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Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus) is a type of medicinal mushroom. Long used in traditional Chinese medicine, lion’s mane is widely available in supplement form. Scientific research shows that lion’s mane contains a number of health-promoting substances, including antioxidants and beta-glucan. Proponents claim that lion’s mane can help with a variety of health problems, including Alzheimer’s disease, Anxiety or Depression, Parkinson’s disease. It has even shown benefits for High cholesterol Ulcers and inflammation. Lion’s mane is also said to strengthen the immune system, stimulate digestion, and protect against cancer.
Lion’s mane (hericium species) are common saprophytic (decomposing) fungi found on decaying trees throughout the northern United States and Canada. There are three species of hericium that are found in eastern North America. They are hericum erinaceus, h. Americanum, and h. Coralloides. All members of the genus produce more or less globoid white fruiting bodies (atypical mushrooms) covered in downward cascading spines. In addition to being edible, these mushrooms have been shown to have medicinal properties making them a prime candidate for the specialty mushroom market. The taste of lion’s mane is highly desired by chefs and is said to resemble lobster and seafood.
With a reputation like that who wouldn’t want to take this supplement. Here is a brief view of lion’s mane and some of its amazing benefits.
Lion’s Mane Research
However, findings from animal-based research, test-tube studies, and small clinical trials indicate that lion’s mane may offer certain health benefits, including support for neuronal health. Here’s a look at some key study findings. Lion’s mane may benefit older adults with mild cognitive impairment, according to a small study published in Phytotherapy Research in 2009.
Cognitive Benefit’s of Lion’s Mane
Lion’s mane mushroom and its extracts have 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.
One study with older adults who had mild cognitive impairment found that consuming 3 grams of powdered lion’s mane mushroom daily for four months significantly improved mental functioning, but these benefits disappeared when supplementation stopped.
Researchers recently examined the effects of lion’s mane on brain function in mice. Lion’s mane helped protect against memory loss by reducing the buildup formation of amyloid-beta (a substance many believe is associated with Alzheimer’s disease). Studies have also shown that there may be a possible neuroprotective effect against ischemic stroke.
In cognitive tests given at weeks eight, 12, and 16 of the study, members of the lion’s mane group showed significantly greater improvements compared to members of the placebo group. In a more recent study (published in Biomedical Research in 2011), scientists examined the effects of lion’s mane on brain function in mice.
Studies have also shown a possible neuroprotective effect against ischemic stroke. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) cautions that while some small preliminary studies on the impact of natural supplements on cognitive function have shown modest effects, “direct evidence is lacking.” Claims made to the contrary are not supported by evidence.
Eat more mushrooms if you want to avoid dementia
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative progressive disorder affecting more than 15 million people worldwide and represents the most current cause of dementia in the elderly, accounting for 50–60% of all cases in the western world. The pathological signs are amyloid plaques containing amyloid-ß (aß) peptide derived from trans-amyloid precursor protein and neurofibrillary tangles constituted by hyperphosphorylated tau protein in medial temporal lobe structures and cortical areas of the brain along with neuronal death and synapse loss. It has been demonstrated that inflammation cascade is linked to neurodegenerative diseases, particularly, Alzheimer’s disease. In order to resist different injuries, brain cells have developed networks of responses that detect and control different forms of stress.
Additional info q and a hericium can be found growing wild on living trees in North American forests but may be cultivated on natural logs using a process very similar to shiitake cultivation. Softball size clusters with cascading long spines make this hericium one of the most breathtaking mushrooms. Lion’s mane has received attention in recent years for its neurotrophic capabilities by potentially keeping our brains strong and helping strengthen those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia. While lion’s mane grown in sawdust culture can sometimes be slightly bitter, its log grown counterpart is almost always sweet and succulent. Patience is required for growing lion’s mane on logs, often taking two years for fruiting to begin. Fruits in spring and fall. Lion’s mane is also available in tabletop farms or 10-block sets.
The Buzz on Lion’s Mane and Cancer
For the study, 30 menopausal women consumed cookies containing either lion’s mane or a placebo every day for four weeks. Analyzing study findings, researchers observed that members of the lion’s mane group were less irritable and anxious and had less difficulty concentrating than members of the placebo group. Preliminary research suggests that lion’s mane shows promise in protection against cancer.
In addition, a 2011 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that lion’s mane extract helped reduce the size of cancerous colon tumors in mice. The study’s findings suggest that lion’s mane may help fight off colon cancer, in part by increasing activity in certain cells involved in the immune response.
However, it’s too soon to tell whether lion’s mane can help prevent or reduce cancer in humans. Little is known about the safety of long-term use and side effects of lion’s mane supplements. However, there’s some concern that lion’s mane may aggravate symptoms in people with allergies and asthma. Therefore, it’s important to consult your physician prior to using lion’s mane, or any other supplement, if you have a history of allergies and/or asthma or any other medical condition.
However, the recommended dosage for various benefits is unknown due to a lack of studies. Pregnant women should avoid using lion’s mane products as insufficient evidence is available to determine if any dosage is safe during pregnancy. Lion’s mane mushroom is widely available for purchase online and supplements containing lion’s mane are also sold in many natural-food stores and in stores specializing in dietary supplements.
An Unbiased View of Lions Mane Mushroom
Watch out for products claiming proven health benefits in humans as the majority of research has been limited to animal studies. Some lion’s mane supplements have been marketed with unsupported claims, such as the promotion of weight loss, brain health, and the prevention of heart disease. For example, in 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent a warning letter to Pure Nootropics, LLC, for making unsubstantiated claims about a variety of their products, including for their lion’s mane powder.
Taking Lion’s Mane?
If you’re considering the use of lion’s mane for a chronic condition, make sure to consult your physician before starting your supplement regimen. Self-treating a chronic condition with lion’s mane and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.
Lion’s mane mushrooms may help with the following: Antioxidants may fight both inflammation and oxidation in the body. Inflammation contributes to many medical conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases. A 2012 study evaluating the medicinal potential of 14 types of mushrooms found that lion’s mane had the fourth-highest antioxidant activity, which researchers described as “moderate to high.” Lion’s mane mushrooms may enhance the immune system, partly by reducing inflammation and preventing oxidation. Research on mice suggests that lion’s mane mushrooms may boost the activity of the intestinal immune system.
Extracts from lion’s mane mushrooms may be beneficial in the treatment of anxiety and depression. In a 2015 study, mice that consumed lion’s mane mushroom extract displayed fewer depressive behaviors and had blood markers that indicated lower depression. The researchers suggest that this is due to the extract’s anti-inflammatory effects. Be sure and check other cognition supplements at the link!
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