The 12+ Benefits of Lion's Mane

Lion's Mane (Hericium Erinaceus)

Recent evidence demonstrates that Lion's Mane may possibly be helpful for various diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, immunoregulation, and many types of cancer, through mechanisms in the nervous system, digestive system, circulatory system, and immune system. R R

 
 

Basics

 
 

Lion's mane is an edible mushroom. R

It goes by many names:

  • Hericium erinaceus
  • Lion's Mane
  • Yamabushitake
  • Deertail Mushroom
  • Monkey's Head (nấm đầu khỉ)
  • Houtou
  • Igelstachelbart
  • Pom Pom Blanc
  • Hedgehog Mushroom
  • Satyr’s Beard

It has been used in China, Japan, Korea, and India as medicine throughout history. R R R

Lion's Mane Contains:

  • Hericenones A and C-H R R R
  • Erinacines A-K R R
  • Orcinol derivatives (Mycelium) R
  • Sialic-acid binding lectin R
  • Sterols, such as ergosterol and beta-sitosterol R

Benefits

1. Supports Brain Function and Regrows Nerve Cells

 
 

Lion's Mane contains polysaccharides known as hericenones and erinacines. R

They are both responsible for the neuroregenerative properties of Lion's Mane. R

Lion's Mane can enhance Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) in the brain and body. R R

NGF was increased in the hippocampus (but not the cortex). R

Rita Levi-Montaclini extracted NGF eye drops from Lion's Mane and said she felt more mentally acute in her 100's then in her 20s'. R

Learn how to increase (or decrease) NGF here.

Lion's Mane regenerated peripheral and peroneal nerves following perifpheral nerve injury. R R

In vitro, it stimulated myelination. R

Stroke is the 4th leading cause of death worldwide. R

In rats, Lion's Mane mycelium inhibited neurological insults in ischemic stroke. R

Lion's Mane protected neuronal cells from endoplasmic reticulum stress-induced cell death. R

A double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled trial showed improved cognitive ability in individuals with mild cognitive impairment. R

In this study, scores increased with the duration 4 weeks of intake, but decreased after supplementation stopped. R

2. Has Anti-inflammatory Properties

In a rat model induced with stroke, Lion's Mane reduced levels of acute inflammatory cytokines: IL-1β, IL-6, and TNF-alpha, while downregulating iNOSR

3. Has Anti-Oxidant Properties

 
 

Consuming boiled Lion's Mane helped eliminated peroxides, remove harmful iron ions, and inhibit the degradation of fat. R

It enhanced skin anti-oxidant enzymes and collage protein levels, making it helpful for anti-aging of the skin. R

4. Improves Glucose and Lipid Metabolism

Lion's Mane was able to reduce LDL by 45.5% and improve HDL-C by 31.1%. R

Some compounds in the mushroom, like threitol, D-arabinitol, and palmitic acid, may have antioxidant effects, regulate blood lipid levels and reduce blood glucose levels. R

In mice fed a high-fat diet, hot water and ethanolic extracts Lion's Mane helped improve improved lipid metabolism (via activation of PPARalpha.). R

5. Regulates Blood Pressure

 
 

Lion's Mane appears to be an ACE inhibitor (helping reduce blood pressure). R

Hot water extracts tend to be more potent ACE inhibitors (compared to ethanolic or methanolic extracts). R R

6. Fights Pathogens 

Lion's Mane inhibited the growth of H. Pylori within cells. R

It also protected mice from Salmonella Tryphurium-induced liver injury and death. R

It did this by stimulating immune cells. R

7. Fights Cancer

 
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Lion's mane pills were used in the treatement of esopageal carcinoma. R

β-glucans from Lion's Mane were injected in tumors. VEGF, COX-2, and 5-LOX were reduced. R

Lion's mane acts as an enhancer to sensitize doxorubicin (Dox)-mediated apoptotic signaling. It does this by reducing c-FLIP expression via JNK activation and enhancing intracellular Dox accumulation via the inhibition of NF-κB activity. R

NK activity, activation of macrophages, and inhibition of angiogenesis all contribute to the mechanism of reduction of tumor size. R

Hot water and microwaved ethonal extracts of Lion's Mane showed beneficial in colon cancer by reducing expression of MMP-2 and MMP9 in cells. R

Lion's Mane is effective in cancer as it enhances natural killer cell function. R

8. Enhances the Immune System

Lion's Mane contains a number of polysaccharides, such as β-glucans. R

Polysaccharides stimulate macrophage activity, increase T-cell count and CD4+ cells within mice. R R

Lion's Mane suppresses LPS-induced macrophage activation (less activation of JNK and NF-kB). R

In mice spleens, Lion's Mane activated NK cells via induction of IL-12 and interferon-γ. R

9. Supports the Digestive System

 
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Lion's mane was used in the treatment of gastric ulcers. R

Water extract protected against gastric mucosal injury (by inhibiting reduction of antioxidant enzymes). R

10. Helps Wound Healing

In rats that were given wounds in the posterior neck area, the wounds showed less scar width, fewer macrophages, and more collagen with angiogenesis. This means Lion's mane enhances the acceleration of wound healing. R

11. Supports the Liver

 
 

Lion's mane was able to liver damage from acute alcohol exposure. R

12. Reduces Depression and Anxiety

Thirty females were given Lion's Mane for 4 weeks. They had reduced anxiety and irritation were reduced. R

My Experience

 
 

When I first used Lion's Mane, I took it as tablets from Mushroom Wisdom. After a few weeks, when I closed my eyes, I was able to visualize and remember long memories clearly. I noticed if I took this on an empty stomach, I would feel sick within a few hours. I took up to 3g/day.

I then tried Lion's Mane from Real Mushrooms. I would put it in water or almond milk with or without cocoa powder. The powder tastes like chocolate already and cocoa enhances blood flow to grey matter in the brain. R

I took up to 3g/day. I noticed better perception. Colors were enhanced and I had an overall mood lift. This was increased if I were to ride my bike around, looking at nature. Also a good effect was that I had less gastric distress.

When traveling I tried Lion's Mane capsules from Brain Forza. I had gone on a break from Lion's Mane for a bit, so it took over a week for me to notice the effects. When I would take 3-6 capsules (1.5g-3g) on an empty stomach, I had better sociability and recall. 

I also tried Four Sigmatic's Lion's Mane tea, with minimal benefits, although I did not take it long enough to really gather any effect. I believe if I added this to my daily regimen it would have been better, I like star anise as it can inhibit mast cells, amongst other benefits. R

Where To Get Lion's Mane

 
 

Mushrooms need to be extracted. Fungi have chitin in their cell walls that cannot be broken down by humans. We lack chitinase. So to be bioavailable for humans, it must be extracted. Eating raw mushrooms will not produce the beneficial effects because of this. R

Mushroom Wisdom Tablets of Lion's Mane (starch, I don't really recommend)

Lion's Mane from Real Mushrooms

Lion's Mane capsules from Brain Forza

Four Sigmatic's Lion's Mane tea

The problem with most supplements is that they are mostly starch. Polysaccharides are starches, so looking for the beta-glucan count is more important. R

Side Effects

Some report itching. I believe that is due to high histamine levels caused by mast cells in response to high NGF.

In one case, a 63 year old man suffered acute respiratory failure, after using Lion's Mane daily for 4 months. R

In rats, toxicology studies showed up to 5g/kg day of bodyweight was safe (when combined with Panax Ginseng). R

More Research

  • The mounting evidences from various research groups across the globe, regarding anti-tumor application of mushroom extracts unarguably make it a fast-track research area worth mass attention. R
  • The enhancement of NGF gene expression by H. erinaceus extracts was inhibited by the c-jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) inhibitor SP600125. R
  • Top 9 Proven Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane (Hericium Erinaceus) R
  • Video
  • LM Experiences R R
  • Chemistry, Nutrition, and Health-Promoting Properties of Hericium erinaceus (Lion's Mane) Mushroom Fruiting Bodies and Mycelia and Their Bioactive Compounds R