Summary: Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Lion’s mane is a mushroom commonly found on the trunks of hardwood trees. Unlike other mushrooms, it doesn’t have a cap and stem; instead, it has flowing, teeth-like spines.
For hundreds of years, the mushroom has been used by the Chinese to treat diseases of the spleen, stomach, kidneys, liver, and even the heart. In ancient times, physicians prescribed it as a general restorative and as treatment for neurodegenerative diseases. This means its benefits on the brain have always been recognized.
It is believed to boost digestion, enhance physical condition, and to even hinder the development of some types of cancers. It can improve overall cognitive ability, offer neuroprotection, and assist in the production of nerve growth factor.
Lion’s mane contains powerful minerals (like iron, potassium, selenium, and iron), vital amino acids, as well as different polysaccharides and polypeptides. As ongoing research uncovers more of lion’s mane benefits, many people are adding it to their stacks.
Lion’s mane also goes by the following names: Hericium Erinaceus, Hedgehog Fungus, Bearded Tooth, Yamabushitake, Crinière de Lion, Monkey’s Head, Hydne Hérisson.
How Lion’s Mane Mushroom Works
Lion’s mane is unlike other nootropics. While racetams and other smart drugs work by regulating the creation of different neurotransmitters, the mushroom boosts cognition by raising the levels of Nerve growth factor (NGF) in the brain.
NGF, a neurotrophin, is vital for the development, maintenance, multiplication, and survival of neurons. While it is produced and discharged in the brain – and is vital for optimal brain function – research suggests that NGF is distributed throughout the body and is necessary for maintaining a steady internal environment even when external conditions change.
Nerve growth factor was discovered in the 1950s by Stanley Cohen and Rita Levi-Montalcini, who were awarded the Nobel prize for their discovery. Since then, NGF has been extensively researched. Clinical studies have shown that it is one of the crucial building blocks of neuroplasticity and brain health.
When your brain has sufficient levels of NGF, your cognitive ability improves because the neurotrophin supports the development and branching of axons. Axons, also known as nerve fibers, are long projections of neurons (nerve cells) that conduct electrical impulses – called action potentials – away from the body of the nerve cells. Axons work by transmitting information to various neurons, glands, and muscles.
When levels of NGF are low, it can lead to neuronal decay, and eventually, the death of nerve cells. When there are more axons, and they are in good health, impulses are transmitted more quickly and effectively, improving cognitive functions and overall brain health.
Nerve growth factor also improves cognition by supporting myelination (myelinogenesis), the production of the lipid/protein cover that encloses and protects axons. Myelin functions as an electrical insulator around nerves, allowing electrical impulses to transmit fast and efficiently along nerve cells. The myelin sheath has microscopic gaps called nodes of Ranvier. When the electrical impulses jump from node to node, they travel more quickly than when they travel along entire nerve fibers.
Myelination also plays an important role in the regrowth and repair of detached and damaged axons. This activity helps protect the brain from the effects of aging and can be useful in treating neurological diseases like Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. It may also be helpful in the treatment of psychiatric disorders like depression, autism, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia.
Benefits of Lion’s Mane
Offers Neuroprotection and Increases Nerve Growth Factor
While most people take Lion’s mane for its cognitive-enhancing effects, it may be able to prevent or treat damaged nerves. Some studies have shown that the mushroom promotes neurogenesis, resulting in long-term improvements in brain health.
When you consume lion’s mane, it crosses the blood-brain barrier and activates the production of enzymes that secrete Nerve growth factor and repair nerve myelin. In a clinical study, the mushroom was shown to contain neuroactive compounds that prompted the secretion of NGF, supporting neurite outgrowth activity. Lion’s mane is also believed to play a role in the production of new nerves and neurons. This crucial role can make lion’s mane a useful supplement in the treatment of diseases like dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and muscular dystrophy.
Improves Memory and Brain Function
In this day and age, multitasking is the norm. Many people attend to different tasks at once without thinking twice. However, this can make it hard for one to focus on a single task when the need arises. Since lion’s mane mushroom activates nerve growth factor (which helps maintain neurons), it can improve cognitive ability. Neurons help the brain to process and transmit information.
One research study showed that lion’s mane can considerably improve cognitive ability in people with mild cognitive impairment when taken for a month.
Lion’s mane has been shown to improve cognitive function, memory, and recall. It can also be helpful in keeping you focused and attentive. When you can focus more on work or studies, you become more productive.
Other Health Benefits
Lion’s mane may help regulate levels of cholesterol and blood sugar. It may also help decrease the number and extensity of allergies. This is because it activates the production of chemicals called interferons. Interferons are signaling proteins created and discharged by host cells when your body is infected by pathogens like parasites, viruses, and tumor cells
Interferons are used by the body for communication between cells to activate the immune’s system protective defenses that help eliminate pathogens. The signaling proteins are named because of their capacity to “interfere” with viral replication and protect cells from virus infections.
Dosage recommendations for Lion’s mane usually depend on the extract’s potency. The average dose is 500 mg once a day, but a different dose may be more effective for you.
Giving an exact dosage is hard because most of the clinical studies conducted on lion’s mane have been done on animals. There are very few studies on humans. In addition, in these few human studies, the doses administered have been very high (up to 3,000 mg per day) in order to test for toxicity.
Lion’s mane mushroom is usually sold in pill or powder form. It is also a common ingredient in many nootropic stacks. When buying a focus supplement containing lion’s mane, check to see whether the manufacturer has used both alcohol and hot water extraction to remove all the powerful compounds from the mushroom. This dual extraction makes sure you reap all the benefits of lion’s mane.
Higher dosages of this brain supplement (3,000 mg a day) have not been shown to cause any harmful effects, but there’s no evidence showing that a dosage higher than 3 grams a day will offer any additional benefits. Lion’s mane is most effective when taken for a long period of time (weeks to months) and can offer lasting improvements to the brain.
If you’re taking medication, consult your doctor before you start taking lion’s mane. This will ensure you steer clear of any potential interactions or reactions.
Again, you should note that potency and dosage are very important. If you take a low-potency and/or low dosage of Lion’s Mane Mushroom, it can have no benefit for you at all. Unfortunately, a lot of the products that are found on the market have low potency and low-dosage.
While lion’s mane mushroom is very effective on its own, you can stack it with other nootropics for greater results. For a fast, cognitive boost, you can stack it with a racetam (like aniracetam and piracetam) and a powerful choline supplement (like CDP choline and Alpha GPC).
For long-term cognitive improvement, you can stack lion’s mane with fish oil and uridine (which protect cellular membranes), zinc (which controls synaptic function), and acetyl-l-carnitine or ALCAR (which decrease brain cell death). To this stack, you can add melatonin (which decreases neuronal death) and pregnenolone (which promotes production of new neurons).
Side Effects of Lion’s Mane
Lion’s mane mushroom can have side effects. Most users say that their skin gets itchy when they consume the supplement, but this could be a result of the increase in nerve growth factor. Unless you experience other allergy-like symptoms, the itchy sensation shouldn’t worry you as it means the supplement is raising the levels of nerve growth factor.
High dosages of lion’s mane (5 g/kg) have been administered to mice and no signs of toxicity have been observed. However, one research study suggested that lion’s mane may enhance the presence of dangerous enzymes in the liver after 4 weeks. When you start taking it, cycle it to avoid any unknown effects. In addition, only stick to the recommended dosages in order to prevent tolerance.
Limidax XR and Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Limidax is an all-in-one short-term and long-term use product. Due to the potential side effects of Lion’s Mane mushroom and the abundance of other equally and more powerful ingredients in the market, we currently do not include Lion’s Mane in our product. You can discuss with your doctor about adding Lion’s Mane to your diet, depending on the other supplements and drugs you are currently taking. We recommend you check out the Ingredients we do use in Limidax, try out Limidax for a couple weeks, and then decide if adding on Lion’s Mane might be right for you.