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Statistics show up to one-third of people living in developed countries experience symptoms of anxiety and depression. While there are many causes of anxiety and depression, chronic inflammation could be a major contributing factor.
In an inflammation-induced mouse model of depression, research has found that lion’s mane has anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, using Amycenone obtained from the fruiting bodies of Lion's Mane ethanol extract. The purpose of this study is to examine whether amycenone shows anti-inflammatory and antidepressant effects. The compound showed the ability to inhibit the spread of inflammation allowing positive response to behavior. (1)
In another four-week study of thirty females randomly assigned to either the H. erinaceus (HE) group or the placebo group, consumed HE cookies or placebo cookies. The experiment investigated the clinical effects of H. erinaceus on menopause, depression, sleep quality and indefinite complaints, using the Kupperman Menopausal Index (KMI), the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), and the Indefinite Complaints Index (ICI). Symptoms such as loss of concentration, irritability, palpitations, insensitivity, and anxiety were significantly decreased when patients were treated with Lion’s Mane compared to the placebo group. The alleviation of symptoms also improved sleep quality. These results show that HE intake has the possibility to reduce depression and anxiety and these results suggest a different mechanism from NGF-enhancing action of H. erinaceus. (2)
Lion's Mane also stimulates brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein which can be thought of as fertilizer or food for our brain. Since BDNF helps the brain develop new connections, repair failing brain cells, and protect healthy brain cells, maintaining sufficient levels of this power-packed protein, together with the production of NGF, further helps protect our brains from neurodegenerative diseases, including depression and anxiety.
When BDNF levels are high, retaining knowledge, memories and newly learned skills become effortless. In general, people become happier (this is what we all strive for) which correlates to an increase in creativity. The erinacines from concentrated extracts of Lion's Mane produce higher levels of BDNF, making it a preferred natural antidepressant. (3)
Individual case studies provided by doctors, patients and families are also very encouraging. For example, an 81-year-old female diagnosed with dementia suffered from anxiety, insecurity and aggression for eight years. Prescribed medications had to be discontinued as the patient had not responded well to them. It was only after starting on a Lion’s Mane extract that her husband observed significant improvements after about two months. He noticed that she was able to cook more often and easily name vegetables. She was also able to sleep more peacefully. During a medical examination, she achieved a perfect score on a word-finding test, whereas she used to make more than ten mistakes.
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