Lions mane

Info from  from

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/lions-mane-mushroom

9 Health Benefits of Lion's Mane Mushroom (Plus Side Effects)

Lion’s mane mushrooms, also known as hou tou gu or yamabushitake, are large, white, shaggy mushrooms that resemble a lion’s mane as they grow.

They have both culinary and medical uses in Asian countries like China, India, Japan and Korea (1Trusted Source).

Lion’s mane mushrooms can be enjoyed raw, cooked, dried or steeped as a tea. Their extracts often used in over-the-counter health supplements.

Many describe their flavor as “seafood-like,” often comparing it to crab or lobster (2Trusted Source).

Lion’s mane mushrooms contain bioactive substances that have beneficial effects on the body, especially the brain, heart and gut.

Here are 9 health benefits of lion’s mane mushrooms and their extracts.

The brain’s ability to grow and form new connections typically declines with age, which may explain why mental functioning gets worse in many older adults (3Trusted Source).

Studies have found that lion’s mane mushrooms contain two special compounds that can stimulate the growth of brain cells: hericenones and erinacines (4Trusted Source).

Additionally, animal studies have found that lion’s mane may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative brain disease that causes progressive memory loss.

In fact, lion’s mane mushroom and its extracts have been shown to reduce symptoms of memory loss in mice, as well as prevent neuronal damage caused by amyloid-beta plaques, which accumulate in the brain during Alzheimer’s disease (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source).

While no studies have analyzed whether lion’s mane mushroom is beneficial for Alzheimer’s disease in humans, it appears to boost mental functioning.

A study in older adults with mild cognitive impairment found that consuming 3 grams of powdered lion’s mane mushroom daily for four months significantly improved mental functioning, but these benefits disappeared when supplementation stopped (9Trusted Source).

The ability of lion’s mane mushroom to promote nerve growth and protect the brain from Alzheimer’s-related damage may explain some of its beneficial effects on brain health.

However, it’s important to note that most of the research has been conducted in animals or in test tubes. Therefore, more human studies are needed.

SUMMARYLion’s mane mushrooms contain compounds that stimulate the growth of brain cells and protect them from damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease. However, more human research is needed.

Up to one-third of people living in developed countries experience symptoms of anxiety and depression (10Trusted Source).

While there are many causes of anxiety and depression, chronic inflammation could be a major contributing factor.

New animal research has found that lion’s mane mushroom extract has anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in mice (11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).

Other animal studies have found that lion’s mane extract can also help regenerate brain cells and improve the functioning of the hippocampus, a region of the brain responsible for processing memories and emotional responses (13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source).

Researchers believe that improved functioning of the hippocampus may explain the reductions in anxious and depressive behaviors in mice given these extracts.

While these animal studies are promising, there is very little research in humans.

One small study in menopausal women found that eating cookies containing lion’s mane mushrooms daily for one month helped reduce self-reported feelings of irritation and anxiety (15Trusted Source).

SUMMARYStudies suggest that lion’s mane mushrooms may help relieve mild symptoms of anxiety and depression, but more human research is needed to better understand the correlation.

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when the body loses the ability to control blood sugar levels. As a result, levels are consistently elevated.

Chronically high blood sugar levels eventually cause complications like kidney disease, nerve damage in the hands and feet and vision loss.

Lion’s mane mushroom may be beneficial for diabetes management by improving blood sugar control and reducing some of these side effects.

Several animal studies have shown that lion’s mane can cause significantly lower blood sugar levels in both normal and diabetic mice, even at daily dosages as low as 2.7 mg per pound (6 mg per kg) of body weight (35Trusted Source, 36Trusted Source).

One way that lion’s mane lowers blood sugars is by blocking the activity of the enzyme alpha-glucosidase, which breaks down carbs in the small intestine (37Trusted Source).

When this enzyme is blocked, the body is unable to digest and absorb carbs as effectively, which results in lower blood sugar levels.

In addition to lowering blood sugars, lion’s mane extract may reduce diabetic nerve pain in the hands and feet.

In mice with diabetic nerve damage, six weeks of daily lion’s mushroom extract significantly reduced pain, lowered blood sugar levels and even increased antioxidant levels (38Trusted Source).

Lion’s mane mushroom shows potential as a therapeutic supplement for diabetes, but more research is needed to determine exactly how it might be used in humans.

SUMMARYLion’s mane mushroom can help lower blood sugar and reduce diabetic nerve pain in mice, but more studies are needed to determine whether it might be a good therapeutic option in humans.

Cancer occurs when DNA becomes damaged and causes cells to divide and replicate out of control.

Some research suggests that lion’s mane mushroom has cancer-fighting abilities, thanks to several of its unique compounds (39Trusted Source, 40Trusted Source).

In fact, when lion’s mane extract is mixed with human cancer cells in a test tube, they cause the cancer cells to die at a faster rate. This has been demonstrated with several types of cancer cells, including liver, colon, stomach and blood cancer cells (41Trusted Source, 42Trusted Source, 43Trusted Source).

However, at least one study has failed to replicate these results, so more studies are needed (44Trusted Source).

In addition to killing cancer cells, lion’s mane extract has also been shown to slow the spread of cancer.

One study in mice with colon cancer found that taking lion’s mane extract reduced the spread of cancer to the lungs by 69% (45Trusted Source).

Another study found that lion’s mane extract was more effective than traditional cancer medications at slowing tumor growth in mice, in addition to having fewer side effects (42Trusted Source).

However, the anti-cancer effects of lion’s mane mushroom have never been tested in humans, so more research is needed.

SUMMARYAnimal and test-tube studies show that lion’s mane extract can kill cancer cells and slow the spread of tumors, but human studies are still needed.

Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress are believed to be at the root of many modern illnesses, including heart disease, cancer and autoimmune disorders (46Trusted Source).

Research shows that lion’s mane mushrooms contain powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds that may help reduce the impact of these illnesses (47Trusted Source).

In fact, one study examining the antioxidant abilities of 14 different mushroom species found that lion’s mane had the fourth highest antioxidant activity and recommended it be considered a good dietary source of antioxidants (48Trusted Source).

Several animal studies have found that lion’s mane extract reduced markers of inflammation and oxidative stress in rodents and may be especially useful in the management of inflammatory bowel disease, liver damage and stroke (20Trusted Source, 26Trusted Source, 49Trusted Source, 50Trusted Source).

Lion’s mane mushrooms may also help reduce some of the health risks associated with obesity, as they have been shown to decrease the amount of inflammation released by fat tissue (51Trusted Source).

More studies are needed to determine the potential health benefits in humans, but the results from lab and animal studies are promising.

SUMMARYLion’s mane mushroom contains powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that may help reduce the impact of chronic illness.

A strong immune system protects the body from bacteria, viruses and other disease-causing pathogens.

On the other hand, a weak immune system puts the body at a higher risk of developing infectious diseases.

Animal research shows that lion’s mane mushroom can boost immunity by increasing the activity of the intestinal immune system, which protects the body from pathogens that enter the gut through the mouth or nose (52Trusted Source).

These effects may partly be due to beneficial changes in gut bacteria that stimulate the immune system (53Trusted Source).

One study even found that supplementing with lion’s mane extract daily nearly quadrupled the lifespan of mice injected with a lethal dose of salmonella bacteria (54Trusted Source).

The immune-boosting effects of lion’s mane mushrooms are very promising, but this area of research is still developing.

SUMMARYLion’s mane mushrooms have been shown to have immune-boosting effects in rodents, but much more research is needed.

No human studies have examined the side effects of lion’s mane mushroom or its extract, but they appear to be very safe.

No adverse effects have been seen in rats, even at doses as high as 2.3 grams per pound (5 grams per kg) of body weight per day for one month or lower dosages for three months (55Trusted Source, 56Trusted Source, 57Trusted Source).

However, anyone who is allergic or sensitive to mushrooms should avoid lion’s mane, since it is a species of mushroom.

There have been documented cases of people experiencing difficulty breathing or skin rashes after exposure to lion’s mane mushrooms, likely related to allergies (58Trusted Source, 59Trusted Source).

SUMMARYAnimal studies suggest that lion’s mane mushroom and its extracts are very safe, even at high doses. However, allergic reactions in humans have been reported, so anyone with a known mushroom allergy should avoid it.

Lion’s mane mushroom and its extract have been shown to have a variety of health benefits.

Research has found that lion’s mane may protect against dementia, reduce mild symptoms of anxiety and depression and help repair nerve damage.

It also has strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune-boosting abilities and been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, ulcers and diabetes in animals.

While the current research is promising, more human studies are needed to develop practical health applications for lion’s mane mushroom.