Medicinal mushrooms are finding their way into more of your favorite health and wellness staples, and for good reason. These powerful fungi are nutritional powerhouses brimming with benefits for your brain and body.
Lion’s Mane mushroom has emerged as the frontrunner in the wave of helpful edible fungi. It’s a nootropic (cognitive enhancer), an adaptogen (stress-buster), and the apple of many a researcher’s eye. It’s also one of the star ingredients in our Superfood Focus Bites.
So what exactly is Lion’s Mane, and why is it getting all this buzz? Let’s explore the top science-backed Lion’s Mane mushroom benefits to find out.
What Is Lion’s Mane Mushroom? A Fungal Friend with a Long History
Lion’s Mane mushrooms (Hericium erinaceum), known as yamabushitake in Japan, are culinary and medicinal mushrooms found in forests across Asia, North America, and Europe. It’s aptly named for its striking resemblance to the mane of a lion, thanks to its cascading waterfall of white, shaggy tendrils.
Ancient cultures have known about the therapeutic effects of Lion's Mane and other mushrooms for centuries. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, fungi are even referred to as “spirit plants” because they’re believed to promote longevity.
So What Does Lion’s Mane Mushroom Do For You?
Lion's Mane is a valuable mushroom known for its strong bioactive properties. Scientists say the potential health benefits found in both its mycelium (roots) and fruiting bodies may:
Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress caused by harmful free radical damage impair healthy aging. This raises your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, metabolic disorders (obesity, type 2 diabetes, etc.), neurodegenerative diseases, and cancer. That’s why combating inflammation is priority #1.
According to in vitro studies, Lion's Mane has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Its antioxidant activity scavenges those free radicals to prevent or diminish damage and reduce inflammation. These potent antioxidants may be why medicinal mushrooms might help slow aging and prevent chronic health conditions.
Support a Healthy Gut
Mushrooms like Lion's Mane are a fantastic source of prebiotics and polysaccharides to support your gut. This dietary fiber feeds the beneficial bacteria living in your gut microbiome. When these flourish, you can keep the harmful bacteria at bay, which boosts your digestion, immunity, and overall health.
Adding Lion's Mane to your morning ritual may even prevent the growth of H. pylori, a type of bacteria that commonly infects the stomach and may cause stomach cancer, ulcers, and gastritis. When researchers gave Lion's Mane to mice, they were significantly less likely to develop ulcers than those without the supplement.
Up Your Brain GameScientists nicknamed Lion's Mane “the smart mushroom” because it’s a cognitive dynamo. Overflowing with brain health benefits, studies show it may:
- Promote the growth of neurons (brain cells). According to researchers, Lion's Mane contains the bioactive substances hericenones and erinacines. These stimulate the production of nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
- Enhance your cognitive function. Nootropics like Lion's Mane are natural mental performance enhancers prized for their ability to improve your focus, learning skills, concentration, creativity, and neural prowess.
Nourish Your Noggin'
Our brains don’t grow as many neurons or form as many new connections as we age, which eventually leads to cognitive decline. Neurodegenerative diseases like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease are characterized by this loss.
However, scientists believe up to 40% of neurodegenerative cases can be delayed, if not completely prevented. Better news? There may be evidence that Lion's Mane could prevent or even treat these devastating conditions.
Here’s what we know so far:
Lion's Mane shows “promising potential” as a neuroprotective agent. It can stimulate NGF and BDNF, regulate inflammation, and reduce oxidative stress. These perks may shield neurons and nerve cells from damage or death to preserve brain function.
It may improve cognitive impairment. In a double-blind placebo-controlled study, a group of 50- to 80-year-old Japanese adults with mild cognitive impairment were given a Lion's Mane medicinal mushroom supplement or a placebo three times per day. The group taking Lion's Mane significantly increased their mental sharpness compared to those on the placebo.
Lion's Mane may deliver health boons for Alzheimer’s patients. Mice studies reveal that this mushroom may reduce memory loss and decrease amyloid-beta plaques in the brain (which contribute to cognitive decline and memory loss).
Plus, in vivo and preclinical studies reveal improvements in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s when Lion's Mane is included in daily meals.
Champion Your Mental Health
Lion's Mane is also categorized as an adaptogen. These natural substances help your body “adapt to” and better manage stress, so you can maintain a healthy state of balance.
Several in vitro models, animal studies, and human trials indicate that Lion's Mane may:
- Decrease stress
- Reduce symptoms of anxiety
- Calm the mind
- Treat and reverse symptoms of depressive disorder
In one study, participants who supplemented with Lion's Mane for eight weeks decreased their depression and anxiety, which increased relaxation enough to improve sleep quality.
Finding the Best Lion’s Mane Mushroom Supplement
Now that you know a few of the top health benefits of Lion's Mane mushroom, add this fungus to your wellness routine.
However, if you have a known fungi allergy, Lion's Mane, Lion's Mane extract, and other medicinal mushroom extracts may trigger an allergic reaction (skin rash, hives, etc.) so before to speak with your healthcare provider before adding a new mushroom supplement to your regime.
High-quality Lion's Mane supplements come in various forms, such as:
- Dried powders. Add these to your smoothies, tea, antioxidant coffee, and more. Some people don’t notice a difference in taste; others say mushroom powders add an earthiness they’re not into.
- Liquid extracts. Apply liquid extracts directly under your tongue or add them to your food and drinks like dried powders. Taste is subjective.
- Capsules. If you’re the type who always remembers to take their vitamins and supplements, you can take Lion's Mane capsules during the day. Just watch out for filler ingredients.
Or Try The Easiest, Tastiest Route With Our Superfood Focus Bites!
Our Superfood Focus Bites make it easy to satisfy your hunger and fuel your body and mind with healthy, performance-driven ingredients… and none of the bad stuff!
You’ll find powerful nootropics like Lion's Mane to deliver a focused, calm effect. There’s also rich cacao powder and cacao butter to fight inflammation and fatigue while balancing your mood.
Each Bite tastes like a moist chocolate brownie — without the guilt. Stash them with you on the go so you always have superior nutrition when sugar cravings strike.
🙌 Check out the benefits of adding a superfood bar to your diet here!
Lion’s Mane: A Fun-gi Your Brain & Body Want To Know
If you want to skyrocket your brainpower, reduce stress, and enhance your overall well-being (yes, please!), consider introducing yourself to Lion's Mane. You might just find that this forest-dwelling mushroom holds the key to untapping your full potential now and as you age.
🍄 🧠 Nature-driven and science-backed, Lion's Mane may be the ultimate addition to elevate your brain game. Treat your inner champion to a pack of Cocoa Espresso Brownie Superfood Focus Bites today to find out!
Written by Lauren Ciccarelli, a writer and research geek passionate about low-carb nutrition, mental health, and meditation. Her 2,500+ articles empower doers with science-backed tips for leveled-up living.