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Does Lion’s Mane Support Brain Health?

Does Lion’s Mane Support Brain Health?

brain on Lion's Mane

Medicinal mushrooms have long been used in holistic healing methods and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for various purposes. Lion’s mane mushrooms, in particular, are shown to provide several potential health benefits. Many studies have established the benefits of lion’s mane extract to include supporting brain cells and brain health. For example, ingesting the edible mushroom extract or the dietary supplement may support brain function, cognitive health, learning and memory, and healthy brain aging, as well as overall mood health due to its antioxidant activity and bioactive compounds.

This article will discuss mushroom supplements’ potential to protect your brain, nervous system, and immune system. Keep reading to learn the health benefits of lion’s mane mushrooms and if it may be helpful for your health condition and wellness.

May Promote Learning and Memory

Research reveals lion’s mane’s ability to cause neurons in the brain’s hippocampus to grow and form new connections. This part of the brain is responsible for learning and memory.

A neuron resembles a tree. The main body is the trunk, and the dendrites and axons reach out like branches. The branches communicate with other neurons to facilitate mental communication.

The branches have growth cones at the end. These hair-like filaments are what give the mushrooms their fuzzy appearance. They grow towards other neurons to communicate.

Laboratory tests show that lion’s mane mushrooms cause hippocampal neurons and growth cones to grow and form more efficient connections. The mushroom has also been tested in practical implications. Mice exposed to the fungus exhibited improved spatial memory.

May Support the Brain Against Declining Factors Due to Age

Lion mane’s beneficial effects suggest it may reduce the risk of forms of dementia.

Studies have found it may help with inflammation and oxidative stress, contributing to cognitive disorder progression. It also increases the production of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) and NGF (nerve growth factor), which contribute to neuro-regeneration and neuroprotection.

May Promote Brain Injury Recovery

A 2021 study revealed lion’s mane’s ability to speed recovery in people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). The study participants were treated with a combination of lion’s mane and turkey tail mushroom. Results revealed that the mushrooms reduced inflammation and oxidative stress. However, more clinical research is needed to support this theory.

May Support Cognitive Impairment

One clinical trial revealed that lion’s mane may benefit people with mild cognitive impairment.

The study participants were divided into two groups. One group took 250-milligram powdered lion’s mane tablets thrice daily for 16 weeks. The other group took a placebo.

The study showed that the lion’s mane group scored higher on cognitive function tests than the placebo group. Their scores increased the longer they took the supplement. Scores decreased after they discontinued their dosage.

May Support Mood Health for Stress and Anxiety

Lion’s mane may also improve mental health. 

A 2010 study showed that people who ate cookies containing 0.5 grams of powdered lion’s mane extracted from the fruiting body for four weeks reported less anxiety than the study group that took placebo cookies. Researchers believe that the mushroom’s nerve growth factor effects were responsible for lowering anxiety.

Lion’s mane mushrooms provide several brain health benefits. They may improve memory and learning, reduce the risk of cognitive disorders, promote brain injury healing, boost mood, and improve functioning in people with mild impairment. They are useful supplements for anyone experiencing brain fog or dealing with or at risk for brain-related conditions. Keep in mind that lion’s mane supplements may not be right for everyone. Always talk with your healthcare provider or a registered dietician to find out if lion’s mane is right for you. 

If you decide to add this supplement to your diet, click here to learn more about the best lion’s mane supplements.