Lions Mane

Lion’s Mane is an edible mushroom with a long history of medicinal use. It has become popular as a nootropic after research showed it to increase levels of nerve growth factor in humans. Higher levels of NGF are linked to an increase in the growth rate of neurons.

Benefits

  • Stimulates the nerve growth factor [4][2]
  • Improves cognitive ability [3]
  • Stimulates myelination – helps prevent neurodegenerative autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis [5]
  • May be helpful for treating dementia.

What Is Lion’s Mane?

Lion’s Mane is an edible mushroom of the tooth fungus group. It has a wide history of use in Ancient Chinese medicine, and recent studies have shown it to be a powerful antioxidant as well as being able to help regulate blood lipid and glucose levels. Lion’s Mane is also frequently used as an ingredient in Chinese cuisine.

Recent research has shown Lion’s Mane Mushroom to boost levels of nerve growth factor in the brain. Nerve growth factor (NGF) is a small protein which plays a vital role in the growth and maintenance of certain neurons. Because Lion’s Mane raises NGF levels, it is an excellent supplement for long-term cognitive health.

Medical Uses of Lion’s Mane

Lion’s Mane has seen a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine, and recent research has shown it to have significant medical value. Lion’s Mane is a powerful anti-oxidant and can help regular blood glucose and lipid levels.

It has also been shown to be effective in treating dementia related to cognitive decline, as well as gastric ulcers and esophageal carcinoma.

Using Lion’s Mane

Lion’s Mane is best taken as a daily supplement for the promotion of long-term cognitive health. The boost it provides to NGF means that more brain cells will be created and existing neurons will be healthier. Lion’s Mane is most commonly sold in capsules, and is available fairly cheaply.

Dosing Lion’s Mane

The average dose is 500mgs taken daily. However, doses people decide to take tend to vary. Effects are extremely subtle and doses higher than 500 mg a day is unlikely to provide more pronounced benefits.

How Does Lion’s Mane Work?

Lion’s Mane’s effects on the human brain revolve around the way it affects the nerve growth factor (NGF). NGF is a protein that stimulates the production of nerve growth in the human brain. The NFG protein has a hard time passing through the blood-brain barrier causing the amount of NFG in our brain to diminish over time. This leads to slower nerve production as we age and when NFG levels become too low can even lead to an assortment of neurodegenerative diseases. The lion’s mane nootropic comes into play because it contains two molecules small enough to pass through the blood-brain barrier. Once these molecules pass through the barrier they stimulate the growth of NGF proteins causing an increase in the rate at which brain cells are grown.

Safety and Side Effects of Lion’s Mane

The lion mane’s mushroom is regarded is completely safe with virtually no toxicity. There has never been a reported overdose. Mild fatigue is the only side effect consistently reported.

Lion’s Mane FAQ

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about Lion’s Mane. If you have a question that’s not on this list, send it to us at [email protected] and we will answer it for you.

Should I Take Lion’s Mane?

The short answer to this question is “Yes!” Not only are there no real side effects but this nootropic is one of the only known substances that has the ability to stimulate the nerve growth factor. Just the discovery of the NGF was enough to earn the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. Having an increased NGF promotes your brain’s overall health and cognitive abilities. Also, being able to produce brain cells faster results in this nootropic having a synergistic effect with virtually anything else you are using. I believe this nootropic should be a part of every person’s regimen.

Why is NGF Important?

NGF is a small protein which plays a number of important roles in the brain. NGF plays a vital role in the survival and death of neurons. Higher levels of NGF in the brain increase the ability of existing neurons to survive and improves the rate at which new neurons are created.

Low levels of NGF have been linked to health problems including psychiatric disorders, Acute coronary symptoms, and metabolic syndromes. Because Lion’s Mane improves levels of NGF, it is ideal as a long-term supplement for overall mental health.

How noticeable are the effects of Lion’s Mane?

Lion’s Mane is a great supplement for long-term mental health, however, it won’t produce immediate cognitive benefits like most other nootropics. You shouldn’t feel any different after taking Lion’s Mane, however it’s effects on NGF mean after long-term use your brain will function better than it would without it.

Is it possible to overdose on Lion’s Mane?

Lion’s Mane is extremely non-toxic and is safe to ingest at very high doses. No overdoses on Lion’s Mane have ever been reported.

Is it safe to drink alcohol while on Lion’s Mane?

Lion’s Mane Mushroom has does not interact with alcohol in any way. When taking Lion’s Mane Mushroom, it is safe to continue with your prior drinking habits.

Can I take Lion’s Mane every day?

Lion’s Mane is completely safe for daily use, and it is actually recommended that it be used daily. It is not addictive, and no withdrawal effects will be noticed if you cease a regimen.

What Are Some Noticeable Studies Performed on Lion’s Mane?

Multiple studies have indicated that Lion’s Mane Mushroom stimulates the nerve growth factor. In other words, this nootropic helps you make brain cells quicker. One study performed on rat adrenal nerve cells showed improved nerve cell growth and neurite extension. [2] Another study tested the effects of four different edible mushrooms on human brain cells. Among the four mushrooms, only the H. erinaceus promoted the neuron growth factor. The extract also promoted the secretion of protein from 1321N1 cells. [4]

After the discovery that Lion’s Mane promoted the NGF, a study was conducted by the same organization to determine how much the nootropic improved cognitive abilities. Thirty subjects were randomized into two 15-person groups. One group was given a placebo and the other group was given the lion’s mane extract. Even though there were no differences between the groups cognitive test scores after week 4, the group that received the extract scored significantly higher after weeks 8, 12, and 16. After intake of the extract stopped, the scores returned to normal. [3]

One last study was conducted in search for a substance that could provide regulatory and protective effects on the normal myelination as well as stimulating action after myelin damage. This is important because the myelin sheaths which are wrapped around axons support, protect, and feed the nervous system. Damage to myelin sheaths can result in a wide variety of neurodegenerative autoimmune diseases. When H. erinaceus was introduced to in vitro cells it was observed that myelination began much earlier and occurred at a quicker rate when compared to the control cells. It also demonstrated a regulatory effect on the process of myelin genesis. [5]

Cited Studies

2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19003308 

3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18844328 

4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18758067 

5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12675022