Lion's Mane is a mushroom (Yamabushitake) that has been used in Chinese traditional medicine for hundreds of years now. It is believed that various properties of the mushroom act a antioxidant. Moreover, it is now recognized as one of the best natural nootropics available as it increases Nerve Growth Factor levels in the brain, increasing neuronal growth rates and improving synaptic plasticity. Some researchers have suggested that this mushroom is able to improve mental functioning in those with impaired cognition. However, the long-term effects of this mushroom aren't well documented.
Lions Mane is categorized under Herbal Supplements.
It is also known as Hericium erinaceus, Yamabushitake, Lion's Mane Mushroom, Monkey's Head, Igelstachelbart, Pom Pom Blanc, Hedgehog Mushroom, Satyr’s Beard.
Also KnownHericium erinaceus, Yamabushitake, Lion's Mane Mushroom, Monkey's Head, Igelstachelbart, Pom Pom Blanc, Hedgehog Mushroom, Satyr’s Beard
DescriptionLion's Mane is a mushroom (Yamabushitake) that has been used in Chinese traditional medicine for hundreds of years now. It is believed that various properties of the mushroom act a antioxidant. Moreover, it is now recognized as one of the best natural nootropics available as it increases Nerve Growth Factor levels in the brain, increasing neuronal growth rates and improving synaptic plasticity. Some researchers have suggested that this mushroom is able to improve mental functioning in those with impaired cognition. However, the long-term effects of this mushroom aren't well documented.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom has been around for hundreds of years already and has a good reputation as a powerful cognitive enhancer as well as producing other health benefits. Also being referred to as Bear's Head or Monkey Head, it has been part of some traditional medicine practices and is also a popular addition to vegetarian dishes. Now, let us look at what Lion’s Mane mushroom has to offer and experience a step up in your cognitive function.
What are the effects of Lion’s Mane and what is it’s mechanism of action?
1. Lion’s Mane Mushroom and its influence on Nerve Growth Factor In comparison to other potent nootropics, Lion’s Mane Mushroom is quite unique in delivering its benefits. It is because its primary mechanism of action involves that of stimulating the release of a very important hormone, the NGF or Nerve Growth Factor. Basically, Nerve Growth Factor is responsible for the growth, maintenance, proliferation, and survival of certain neurons. Moreover, it serves to have influence also on the survival of the pancreatic beta cells and the regulation of the body’s immune system (2). With Lion’s Mane Mushroom having a positive influence on NGF, there would be an enhanced cognition. This may be attributed to the growth and maintenance of the health of our neurons. If our neurons are functioning efficiently, then the relay of the impulses from one neuron to another would be excellent. Moreover, Lion’s Mane encourages growth and branching of axons. These axons, which are also called nerve fibers, are responsible for the conduction of electrical impulses away from our body. An example of which are the impulses directed for the proper functioning of our organs and muscles. With the abundance of axons, better transmission of impulses is achieved and there will be an overall enhanced cognition. (3)
In addition to NGF’s effects, it also serves to enhance cognitive function through another mechanism. This is by the stimulation of myelin. Myelin refers to the white substance surrounding the nerve fibers, and is often referred to as the myelin sheath. This myelin is very important both in our central nervous system and in the peripheral nervous system because it increases the speed at which the electrical impulses are carried along the nerve fibers (4). In the central nervous system, the myelin is being referred to as the Oligodendrocytes while in the peripheral nervous system, it is being referred to as the Schwann cells. And so, the myelin is stimulated by the Nerve Growth Factor, the impulses are carried in a much faster speed and communication between the nerve cells are enhanced as well. Because of this, it results into better cognition, increased ability to recall thoughts and memory, and increased processing speed (1). Moreover, myelination also plays a role in the repair of damaged axons and can stimulate their regrowth. Because of this, it may be useful in the treatment in some conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, a demyelinating disease, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and among many others.
If there will be an insufficient supply of Nerve Growth Factor, our cognition may tremendously be affected. This is because it may lead to death of the nerve cells. And in contrast to that, the abundance of Nerve Growth Factor may help in the growth and development of new neurons.
Because of the Nerve Growth Factor’s influence on the repair and damage of nerve cells, it then promotes proper functioning as well as the maintenance of a healthy brain.
2. Lion’s Mane Mushroom for depression and anxiety In addition to Lion’s Mane affecting one’s cognition, several studies have shown that long term use may help improve symptoms of depression and anxiety. (3)
3. Lion’s Mane for an overall healthy body It has been found that Lion’s Mane does not only have cognitive effects but it also has positive contribution to an individual’s general health. First, it serves to regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels. With this, it may be of help to hyperglycemic and hypertensive individuals. Secondly, it helps one’s immunity by boosting white blood cell count. In this way, our body will be prepared for incoming bacteria and infections. Moreover, Lion’s Mane stimulates interferons. Interferons refer to a group of signalling molecules that are known to be antiviral agents and help in the modulation of the immune system’s functions (5). With this, the body’s healing system will be more efficient. It may be used in accelerating the healing of ulcers, stomach problems, and general body inflammation. (1)
How do I maximize the effects of Lion’s Mane?
1. Proper Lion’s Mane dosage and frequency It is very crucial for any drug or supplement to be taken at the right amount and frequency for it to produce the desired effects while possibly eliminating or minimizing the undesired ones. With the case of Lion’s Mane Mushroom, how much of it do we really need each day? There has been no established recommended dosage yet with regards to Lion’s Mane Mushroom since most of the studies conducted involved animal subjects. And in some human studies, the doses used were high (approximately 1000 mg to 3000 mg) in order to test for toxicity. However, the average dose used by most people would be 500 mg of Lion’s Mane Mushroom and is administered once daily. (1) When starting with any new drug or supplement, it would be best to start off with the lowest possible dose to see how you respond and then gradually increasing it over time. You might also want to consider consulting your doctor or healthcare provider first since a person’s condition and health status may play a role.
2. Stacking Lion’s Mane Stacking has been a popular practice nowadays. This is done for the purpose of maximizing a drug’s potential and also, in order to yield more positive effects, to synergize each other, or to eliminate or minimize the side effects that the drugs may provide. With the case of Lion’s Mane Mushroom, what drugs and supplement are best to use in conjunction to it? If you want a more natural nootropic stack, then you might want to consider Lion’s Mane and Ginkgo Biloba stack. With these two natural nootropics at hand, the effects and benefits of each other are synergized thus, leading to a more potent effect. There will be a more enhanced cognitive function, increased ability to learn, and faster recall of memory. Moreover, both supplements serve to promote a health brain and an improved mood and ability to respond to stress. With this stack, it would be of great help to students as well as to individuals who opt to take natural yet very potent nootropics.
Aside from the natural nootropics, you may also want to stack Lion’s Mane Mushroom with other very potent nootropics to achieve faster and more powerful cognitive benefits. Examples of which may include Noopept, Adrafinil, Pramiracetam, and among many others. Having a thorough understanding of the drugs you wanted to have in a stack is important because some drugs might not go well with the others. Stacking supplements greatly depends on your needs and personal preferences however, it would be best to consult your doctor or healthcare provider first.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom Safety and Side Effects
Lion’s Mane is generally safe to use even when administered in long term. As of the present, there have been no reported side effects yet and appears to have no toxicity issues. However, you might want to consider consulting your doctor or healthcare provider first if you are not that confident yet in taking Lion’s Mane Mushroom.
You can purchase Lion’s Mane Mushroom through online suppliers. It is readily available in pills, capsule, or powder form. You can buy it over the counter meaning to say, you will not need any prescription from your doctor in order to purchase one.
Reviewer: Kathleen R. RN, PT Wiki Last Updated: 2016-12-15