The world of supplements is big and it’s only getting bigger every day. Over the past few years, this has become especially true when it comes to mushroom and fungi supplements, as often seen on the shelves of health food stores and pharmacies. There’s also an increase in supplement labels listing mushrooms like Chaga, cordyceps, maitake and lion’s mane as ingredients; but what do these do for your health? We want our customers at Colorado Kosher to have a true understanding of the benefits of our supplements, so let’s start by taking a look at one of these: lion’s mane.
Also known by its scientific names hericium erinaceus or yamabushitake, lion’s mane mushrooms are large fungi with what look like white whiskers hanging off of the outside (hence the name). These mushrooms have been used in traditional medicine and cooking across large parts of Asia for thousands of years, and have recently made a bit of a splash in the world of supplements. The reason for this is that lion’s mane has been shown to produce health benefits for a number of different conditions, many of which are related to our nervous system.
When these mushrooms are fruiting, they produce important chemicals like hericenones and erinacines. Studies have shown that these natural compounds can impact the human nerve growth factor, which plays an important role in our brain health. As far as modern medicine has taken us in the past century, doctors are still struggling to find solutions to nervous system disorders like Alzheimer’s and dementia. Researchers are currently working hard to find out what lifestyle changes and nutritional supplements can help preserve human brain health in our later years, and these compounds present in lion’s mane mushrooms are leading the charge forward in this search.
The benefits also extend beyond helping people preserve their brain health. These nutrients in lion’s mane can also help with the management of symptoms caused by neurological damage. In experiments conducted on laboratory rats, lion’s mane extracts have helped to significantly reduce recovery time from nervous system injury.
Lion’s mane has also been shown to have important effects on reducing anxiety and inflammation in certain laboratory studies. A natural compound that has been shown to reduce inflammation and promote antidepressant effects is amycenone, which can be found in lion’s mane extract. Studies conducted on laboratory mice have shown that supplementing amycenone can help to prevent inflammation-related depression.
These findings were supported by human research conducted in 2010 in Tokyo. This study showed that lion’s mane fruiting bodies helped to reduce irritation and anxiousness in menopausal women over a period of four weeks.
As research into the benefits of lion’s mane continues to take place, we will learn more and more about how this amazing mushroom can help improve our everyday lives. The potential for healing nervous system damage and reducing inflammation represent vital progress in two areas where medicine needs it most.