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Explore lion’s mane mushroom benefits and how to incorporate it in your daily health routine.

Your Guide to Lion's Mane Mushroom Benefits and How to Use This Superfood

by Shelly Roberts and David Warren

July 01, 2021

capsules, cognitive support, lion's mane, powders

The lion's mane mushroom is a species known by a variety of names. Its scientific name, Hericium erinaceus, is how mycologists—the scientists who study fungi—officially refer to it. It is also known as Yamabushitake in Japanese, and as lion’s mane in English. Alternately, called the bearded tooth fungus or the pom pom mushroom due to its highly textured surface, lion’s mane mushrooms are native to the mountains of northeast Asia and may also be found in Europe and North America.

An important species in the traditional medicine of China, Korea, and Japan, where it has been used for thousands of years, lion’s mane has grown in popularity recently in part due to another nickname. Dubbed a “smart mushroom” because of its support for cognitive function and neu/rological health, lion’s mane is receiving attention all over the world for its exceptional brain supportive potential. Investigating lion’s mane mushroom benefits will help you to determine if this smart mushroom is something you need in your life. 

Understanding Lion’s Mane Mushroom Benefits

Whether you’re looking for ways to supercharge your workday, improve your focus on those days when you can’t remember where you put your car keys (only to find them in your hand), ward off brain fog, promote alertness and a positive mood, or spark creativity and mental clarity, here are some of the top benefits of lion's mane and ways you can incorporate this powerful functional mushroom into your daily routine.

Functional Food

Lion’s mane mushrooms are edible, culinary mushrooms. When found fresh and sautéed, some people compare the taste to seafood, specifically crab or lobster. But more than just a delicious dish, lion’s mane has been classified as a functional mushroom, a food that provides more than simple nutrition.

While lion’s mane can contribute protein, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals to your diet, it also contains bioactive substances that support a variety of the body’s functions and processes. In this capacity, the regular use of lion’s mane may help your body function more efficiently and remain balanced in the presence of internal and external stresses. For this reason, many people are turning to supplements for ready access to the benefits of this functional food. 

Nootropic

David Warren, Clincal herbalist points out how Lion's mane can work to help protect the brain.

"Compounds that have a protective effect on the brain while supporting its natural cognitive functions are called nootropics. Lion’s mane contains a broad range of naturally occurring bioactive compounds, including erinacines and hericenones, known for their cognitive health benefits. Since erinacines are found in the mycelium and hericenones are limited to the fruiting body, obtaining the benefits of both can only be accomplished by consuming a whole mushroom product that incorporates both parts of the mushroom’s life cycle.  

These important nootropic compounds found in lion’s mane can cross the protective blood-brain barrier. They stimulate the synthesis of NGF (nerve growth factor) and BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), chemicals that have potent biological activity. NGF and BDNF help to promote the growth, repair, and normal functioning of neurons, the nerve cells that are the building blocks of our brain and nervous system. These factors are necessary for neuroplasticity, the generation of new neural pathways in the brain following injury or illness." 

Several research studies have concluded that lion’s mane supplementation supports cognitive function and nerve regeneration in lab animals.  

  • One lab study demonstrated that lion’s mane promoted the production of myelin (the protective coating) on nerve cells in animal tissue cultures.
  • A research study in Japan concluded that lion’s mane had a protective effect against learning and memory deficits in mice. 
  • A study conducted in Taiwan demonstrated that lion’s mane mycelial extracts containing erinacines had a healing effect on rats with brain injuries. 
  • Extracts made with lion’s mane fruiting bodies were given to rats with peripheral nerve injuries. The mushroom extracts supported earlier and more complete regeneration of nerve tissue as compared with the rats who did not receive it.

Limited studies have been conducted with human subjects, but researchers have concluded that compounds in lion’s mane support healthy cognitive function and mood. 

  • A randomized, controlled study in Japan showed that 50 to 80 year-old men and women given 3000mg of dried lion’s mane powder daily had significantly improved cognitive function over those given a placebo. The improvements were lost within four weeks of terminating the supplementation, however.
  • Also conducted in Japan, a randomized, controlled study with menopausal women demonstrated better sleep quality, as well as improved mood in women given cookies containing lion’s mane powder over those given a placebo.

Research continues into the mechanisms by which the bioactive compounds in lion’s mane support healthy brain and nervous system function, which holds promise for future applications.

Antioxidant

Lion’s mane, like other mushrooms, has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals formed in our cells to prevent oxidative damage. Anti-inflammatories promote healing. These properties likely contribute to the neuroprotective benefits of lion’s mane on the brain, but will also help to counteract tissue damage caused by oxidative stress and inflammation throughout the body. 

Immune Support

Lion’s mane, like the other species of functional mushrooms, contains diverse phytochemicals, including polysaccharides, such as beta glucans, a prebiotic fiber, and digestive enzymes that support immune health and promote healthy gut flora. Mushrooms’ bioactive compounds modulate the immune system, supporting appropriate responses without overreaction.  

Researchers have concluded that fungal polysaccharides support the body’s own immune defense system that protects us against colds, flu, and other respiratory viruses. The anti-inflammatory properties, however, temper immune responses to improve allergy symptoms and calm inflammation.  

Finding a High-Quality Lion’s Mane Mushroom Supplement

Though this superfood may rarely be found in produce stands, it is conveniently available as a whole food, dietary supplement. When the mushroom’s fruiting body and mycelium are included, you gain all the benefits this functional powerhouse has to offer.

Om Mushrooms​ is at the forefront of growing the highest-quality, 100-percent organic, functional mushrooms at our state-of-the-art indoor farm in California. Under the direction of expert mycologists, our lion’s mane is grown through the full lifecycle of the mushroom to ensure all of its bioactive compounds, including hericenones during the fruiting body stage and erinacines during the mycelial stage, are accessible to our customers.

  • Om’s lion’s mane mushrooms are grown in their own cultivation room under controlled conditions that match their unique environmental needs.
  • The mushrooms are harvested at precisely the right time to capture their full lifecycle.
  • The mushrooms’ fruiting bodies and mycelial biomass are subjected to sufficient heat to make their active compounds easier to digest and assimilate.
  • Once dehydrated, the dried mushrooms are milled into a fine powder, increasing the surface area and providing greater access to their bioactive substances.
  • The powders are packaged and labeled on-site under the strictest guidelines for supplement preparation.
  • Om Mushroom products are submitted for third-party testing to ensure their quality. 

By controlling every phase of the process, Om ensures that our lion’s mane mushroom products offer the best possible quality to our valued customers. 

Getting Lion’s Mane’s Benefits in Your Life  

In addition to the powerful antioxidants and immune-supporting beta-glucan polysaccharides found in functional mushroom species, lion’s mane contains erinacines and hericenones, the bioactive substances that give it its neuroprotective properties. 

These special characteristics may be beneficial to you. Whether you are: 

  • a college student preparing for finals
  • a busy professional with work and family demands
  • a parent with responsibilities for both kids and elderly family members
  • a retiree finding that daily life is not as stimulating as it used to be

Lion's mane can help support memory, bring more focus, alertness, and mental clarity to even your most high-pressure days. By helping you stay sharp, focused, and in the moment, a lion’s mane supplement can support your workday with superfood benefits. 

Lion's mane can also keep you centered and focused outside of work hours. Whether you are painting your next masterpiece, online gaming with your friends, maintaining concentration and agility during workouts, or simply trying to get through the day while maintaining a pleasant mood, this powerhouse mushroom can support your goals.

Just a Small Serving of This Superfood Each Day Makes a Difference

Today, cultivators like Om Mushrooms make it easy to incorporate lion’s mane mushroom benefits into everyday life. With a range of products that includes powders, capsules, and drink mixes, it’s easy to harness this superfood mushroom at home and on the go. A teaspoonful of Om’s Lion's Mane Powder can easily be added to juice, coffee, tea, or a smoothie. Or incorporate your smart mushroom powder into your favorite recipes. Alternatively, three Lion's Mane Mushroom Capsules taken with water can give you the recommended daily dose. 

Lion’s mane mushroom benefits support optimal cognitive function and nerve health. With products created from functional, whole food, organic mushrooms, our products support your body’s natural immune functions and antioxidant capacity. 

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Functional mushroom products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


David Warren is a certified clinical herbalist and founder of the New Mexico Herbal Clinic.