Scientific Nutrition Update 24: Lions Mane Mushrooms

I may have taken too hard of a stance on alternative medicine and supplements.  SOME of them do seem to have beneficial health effects.  Lions mane mushrooms seem to fall into this category, as they are anti-cancer, antioxidant, pro-brain, and a potent nootropic.

There might be something to these mushrooms, just like the reishi I talked about before.

Also if you want to purchase some FourSigmatic mushroom products and support this website, use this link. You’ll get 10% off and I get a very small commision which helps me support this website.


For today’s episode we are going to talk about lions mane, which is another medicinal mushroom like the reishi we discussed in episode 21.  This is a traditional medicinal mushroom that has been used for hundreds and hundreds of years in Asia, and today we can going to take a look at what the literature suggests about it, and my personal experience with products containing extracts of it.


One of the first health effects I saw from this in the literature is that it appears to be gastroprotective, meaning it helps prevent the digestive system, specifically it was found to protect against ethanol induced ulcers in rats.  Now there is always a chance this effect would not hold in humans, but it is an interesting effect, and promising start. There was actually an interesting study done that tested the effects of extracts from this mushroom against H. Pylori, the bacteria that causes these ulcers and found that it was able to directly inhibit the growth of the bacteria.  This might help explain its gastroprotective effects.


Lions mane mushrooms do seem to be a pretty potent antioxidant.  They seem to be quite efficacious in scavenging free radicals, which does suggest they could reduce oxidative damage, but I also think “Internet Health Experts” overstate this effect.  Antioxidants are important, but they are not the end all be all of good health.


The most interesting effect of these mushrooms seems to be the effect on neurons.  There is some evidence to suggest that this compound can actually promote neuron growth. This would obviously be beneficial since there is very little neuron growth after the brain is established.   There also seems to be a synergistic effect wherein its effect is even greater when it is in the presence of neuron growth factor (NGF). There was a really fascinating study done on rats that suggested that extracts from this mushroom can actually serve as a useful component of a treatment for peripheral nervous system crush injuries, as there was significantly greater nerve regrowth in the experimental group.  This effect was confirmed in another study that looked at nerve regrowth and found that extracts from this mushroom significantly accelerated recovery time.


It also may have anticarcinogenic effects, meaning that it can help prevent cancer.  At least five polysaccharides isolated from these mushrooms have been shown to help prevent tumor growth.  Some of these compounds actually seem to even induce apoptosis, or cell death of certain cancer cells. There also may be additional help in this regard as certain extracts from this mushroom have also shown an anti-mutagenic effect, suggesting it may help prevent the tumor from every being formed in the first place.  


There is even some evidence that in rats at least that application of a gel that contained an extract from this mushroom accelerated wound healing.  This mushroom might literally help you heal faster. I have never seen this effect confirmed in humans though, so if you find a study that confirms it in humans, please immediately send it to me.  


Lions mane has even been shown to be an immunostimulant, meaning that taking it can help stimulate the immune system to prevent infection.  This is a very important effect, and may explain part of the reason it seems to be helpful for people going through chemotherapy.


None of these are the reason that most people I talk to are interested in lion’s mane however, the real reason people are interested in it is that it has gotten a reputation as a potent nootropic, or cognitive enhancing compound.  Now we have already established that it does seem useful at promoting nerve growth, so we may be tempted to think of it already as likely beneficial for cognition. There is already some evidence from Japan that seems to suggest at the very least it can improve cognitive skills in those with Alzheimer’s.  


I can tell you from my personal experience with it is that it does seem to be an effective nootropic.  I have taken it combined into a coffee drink and noticed improved focus and mood within about an hour after consumption.  The effect persisted for several hours, and there was no sudden crash from it. When I was on it I felt much sharper, and more focused, I almost felt like I did back before I had all of the concussions.  Lions mane is one of the most noticeably useful supplements I have ever experimented with.


So in conclusion, lions mane seem to be a powerful nootropic, potential anti-cancer agent, strong antioxidant, immunostimulant, and helps promote nerve growth.  Overall it seems to be a safe and effective supplement.


Gastroprotective Effects of Lion’s Mane Mushroom Hericium erinaceus (Bull.:Fr.) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae) Extract against Ethanol-Induced Ulcer in Rats,72e9ed69099c0eef,38819de325d881b2.html,0d49dda96a2a7147,6ce1a4f7295df1fb.html,034eeb045436a171,750a15ad12ae25e9.html

Also if you want to purchase some FourSigmatic mushroom products and support this website, use this link. You’ll get 10% off and I get a very small commision which helps me support this website.

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2 thoughts on “Scientific Nutrition Update 24: Lions Mane Mushrooms

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