Lion’s mane mushrooms contain bioactive substances that have beneficial effects on the body, especially the brain, heart and gut.
Lion’s Mane is well known as a nootropic because of its cognitive enhancing effects. It has proven neuroprotective, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which are just some of its many benefits.
Studies have found that lion’s mane mushrooms contain two special compounds that can stimulate the growth of brain cells: hericenones and erinacines.
The ability of lion’s mane mushroom to promote nerve growth and protect the brain from Alzheimer’s-related damage may explain some of its beneficial effects on brain health.
Users report boosted mental functioning and even elevated mood when supplementing with lion's mane mushroom powder or extract.
Depression and anxiety
New animal research has found that lion’s mane mushroom extract has anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in mice.
Other animal studies have found that lion’s mane extract can also help regenerate brain cells and improve the functioning of the hippocampus, a region of the brain responsible for processing memories and emotional responses.
Nervous system injuries
The nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord and other nerves that travel throughout the body. These components work together to send and transmit signals that control almost every bodily function. Research has found that lion’s mane mushroom extract may help speed recovery from these types of injuries by stimulating the growth and repair of nerve cells. It may also help reduce the severity of brain damage after a stroke.
Protection against digestive track ulcers
Stomach ulcers are often caused by two major factors: overgrowth of a bacteria called H. pylori and damage to the mucous layer of the stomach that’s often due to long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Lion’s mane extract may protect against the development of stomach ulcers by inhibiting the growth of H. pylori and protecting the stomach lining from damage.
Test-tube studies have found that lion’s mane extract can help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol in the bloodstream. Oxidized cholesterol molecules tend to attach to the walls of arteries, causing them to harden and increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Therefore, reducing oxidation is beneficial for heart health.
What’s more, lion’s mane mushrooms contain a compound called hericenone B, which can decrease the rate of blood clotting and lower the risk of heart attack or stroke.
Lion’s mane mushroom may be beneficial for diabetes management by improving blood sugar control and reducing some of these side effects.
One way that lion’s mane lowers blood sugars is by blocking the activity of the enzyme alpha-glucosidase, which breaks down carbs in the small intestine. When this enzyme is blocked, the body is unable to digest and absorb carbs as effectively, which results in lower blood sugar levels.
In addition to lowering blood sugars, lion’s mane extract may reduce diabetic nerve pain in the hands and feet. In mice with diabetic nerve damage, six weeks of daily lion’s mushroom extract significantly reduced pain, lowered blood sugar levels and even increased antioxidant levels.
Some research suggests that lion’s mane mushroom has cancer-fighting abilities, thanks to several of its unique compounds.
In fact, when lion’s mane extract is mixed with human cancer cells in a test tube, they cause the cancer cells to die at a faster rate. This has been demonstrated with several types of cancer cells, including liver, colon, stomach and blood cancer cells.
In addition to killing cancer cells, lion’s mane extract has also been shown to slow the spread of cancer.
However, the anti-cancer effects of lion’s mane mushroom have never been tested in humans, so more research is needed.
A strong immune system protects the body from bacteria, viruses and other disease-causing pathogens.
On the other hand, a weak immune system puts the body at a higher risk of developing infectious diseases.
Animal research shows that lion’s mane mushroom can boost immunity by increasing the activity of the intestinal immune system, which protects the body from pathogens that enter the gut through the mouth or nose. These effects may partly be due to beneficial changes in gut bacteria that stimulate the immune system.
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