Lion’s mane mushrooms are large, white, and shaggy looking mushrooms that resemble a lion’s mane. Over time, the lion’s mushrooms have been used for medical and culinary purposes, especially in Asian countries like Korea, China, Japan and India. Moreover, the lion’s mane mushroom extract has increased in popularity due to the various benefits it has to the body.
Lion’s mane mushrooms have a seafood-like flavor, and it contains bioactive elements that have beneficial effects on the gut, heart, and brain. Here are nine health benefits associated with lion’s mane mushrooms.
Protection against Dementia
As we age, the brain’s ability to grow and create new connections diminishes, which is the reason for poor mental functions in older people. Lion’s mane mushrooms have erinacines and hericenones, which encourage the growth of brain cells.
Moreover, animal model studies have shown that lion’s mane mushrooms may protect against Alzheimer’s disease. This is a degenerative brain disease that causes progressive memory loss. A study found that when senior citizens with mild cognitive impairment took three grams of powdered lion’s mane mushroom every day for four months, they had improved brain functions. However, when the select group stopped taking it, mental functions declined significantly. Most of the tests have been done on animals, and there is a need for more human trials.
Protection against Ulcers in the Digestive Tract
Ulcers can form anywhere on the digestive tract right from the stomach to the large intestine. Stomach ulcers are caused by H. pylori bacteria overgrowth, and damage to the mucous stomach lining due to long term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Lion’s mane mushrooms help protect against the development of stomach ulcers by inhibiting the growth of H. pylori and protecting the stomach lining from damage. Moreover, the lion’s mane mushroom extract is more effective in lowering the risk of alcohol-induced stomach ulcers than conventional acid-lowering drugs without negative side effects.
Lion’s mane mushrooms can also reduce inflammation and prevent tissue degeneration in other areas of the intestines. Moreover, it may help cure inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
The leading causes of heart disease are obesity, large amounts of oxidized cholesterol, high triglycerides and increased tendencies of getting blood clots. Lion’s mane mushroom extract has been shown to influence these factors and lower the risk of heart disease.
Lion’s mane mushroom improves fat metabolism and lowers the triglyceride levels, thus improving heart health. Moreover, it contains hericenone B, which can decrease the rate of blood clotting, thus lowering the risk of a stroke or heart disease.
Relieves Anxiety and Depression Stress
A study conducted on Japanese women in their menopause stage of life found positive results in alleviating stress and supporting emotional well-being. More animal tests have linked lion’s mane mushrooms to regulate neurogenesis in the hippocampus. This is the part of the brain that is responsible for regulating memory, emotional stability, and mood.
Lion’s mane mushrooms work to slow down the aging process both directly and indirectly. This is through its ability to support overall well-being and health by stimulating bodily processes that slow down aging.
It also increases the rate of repair for the nervous system and the brain, due to the process of polysaccharides that increase the activity of superoxide dismutase. This is a cell protector and a powerful antioxidant in the liver and the brain.
Provides Immune Support
Like most medicinal mushrooms, the lion’s mane has polysaccharides and beta-glucans that help improves the functioning of the immune system. Studies in animal models have found enhanced immune functioning through the antimicrobial activity in the gut.
Moreover, the lion’s mane mushrooms’ bacterial effects in the intestines lead to positive changes in the probiotic gut bacteria, and this leads to a better immunity system. It also benefits the response of blood sugar and insulin response in the body.
Lion’s mane mushrooms also have various anti-inflammatory properties that work together on multiple pathways, and they support the proper functioning of the immune system.
It Helps Manage Diabetes Symptoms
Diabetes occurs when the body loses the ability to control sugar levels in the blood. Chronic high blood sugar levels will result in severe complications such as nerve damage in the feet and hands, kidney disease, and vision loss.
Lion’s mane mushrooms may come in handy in the management of diabetes symptoms by improving the body’s ability to control the blood sugar as well as reducing some of the side effects. It does this by blocking the activity of enzyme alpha-glucosidase, which then breaks down carbs in the small intestines.
The body can then be able to digest and absorb carbs more efficiently, resulting in lower blood sugar levels. Moreover, the lion’s mane mushrooms may also reduce diabetic nerve pain in the feet and hands.
Nutritionists and scientists all over the world have described the lion’s mane mushroom as a superfood. Its ability to have positive effects on the brain, heart and nervous system is one of the reasons why you should take it.