Lion’s mane isn’t what it sounds like. This superfood is a medicinal mushroom that, as you might’ve guessed, looks a lot like a lion’s mane. For centuries, the consumption of lion’s mane mushrooms has been valued due to their role in promoting great brain health.
The mental benefits of lion’s mane come in many forms, too. Here’s what you need to know about all the ways this funky-looking fungi can give your brain a boost!
Support for anxiety and depression
Lion’s mane provides a natural boost to your overall brain health. As a result, it comes as no surprise that this medicinal mushroom may offer support while experiencing the less-than-helpful results of anxiety, depression and chronic stress.
Lion’s mane helps people manage these struggles by promoting nerve growth in a part of the brain called the hippocampus. This section of your brain is responsible for regulating emotions and how well you can recall certain pieces of information.
The mentally soothing powers of lion’s mane are backed by scientific research. Multiple studies have tested the impact of lion’s mane on mental health with consistent results. These experiments involved giving a lion’s mane supplement to one group of participants and a placebo to the other. After just four weeks, those who received lion’s mane exhibited significant improvements in their mood.
Boost your productivity at work
Lion’s mane can help you stay alert and improve your ability to focus. After all, you can’t think straight if you’re falling asleep at your desk!
Lion’s mane mushrooms boost productivity due to their anti-inflammatory properties. The mushroom decreases inflammation and opens up the blood vessels in your brain. Dilated vessels allow for greater blood flow, which delivers the oxygen your brain needs in order to function properly. Over time, you may find that a daily lion’s mane supplement does wonders for clearing away brain fog.
If you frequently fall into a midday slump, this medicinal mushroom might just do the trick. One common practice involves mixing lion’s mane powder into your coffee because the mushroom can provide physical energy without the jitters.
Protect your memory
A strong memory stems from healthy brain cells, and lion’s mane may help with that, too. Lion’s mane mushrooms are packed with antioxidants, which combat free radicals throughout the entire body.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage your healthy cells. Lion’s mane not only banishes free radicals to limit this damage to brain cells, but it also promotes the growth of neurons. Neurons form connections in the brain, and the more you have, the better your memory will be.
Promote cell growth
Free radicals aren’t the only danger to your brain health. A protein called amyloid plaque deteriorates neurons when left to accumulate in the brain. Lion’s mane mushrooms get rid of amyloid plaque and protect neurons from degeneration. What’s more, these medicinal mushrooms stimulate the production of cells that form a protective shell around brain cells.
Lion’s mane mushrooms keep your brain cells healthy and strong by increasing the production of two key proteins. Nerve growth factor (NGF) is a protein that creates myelin, which acts as a wall that fortifies neurons against amyloid plaque and free radicals. NGF plays a vital role in preventing cognitive impairment, especially in older adults.
The second key protein is called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This protein helps brain cells remain flexible so they’re able to survive periods of extreme stress or the aging process. Similar to nerve growth factor, BDNF not only promotes cell growth but protects the cells once they’ve fully matured.
Improve gut health
You might be wondering what the gut has to do with brain health. As it turns out, scientists have discovered a direct correlation between the digestive tract and brain activity.
Not surprisingly, it’s hard to focus when you’re bogged down by an upset stomach. But lion’s mane does more than relieve a bit of indigestion. A proper balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut microbiome strengthens brain cells and triggers the release of chemicals that improve your mood and clear brain fog.
The health benefits of lion’s mane mushrooms are very apparent. A daily dose of this medicinal mushroom can give your brain the ability to fight off cognitive-related issues. No matter who you are or what you're experiencing—everyone’s got a brain, and lion’s mane can help keep it strong.