5 Health Benefits of
Lion's Mane Mushrooms
Over the past decade, there has been a steady pace of new natural product introductions focused on boosting a person’s immune system and increasing cognition, and one product ingredient that is gaining a lot of attention are the various types of fungi/mushrooms being added into health and wellness products.
Now, we are not talking about the kind of mushrooms referred to as “magic mushrooms” of 1960’s and 70’s “Hippie” lore. Magic mushrooms contain a substance called psilocybin that is hallucinogenic when consumed, meaning, it can make people who consume these mushrooms hallucinate.
In this blog, I am talking about functional mushrooms that hold enormous promise as alternative or adjunct therapies with the potential to address mild to serious conditions and symptoms. One of these mushrooms is called Lion’s Mane, and in case you are wondering whether consuming Lion’s Mane or other types of mushrooms is healthy for you and a potential medicine, there are hundreds maybe thousands of medical studies you can find on the National Institute of Health’s Library of Medicine website on Lion’s Mane alone, and here is just one study.
Lion’s Mane mushroom has a unique appearance. When fully grown at its peak, to me, it resembles those white brain coral pieces one can find on a tropical beach, but most people say it looks like a white fluffy ball with hundreds of slender spines, which is where the mushroom gets its name from. It typically grows on the barks of hardwood trees and on dead logs during the summer and fall seasons in North America.
The numerous medical studies and research done on lion’s mane have uncovered a versatile mushroom whose compounds may help to support the healthy functioning of several bodily processes. While there are several more benefits to including lion’s mane in your daily routine, below are 5 reasons to consider adding it to your health regiment line up.
Potential Relief from Mild Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression:
Compounds in lion’s mane have been associated with improved functioning of the brain, particularly in the area of the hippocampus, which plays an important role in learning, memory and processing emotional responses. This improvement in function, through the production of new brain cells, seems to be associated with a reduction of symptoms associated with anxiety and depression.
While there are several causes for anxiety, researchers are focusing more on the role that chronic inflammation plays in the development of related symptoms, and in certain animal model tests, researchers noted a reduction of anxious behavior as inflammation was reduced, so the anti-inflammatory effects of lion’s mane may help to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Potential to Reduce Risk of Heart Disease:
Heart disease, also referred to as cardiovascular disease, is a general term that typically refers to many types of heart problems associated with damaged, blocked or narrowed blood vessels.
Some compounds found in lion’s mane have been shown to possess the potential to reduce LDL cholesterol in animal models by helping to reduce the oxidization of cholesterol in the body. Large amounts of oxidized cholesterol is related to clogged and hardened arteries, so this is one way lion’s mane mushrooms may help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
Lion’s mane mushrooms contain many beneficial compounds that promote overall health and well-being. One compound called hericenone B has been indicated in decreasing the rate of blood clotting thereby lowering the risk of stroke or heart attack.
Potential to Impede Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease:
Lion’s mane has also been shown to be very beneficial for brain function. Preclinical studies suggest that lion’s mane may reduce inflammation and biological markers of Alzheimer’s (i.e., amyloid plaques), improve cognition, and increase the release of nerve growth factor, a protein that can increase stimulate the growth of brain cells, stimulate the growth and repair of nerve cells.
Lion’s mane contain compounds that provide neuroprotective support, so there may be implications in other neuro-degenerative diseases like Multiple Sclerosis, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or Parkinson’s, though many more studies need to be conducted before we can say for sure.
Because lion’s mane has been shown to stimulate the growth and repair of nerve cells, it may also be beneficial for people who have had brian or spinal cord injuries, and it may also speed up recovery time.
Potential to Reduce Inflammation and Oxidative Associated Stress:
Medical research has shown that lion’s mane contains powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds. Most autoimmune diseases, including cancer, diabetes and heart disease, are believed to be linked to chronic inflammation in the body, so reducing the inflammation markers in a person’s body becomes vital to improving the symptoms and underlying condition.
People with ulcers or inflammatory bowel diseases like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may find a solution for addressing symptoms by ingesting lion’s mane mushroom. For people who may be suffering from various gastrointestinal symptoms or conditions, lion’s mane may be effective at addressing ulcers in the digestive tract and may protect the mucous lining in the stomach.
Potential to Address Diabetic Symptoms:
Scientists and medical professionals are also looking at ways to leverage the compounds in lion’s mane to assist in the management of blood sugar levels, which may prove beneficial for people with diabetes.
When a person has trouble producing insulin in their body, their blood sugar can rise to dangerous levels creating complications like kidney disease. Insulin, produced by our pancreas, helps our cells utilize the sugar (glucose) from foods we eat so we have energy. Lion’s mane has been shown to possess properties that can lower blood sugar by blocking an enzyme called glucosidase, which impedes the body’s ability to break down and digest carbohydrates, which can result in a reduction of blood sugar levels.
Here is a study that shows the ability of lion’s mane to impact hyperglycemic activity in the body, supporting the discoveries of using lion’s mane as a potential therapeutic in controlling blood glucose levels, thereby helping people who suffer from diabetes and its related symptoms, like neuropathy, which may also be addressed by specific compounds in this mushroom.
With all the available medical studies and other credible information about the possible health benefits of mushrooms, it is no wonder why they have become so popular lately and can be found in everything from foods to drinks to supplements and now to gummies.