Mushrooms: Brain-Boosting, Cancer-Fighting Powerhouse

Benefits of lion’s mane

What would you think about eating a mushroom that looks a little like the scruff of a lion? Not convinced about lion’s mane mushroom? What if I told you that it’s associated with major brain repair, potential cancer-fighting power.

Lion’s mane mushroom is a nootropic food very popular in traditional Chinese medicine. A large body of research has focused around this brain-boosting mushroom in the last few years, and the results are nothing short of astounding.


The lions mane is a choice edible, meaning that it will taste absolutely delicious if you’re lucky enough to forage some and quickly cook them at home. They can also be made into tinctures and powders to take as a daily supplement.


Antioxidants are found in lions mane mushrooms. Antioxidants fight inflammation and oxidation in the body. This can help people who are experiencing diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and heart disease. Fighting inflammation also helps delay the physical signs of aging.

We understand that aging occurs since our cells no longer replicate as quickly, and eventually stop replicating completely. The lions mane mushroom contains two compounds that actually stimulate cell growth in the brain. In other words, this mushroom is neurogenic – which is incredible, seeing as there is almost nothing else that exists that is neurogenic. These two compounds are hericenones and erinacinesThanks to these compounds, the brain is actually able to create new synaptic connections.

Lions mane mushroom supplements can greatly benefit older adults with mild cognitive impairments. If taken regularly at any age, it can help with memory retention, mental energy, and clarity.


1. Enhances Brain Function and Benefits the Nervous System

Maybe the most thoroughly researched feature of lion’s mane mushroom is its impact on brain cells and related functions. This incredible fungus may have revolutionary impact on neurodegenerative diseases.

One method by which lion’s mane affects brain function is by enhancing “neurite outgrowth” in the brain and related organs, according to research published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. Neurite outgrowth refers to the growth of axons and dendrites from neurons.

By increasing this growth, it could potentially be possible to slow or reverse cell degeneration in the brain — the main characteristic of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

2. Protect Against Cancer

Lion’s mane may also be significant in helping treat cancer, according to a host of research. In varying degrees, compounds from or supplementation with lion’s mane mushroom has been found to potentially slow the progression or reverse the spread of:

  • Leukemia
  • Gastric (stomach) cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Breast cancer

As far as gastric cancer is concerned, a study published in the International Journal of Biological Macromolecules found that lion’s mane caused cell death and cell cycle arrest with gastric cancer. The researchers concluded, “our study provides in vitro evidence that HEG-5 may be taken as a potential candidate for treating gastric cancer.”

3. Supports Heart and Circulatory System Health

Lion’s mane mushroom might also help you in preventing heart disease. In vitro and animal research has found that extracts of lion’s mane can prevent the increase of LDL cholesterol (sometimes referred to as “bad” cholesterol), increase HDL, or “good,” cholesterol and lower triglycerides in the bloodstream, an early indicator of heart disease.

An extract of lion’s mane mushroom may be able to prevent blood clots and help reduce the risk of stroke, according to a study from the Department of Cellular Signaling, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Tohoku University in Japan conducted on rabbit platelets.

4. Improve Digestive Health

Due in part to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, lion’s mane mushroom might improve the function of your stomach and digestive system.

Lion’s mane may also significantly improve symptoms of two major inflammatory disorders of the digestive system, gastritis and inflammatory bowel disease, as shown in lab studies and research on mice.

5. Reduces Inflammation

Lion’s mane mushroom is able to reduce inflammation in fatty tissue. This is important because fatty tissue inflammation is a factor in the formation of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that increase your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Lion’s mane also has antibacterial effects against h. Pylori, often considered “the most successful pathogen in human history.” Many people never have symptoms of carrying the bacteria, but for some people it causes severe gastric conditions, like ulcers in the stomach and/or intestines.

6. Acts as a Powerful Antioxidant

The molecules in lion’s mane mushroom have antioxidant abilities and help prevent and relieve the oxidative stress caused by poor nutrition and exposure to chemicals in the environment.

One specific way these antioxidants may be useful is in the healing of wounds.

These antioxidants may also:

7. Improves Mental Health and Overall Well-Being

A lion’s mane mushroom supplement may also help you feel better by improving sleep and reducing the effects of mental health issues.

The powerful polysaccharides extracted from lion’s mane have been shown to fight fatigue 

Consuming lion’s mane mushroom may also be a natural way to help treat depression and anxiety.

8. Improves Immune Function

Lion’s mane seems to have the ability to enhance immune system function in a manner also related to the polysaccharide content in the fungus, according to research performed on mice.

9. Useful for Managing Diabetes

Lion’s mane has shown marked improvement in blood glucose levels, insulin sensitivity and various other diabetes symptoms when an extract of lion’s mane mushroom was consumed.

Possibly because of the antioxidant activity of lion’s mane, administering it to animals also seems to relieve pain caused by diabetic neuropathy

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