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The Benefits of the Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Lion's mane mushrooms, also known as Hericium erinaceus, hou tou gu, or yamabushitake, are large, white, shaggy mushrooms that grow to resemble a lion's mane as they mature.

One company that has studied medicinal mushrooms is Forij, which produces granola infused with lion’s mane, cordyceps, and chaga extracts. Forij has studied the latest lion’s mane research and collected an impressive list of citations.

Hericium erinaceus is a fungus of the Hericium genus. It gets its name from its shaggy appearance, which some say resembles a lion’s mane. Others have compared it to Santa's beard.

What are Lion’s Mane Mushrooms?

These mushrooms are used for both culinary and medicinal uses in Asia (India, Japan, Korea, and China). According to scientific evidence, lion's mane contains a variety of health-promoting compounds, including antioxidants and beta-glucan.

So far, there has been little human clinical research into the specific health effects of lion's mane. However, evidence from animal studies, test tubes, and tiny clinical trials suggest that lion's mane may have certain health benefits, including brain health support.

Possible Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Proponents claim that lion's mane can help with a variety of health problems, including: Alzheimer's disease, anxiety, depression. high cholesterol, inflammation, Parkinson’s disease, ulcers, immune system, stimulate digestion, and protect against cancer.

Enhances Mental Performance

The ability of the brain to expand and make new connections reduces with age, which may explain why many older persons' mental functioning deteriorates.

Hericenones and erinacines, two unique chemicals found in lion's mane mushrooms, have been discovered to increase the formation of brain cells in studies.

Animal studies on lion's mane mushroom and Alzheimer's indicate that lion's mane may aid with Alzheimer's, as the mushroom's compounds seem to ward off this degenerative brain illness to a degree.

Scientists looked into the impact of lion's mane on brain function in mice in a recent study published in Biomedical Research in 2011. The findings demonstrated that lion's mane can help guard against memory issues caused by amyloid beta accumulation (a protein that builds the brain plaques that cause Alzheimer's disease). A putative neuro-protective effect against ischemic stroke has also been discovered in studies.

Some of the lion's mane mushroom's beneficial effects on brain health may be explained by its ability to promote nerve growth and protect the brain from Alzheimer's-related damage.

However, it's worth noting that the majority of the research was done on animals or in test tubes. As a result, more human research is required.

Alleviates Depression and Anxiety

According to a short study published in Biomedical Research in 2010, lion's mane may aid with sadness and anxiety. For the study, 30 postmenopausal women consumed lion's mane or placebo cookies every day for four weeks. Researchers found that participants in the lion's mane group were less irritable and worried, and had less trouble concentrating, than those in the placebo group. 

Women with a variety of health issues, including menopausal symptoms and poor sleep quality, ate either lion's mane extract cookies or placebo cookies for four weeks in a small Japanese trial. The extract-eating subjects reported lower levels of discomfort and anxiety than the placebo group.

In a 2015 study, mice that ingested lion's mane mushroom extract demonstrated fewer depressed behaviors and had blood markers that indicated lower depression. This, according to the researchers, is attributable to the extract's anti-inflammatory properties.

Prevents Inflammation and Oxidation (Antioxidants)

Like other mushrooms, lion's mane contains powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Antioxidants may help the body combat inflammation and oxidation. Antioxidants prevent oxidative damage by neutralizing free radicals generated in our cells. Anti-inflammatories aid in the healing process. These qualities are likely to contribute to lion's mane's neuroprotective effects on the brain, but they will also serve to protect tissue from oxidative stress and inflammation throughout the body.

Many medical disorders, such as diabetes, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases, are exacerbated by inflammation.

Lion's mane had the fourth greatest antioxidant activity, which researchers categorized as "moderate to high," according to a 2012 study analyzing the therapeutic potential of 14 kinds of mushroom.

Can Help Prevent Cancer

The antioxidant qualities of lion's mane mushrooms could help prevent or treat cancer. According to preliminary study, lion's mane may help protect against cancer.

According to the findings of an in vitro study published in 2011 in Food & Function, lion's mane extracts have therapeutic potential against human leukemia.

In addition, lion's mane extract was reported to help reduce the size of malignant colon tumors in mice in a 2011 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

The findings of the study imply that lion's mane may aid in the battle against colon cancer, in part via enhancing activity in immune cells. Another study indicated that the extract could help prevent colon cancer cells from spreading to the lungs.

However, it is too early to say whether lion's mane can help humans avoid or minimize cancer. These findings are encouraging, but it is currently impossible to say whether the same effects will be observed in humans.

Can Help Prevent Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition in which the body's ability to control blood sugar levels is lost. As a result, levels are steadily rising.

High blood sugar levels for an extended period of time can lead to consequences such as renal disease, nerve damage in the hands and feet, and eyesight loss.

Controlling blood sugar levels is essential for diabetes management. Blood sugar levels in diabetic rats were reduced after 4 weeks of treatment with lion's mane mushroom extract, according to one study.

Nerve damage caused by sustained high blood sugar levels is one of the complications of diabetes. A 2015 study on rats found good benefits, including lower blood sugar levels, less nerve discomfort, and enhanced antioxidant activity, after they drank lion's mane extract for 6 weeks.

By increasing blood sugar control and minimizing some of these negative effects, the lion's mane mushroom may be effective for diabetes management.

Several animal experiments have demonstrated that even at daily dosages as low as 2.7 mg per pound (6 mg per kg) of body weight, lion's mane can drastically decrease blood sugar levels in both normal and diabetic mice.

The enzyme alpha-glucosidase, which breaks down carbohydrates in the small intestine, is one way that lion's mane lowers blood sugars. When this enzyme is inhibited, the body is unable to adequately digest and absorb carbohydrates, resulting in reduced blood sugar levels.

May Repair Nervous System

Several animal studies showed that lion's mane mushroom improved the growth of nerve cells in rats, as well as reduced their recovery time after nerve injury, and provided neuroprotective effects following brain injury. However, more studies are needed to see if the same is true for humans.

Damage to the nervous system can have significant effects on health. Some research suggests that extracts of lion’s mane mushrooms may encourage nerve cells to grow and repair more quickly.

One study showed that rats with nerve damage receiving a daily extract of lion’s mane mushrooms had quicker nerve regeneration than control animals.

Possible Side Effects and Risks

Long-term usage of lion's mane supplements is unknown, as are the risks and negative effects. However, some persons with allergies and asthma are concerned that lion's mane will aggravate their symptoms. If you have a history of allergies, asthma, or any other medical issue, it's crucial to see your doctor before taking lion's mane or any other supplement.

The majority of studies on lion's mane mushrooms have utilized animals, however it appears that eating the mushrooms in moderate amounts, as many people in Asia do, is harmless. In animal studies, however, even high doses did not cause any adverse effects in the rodents.

Because dietary supplements are not subject to the same regulations as food and drug products, the safety and effectiveness of lion's mane supplements is less clear.

How to Prepare Lion's Mane Mushrooms for Consumption

There are numerous ways to incorporate this nutrient-dense meal into your diet. Lion's mane mushroom capsules and lion's mane mushroom powder are two of the most frequent. Alternatively, you can use dried mushrooms in dishes or choose a fortified snack like Forij granola, which contains all of the lion's mane nutrients you require.

Recipes with Lion's Mane Mushrooms

If you like mushrooms, try your hand at a few mushroom dishes. There are many different lion's mane mushroom recipes to select from, so try a few different ones until you find one you enjoy.

Tea with Lion's Mane Mushrooms

You can create lion's mane tea from powder or purchase a ready-made tea mix. If you're using a powder, combine a teaspoon with a cup of hot water and steep for 10 minutes. Alternatively, if you're using a pre-made mix, make sure to follow the manufacturer's directions.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom Powders

One of the most common methods to ingest lion's mane mushrooms is in powder form. The powder can be added to smoothies, shakes, or simply mixed with water. You can get all of the lion's mane mushroom's benefits by using mushroom powders. If you don't like the earthy mushroom flavor, you might want to look for other ways to eat lion's mane.

Supplements with Lion's Mane Mushrooms

A lion's mane mushroom supplement comes in a variety of formats, with mushroom capsules being the most popular. You can take a lion's mane pill in the morning with your daily vitamins and benefit from the mushroom all day. If you frequently forget to take your vitamins, however, this method may not be the best option for you.

Thinking Trying Lion’s Mane Mushrooms?

Integrating the lion’s mane mushroom into your diet is easy and worthwhile. Whether you choose to purchase lion’s mane mushroom powder, or to eat it in a functional food, you can begin to reap the health benefits of lion’s mane!


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