As we continually strive for healthier alternatives, lion’s mane is capturing the attention of the global wellness industry. Noted for its remarkable health benefits, this unique mushroom offers an enticing addition to any health-focused product line. In this article, we dive into the health benefits of the lion’s mane mushroom based on scientific research.
What is lion’s mane
Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus) is a mushroom that grows on trunks of old or dead trees across North America, Asia and Europe. It is white, has shaggy spines, and resembles a lion’s mane as it grows. That’s where its name comes from.
Lion’s mane mushroom has a long history of culinary and medicinal uses in Asian countries. It is rich in vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. It’s also a good source of essential minerals, including manganese, zinc, and potassium.
Lion’s mane benefits
According to research, the mushroom contains a variety of components that are good for our health and have various advantages. Here are some of its potential health benefits:
1. Protection against Alzheimer’s disease
The brain’s ability to form new connections typically declines with age, which may explain why mental functioning worsens in many older adults. A 2023 pre-clinical mouse study led by the Queensland Brain Institute identified new compounds of lion’s mane that have the potential to improve memory and boost brain cell growth.
Earlier studies on mice have also revealed that the mushroom and its extracts can lessen the symptoms of memory loss and protect neurons against amyloid-beta plaques, which build up in the brain during Alzheimer’s disease.
A 2016 study found that lion’s mane may serve as a neuroprotective candidate for treating or preventing neurodegenerative diseases. Moreover, a 2020 study of people with mild Alzheimer’s disease showed that daily supplementation of this mushroom for 49 weeks significantly improved cognitive test scores compared with a placebo.
2. Improved recovery from nervous system injuries
Various negative medical effects might result from brain or spinal cord damage. They can take a long time to heal and frequently result in paralysis or the loss of mental abilities.
However, studies have discovered that lion’s mane mushroom extract may speed recovery by promoting nerve cell development and repair. Additionally, it might decrease the severity of post-stroke brain damage.
According to one study, rats with nerve damage given lion’s mane mushroom extract daily experienced quicker nerve regeneration than animals in control groups. Nevertheless, no human studies have been conducted yet to see if lion’s mane will have the same therapeutic impact on nervous system injuries as animal research has revealed.
3. Reduction of anxiety and depression
While many factors can contribute to anxiety and depression, chronic inflammation may be a major one. Lion’s mane mushroom extracts may be beneficial in the treatment of these two disorders thanks to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
A 2015 study showed that mice consuming lion’s mane mushroom extract exhibited fewer depressive behaviours and had lower levels of blood indicators for depression. The researchers hypothesize that the extract’s anti-inflammatory properties are the reason for this.
A small Japanese study included women with a range of health issues, such as menopausal symptoms and poor sleep. Participants who consumed cookies containing lion’s mane extract for four weeks reported lower levels of irritation and anxiety than those in the placebo group.
4. Immune system boost
A 2017 study shows that the mushroom can boost the immunity of mice by increasing the activity of the intestinal immune system, which protects the body from pathogens that enter the gut through the mouth or nose.
According to the findings of another study conducted on mice, lion’s mane mushrooms contain a protein that promotes the development of good gut bacteria that boost immunity. However, more research is needed to confirm this effect on humans.
This article is part of our two-part series on lion’s mane. In the second article, you will learn more about market trends, consumer behavior, and why this product has potential for your supplement private label.