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Lion’s Mane for Memory

Lion’s Mane for Memory

Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines including diagnosis, advice, and treatment.  

The use of the lion’s mane for memory and cognition has long been in traditional medicines throughout history in Asian countries such as China, Japan, Korea, and India. There has been a growing interest in the nootropic properties of this miraculous herb nowadays. Early research suggests that lion’s mane contains phytochemical compounds that can improve the development and function of nerve cells in the brain and in turn may address impairments of cognition and memory. 

In this article, we’ll be exploring the benefits of lion’s mane for memory and overall brain health with a closer look at what research says. So, let’s get started.  

Table of contents

  • What is lion's mane? 
  • The bioactive compounds found in lion’s mane
  • Benefits of lion’s mane for memory 
  • Other health benefits of lion’s mane 
  • How to use lion’s mane supplements 
  • Precautions and side effects 
  • Final words 

What is lion's mane? 

Lion’s mane, scientifically known as Hericium erinaceus, is a medicinal mushroom that goes by many different names such as Santa’s bread, pom pom mushroom, and bearded tooth. It usually grows on trunks of dead trees in Asia, Europe, and North America.

Bioactive compounds found in lion’s mane

Lion’s mane is rich in a wide range of varying bioactive compounds, including, but aren’t limited to: 

  • Polypeptides 
  • Polysaccharides 
  • Hericenones 
  • Erinacines 
  • Beta-glucoxlan
  • Digestive enzymes 
  • Probiotic fibers 

Benefits of lion’s mane for memory 

Lion’s mane extract and the bioactive compounds it contains, particularly hericenones and erinacines, appear to promote the generation of nerve cells in the brain called brain neurogenesis. These compounds have been shown to stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF) in the brain which in turn facilitates the formation as well as regeneration of nerve cells in the brain. 

The formation of new nerve cells in the hippocampus, the major structure of the brain that plays the key role in memory and learning, also known as hippocampal neurogenesis, can hugely improve the process of memory formation and memory retention.  

A 2007 study in Trends in Cognitive Sciences showed that neurogenesis in the hippocampus might have significant positive effects on memory and cognitive function and might help in treating depression and mood disorders. 

Lion’s mane and its extract can help prevent memory loss and learning function impairments caused by neuronal damage often found associated with brain disease conditions such as dementia in Alzheimer's disease.

A 2011 study published in Biomedical Research revealed that lion’s mane can prevent memory and learning impairments induced by amyloid-beta plaques and might be helpful in the prevention and treatment of symptoms of cognitive dysfunction. 

Other health benefits of lion’s mane 

Multiple studies indicate that this shaggy fungus has a whole variety of health benefits. It has the potential to stimulate the synthesis of nerve growth factors (NGFs) and mend damage to nerve cells. 

The bioactive compounds present in lion’s mane seem to be useful in improving memory loss symptoms in dementia and improving overall cognitive function as well as mental clarity. It can also be beneficial for reducing symptoms of nerve damage such as neuropathic pain. 

Though current research findings are just in the beginning stage to understand the full potential of this miraculous mushroom, here’s a short list of potential health benefits of lion's mane what we know so far: 

  • Lion’s mane helps in reducing nerve inflammation and its associated symptoms such as nerve pain and strain 
  • It helps in improving overall brain functions and cognitive health 
  • It helps in preventing and managing various mood disorders such as depression and anxiety 
  • It may help protect against Alzheimer's disease and cognitive dysfunction
  • It may help attenuate nerve damages associated with various types of neurodegenerative disorders like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease 
  • It can help ameliorate immune response in the body
  • It may help improve insulin sensitivity and keep blood sugar levels in check 
  • It may help stimulate cell death (apoptosis) of certain types of cancer cells 

How to use lion’s mane supplements 

Lion’s mane supplements are available in various forms including capsules, tablets, powder, and liquid extracts. The actual dosage of lion’s mane mushroom for memory and cognitive function is individual, meaning varies from person to person depending on the specific health conditions and aim of use.

However, in general, most clinicians recommended a dose of 1000 mg of standardized lion’s mane extract per day. It’s always best to discuss with a certified naturopathic practitioner to determine the best dose. 

Precautions and side effects 

Lion’s mane seems to be truly safe and well-tolerable for most people. There are no reports of adverse effects so far and there are neither reports of addiction nor reports of withdrawal symptoms often found associated with memory-boosting smart drugs. 

Since this shaggy fungus is a mushroom species, people who are sensitive or allergic to fungus or mushrooms should avoid using lion’s mane. Symptoms of allergic reactions may include skin rashes and difficulty breathing. But these are uncommon and minimal. 

Although no data is available about drug interactions of lion’s mane, people who are on medications, particularly antidiabetics or anticoagulants, should use lion’s mane with extra caution as it shows antiplatelet and antihyperglycemic actions. 

It’s always best to discuss with a licensed naturopathic physician or nutritionist prior to using lion’s mane for memory and any other health conditions to determine whether it is right for you, especially if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or on medications for any existing health issues.  

Final words  

Lion’s mane is a shaggy medicinal mushroom that has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, especially in Indian, Chinese, and Japanese traditional medicines. The use of lion’s mane for memory and cognitive functions seems to be useful to reverse and reduce memory loss and dementia in various nerve degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. But it’s important to discuss with a qualified naturopath to determine the safety and best dose before using lion’s mane supplements.

Here you can see Vorst’s pure and natural Lion’s Mane 1000 mg Per Serving Vegan Capsules  

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