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Lion’s mane mushrooms, also called hou tou gu or yamabushitake, are enormous, white, shaggy mushrooms that, as they grow, resemble the mane of a lion. Other names for these mushrooms include yamabushitake and hou tou gu.
In Asian countries such as China, India, Japan, and Korea, they have utilised in the kitchen as well as the medical field.
The lion’s mane mushroom can be eaten raw, cooked, dried, or even made into tea if it is soaked long enough. Their extracts are frequently utilised in dietary supplements that may be purchased without a prescription.
Many people describe their taste as having a “seafood-like” quality, frequently drawing comparisons to crab or lobster.
The bioactive compounds found in lion’s mane mushrooms have been shown to have favourable effects on the body as a whole, particularly on the brain, the gut, and the heart.
The following is a list of nine benefits associated with consuming lion’s mane mushrooms and their extracts.
- 1 1. May Offer Some Protection Against Alzheimer’s Disease
- 2 2. Aids in the Relief of Some of the Milder Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression
- 3 3. May Help Patients Recuperate More Quickly from Injuries to the Nervous System
- 4 4. Guards Against the Development of Ulcers in the Digestive Tract
- 5 5. Decreases the Chance of Contracting Heart Disease
- 6 6. Aids in the Management of Diabetic Symptoms
- 7 7. Could Aid in the Fight Against Cancer
- 8 8. Reduces Inflammation and Oxidative Stress
- 9 9. Stimulates the Body’s Immune Response
- 10 The Risks Involved and Their Effects
- 11 Conclusion
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1. May Offer Some Protection Against Alzheimer’s Disease
The capacity of the brain to expand and make new connections normally decreases with age, which may explain why mental functioning worsens in a lot of elderly people as they become older.
Studies have shown that lion’s mane mushrooms contain two unique compounds known as hericenones and erinacines, both of which have the ability to encourage the development of new brain cells.
In addition, research conducted on animals suggests that lion’s mane may assist offer some protection against Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive form of neurodegenerative brain disease that causes memory loss.
In point of fact, it has been demonstrated that the lion’s mane mushroom and its extracts can alleviate the symptoms of memory loss in mice, as well as prevent the neuronal damage caused by amyloid-beta plaques, which are known to build up in the brains of people who have Alzheimer’s disease.
Although there have been no studies conducted to determine whether or not the lion’s mane mushroom can help treat Alzheimer’s disease in humans, it does appear to improve mental functioning.
Consuming 3 grammes of powdered lion’s mane mushroom every day for four months was found to considerably improve mental functioning in a trial including older persons who had minor cognitive impairment. However, these benefits vanished once supplementation with the mushroom was discontinued.
Some of the therapeutic effects of lion’s mane mushroom on brain health could be explained by the mushroom’s ability to protect the brain from damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease and stimulate the creation of new nerves.
On the other hand, it is essential to keep in mind that the majority of the research has been carried out either on animals or in test tubes. Therefore, there is a need for additional research involving humans.
Compounds found in lion’s mane mushrooms protect brain cells from the degeneration brought on by Alzheimer’s disease while also promoting the healthy creation of new brain cells. However, there is a need for additional study with humans.
2. Aids in the Relief of Some of the Milder Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression
It’s estimated that up to one-third of people living in wealthy countries struggle with symptoms of anxiety and despair.
Even though there are a number of different factors that might lead to anxiety and depression, chronic inflammation may be a significant influence.
According to findings from recent studies conducted on animals, the extract of lion’s mane mushrooms contains anti-inflammatory properties and can alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and sadness in mice.
The hippocampus is the part of the brain that is important for processing memories and emotional reactions. Other animal studies have indicated that lion’s mane extract can also help rebuild brain cells and improve the functioning of the hippocampus.
The reduction in anxious and depressive behaviours seen in mice that were given these extracts has led researchers to assume that this may be due to an improvement in the hippocampus’s ability to function.
These experiments on animals have shown some positive results, but there hasn’t been much research done on humans.
One study with menopausal women discovered that giving the participants cookies containing lion’s mane mushrooms to eat every day for a period of one month helped them express less anger and anxiety in their daily lives.
Studies suggest that lion’s mane mushrooms may help reduce moderate symptoms of anxiety and depression, but further research with humans is required to further understand the association between the two conditions.
3. May Help Patients Recuperate More Quickly from Injuries to the Nervous System
The brain, the spinal cord, and the several nerves that connect the brain to the rest of the body are all components of the nervous system. These components coordinate their actions in order to send and receive signals that control practically all of the functions of the body.
Trauma to the brain or the spinal cord can have a life-changing effect. They frequently result in paralysis or the loss of mental abilities, and it may take a very long period for its victims to recover.
However, studies have shown that an extract from the lion’s mane mushroom can aid hasten healing from these kinds of injuries by promoting the growth and regeneration of nerve cells.
When fed to rats with nervous system injuries, research has revealed that lion’s mane mushroom extract can cut the amount of time needed for recovery by between 23 and 41 percent.
The severity of brain damage that occurs after a stroke may be lessened by using an extract of lion’s mane.
One study found that giving rats high doses of lion’s mane mushroom extract immediately after they had suffered a stroke helped reduce inflammation and cut the extent of stroke-related brain injury by 44 percent.
Although these findings are encouraging, there have been no studies carried out on humans to assess whether or not lion’s mane will have the same curative effect on nervous system damage as it did in animals.
Although research on humans is sparse, tests on rats have shown that lion’s mane extract can reduce the amount of time it takes to recover from injuries to the nervous system.
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4. Guards Against the Development of Ulcers in the Digestive Tract
Any part of the digestive tract, including the stomach, the small intestine, and the large intestine, is a potential location for the development of an ulcer.
The overgrowth of a bacteria known as H. pylori and damage to the mucous layer of the stomach, which is frequently caused by the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) for an extended period of time are two of the most common contributing factors that lead to stomach ulcers.
Lion’s mane extract may prevent the development of stomach ulcers by preventing damage to the stomach lining and limiting the growth of H. pylori, which is the bacteria that causes stomach ulcers.
There have been a number of research that have concluded that lion’s mane extract can inhibit the growth of H. pylori in a test tube; however, none of these studies have investigated whether or not the extract has the same effects within the stomach.
In addition, an animal study discovered that lion’s mane extract was more efficient at preventing stomach ulcers brought on by alcohol consumption than the conventional acid-lowering treatments, and it did so without causing any adverse side effects.
In addition, the extract of lion’s mane can lessen inflammation and protect the tissue in other parts of the intestines from being damaged. In point of fact, they may be useful in the treatment of inflammatory bowel illnesses such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
After three weeks of treatment, patients with ulcerative colitis who took a mushroom supplement that contained 14 percent lion’s mane extract experienced a significant reduction in symptoms and an improvement in their quality of life, according to the findings of one study.
When the same research was conducted on patients suffering from Crohn’s disease, however, the results showed that the placebo had the same effect as the real treatment.
Because the herbal supplement that was used in this research contained several other kinds of mushrooms, it is difficult to make any conclusions about the benefits of lion’s mane in particular. This is a crucial point to keep in mind.
In general, the research indicates that lion’s mane extract may be able to help suppress the formation of ulcers; nevertheless, more research on humans is required.
In animal studies, it has been demonstrated that extract from lion’s mane can protect against stomach and intestinal ulcers, while research on humans has produced inconsistent results.
5. Decreases the Chance of Contracting Heart Disease
Obesity, high levels of triglycerides and oxidised cholesterol, as well as an increased propensity to form blood clots, are all significant contributors to the development of coronary heart disease.
According to research, lion’s mane extract can have an effect on some of these factors, hence lowering the probability of developing heart disease.
According to research conducted on rats and mice, the extract of lion’s mane mushroom speeds up the body’s fat burning processes and reduces levels of triglycerides.
In one experiment, rats were given a high-fat diet and then given daily dosages of lion’s mane extract. After 28 days, the rats had significantly lower levels of triglycerides and saw significantly less weight gain.
Because being overweight and having high triglyceride levels are both variables that are thought to increase the likelihood of developing heart disease, this is one way that lion’s mane mushrooms help to keep the heart healthy.
Studies conducted in test tubes have also shown that lion’s mane extract can aid in preventing the oxidation of cholesterol that occurs in the bloodstream.
Oxidized cholesterol molecules have a propensity to attach themselves to the arterial walls, which leads to the hardening of the arteries and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Therefore, lowering levels of oxidation in the body is good for the health of the heart.
In addition, lion’s mane mushrooms have been shown to contain a substance known as hericenone B, which has been shown to slow the rate at which blood clots form and reduce the likelihood of having a heart attack or a stroke.
Although it would appear that lion’s mane mushrooms offer a variety of health benefits to the cardiovascular system, more research involving humans is required to back up these claims.
Investigations conducted on animals and in test tubes suggest that lion’s mane extract may be able to reduce the risk of heart disease in multiple different ways; however, studies conducted on humans are required to corroborate these findings.
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6. Aids in the Management of Diabetic Symptoms
Diabetes is a condition that manifests itself when the body loses its capacity to regulate the amount of sugar that is found in the blood. As a direct consequence of this, levels remain continuously high.
The presence of high blood sugar levels over an extended period of time can eventually lead to a variety of consequences, including renal illness, nerve damage in the hands and feet, and loss of vision.
The use of lion’s mane mushroom in the management of diabetes may be advantageous since it may improve blood sugar control and reduce some of the adverse effects of the condition.
Even at dosages as low as 2.7 milligrammes per pound (6 milligrammes per kilogramme) of body weight per day, lion’s mane has been demonstrated in a number of animal experiments to be able to generate significant reductions in the amount of sugar in the blood in mice that are either normal or diabetic.
One of the mechanisms through which lion’s mane brings down blood sugar levels is by inhibiting the action of the enzyme alpha-glucosidase, which is responsible for the digestion of carbohydrates in the small intestine.
Because of this, when this enzyme is inhibited, the body is unable to digest and absorb carbohydrates as efficiently, which leads to a reduction in the amount of sugar in the blood.
Lion’s mane extract has been shown to alleviate diabetic nerve discomfort in the hands and feet, in addition to its ability to lower blood sugar levels.
In diabetic rats with nerve damage, daily administration of lion’s mushroom extract for six weeks resulted in a considerable reduction in discomfort, a reduction in blood sugar levels, and even an increase in antioxidant levels.
It has been suggested that the lion’s mane mushroom could be utilised as a therapeutic supplement to treat diabetes; however, additional research is required to discover exactly how this mushroom could be used in humans.
In rodents, the lion’s mane mushroom has been shown to help lower blood sugar and lessen diabetic nerve pain; however, additional research is required to discover whether or not this could be an effective therapeutic alternative for humans.
7. Could Aid in the Fight Against Cancer
Cancer develops when DNA sustains damage, which triggers cells to proliferate and multiply uncontrollably and leads to the disease.
A number of the one-of-a-kind chemicals that the lion’s mane mushroom contains are thought to be responsible for the fungus’s potential to combat cancer.
In point of fact, when lion’s mane extract is combined with human cancer cells in a test tube, the result is a hastening of the rate at which the cancer cells pass away. This has been observed with a variety of cancer cells, including those originating from the liver, colon, stomach, and blood.
Nevertheless, at least one study has been unable to replicate these results, indicating that additional research is required.
It has been demonstrated that lion’s mane extract, in addition to destroying cancer cells, can also inhibit the progression of the disease.
One study discovered that administering lion’s mane extract to mice with colon cancer resulted in a 69 percent reduction in the tumour’s ability to move to the lungs.
According to the findings of another study, lion’s mane extract was more efficient than conventional cancer treatments at reducing the growth of tumours in mice, and it also had fewer negative side effects.
Nonetheless, the anti-cancer properties of lion’s mane mushroom have never been studied in humans, which means that additional research is required.
Investigations conducted on animals and in test tubes indicate that extract from lion’s mane can destroy cancer cells and limit the progression of tumours; however, studies conducted on humans are still required.
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8. Reduces Inflammation and Oxidative Stress
It is considered that inflammation that is present over a long period of time and oxidative stress are at the foundation of many modern ailments, including cancer, heart disease, and autoimmune disorders.
According to research, lion’s mane mushrooms have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant components, which may help minimise the severity of the effects these illnesses have on a person’s life.
According to the findings of a study that compared the antioxidant capacities of 14 different species of mushrooms, lion’s mane mushroom was found to have the fourth greatest antioxidant activity, and the researchers advised that it be regarded an excellent dietary source of antioxidants.
Lion’s mane extract has been shown in multiple animal experiments to lower inflammatory markers and oxidative stress in rodents. This finding suggests that lion’s mane extract may be particularly helpful in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, liver damage, and stroke.
It has been demonstrated that consuming lion’s mane mushrooms can lessen the amount of inflammation that is caused by fat tissue. This may help reduce some of the health problems that are linked with being overweight or obese.
Although there is a need for additional research to assess the possible advantages to human health, the findings from studies conducted on animals and in laboratories have shown encouraging outcomes.
Compounds with high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, such as those found in lion’s mane mushroom, may help lessen the negative effects of chronic illness.
9. Stimulates the Body’s Immune Response
A healthy immune system will defend the body against invaders such as bacteria, viruses, and other agents that can cause disease.
On the other side, if the immune system is compromised, there is a greater possibility that the body will become infected with infectious diseases.
Animal studies have shown that the lion’s mane mushroom can strengthen the immune system by enhancing the function of the intestinal immune system. This system defends the body against pathogens that enter the gut through the mouth or the nose.
It is possible that the positive alterations in gut bacteria that boost the immune system are responsible for some of these effects.
According to the findings of one study, daily supplementation with lion’s mane extract nearly fourfold increased the average longevity of mice that had been given a level of salmonella bacteria that would normally be fatal.
The potential for lion’s mane mushrooms to strengthen the immune system shows a lot of promise, although research into this topic is still in its early stages.
Although it has been demonstrated that lion’s mane mushrooms can improve the immune system of rodents, much more investigation is still required.
The Risks Involved and Their Effects
Although there have been no studies conducted on humans to investigate the possible adverse effects of lion’s mane mushroom or its extract, it would appear that they are extremely harmless.
Even at doses as high as 2.3 grammes per pound (5 grammes per kg) of body weight per day for one month or lower dosages for three months, no detrimental effects were observed in rats. This was the case even at the highest possible level.
Because it is a species of mushroom, however, lion’s mane should be avoided by anyone who suffers from a sensitivity or allergy to mushrooms.
After being exposed to lion’s mane mushrooms, some people have reported having allergic reactions, including difficulties breathing and rashes on their skin. These reactions were likely caused by an allergy.
Even at extremely high doses, lion’s mane mushroom and its extracts appear to be very safe, according to research conducted on animals. However, there have been reports of adverse responses in people; therefore, anyone who is aware that they are sensitive to mushrooms should avoid consuming it.
The lion’s mane mushroom and the extract made from it have been demonstrated to be beneficial to one’s health in a number of different ways.
According to the findings of certain studies, lion’s mane may help prevent dementia, lessen the intensity of some anxiety and depression symptoms, and aid in the repair of nerve damage.
In animal studies, it has been proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, ulcers, and diabetes. It also possesses powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune-boosting characteristics.
While the findings of the most recent study are encouraging, additional research on humans is required to explore the lion’s mane mushroom’s potential for use in clinical settings.