8, 9). Despite numerous reasons for the onset of these conditions, prolonged inflammation may play a significant role. Recent studies on animals have discovered that lion’s mane mushroom extract could be an effective anti-inflammatory agent that aids in diminishing symptoms associated with anxiety and depression in mice (10Trusted Source).
Additional research on animals has demonstrated that the extract of lion’s mane can aid in the regeneration of brain cells and enhance the performance of the hippocampus, which is a part of the brain that is responsible for processing memories and emotional reactions (11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source). Experts suggest that this enhanced functioning of the hippocampus may be the reason behind the decrease in anxious and depressive behaviors observed in mice who received these extracts.
Although the animal studies show potential, there is insufficient research on humans. A study conducted in 2010 involving menopausal women discovered that consuming cookies containing lion’s mane mushrooms daily for a month resulted in a decrease in self-reported feelings of anxiety and irritation.
3. May speed recovery from nervous system injuries
The human body has a complex nervous system, comprising the brain, spinal cord, and nerves that extend throughout the body. This intricate network of components collaborates to send signals that regulate almost all bodily functions. Unfortunately, injuries to the brain or spinal cord can result in serious medical complications such as paralysis or cognitive impairment. Recovery from these injuries can be a long and arduous process. Nevertheless, recent studies have indicated that extracts derived from lion’s mane mushrooms may have the potential to accelerate healing by promoting nerve cell growth and repair. (15Trusted Source)
According to a reliable source (16Trusted Source), lion’s mane may have the potential to lessen the extent of brain damage caused by a stroke. Nevertheless, there is an absence of human studies that can confirm whether or not this therapeutic effect on nervous system injuries, as indicated by animal research, would be replicated.
4. Protects against ulcers in the digestive tract
Stomach ulcers can form anywhere in the digestive tract due to two major factors: overgrowth of bacteria like H. pylori and damage to the stomach’s mucous layer caused by prolonged use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Lion’s mane extract may prevent stomach ulcers by inhibiting H. pylori growth and protecting the stomach lining from damage.
Although several previous studies have shown that lion’s mane extract can inhibit the growth of H. pylori in a laboratory setting, there is no evidence to suggest that it has the same effect when consumed orally. Additionally, a 2013 animal study indicated that lion’s mane extract is more effective at preventing alcohol-induced stomach ulcers compared to conventional acid-lowering medications, and without any adverse side effects.
Lion’s mane extract can prevent tissue damage and reduce inflammation in other intestinal areas. They are potential treatments for inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. A 2016 study revealed that a mushroom supplement containing 14% lion’s mane extract significantly improved the quality of life and reduced symptoms in people with ulcerative colitis after three weeks.
Studies have shown that lion’s mane extract may hinder ulcer formation, but its impact on Crohn’s disease patients was similar to the placebo. The herbal supplement used in these studies contained various mushrooms, making it difficult to draw a definite conclusion about the effects of lion’s mane alone. Further research involving human subjects is needed to confirm this claim.
5. Reduces risk of heart disease
Some of the key factors that can increase the chances of developing heart disease are obesity, high triglycerides, large quantities of oxidized cholesterol, and a greater inclination to form blood clots. However, studies have demonstrated that lion’s mane extract has the potential to positively impact some of these risk factors and therefore minimize the likelihood of heart disease. Specifically, research carried out on rats and mice has revealed that consuming lion’s mane mushroom extract can lead to improved fat metabolism and reduced levels of triglycerides .
A 2010 study found that rats fed a high fat diet and given lion’s mane extract had lower triglyceride levels and less weight gain. These mushrooms can contribute to heart health by reducing obesity and triglycerides. Additionally, test-tube studies suggest that lion’s mane extract can prevent cholesterol oxidation in the bloodstream.
Oxidized cholesterol molecules can stick to artery walls and harden them, increasing the risk of heart attacks or strokes. To improve heart health, decreasing oxidation is key. Lion’s mane mushrooms contain hericenone B which reduces blood clotting and lowers the risk of heart attacks or strokes (according to a trusted source). While lion’s mane mushrooms appear to benefit the heart and blood vessels in multiple ways, human studies are needed to confirm these claims.
6. Helps manage diabetes symptoms
Diabetes occurs when the body can’t manage blood sugar levels properly, leading to consistently high levels and complications like vision loss, nerve damage, and kidney disease. Lion’s mane mushroom may help manage diabetes by improving blood sugar and reducing side effects. Studies show that it can reduce blood sugar levels in diabetic mice even at low doses.
Lion’s mane extract can lower blood sugars by blocking the activity of alpha-glucosidase enzyme, which breaks down carbs. With blocked enzymes, carb digestion and absorption become less effective, leading to lower blood sugar levels. Additionally, it may reduce diabetic nerve pain in the hands and feet.
After six weeks of administering daily lion’s mushroom extract to mice suffering from diabetic nerve damage, a significant decrease in pain levels, reduced blood sugar levels and an increase in antioxidant levels were observed (according to 34Trusted Source). This indicates that lion’s mane mushroom could be used as a potential diabetes therapeutic supplement; however, further research is required to determine its exact usage in humans.
7. May help fight cancer
Cancer happens when your DNA gets damaged, causing cells to divide uncontrollably. Lion’s mane mushroom may fight cancer due to its unique compounds. When lion’s mane extract is mixed with human cancer cells in a test tube, it causes them to die faster. This has been shown with various types of cancer cells like liver, colon, stomach and blood cancers.
.Nevertheless, it should be noted that there is at least one previous study which could not reproduce these findings (41Trusted Source). Apart from its ability to destroy cancer cells, lion’s mane extract has been proven to impede the spread of cancer. As per a 2013 experiment on mice with colon cancer, administering lion’s mane extract resulted in a 69% reduction in the distribution of cancer to the lungs (42Trusted Source). In another study conducted in 2014, it was discovered that lion’s mane extract was more successful than conventional cancer medications in slowing down tumor growth in mice and had fewer side effects as well (43Trusted Source). However, since the anticancer impacts of lion’s mane mushroom have yet to be tested on humans, further research is required.
8. Reduces inflammation and oxidative stress
Numerous modern illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease, and autoimmune disorders, are believed to stem from chronic inflammation and oxidative stress (47Trusted Source ). Lion’s mane mushrooms have been found to contain potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds that could potentially mitigate the effects of these illnesses. A 2012 research study, which assessed the antioxidant capabilities of 14 different mushroom species, revealed that lion’s mane exhibited the fourth highest antioxidant activity and proposed it as a valuable dietary source of antioxidants (49Trusted Source ).
Various studies conducted on animals have shown that the extract of lion’s mane has been effective in reducing indicators of inflammation and oxidative stress in rodents. These findings suggest that it could be particularly valuable in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, liver damage, and stroke (according to sources 22, 50, and 51).
The consumption of lion’s mane mushrooms may aid in mitigating some of the health hazards linked with obesity by reducing the amount of inflammation released by fat tissue (according to a trusted source cited as 52). However, further research is necessary to ascertain its potential health advantages in humans. Nevertheless, the outcomes obtained from laboratory and animal experiments are encouraging.
9. Boosts the immune system
Having a robust immune system is vital in safeguarding the body against harmful pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and other disease-causing agents. Conversely, with a feeble immune system, the body becomes vulnerable to infectious illnesses. Scientific studies on animals reveal that lion’s mane mushroom can enhance immunity by elevating the activity of the intestinal immune system. This system provides protection against pathogens that invade the gut via the nose or mouth. (According to 53Trusted Source)
One possible rephrased version is: The immune system can be stimulated by favorable changes in gut bacteria, which may contribute to the observed effects (54Trusted Source). In fact, a study from 2012 indicated that mice injected with a fatal amount of salmonella bacteria lived almost four times longer when given lion’s mane extract daily (55Trusted Source). Although this suggests potential benefits of lion’s mane mushrooms for immune enhancement, further investigation is needed to fully understand this field of research.
Determining the appropriate amount of lion’s mane mushrooms to consume is not standardized. The optimal dosage that provides maximum benefits while ensuring safety varies depending on various factors such as age and overall health status. It is advisable to consult a medical professional to determine the most suitable dosage for you. To enhance cognitive function, studies propose an intake of 3 to 5 grams per day.
According to a study conducted in 2020, individuals who were 50 years and above and displayed mild symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease witnessed a notable improvement in their cognitive function after consuming three capsules of lion’s mane, each containing 350 mg, on a daily basis for 49 weeks. Additionally, as per a 2019 study, the consumption of three capsules of lion’s mane, with each capsule containing 400 mg, helped alleviate depression, anxiety and sleep disorders among 77 overweight or obese individuals over a period of eight weeks.
You can savor lion’s mane mushrooms in various ways, such as consuming them raw, cooked, dried, or brewing them as tea. These mushrooms are often remarked to have a taste reminiscent of seafood, with several individuals comparing it to crab or lobster (according to a trusted source).
You can prepare and present the mushrooms in various recipes such as risotto, pasta, or soup. In the same way, Lion’s mane mushroom powder is versatile and can be combined with hot water, tea, coffee, smoothies or other drinks. Additionally, it can be incorporated into soups, stews or gravies to enhance their flavor.
Fresh lion’s mane mushrooms have the greatest health benefits, according to some researchers. However, the cultivation methods may affect the mushrooms’ medicinal properties. (59)
Lion’s mane mushrooms are available over the counter in some of the following forms:
However, researchers advise that there are currently no guidelines to ensure these products are safe and effective.