The Lion’s mane mushroom, Hericium ericanceus, is an edible mushroom that has received increasing amounts of attention over the past ten years. Most notably, research suggesting that the whole mushroom—including both the root-like mycelium and the fruitbody, when extracted with heat and alcohol—can support both our immune and neurological systems.
The nerves of our bodies are constantly sending signals back and forth from our brains to our bodies. All of this activity means that our nerve cells use a tremendous amount of glucose and nutrients as compared to other tissues like muscle and organs. Some of these nutrients can be obtained from a diet of proteins, poly-unsaturated fats, green vegetables and fruits and berries. Lion’s Mane, however, provides compounds that can’t be found anywhere else. And these compounds are remarkable in their range of support.
Lion’s Mane has numerous specialized compounds derived from both the root-like mycelia and the fruitbody. Some unique alcohol-soluble metabolites support neurological tissue while other water-soluble polysaccharides support our innate immune system of natural killer cells and macrophages. Even more compounds act as prebiotics and feed our probiotic microflora. Lion’s Mane is a functional food that provides basic nutrients including complete, vegetarian proteins, vitamins and minerals. It’s a powerhouse of nutrients that can benefit your whole body when taken daily.
The studies on Lion’s mane show promise in regards to immunity, cognitive functioning, mood, memory and nerve functioning. And interestingly, some of the studies look at how Lion’s Mane’s compounds called hericinones from the fruitbody and erinacenes from the mycelia support cognitive functioning in an aging population. Study participants took Lion’s Mane for two to three weeks before noticing improvement. The improvements lasted throughout the duration of the study and for about three to four weeks after the study ended. After the studies ended, there was a gradual return over four weeks to pre-study level of functioning. What this tells us is that Lion’s Mane is not a magic wand. It’s a functional food that provides our bodies with key nutrients that support ongoing neurological functioning.
In order to maintain the most effective neurological system possible, the constant signaling that occurs in our nervous system demands that we provide our bodies with the nutrients that will support it. Daily intake of Lion’s Mane mycelia and fruitbody can provide your brain and nervous system with unique specialized nutrients that nourish and nurture your body and mind.
By: Jerry Angelini
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