What is Lion Mane Mushroom Good for?
Lion’s Mane mushrooms are treasured health ingredient from ancient folklore to the latest in chemical research. But are the mushrooms helpful for your health and well-being? We’ll examine ten health benefits backed by the latest research.
Top 10 Science Backed Benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Heart Health Support
Healthy Immune Function
Antioxidant and Anti-diabetic Properties
Memory and Cognitive Impairment Support
Healthy Inflammatory Properties
Antibacterial and Antimicrobial Properties
Lion’s mane stands out as one of the most nutritious mushrooms. In fact, it even stands out in all the natural world because of its ability to biosynthesize around 70 different secondary metabolites! That’s an incredible number of healthy compounds, and many of them unique to the species.
Lion’s mane mushroom has been the subject of study by scientists trying to understand the true benefits behind this folk medicine staple. Humans used the mushroom for centuries with reported benefits in many areas of health. Recent studies uncovered the amazing bioactive compounds found in lion’s mane.
Why Research on Medicinal Mushrooms is Important
Understanding the potential health benefits and chemical compounds in medicinal mushrooms is important for the advancement of medicine. Medicinal mushrooms have the potential to help many people across the world as an easy to grow and accessible means of healthy bioactive nutrients.
The medical community also benefits from researching mushrooms like lion’s mane to better understand how their extracts and compounds to develop new therapeutics. The science behind our treasured natural remedies is crucial for developing future medications and medical treatments.
Nutritional Makeup of H. Erinaceus
Recent studies of the nutritional compounds found in lion’s mane reveal their benefits as a source for many micronutrients. The mushrooms have high levels of zinc, iron, magnesium, potassium, and even phosphorous. Researchers also discovered polyunsaturated fatty acids including high levels of linoleic acid (ALA omega 3). Lion’s mane mushrooms in their whole form even contain balanced levels of protein, fats, and sugars-making them a balanced source of nutrition.
Nutrition from Different Parts of Lion’s Mane Mushroom
The goal of one study looking at a few different mushroom species including lion’s mane was to determine if different parts of mushrooms had different nutritional content. The visible part of mushrooms (in the case of h. erinaceus- this would be the hedgehog or lion’s mane bloom that makes it easy to identify) is called the fruiting body.
The part of the organism that is crucial but not visible is called the mycelium. Mycelium is like a root system, except mushrooms do not have roots like vegetation. The mycelium structure is what feeds the mushroom through a system extending into the vegetation or other growing medium.
In this case, both the mycelium and fruiting body of lion’s mane many contained nutritional microelements and amino acid derived bioactive compounds. Research uncovered varying amounts of selenium, zinc, iron, copper, calcium, manganese, and GABA. Other important nutritional compounds found in lion’s mane include phenols, flavonoids, and ascorbic acid (vitamin c).
Polysaccharides from Lion’s Mane
Due to the compounds that make up polysaccharides- they’re a crucial source of energy for cells in humans and animals. They’re complex bio-macromolecules that play an important role in nutrition and cellular function.
The specific kinds of polysaccharides that are found in the fruiting bodies lion’s mane include β-Dglucan and a. rhamnoglucoagalactan. These polysaccharides have been shown to produce important bioactivates and make h. erinaceus mushrooms of great interest to those trying to understand their potential health benefits.
All in all, these are impressive finds for a single mushroom species. Even so, there’s even more amazing nutritional compounds from lion’s mane!
Novel Compounds Found in Lion’s Mane Mushroom
As you may have noticed from other articles on our website, traditional herbs often contain previously undiscovered compounds. Newly identified compounds are exciting to the scientific and medical communities. That’s because new discoveries expand our understanding of plants and their health supporting properties.
Along with the powerhouse of known bioactive compounds found in lion’s mane, the mushrooms also contain new and unique compounds. Scientists believe that the compounds we will learn about next could be responsible for some of lion’s mane’s exceptional health properties.
Hericerins are a new class of aromatic compound found in lions mane mushroom. Aromatic compounds are unique in nature because they often have higher levels of chemical stability.
Chemical stability is important because it means the compound stays the same on a molecular level, even when exposed to different or extreme conditions. Compounds that are stable deteriorate at a lower rate and are therefore great choices for developing therapeutic modalities.
Hericerin A and isohericenone J are the newest compounds found only in lion’s mane mushrooms. Researchers believe that hericerins have medicinal properties related to brain health.
Hericerins and the Latest Discoveries on Lion’s Mane for Brain Health
In 2023, an amazing new study showed that extracts made from hericerins supported the activation of pathways in the brain. We dive more deeply into this research below (jump link to Brain Health section). The recent discovery of hericerins advanced our understanding of why lion’s mane has long been touted as helpful for brain health.
Other research has shown certain varieties of hericerins to support the creation of NGF (nerve growth factor). Nerve growth factor is known for supporting the nerve cells in mammals by promoting their growth and survival. Other novel compounds from lion’s mane mushroom include glycoprotein, erinceolactones, and erinacines.
Lion’s mane mushrooms are easy to grow and can be an excellent source of nutrition.
Science Backed Benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Heart Health Support
An interesting study investigated the possible effect of lion’s mane on cholesterol and its relation to heart health. Atherosclerosis is a vascular disease that affects the arteries in the heart and is often the cause of cardiovascular disease. Oxidation of bad cholesterol could be implicated the development of atherosclerosis, so researchers wanted to know if extracts from lion’s mane could affect this process.
Extracts from lion’s mane were found to inhibit the oxidation process of LDL and support the action of healthy enzymes related to this process. While more research is needed to understand this process, scientists believe that the polysaccharides and fatty acids in the extract were responsible for this effect.
Other research supports compounds for lion’s mane for its antihypertensive properties.
Healthy Immune Function
Researchers looked at polysaccharides from lion’s mane and found they supported immunity in a variety of ways. Scientists observed that polysaccharides from h. erinaceus helped stimulate the secretion of cytokines (important substances made by the immune system), supported the process of capturing toxins (also known as antigen presentation), and helped simulate the immune response in cells studied. The findings lead researchers to believe that polysaccharides from lion’s mane could help immune response for patients in need.
Antioxidant and Antidiabetic Properties
The antioxidant properties of lion’s mane mushrooms have potential to help support the human body in many ways. A few studies looked at how the ingredient’s application for different areas of diabetes. One study found that the antioxidant action of lion’s mane could be helpful in reducing neuropathic pain for those with diabetes.
Another study found promising results in different areas of supporting health for diabetes with the antioxidant properties of lion’s mane extracts. The extract decreased serum glucose levels, increased healthy insulin levels, and promoted healthy lipid levels.
Many people have heard of the supposed benefits of lion’s mane for different areas of mood support- but how accurate are these claims? Researchers from around the world are interested in uncovering the potential of lion’s mane for depression, anxiety, and other neurological related illnesses.
One fascinating human study focused on three areas of women’s health- menopause, sleep quality, and depression. This study used a powered form of the fruiting bodies of lion’s mane in cookies that the test subjects ate a few times a day.
The control group showed positive results in all areas. However, researchers believe that the effects were not from the enhancement of NGF activity as seen in other areas of lion’s mane research on the same topics. Researchers are still learning the exact mechanism of lion’s mane mood boosting properties. Still, it’s intriguing to know that simply eating lion’s mane powder each day could lead to positive health effects.
Once again, we will investigate the antioxidative properties of lion’s mane and their effect on health. A study using polysaccharide extractions from lion’s mane revealed hepaprotective (liver cell protecting) properties. Scientists found that subclasses of polysaccharides with higher levels of the antioxidants doing most of the heavy lifting in the experiment.
Another study looked at lion’s mane on alcohol damaged liver cells. The research showed that supplementation with the concentrated antioxidants of lion’s mane could slow the damage to liver cells caused by binge drinking.
Memory and Cognitive Impairment Support
Lion’s mane mushrooms have long been suspected to have some kind of memory support or brain health benefits. This assumption was based on the use of the mushroom in many traditional modalities reaching back into history. The use of lion’s mane in nutritional supplements has also exploded in popularity during the past decade. Each year, more studies help us understand why lion’s mane could be a good source of brain-healthy nutrients. The latest study to come out in 2023, has yielded many exciting and positive results in this area.
2023 Research Study on Lion’s Mane (Hericium Erinaceus)
The research was conducted by Queensland Brain Institute in conjunction with Chungbuk National University and Gachon University.
This exciting new study has uncovered new understanding when it comes to Lion’s Mane suspected brain health and memory benefits. Along with the hericene compounds which we discussed earlier; researchers also identified another important compound called N-de phenylethyl isohericerin (NDPIH) that are important for brain health. NDPIH belongs to a class of isoindoline compounds, which are known to be beneficial for several protective biological activities.
NDPIH and Hericenes Support Neuron Connections
NDPIH along with hericene A and F, were shown to produce neuron projections. During this process, neurons grow, extend, and eventually connect to other neurons. The connection of neurons is crucial for brain health, helping it to function at it’s best.
Why New Neuron Pathways are Important
When we are babies and growing into adulthood, our brains are busy making new neuron connections. When reaching adulthood, the process slows, and the brain begins a process of pruning or cutting off unused neuron connections. While this is a normal part of human development, establishing new neuron connections can help us stay healthy into old age. These findings could help develop new therapies to help with neurological disorders such as schizophrenia and Huntington’s disease.
One study showed positive results in cell viability and an increase of the release of protective compounds.
Neurological disorders often associated with neurodegenerative disorders. Many studies have focused on the possible neuroprotective effects of h. erinaceus. One study showed positive results in cell viability and an increase of the release of protective compounds. Another study pointed once again to lion’s mane’s ability to support nerve growth factor (NGF). In this case, researchers noted that erinacine A, B, and C from the mycelia of lion’s mane helped stimulate NGF synthesis. This could help slow the degenerative process that occurs during Alzheimer’s. A study focused on lion’s mane powder showed positive effects on learning and memory deficits in mice. These are just a few examples of the research behind understanding the protective benefits of lion’s mane against neurodegenerative conditions.
Healthy Inflammatory Properties
Inflammation in the body is thought to be the root cause of many diseases. The scientific community has great interest in learning about sources of antioxidants that are easy to access, like medicinal mushrooms.
Research comparing lion’s mane to other medicinal mushrooms shows that lion’s mane is one of the top mushrooms for antioxidants.
One study identified oligosaccharides from lion’s mane mushroom as having powerful antioxidant properties. Compared to vitamin C, the oligosaccharides from h. erinaceus showed much higher levels of antioxidant activity on free radicals in this experiment.
Researchers found that the anti-inflammatory effects of lion’s mane could be helpful in preventing or slowing of the tissue inflammation caused by obesity in another study. This is an important finding because inflammation caused by obesity can cause many other health issues.
Other areas that lion’s mane has shown promise for its antioxidant (and thus possible inflammatory) benefits include positive results for inflammatory bowel disease and liver damage.
Antibacterial and Antimicrobial Properties
Studies have shown that extracts from lion’s mane could be helpful in combatting bacteria (both antibiotic resistant and nonresistant) and microbes. Erinacines from lion’s mane displayed strong inhibitory action against methicillin-resistant staphylococcus (MRSA). Lion’s mane extracts were also shown to fight salmonella by activating immune cells in the body. Another study showed promising antimicrobial mechanisms against helicobacter pylori (h. pylori)- a pathogen that commonly effects the gastrointestinal system.
Best way to take Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Lion’s mane mushrooms are more than just an exciting new ingredient for chemists and scientists. They’re packed with nutrition in their natural form and could become a top healthy food source globally. For now, it’s not likely that you’ll find fresh lion’s mane mushrooms at your local grocery store. You might be able to spot lion’s mane mushrooms growing wild in the forest the next time you go for a hike. But it’s never safe to eat mushrooms that you find outdoors (unless you’re with an experienced mycologist). That’s why most people in North America look for other sources so they can benefit from its amazing health properties.
Flavor Profile- how does Lion’s Mane Mushroom Taste?
Fresh lion’s mane mushroom has a distinctive, savory flavor. Its flavor is due to the high concentration of amino acids like glutamic acid along with a few volatile compounds. Fresh lion’s mane can have a meaty or even seafood like flavor.
Dosage- how much Lion’s Mane Mushroom Should I Take?
As of right now, there are no established dosages amounts for lion’s mane mushrooms mandated by science or heath organizations. This is partially because the average consumer will end up using lion’s mane in a variety of ways besides eating fresh mushrooms. If you are buying a nutritional supplement or other form of lion’s mane mushroom, the best advice is the follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for the product.
Why Lion’s Mane Tea is the Best Option for Most People
Many people are excited to try lion’s mane for its health benefits but might not know where to get started. While many mushroom supplements are available in health food stores, most people will find that good quality lion’s mane teas are the best option. That’s because they’re much more affordable than supplements, and generally will be easier to find at a local store. Another reason herbal teas are beloved by so many is that they’re easy to use. Lion’s mane tea is easy to make wherever you might be, and you can make it however you like.
Where can I find Good Quality Lion’s Mane Mushroom Tea?
Each year there are more and more lion’s mane tea products at your local health food store. It’s best to find brands that have expertise in traditional herbs and mushrooms. That’s because some brands will add a new and popular ingredient without knowing the best way to grow or source the ingredient.
Bravo Tea’s Lion’s Mane Mushroom Recipe
Bravo Tea’s lion’s mane recipe stands out from others because of the premium quality of the ingredients. The brand is also committed to creating eco-friendly products, using organic farming processes, and following the traditions of herbalism. Bravo Tea’s Lion Mane tea uses a blend of lion’s mane mushrooms, lion’s mane mushroom extract, and a blend of authentic, synergistic herbs. Its unique formula means has higher potency than other teas featuring lion’s mane.
Want to get even more benefits from lion’s mane tea? Try combining Bravo’s Lion’s Mane Tea with our Gingko Biloba Tea or Reishi Tea for a powerful synergistic combo!
Lion’s Mane is Much More than a Simple Mushroom
Lion’s mane is one of the most researched natural ingredients of our time. Its potential for many areas of human health and nutrition mean there are many possibilities for the future of the funny-looking fungus. More health professionals are learning about the benefits and science backed research of lion’s mane. The best news is that lion’s mane has shown to be safe for human consumption and nearly anyone can benefit from it by drinking a humble cup of tea every day!
*Content of this website are for educational purposes only and not meant to diagnose or treat any disease.
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