Lion’s Mane Mushroom is an increidble nootropic. It has been known to stimulate Nerve Growth Factor release in the brain, which improves cognition and overall brain health. It also relieves depression, reduces anxiety and improves mood when used in larger doses.
Lion’s Mane (Hericium Erinaceus) stands out in the mushroom family in both appearance and function. The brain’s Nerve growth Factor (NGF) is greatly stimulated by Lion’s Mane Mushroom.
Lion’s Mane has been known for its powerful effects on the brain. It is believed that Buddhist monks used it as a tea for thousands upon thousands of years. It is believed to increase brain power and improve meditation focus.
Lion’s Mane is a nootropic that stimulates brain cell regeneration and improves memory, as well as cognition.
Lion’s Mane is composed of hericenones, and Erinacines. Erinacines increase the production of Nerve Growth Factor. Erinacines can easily cross the blood brain barrier to increase the production of neuron.
Quick Summary: Does Lion’s Mane work?
Lion’s Mane is a one of the best nootropics or supplements to enhance cognition in existence. Using it daily can help in several ways thanks for Lion’s Mane Mushrooms many mechanisms of action:
- Nerve Growth Factor. The brain is protected from nerve damage by Lion’s Mane Mushroom. After crossing the blood-brain barrier Lion’s Mane stimulates enzyme growth that releases Nerve Growth Factor. Nerve regeneration is a way to relieve symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and dementia.
- Neurogenesis. The repair and creation neurons is stimulated by Lion’s Mane. Enhancing neurotransmitters. This signals that has an effect on memory. Learning, recall. And mood.
- Brain Optimization. Brain fog can be eliminated with Lion’s Mane. It helps to restore memory and mental alertness. It reduces the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Overview: What is Lion’s Mane Mushroom?
Hericium erinaceus, also known as Lion’s Mane, is a medicinal mushroom that has been shown to be beneficial for the brain and nervous system. It has long been used as apart of traditional medicine in Asia, and it is commonly used as a key ingredient in many of the best mushroom supplements on the market today.
Lion’s Mane is unlike other mushrooms with a stem and cap. It has white tendrils that are long and flowing. It resembles a lion’s hair. You can also call it Monkey’s Head or Bearded Tooth, Pom Pom Blanc or Hedgehog Mushroom, and Satyr’s Beard.
This parasitic fungus hangs from trees and logs. It is native to North America, Europe, and Southeast Asia. It’s also known as Yamabushitake in Japan. This means “those who sleep on mountains”. Referring to the Shugendo sect, which is comprised of hermit monks in long flowing robes.
Lion’s Mane, a nootropic has been proven to be especially effective in stimulating Nerve growth Factor (NGF) in the brain.
NGF is produced throughout your life in the hippocamp. Modulating cholinergic receptors as well as neuroplasticity. is vital for learning.
Nerve growth Factor is a special protein that functions to regenerate cells. Lion’s Mane is home to two distinct NGF’s classes: hericenones, and erinacines that easily cross the blood brain barrier.
Like other medicinal mushrooms, Lion’s Mane contains high levels of the antioxidant betaglucoxylan. It can have a significant effect on your immune system. It can also decrease tumor growth.
Lion’s Mane was also studied for its ability to reduce amyloid plaques. These clumps of beta–amyloid proteins can block the signals between neurons. These proteins are involved in Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. A lot more research is needed on Lion’s mane mushroom and its effects on Alzheimer’s Disease. The data makes it clear that Lion’s Mane is no cure for age-related cognitive decline, or for memory-related diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia. But the evidence suggests Lion’s Mane can be effective as part of a broader treatment plan.
How does Lion’s Mane work in the Brain?
Lion’s Mane improves brain function and health in many ways. Two stand out in particular.
- Lion’s Mane Mushroom stimulates the production of Neuron Growth Factor (NGF). NGF is a protein which plays a significant role in the survival, maintenance and regeneration of neurons.
Your brain needs NGF to maintain neurons healthy and strong. Your brain cannot produce its own NGF when there are neurological conditions.
A 2013 study in Kuala Lumpur showed that Lion’s Mane extract stimulated NGF synthesis and promoted neurite growth.
- Lion’s Mane can reduce anxiety and depression. It is sometimes called the ” smart mushrooms” because it improves cognition and memory.
Researchers in Japan conducted a study with 30 women. Female subjects complained about sleep quality, menopause, depression and other issues.
For four weeks, the women were randomly given Lion’s Mane-laced cookies and a placebo. Researchers found that Lion’s Mane can reduce anxiety and depression. These results are different from the NGF-enhancing action by H. erinaceus.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom Benefits
One of the best things about supplementing with Lion’s Mane Mushroom is the breadth of the benefits it brings. This has been a staple of traditional medicine and is today a cornerstone of many nootropics, stress supplements, and overall wellness stacks. The reason for this is that Lion’s Mane Mushroom helps the body and brain in numerous ways all at once.
The main benefits of taking Lion’s Mane Mushrooms are:
- Improved memory retention and recall
- Reduced symptoms of age-related cognitive decline
- Increased mental clarity and focus
- Improved mood
- Reduced anxiety and stress (at higher doses)
- Repairs nerve damage
- Enhanced learning and processing speeds
All of these Lion’s Mane benefits have been observed in robust clinical trials using both human and animal subjects. The improvements in memory observed from Lion’s Mane Mushroom use are substantial; this is the single most studied benefit of this nootropic, and it is the best established by scientific study. Older people with mild cognitive impairment seem to exhibit the greatest improvements in memory retention and recall after using Lion’s Mane for at least 28 days.
Since 1991, at least 12 peer-reviewed studies on Lion’s Mane’s benefits for brain health have been published. Researchers in Japan conducted a double-blind placebo-controlled study with 50-80 year-old men and women. All were affected by mild cognitive impairment.
For 16 weeks, the trial subjects were given four 250mg tablets containing 96% Yamabushitake (Lion’s Mane). Both men and women were tested at 4-8, 12 and 16 weeks.
The subjects who had taken Lion’s Mane supplementation showed a significant improvement in their cognitive scores. Their scores increased after they stopped taking Lion’s Mane supplementation. However, after stopping Lion’s Mane supplementation for 4 weeks, their cognitive scores significantly dropped.
The researchers concluded that Lion’s Mane Mushroom was effective in mild cognitive impairment.
How does Lion’s Mane make you feel?
Lion’s Mane Mushroom is an anti-oxidant powerhouse, and it rapidly increases NGF levels in the brain. Both of these things combine to make you feel less tense, less anxious, and less stressed. Higher levels of neurotrophic factors like NGF and BDNF are associated with improved mood, increased motivation, and reduced social anxiety.
That said, Lion’s Mane does not get you high, and it does not make you sleepy. Its cognitive and anxiolytic benefits are not the result of any sedative action and it doesn’t boost any neurotransmitters associated with pleasure or any kind of ‘high’.
Using Lion’s Mane long-term makes most people feel a lot sharper and more focused. Many people have also reported improved decision-making, problem solving and learning. Lion’s Mane ability to increase neuroplasticity is likely to be the reason.
Overall, the consensus is that Lion’s Mane Mushroom’s ability reduce anxiety and depression, as well as improve overall cognitive performance, memory, decision-making and focus, all combine to make users feel generally more mentally stable, calm and ‘switched on’.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom is a traditional food and herbal medicine that has been used since ancient times in East Asia. It has been shown that Lion’s Mane increases Nerve growth Factor in both animal and human test subjects.
Cognitive Dysfunction Prevents
Researchers examined the effects Lion’s Mane had on amyloid b(25–35) peptide-induced learning in mice. Amyloid b (25-35), peptide has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease.
The peptide was administered to mice on the 7th and 14th days of the trial. Over the course of 23 days, they were fed a diet rich in Lion’s Mane. The results indicated that amyloid (25-35) peptide did not cause visual recognition memory loss in the short-term.
The researchers concluded that the use of Lion’s Mane Mushroom in the prevention and treatment of cognitive dysfunction was possible.
Lion’s Mane inducing Nerve Growth Factor
Lion’s Mane Nerve Repairs
Lion’s Mane extract proved to be able promote neuron regeneration in rats. After drinking water containing Lion’s Mane extract, rats with gluteal neuropathy were able walk again.
Researchers concluded that Lion’s Mane can regenerate damaged nerve cells. The reversal in this case was so dramatic that the rats were able to walk again.
Lion’s Mane Dosage
How much Lion’s Mane should you take? The strength of the extract you are using will determine how much Lion’s Mane Mushroom you should take. Generally speaking, a dose of 300-500mg of Lion’s Mane taken every day will produce significant improvements in memory, processing speeds and overall cognitive performance over long periods of time. For acute reductions in anxiety, Lion’s Mane doses of up to 1000mg per day are usually recommended. This all assumes you are using a good Lion’s Mane extract and not a whole mushroom powder.
Lion’s Mane 10:1 extract (30% Polysaccharide), daily dose is 500-1000 mg, taken 1 to 3 days per day. You should consume 500mg in the morning and 500m at noon.
The retail dosage of Lion’s Mane extract ranges between 300 mg and 3000 mg, taken 1 – 3 days per day. Refer to the label for the recommended dosage. Start with the lowest possible dose to see how your body reacts.
More important than following any one recommended dose for Lion’s Mane is to experiment to find the dose that works for you. Lion’s Mane Mushroom has been found to produce significant improvements in memory funciton after just 28 days using doses as low as 300mg per day. Other studies have found that doses of 1000mg of Lion’s Mane powder are necessary to achieve results. Clearly things differ user to user.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom Side Effects
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms are non-toxic and considered safe for general use. There are no known serious side effects or long term health risks. There have been dozens of studies on Lion’s Mane Mushroom and its effects on human cognitive performance and brain health. None have ever reported serious negative side effects. When side effects have occurred they have been mild and transient; no participants in the trials we have reviewed ever had to drop out due to severe side effects.
In rare cases, higher doses of Lion’s Mane Mushroom can cause itchy skin, skin rashes and difficulty breathing. This could be due to a increase in Nerve Growth Factor which is known to result from Lion’s Mane supplementation. It could also be the result of an allergic reaction to mushrooms like Lion’s Mane.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom was tested on animals and showed no side effects or toxicities, even at 5 grams per kg. It is not known whether there is a meaningful toxic dose in humans.
Some people do experience mild Lion’s Mane Mushroom side effects. These typically revolve around digestion, and include:
- Stomach cramps
The best type of Lion’s Mane you can buy
Lion’s Mane mushroom (Hericium persicaeus) is often sold as an extract. It can be taken in powdered or capsule form.
There is much debate about the best extraction method to extract the full medicinal benefits of Lion’s Mane mushrooms. Others believe hot water extraction is the best. Another suggests alcohol extraction. Another claim that both are required.
However, claiming that one mushroom is “more powerful” than the other is far too simplistic to be true. This is both an art and science.
It is even more important to choose a supplement that contains the mycelium from Lion’s Mane Mushroom. The fruiting body of this mushroom does not contain erinacines, which is the compound that increases Nerve Growth Factor (NGF).
The nootropic benefits of sheicenones found only in the fruiting body, or top of the mushrooms help support your immune system. They also help to get rid of Amyloid (25-35), a peptide that is implicated in Alzheimer’s.
It is difficult to find a Lion’s Mane Mushroom Extract that includes all the spectrum of the fruiting body and mycelium. The mushroom must be grown in liquid, not on a substrate like grains. You’ll end up with ground grain, without the erinacines required for higher NGF.
Take a look at the marketing materials and literature of the manufacturer to find how their Lion’s Mane was grown. Also, read reviews from shopping sites and forums.
There are many types of Lion’s Mane:
- Plain Lion’s Mane : A pure, powdered form of mushroom. This is the most affordable form of dried mushrooms. You can add to water, juice, or smoothies.
- Lion’s Mane extracts: This is a more potent type of mushroom. Commonly presented as 14/1/10:1 extracts (14 lbs or 10 lbs reduced to 1 pound).
- Standardized Lion’s Mane Mushroom: Processed to ensure exact levels of active ingredients. Lion’s Mane can be standardized to 30% to 50% Polysaccharides (including active secondary metabolites sheicenones, and erinacines).
- Lion’s Mane Tea: This is a very popular mushroom in the kitchen. The taste is also acceptable. It’s difficult to know how much active ingredient you are actually getting.
- Amycenone(r)/PLM-Fraction: This “branded” product is standardized to Hericenones 0.5%, Amyloban 6%. It seems to target a lesser-known Lion’s Mane active ingredient-Amyloban-which is positioned as a mushroom compound that fights beta-amyloid proteins. It is a Japanese product and can be found in a supplement called Amyloban (r)3399.
If you do decide to pick your wild mushrooms, ensure that the mushroom is correctly identified before you eat it. If you choose the wrong mushroom, mushrooms can be poisonous.
Brian Johnson is current Editor of Vagarights.com and a long-time writer for VAGA. A former psychologist, Brian is passionate about improving mental health and finding ways to stave off cognitive decline. He is an expert on nootropics, cognitive enhancement and biohacking more broadly. You can see his work on Google scholar.