Cognitive Supplement Spotlight: Lion’s Mane

What is Lion’s Mane? Lion’s Mane is also known as Hericium erinaceus, found in North America, Europe and Asia. It is an edible fungus that has been used for a very long time in Traditional Chinese Medicine. This mushroom is rich in many bioactive compounds such as beta-glucan polysaccharides, hericenones and erinacine terpenoids, isoindolinoes, sterols and myconutrients. These are all neuroprotective. Lion’s Mane also has the ability to stimulate the production of nerve growth factor, which helps repair and renew neurons and supports myelination. It is used in cases of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS and other conditions. 

Benefits of Lion’s Mane? There are many different benefits of Lion’s Mane. It is used to support the heart and circulatory system, protects against cancer, can improve digestive health and reduces inflammation. One of the main benefits of Lion’s Mane is that it enhances brain function. It impacts brain cells and brain function that can help with neurodegenerative diseases. Lion’s Mane also enhances neuron outgrowth meaning that the axons and dendrites from the neurons grow. Increasing their growth can potentially slow or reverse cell degeneration in conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Studies on Lion’s Mane In one study, Lion’s Mane was given to those with mild cognitive impairment by using a dose of 250 mg for 16 weeks. After the 16 weeks Lion’s Mane increased scores on cognitive function scale compared to the placebo group.NGF (nerve growth factor), is essential for the maintenance of the basal forebrain cholinergic system. A study found that Lion’s Mane isolating hericenones and erinacines from the mushroom, has an effect on the NGF and helps stimulate neurite outgrowth.Another study found that Lion’s Mane is capable of delaying neuronal cell death in those with neurodegenerative diseases, such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Lion’s Mane can also improve functional recovery and enhance nerve regeneration in rats with nerve pain.In a behavior test on mice, taking Lion’s Mane orally was found to significantly improve spatial short-term and visual recognition memory.With Alzheimer’s disease Lion’s Mane was able to reduce the amount of amyloid plaque deposits in cells in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus of the brain.With Parkinson’s disease a low dose of Lion’s Mane was used to improve oxidative stress and heal dopaminergic lesions in the basal ganglia (brainstem) after 25 days.

How Much Should I Take? For cognitive support and nerve injury, I recommend one capsule twice a day of the 500 mg dose.

How long until you notice any benefit? Be patient, as you should start to see some benefits around 4-6 weeks. It needs time to build up in your system before you will be able to see any benefits from it.