Humans have been consuming mushrooms for centuries. Mushrooms are fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting bodies of a fungus that are used for delicious recipes, or you can consume them through various types of supplements. There are various different types of mushroom, and a number of reported health benefits for each kind.                                                                                  

What are Lion’s Mane Mushrooms?

Lion’s mane mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus) are white, globe-shaped fungi with long, shaggy spines. There is evidence that suggests they could be useful for treating memory loss, providing cognitive support, helping digestive disturbance, and as a prebiotic.

5 Benefits of Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

1. Could Help Protect Against Dementia

Lion’s Mane Mushrooms are reported to have helped to stimulate the growth of brain cells. The two special compounds that helpthe growth cells are hericenone and erinacines. Lion’s Mane Mushrooms might also protect against memory loss in Alzheimer’s, as shown by studies using mice. Studies also indicate that neuronal damage caused by amyloid-beta plaques that accumulates during Alzheimer’s can be prevented.  Any studies that indicate support for dementia and Alzheimer’s were carried out in test tubes or animals, and more human studies are needed.

2. Might Speed Up Nervous System Injuries

Lion’s Mane Mushrooms might help speed recovery of injuries to the nervous system. Injuries to the brain or spinal cord can lead to paralysis or loss of mental functions. These can take a long time to heal (and in some cases may not) and research has found that lion’s mane mushrooms might help to speed up the growth and repair of these nerve cells.  In studies with rats, the lion’s mane mushroom extract has been shown to increase recovery time by 23-41%. However, studies with human subjects are still lacking, and whether the same therapeutic effects would apply to humans is not as conclusive.

3. Reduces Inflammation and Oxidative Stress

Lion’s Mane Mushrooms have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds which might help reduce many common illnesses such as heart disease and cancer. In a study assessing 14 different mushrooms species, Lion’s Mane Mushrooms were found to have the fourth highest antioxidant properties. Studies with animals show that Lion’s Mane Extract can reduce oxidative stress and can be particularly beneficial in the management of inflammatory of bowel disease, liver damage, and stroke.

4. Boosts Immune System

Research indicates Lion’s Mane Mushrooms can boost your immune system health, helping to prevent from bacteria, viruses and other pathogens that might cause disease. Most of the research has taken place in animals. One study showed that lion’s mane extract led to increasing lifespan in mice by four after being injected with a lethal dose of salmonella bacteria.

5. Beneficial for Anxiety and Mood

Research also shows Lion’s Mane Mushrooms can help in treating depression and anxiety. A 2016 study with mice showed that mice had less depressive behaviours and blood markers also indicated lower depression. Further studies have shown reduced depression but only in animal studies. Smaller human studies have shown some potential benefits for irritation and anxiety with women facing sleep issues and menopausal symptoms.

Taking Lion’s Mane Mushrooms or Lion’s Mane Extract

Whether you take Lion’s Mane Mushroom as part of a meal, or in supplement form, there are a range of potential health benefits. If you’re looking to include Lion’s Mane in your diet, it’s important to cook until the outer layer of the mushrooms is crispy, otherwise the taste can be very bitter. A favourite way to use these mushrooms is to cook them in butter and eat them whole. These mushrooms can also be tasty as part of a bone broth. You can also take Lion’s Mane in capsule, liquid, tablet and powder form.

The dosages of the different supplements will vary and it can be helpful to discuss any supplements with your doctor. Lion’s Mane Mushrooms are thought to be beneficial to a range of issues, provide nutritional benefits, and have very low risk of side effects. Animals who consumed high doses did not produce any adverse effects.

– Gary

Instagram @nourishireland

*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention

Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication

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