Lion’s mane mushrooms are drawing the attention of researchers for their nerve-regenerative properties. These are not your ordinary-looking gilled mushrooms. Instead, lion’s mane display cascading spines. This nutritious mushroom is roughly 20 percent protein and tastes a bit like seafood.
Lion’s mane mushrooms are increasingly studied for their neuro-protective effects. Two classes of Nerve Growth Factors (NGFs), molecules stimulating the re-myelination of neurons, have been discovered in this mushroom.
In 2009, researchers at the Hokuto Corporation and the Isogo Central and Neuro-surgical Hospital published a small clinical study. Thirty patients with mild cognitive impairment were given lion’s mane and they experienced significant cognitive benefits for as long as they consumed the mushrooms.
In another experimental study, mice were studied to assess the effects of lion’s mane on the type of amyloid plaque formation seen in Alzheimer’s patients. The mice were then put in a standard Y maze, designed for testing memory. When memory-impaired mice were fed a diet containing 5 percent dried lion’s mane mushrooms for 23 days, the mice performed significantly better in the Y maze test. The reduction of amyloid plaques in the brains of lion’s mane-fed mice was remarkable.
Lion’s mane may also help you feel good! In a small clinical study, post-menopausal women who consumed lion’s mane baked into cookies vs. those without showed less anxiety and depression yet improved in their ability to concentrate (Nagano et al., 2010). Yeah lion’s mane cookies!
Since lion’s mane enhances memory and helps you feel good, could consuming this mushroom help with Alzheimer’s and other neuro-degenerative diseases? Could this unique mushroom help those afflicted with Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis? If nothing else, it may help you maintain your memory as you age.
Possible Medicinal Benefits of Lion’s Mane:
- immune enhancer
Lion’s mane may be our first ‘smart’ mushroom. It is a safe, edible fungus that appears to confer cognitive benefits to our aging population. Paul Stamets
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