Lion's Mane mushrooms are fungi known for their delicious taste as well as their medicinal properties.
You might be wondering why it has such a goofy name.
Lion's Mane grows in the form of small shaggy white Manes. These manes are not attached to creatures that roar, however. Instead, Lion's Mane grows in single clumps on the sides of hardwood trees. If you look closely, you will see that these clumps are made up of dangling spines that are usually more than 1 cm long.
Even though it can be found throughout the northern hemisphere, Lion's Mane is mainly used in traditional Chinese medicine and cuisine.
In cuisine, Lion's Mane serves many roles including replacing pork or lamb in Chinese vegetarian dishes. Besides substituting for meat, Lion's Mane is often included in other dishes because it is packed with nutrients.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the benefits of Lion's Mane include improved spleen and gut health as well as promoting good digestion, vigour and strength. Lion’s Mane was also known to help with Qi deficiency, which is the spiritual side of Traditional Chinese medicine.
So all this information is all well and good, but what can Lion's Mane supplements do for you? Well, here is a comprehensive list of all the benefits of Lion's Mane.
1. Improves Cognitive Function
Cognitive function is related to your ability to think, learn, and remember. Without cognitive function, you would not be able to thrive in this world.
Regardless of how important cognitive function is, aging can and will affect this part of us. As you grow older, your cognitive abilities will decline. Whether this decline happens fast or slow depends on certain factors.
Although this decline is a natural process, there are ways to slow this decline if needed. This is where Lion's Mane comes in.
In a 2008 Japanese study, Japanese men and women with mild cognitive impairment aged 50 to 80 years old were studied. The participants were divided into two groups.
One group was given four 250 mg tablets of 96% Lion's Mane powder 3 times a day. Meanwhile, the other group was given a placebo pill instead.
The participants took these pills for 16 weeks and then stopped at the end. They were then monitored for another 4 weeks afterwards.
The results showed that participants who received Lion's Mane had significant improvement in cognitive function. After stopping the tablets, the increased cognitive function began to decline again.
So if you need a little brain booster, consider taking some Lion's Mane. Your brain will thank you.
2. Lessens the Effects of Anxiety and Depression
If you went to the doctor today and were diagnosed with anxiety and/or depression, you would probably be prescribed a pharmaceutical like an antidepressant. This is because pharmaceuticals are the most common treatment method for mood disorders.
Unfortunately, these drugs come with quite a few negative side effects that may or may not go away with time. Not only that, but you also have to take pharmaceuticals long-term to prevent a relapse in your mood disorder.
Sounds like a hassle, right?
That’s where Lion’s Mane comes into play. Lion’s Mane can improve your mood disorder symptoms without those annoying side effects.
For example, a 2019 study gathered participants who suffered from both obesity and either a mood, sleep, or binge-eating disorder (or any combination of the three). Participants received 3 capsules of Lion’s Mane a day over 8 weeks.
At the end of the 8 weeks, participants reported an improvement in their mood disorder and sleep quality. As well, a check-in another 8 weeks later showed that these improvements remained stable. This lasting effect could mean that Lion’s Mane can rewrite the parts of the brain that caused these disorders in the first place.
Lion’s Mane is the mental health support buddy we all need!
3. Contains Antioxidant Properties
Antioxidants are molecules that prevent free radicals from damaging your cells. As the name implies, antioxidants prevent the chemical reaction, oxidation, that causes free radicals from occurring.
Having too many free radicals in your body is linked to many illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Inside your body, there are various antioxidants that naturally occur, including:
- Vitamin A, C, and E
- And many more!
Outside of your body, many types of food can also have antioxidant properties. These food sources include certain fungi like Lion’s Mane.
A 2021 study attempted to extract several bioactive components of Lion’s Mane. Through studying these extracts, researchers found that Lion’s Mane contains antioxidant compounds along with antimicrobial and anticancer properties.
If you’re looking for a natural antioxidant supplement, then Lion’s Mane is the fungi for you!
4. Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease
Atherosclerosis is a silent killer responsible for about half of deaths in developed countries. What is it? Atherosclerosis is the thickening or hardening of the arteries. It occurs when fatty material builds up along the inside of your arteries.
If left untreated, atherosclerosis can lead to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Said disease can cause heart attacks, strokes, and peripheral arterial disease. In other words, nothing good will happen.
How does Lion's Mane apply here?
Well, a lab test study in 2014 showed that Lion's could help combat atherosclerosis and its consequences. Specifically, Lions’ Mane can help prevent the buildup of fatty material by inhibiting the process that causes it in the first place.
It’s pretty cool how a mushroom can help support treatment for such a big problem, right?
5. Could Help Prevent Neurodegenerative Diseases
Neurodegenerative diseases are any disease that causes certain parts of your brain to permanently stop functioning.
How do they do this?
Neurons are important cells in your brain that are constantly communicating with each other to perform any function. When a neurodegenerative disease kills the neurons in a specific section of the brain, then miscommunications start to happen. These miscommunications can have devastating effects.
Some neurodegenerative diseases you may have heard of include Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. If you know anyone who has these diseases, you understand how tragic they are.
Luckily, Lion's Mane may be one of the keys to helping prevent these awful diseases.
A study from 2006 showed that Lion's Mane can reduce a certain type of neuron death. This cell death type is caused by endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress.
Although there is no cure right now for neurodegenerative diseases, natural remedies like Lion's Mane may help slow the progression and lessen symptoms.
6. Promotes a Health Digestive Tract
Ensuring you have good digestion is an important part of staying healthy. Luckily for you, Lion's Mane can be a great helper in keeping your digestive tract happy.
Researchers in a 2018 study isolated a single-band protein (HEP3) from Lion’s Mane to test its effect on gut health. The results show that Lion’s Mane is a promising candidate for immunotherapy (activating or suppressing the immune system) to treat gastrointestinal diseases.
As well, this study found that Lion’s Mane can be used as a prebiotic. In other words, Lion’s Mane can be used to regulate gut microbiota by promoting the growth of helpful microorganisms.
7. May Help with Cancer Treatments
Cancer is a disease that causes cells to divide out of control and can spread to other parts of the body. If not treated, cancer can quickly become life-threatening.
Research shows that Lion’s Mane could help as a supplement to regular cancer treatments, like chemotherapy.
For example, a 2013 study tested Lion’s Mane’s effect on mice with colon cancer. The results showed that Lion’s Mane inhibited the spread of cancer cells from the colon to the lungs. Even if cancer reached the lungs, Lion’s Mane also inhibited the metastasis of those cancer cells.
Although more research is needed, Lion’s Mane could be a promising new cancer treatment in the future.
8. Assists in Managing Diabetes
Diabetes is a disease that interferes with how your body processes food into energy. Usually, your body breaks your food down into sugars (aka glucose), which then enter your bloodstream. If your blood sugar becomes too high, then your pancreas releases insulin to allow the sugar to be used as energy.
The two main types of diabetes interfere with how your body produces or uses insulin. In the case of Type 2 diabetes (90-95% of diabetes cases), this type causes your body to not use the insulin produced. This eventually leads to high blood sugar levels, which can cause serious health problems like heart attacks, vision loss, and kidney disease.
Fortunately, Lion’s Mane could be the key to keeping diabetes’ debilitating effects at bay.
A lab study in 2020 analysed the compounds that make up Lion’s Mane. Through this analysis, researchers found that Lion’s Mane causes the inhibitory activity of α-glucosidase. In other words, Lion’s Mane has the potential to lower blood sugar levels.
Another study in 2013 tested the effects of Lion’s Mane on diabetic rats. This experiment revealed that Lion’s Mane has the following properties:
Hypoglycemic: lowers the amount of blood sugar in the body
Hypolipidemic: lowers the level of lipids and lipoproteins (eg. cholesterol) in the blood
Antioxidant: Prevents or slows cell damage caused by free radicals
Lion’s Mane may be savoury instead of sweet, but that’s a good thing in this case!
9. Can Help with Healing Neuropathy
Neuropathy, also called peripheral neuropathy, is any kind of damage or dysfunction in one or more nerves. Symptoms of neuropathy include numbness, muscle weakness, pain, and tingling. A common cause of neuropathy is diabetes.
How can Lion’s Mane help with this kind of damage?
A 2012 study tested Lion’s Mane’s potential as an agent for nerve repair. The experiment administered Lion’s Mane to rats who suffered from a crush injury to their peroneal nerve. The peroneal nerve is what is responsible for movement and sensation in your lower leg (everything below your knee).
During the early stages of recovery, the rats who received Lion’s Mane showed faster improvement compared to the control group that received nothing. These improvements included regaining hind limb function and normal toe spreading.
Overall, this study shows that Lion’s Mane could prove helpful for nerve regeneration, at least in the early stages of recovery.
So not only can Lion’s Mane benefit those with diabetes, but it can also help those suffering from the neuropathy caused by diabetes. Talk about a double-whammy mushroom!
With all these benefits of Lion’s Mane, you may think there surely must be at least some side effects. Here’s where you may be surprised!
Potential Lion's Mane Side Effects
At this time, Lion’s Mane consumption is shown to have little to no side effects. If you experience a side effect, it will most likely be mild gastrointestinal problems.
If you are allergic to mushrooms at all, do not take anything that contains Lion’s Mane. Despite its cute and misleading name, Lion’s Mane is still a type of mushroom.
Now you may be wondering, what kind of Lion’s Mane products are out there right now. Well, here are some of our products that might interest you.
Our Products that Contain Lion's Mane
Wake is one of our mushroom tinctures that specialises in improving your brain’s cognitive function. Just adding 3.5ml to any drink once a day will revitalise you so that you can conquer your day.
The ingredients of this product include Lion’s Mane, Yerba Mate, and vitamin B6 & B12.
Elevate is our other mushroom tincture product that provides you with the cognitive support you need to excel in your day. As well, Elevate is a synthetic blend that enhances your mood so not even the Monday Blues can get you down.
Like all our mushroom tinctures, add 3.5ml of Elevate to any drink.
Elevate’s ingredients include Lion’s Mane, ginger, and vitamin B3.
Think is our ultimate mushroom and cocoa-based powder that will help boost your overall cognitive function. Use one scoop in your drink of choice once a day (preferably in the morning).
The various medicinal mushrooms included in this mixture are:
- Lion’s Mane
Defend is our super shroom capsules that give you the daily immune support you need to stay healthy. Take 2 tablets once a day and you’re good to go!
The medicinal mushrooms in these capsules include:
- Lion’s Mane
- Turkey Tail
- Royal Sun Agaricus
- White Button
- Black Fungus