Lions Mane and What are its Benefits to Nerve Growth Factor

Lions Mane mushrooms, scientifically known as Hericium Erinaceus, are medicinal mushrooms that have long been used in traditional Chinese medicine. Based on human and animal studies, this mushroom has powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immunostimulant properties. However, it’s most well-known for supporting brain and neurological health.

Particularly, Lion’s Mane mushrooms are very effective at stimulating Nerve Growth Factor (NFG) in the brain. This dates back thousands of years to when Buddhist monks used Lion’s Mane as a tea to enhance brain power and improve concentration during meditation.

Today, the mushroom is praised as a “brain tonic.” With excellent neuroprotective and nootropic effects, Lion’s Mane may help improve memory and cognitive function. In this article, we will look at what Lion’s Mane benefits are to Nerve Growth Factor specifically.

What Are Lion’s Mane Mushrooms?

Lion’s Mane is a tasty edible mushroom that has long been used by people in Asia for both culinary and medicinal purposes. It can be consumed raw, cooked, dried, or in the form of a tea and is also often found as an over-the-counter health supplement.

White, globe-shaped fungi with long, dangling spines, Lion’s Mane mushrooms have an unusual appearance. Unlike most other mushrooms with spines that project from a branch, Lion’s Mane spines project outward to give a unique lion’s mane appearance.

Naturally, Lion’s Mane grows on dead or dying trees and thrives in the late summer and fall months. It’s commonly found in North America but may go by one of its other names, such as bearded tooth, hedgehog mushroom, Japanese yamabushitake, or pom pom mushroom.

Lion’s Mane mushrooms are rich in bioactive substances, making them beneficial to the body, particularly the brain, gut, and heart.

Lion’s Mane and Nerve Growth Factor

Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) is naturally produced in the human brain and plays an important part in maintaining, protecting, and producing neurons. Neurons are essential nerve cells that send and receive signals from the brain.

An increase in NGF levels means that the brain’s neurons are better protected. And here’s the kicker – Lion’s Mane may stimulate nerve generation.

Interestingly, there are very few other things in the natural world with the potential to stimulate the production of NGF, which makes Lion’s Mane very intriguing.

How Lion’s Mane Mushrooms Support Brain Health

The brain naturally slows down as we age. Symptoms commonly associated with aging, like memory loss and lack of focus, occur as a result of damage to the nervous system. This damage typically includes things like diminishing neurons and brain cell impairment.

According to animal studies, Lion’s Mane may support brain health by stimulating the formation of two crucial compounds: nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).

Both NGF and BDNF are proteins that are responsible for the development of new neurons, as well as the health and maintenance of existing ones. It’s also believed that NGF plays an important part in helping repair myelin sheath, the coating around the nerve cells that helps brain cells function more efficiently.

Simply put, NGF is needed by the brain to keep neurons strong and healthy. And Lion’s Mane mushrooms are known to stimulate the creation of this important compound.

Lion’s Mane Mushrooms for Neurodegenerative Diseases

Because of the effect Lion’s Mane has on NGF and its ability to support brain health, it’s widely believed that this incredible fungus may have potential in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

As reported in a 2015 study published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, Lion’s Mane enhances “neurite outgrowth” in the brain and related organs. This means that it has the potential to slow or reverse cell degeneration in the brain – a key factor in diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

A prior animal study done in 2011 reported similar findings. It concluded that Lion’s Mane increases Nerve Growth Factor levels and may even enhance short-term memory. As we’ve already seen, NGF aids in the growth of sensory neurons and is, therefore, thought to have potential in the prevention of certain neurodegenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s.

Final Thoughts

Research strongly suggests that the secret weapon of Lion’s Mane mushrooms is its ability to induce the production of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). It’s one of the only mushrooms linked with brain regenerative properties and is, therefore, a favorite among people looking for nootropic effects.

Also, thanks to the ability of Lion’s Mane to stimulate NGF, the mushroom is believed to be helpful in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. They are by no means a cure, but clearly, Lion’s mane mushrooms have a lot of potential and could work wonders for overall health and wellness.