Lion’s mane is an edible mushroom with many health benefits. It is a nootropic superfood that can modulate the immune system and provide many other health benefits. In this post, you will find 24 proven and potential benefits of Lion’s Mane, and all the different ways in which this mushroom can improve your wellbeing.
What is Lion’s Mane Mushroom?
Lion’s Mane is an edible mushroom with medicinal properties. This fungus is known by many other names, including Hedgehog Mushroom, Monkey’s mushroom, Bear’s Head, Old Man’s Beard, Yamabushitake (Japanese), Houtou (Chinese) and Hericium erinaceus (Latin) (R, R).
Components and extracts of Lion’s Mane have proven antibiotic, anticancer, neuroprotective, fat- and glucose-lowering effects. This mushroom also protects against stomach ulcers, improves anxiety, cognitive function, and depression, and has anti-fatigue and anti-aging properties (R, R).
Health Benefits of Lion’s Mane
Clinical trials in humans are few but promising. Therefore, many of the benefits below are based on animal studies and await confirmation in humans.
1) Lion’s Mane Improves Brain Function
In 50- to 80-year-old Japanese men and women diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, Lion’s Mane improved cognitive function. However, cognitive function decreased again after the termination of the treatment, and therefore continuous intake may be necessary (R).
2) Lion’s Mane Enhances Nerve Regeneration
Lion’s Mane promotes nerve regeneration after limb injury in rats (R).
3) Lion’s Mane May Help in Alzheimer’s
Levels of acetylcholine (Ach), a chemical that helps nerve cells communicate, normally decrease with age. However, in diseases such as Alzheimer’s, levels of acetylcholine can drop by as much as 90 percent. Many of the drugs that are currently used to treat this disease work to increase acetylcholine levels.
In a mouse model of Alzheimer’s, Lion’s Mane improved cognitive function and the brain cholinergic system function. It enhanced both acetylcholine and choline acetyltransferase (ChAT, an enzyme that produces acetylcholine) concentrations in the blood and in the hypothalamus (R).
In mice with Alzheimer’s, Lion’s Mane prevents the loss of spatial short-term and visual recognition memory (R).
It was shown that Lion’s Mane components protect neurons from amyloid beta-induced neurotoxicity (R).
4) Lion’s Mane May Help in Parkinson’s
In a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease, treatment with Lion’s Mane reduced dopaminergic cell loss and attenuated motor deficits (R), suggesting that Lion’s Main can slow down the progression of Parkinson’s Disease.
5) Lion’s Mane Combats Depression and Anxiety
In a four-week study, menopausal symptoms such as loss of concentration, irritability, palpitations, and anxiety significantly decreased when treated with Lion’s Mane extract. This alleviation of symptoms also improved sleep quality (R).
Amycenone, a Lion’s Mane component had antidepressant effects in mice (R).
6) Lion’s Mane Boosts the Immune System
Compounds found in Lion’s Mane improve immune function by enhancing both cell-mediated and humoral immunity. This mushroom activates macrophages and NK cells (R).
Lion’s Mane polysaccharides increase T cells and macrophage levels in mice (R).
Lion’s Mane also induces the maturation of human dendritic cells (antigen-presenting immune cells), which might reinforce the host innate immune system (R). Maturation of dendritic cells is an important process in the initiation and regulation of immune responses.
7) Lion’s Mane May Prevent Scarring
In rats, wounds treated with Lion’s Mane extract scarred less and contained more collagen (R).
8) Lion’s Mane Has Anti-Cancer Properties
Lion’s Mane polysaccharides also activate macrophages, and it is known that macrophages participate in the defense against tumor cells (R).
Lion’s Mane inhibits blood flow to cancer cells and migration of tumor cells to other organs (metastasis) (R, R). In mice, Lion’s Mane extracts induced cancer cell death and inhibited metastasis to the lungs (R).
9) Lion’s Mane Protects Against Bacteria
Lion’s Mane promotes the anti-bacterial immune response. In mice infected with a lethal dose of Salmonella typhimurium, Lion’s Mane extended lifespan and protected against liver damage (R).
10) Lion’s Mane Inhibits HIV Activity
11) Lion’s Mane Decreases Inflammation
In mice with acute gut inflammation, Lion’s Mane improved symptoms and decreased intestinal bleeding (R).
In rats with brain injury, Lion’s Mane extracts reduced infarct volume and decreased the levels of inflammatory cytokines (R).
12) Lion’s Mane Has Antioxidative Qualities
13) Lion’s Mane Improves Cardiovascular Health and Metabolism
Similarly, in mice on a high-fat diet, Lion’s Mane decreased body weight gain, fat weight, and blood and liver triglyceride levels (R).
Cholesterol-lowering effect of Lion’s Mane may be related to increased bacterial short-chain fatty acid production in the large intestine, and the accelerated rate of degradation of cholesterol to bile acids (R), or the reduced ability to absorb fat (R).
14) Lion’s Mane May Lower High Blood Glucose
Lion’s Mane also increased glucose tolerance in diabetic mice (R).
15) Lion’s Mane May Help with Diabetic Neuropathy Pain
16) Lion’s Mane Improves Circulation
17) Lion’s Mane May Protect the Gut
18) Lion’s Mane Inhibits H. pylori Growth
19) Lion’s Mane May Protect the Liver
A component of Lion’s Mane protects mice from chemically induced liver damage (R).
20) Lion’s Mane May Help with Fatigue
In mice, Lion’s Mane extended the exhaustive swimming time, increased tissue glycogen content and antioxidant enzyme activity, and decreased biochemical parameters related to fatigue, including blood lactic acid, urea nitrogen, and malondialdehyde (R).
Lion’s Mane increases the flying ability in flies (R).
21) Lion’s Mane Can Be Good for the Skin
Lion’s Mane has anti-aging effects on the skin. Polysaccharides found in this mushroom enhance antioxidant enzyme activities and increase collagen levels in aged rat skin (R).
22) Lion’s Mane is Anti-Aging
Lipofuscin is a waste product of human and animal aging metabolism. It is constantly accumulating in as cells age, contributing to cell atrophy (wasting). In both mice and flies, Lion’s Mane polysaccharides significantly reduced lipofuscin content (R).
On the other hand, superoxide dismutase (an enzyme that converts reactive oxygen species O- into oxygen or O2) decreases significantly with age. Lion’s Mane polysaccharides can increase the activity of superoxide dismutase in the brain and the liver (R).
Lion’s Mane exhibited anti-aging properties in human cell cultures (R).
23) Lion’s Mane May Increase Bone Density
24) Lion’s Mane May Help Adjust Circadian Rhythms
Lion’s Mane extracts decreased wakefulness at the end of the active phase in mice. Furthermore, some components of Lion’s Mane can advance the sleep-wake cycle (R).
Safety and Side Effects of Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Lion’s Mane may stimulate the Th1 immune response, so you should avoid it if you suffer from Th1-dominant autoimmune problems.
Lion’s Mane can both increase and decrease pro-inflammatory cytokines depending on the context. In cancer patients, this fungus increases the Th1 response and pro-inflammatory cytokines. In inflammatory conditions, such as IBD, it decreases them.
- Lion’s Mane can both increase (R) and decrease TNF-α (R, R, R, R, R, R).
- Lion’s Mane can both increase (R) and decrease IL-1beta (R, R).
- Lion’s Mane can both increase (R, R) and decrease NF-κB (R, R, R).
- Lion’s Mane can both increase (R) and decreases NO (R, R, R, R).
- Lion’s Mane increases IL-12 (R), IFN-γ (R) and activates NK cells (R).
- Lion’s Mane decreases IL-6 (R, R, R) and IL-8 (R).
- Lion’s Mane increases IL-10 (R).
- Lion’s Mane increases iNOS (R), NF-IL6 (R), LXA4 (R), PPAR alpha (R), HSP70 (R), CAT, GSH-Px, and GSH (R).
- Lion’s Mane can both increase (R) and decrease AP-1 (R).
- Lion’s Mane can both increase (R) and decrease SOD (R).
- Lion’s Mane increases nerve growth factor (NGF) (R).
- Lion’s Mane decreases VEGF, COX-2, 5-LOX (R), BAX (R), TLR4, JNK (R, R), MDA (R, R), PGE2 (R, R), p38 MAPK and CHOP (R).
- Lion’s Mane increases MMP-1 and TIMP-1 (R).
- Lion’s Mane decreases MMP-9 and ICAM-1(R).
Buy Lion’s Mane Capsules
Lion’s mane is a Th1 stimulant, so be careful if you’re Th1 dominant.