Lion's Mane and its Activity Against Diseases

The nervous system includes the brain, spinal cord, and all the various nerves that travel through the body, sending and transmitting signals that control our bodily function. Injuries to the brain or spinal cord can lead to loss of mental function or paralysis. The results can be devastating considering the painful and lengthy amount of time to recover, assuming that the damage isn’t permanent. (1)

Lion's Mane is truly one of a kind. There is no other herb or mushroom that’s been found in nature that seems to have the same effect on stimulating the production of nerve growth factor and, as if that wasn't enough, the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). We now know that NGF and BDNF are crucially important components in both gross and fine motor skills. (2)

Recent research has found that extracts of Lion’s Mane may increase recovery speed from such damages to the nervous system, stimulating growth and repairing the nerve tissue; a process called neurogenesis. (3) An animal study showed a remarkable 23-41% reduction in recovery time from nerve tissue damage. (4)

In vitro studies have shown that ethanol extracts of Lion’s Mane significantly speed up the repair process of axons, dendrites and myelin within the nerve cells,  and inhibit apoptosis (which is the programmed destruction of damaged nerves). (5) Note: Myelin is extremely important in order to maintain efficient transmission of electrical impulses within nerve cells. Think of it as the brain's lubricant.

Another study consisting impressive results was done on rats suffering from stroke damage on the brain. A stroke is an event wherein the blood supply to a part of the brain is interrupted. Like any part of the body, lack of blood flow causes tissue to die, and this is extremely dangerous in the brain. Strokes can lead to partial paralysis, speech dysfunction, and neurological impairment. Rats given erinacines from Lion's Mane showed reduction in inflammation and brain injury by 44%. These are highly promising numbers. An effect thought to be mediated by its ability to reduce cytokine levels. (6)

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