Since ancient times, Buddhist monks have drunk Lion’s Mane tea to deepen their focus and meditation practice.
Science shows that these people knew what they were doing.
Lion’s Mane boosts Nerve Growth Factor in your brain and helps create new brain cells. (2)
This nootropic mushroom is able to boost your mood, memory, and cognition.
Here are some of the key benefits of Lion’s Mane:
- Improves Brain Plasticity – Lion’s Mane’s active compounds, erinacines and hericenones, easily pass through the blood-brain barrier to boost neuronal growth and repair. Not only does Lion’s Mane Mushroom prevent and treat brain cell damage. It also protects from neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia.
- Supports Healthy Memory and Cognition – By boosting Nerve Growth Factor, Lion’s Mane increases your cognitive capacity. This includes memory, focus, thinking, word recall, and logic.
- Helps With Mood and Brain Fog – As a nootropic, Lion’s Mane stimulates the growth of new neurons and enhances your neurotransmitters. Among these are dopamine, GABA and serotonin, all of which are key mood regulators.
This scientifically referenced article explains all about Lion’s Mane Mushroom. Including its effects on the brain, dosage instructions, side effects, and more.
What is Lion’s Mane Mushroom?
Lion’s Mane, aka yamabushitake, is a mushroom with medicinal and brain-boosting properties.
It grows on trees and logs across Europe, Southeast Asia, and North America.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom works by boosting the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) in your brain.
Nerve Growth Factor is essential for learning and neuroplasticity. (1)
However, there’s a catch.
NGF by itself can’t easily cross the blood-brain barrier since it has a heavy molecular weight.
But hericenones and erinacines, the two active compounds in Lion’s Mane, have a light molecular weight. This allows them to easily cross the blood-brain barrier and directly induce NGF production in the brain.
Not only that, Lion’s Mane helps reduce beta-amyloid build up in the brain.
Beta-Amyloids are proteins that can form plaque in your brain, blocking the signal between neurons. This can lead to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
In addition to preventing amyloid plaque, Lion’s Mane Mushroom is also high in antioxidants and anti-tumor compounds like beta-glucans. These boost your immune system and fight cancer cells.
How it Works
Lion’s Mane works by improving the NGF release in the hippocampus. (2)
Hippocampus is the area of your brain essential for memory, learning, and cognition.
Alongside improving hippocampus activity, Lion’s Mane also:
- Maintains brain plasticity
- Helps build myelin sheath around your nerves, improving signaling between brain cells
- Promotes growth and connection between neurons
- Boosts synaptic activity leading to faster and clearer thinking
In fact, research has shown that low levels of NGF link to mood swings and brain degeneration. (3, 4)
What’s more, just a slight dip in your Nerve Growth Factor can cause spatial memory impairment.
A study from Kuala Lumpur showed that Lion’s Mane extracts improved NGF synthesis in the brains of volunteers, leading to neurite outgrowth and improved brain cell functioning. (5)
Another study from Japan tested the effects of Lion’s Mane on 30 women. These women experienced depression during menopause. They couldn’t sleep and had issues with mood swings.
After 4 weeks of receiving Lion’s Mane, these women showed reduced depression and anxiety levels. Based on these results, the study concluded that Lion’s Mane could be effective at treating mood disorders. (6)
Lion Mane’s Effects on Your Brain
To understand Lion’s Mane’s benefits, we should look at which brain pathways it affects:
Your hippocampus governs processes like your memory, learning, and retaining new information.
By boosting the Nerve Growth Factor synthesis, Lion’s Mane optimizes your hippocampal activity.
Not only that, animal studies show that Lion’s Mane speeds up neuron regeneration and formation of new nerves. (7)
It also promotes the creation of the myelin sheath which encases your axons.
What exactly is myelin sheath?
Basically, it’s a fatty substance wrapped around your nerve fibers (axons). Axons are long, threadlike parts of your neurons.
Much like insulation around an electrical cable, myelin sheath encases and protects your nerves.
In turn, this promotes a fast and smooth transmission of nerve signals.
Brain Cell Protection
There’s a bonus benefit of having enough myelin sheath around your nerves, besides faster neuron signaling.
This benefit is brain cell protection.
See, Lion’s Mane indirectly protects your brain by helping to create enough myelin sheath around the nerve to protect it.
The stronger the myelination, the more insulated your nerves are – just like with an electrical wire.
Also, Lion’s Mane protects the brain from excess protein plaque. (8)
It does this by preventing the formation of irregular proteins which can block neuron signaling.
By doing so, Lion’s Mane helps you avoid neuronal degeneration.
Clinical Evidence of Lion Mane’s Benefits
While we have human studies that show Lion’s Mane positive benefits for cognition, mood, and memory.
There isn’t much human research on Lion’s Mane brain regenerating properties.
However, we do have some very promising animal studies.
If these are anything to go by, Lion’s Mane might be of the best nootropics for rejuvenating your neurons.
See for yourself: