I take Lion’s mane mushroom daily to help me focus, but it does so much more than that!
Procrastination, distractions, and lack of motivation have always plagued me.
So when I heard about lion's mane mushroom, I was intrigued.
Research suggested it could help improve my focus, memory and mood, and it does.
But there were many other benefits that I did not expect!
But before I get into all that...
What is lion’s mane?
Lion’s mane is a shaggy looking mushroom that grows throughout the Northern hemisphere, including in the UK.
It’s been used for centuries in the east, both as a food - it tastes like lobster and has a meaty texture - but also for its medicinal properties.
A number of studies suggest that Lion's Mane may have neuroprotective properties and could potentially support cognitive function.
Additionally, it has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
How does lion’s mane work?
Lion's Mane contains compounds that stimulate the production of Nerve Growth Factor, a protein crucial for the growth, maintenance, and survival of nerve cells.
One compound in particular, called hericene A, has been shown to promote nerve cell growth, increase the production of brain-boosting molecules called neurotrophins, and improve memory performance in mice.
It also contains compounds with antioxidant properties that may help combat oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress is linked to ageing and various diseases, including neurodegenerative conditions.
There’s also some evidence to suggest that Lion's Mane, like many other mushrooms, has positive effects on gut health.
And the health of the gut is increasingly recognised as crucial for overall well-being, including impacts on mental health via the brain-gut axis.
With all that in mind, here are some unexpected benefits I’ve noticed after taking lion’s mane.
Lion’s mane enhances neurogenesis, meaning it promotes the growth of new brain cells and new neural pathways.
For me, this had the effect of reducing cravings for sugary foods, tobacco and cannabis - something that I certainly wasn’t expecting.
There is no scientific evidence that backs up these claims, but it’s certainly possible that lion’s mane could work to reduce cravings indirectly by promoting neurogenesis, reducing anxiety and improving mood.
There’s a study that found taking lion’s mane over 4 weeks reduced depression and anxiety in 30 females, so that could be one explanation.
Improved verbal recall
I’m not the only one to have noticed this, but on days when I take lion’s mane, I have found my word recall and verbal intelligence to be improved.
The right word just seems to spring to mind when I need it, making my conversations flow that much easier.
I’ve also heard from others who take lion’s mane that they experience the same benefit.
Here’s one review of the lion’s mane capsules I sell on my website Mushies.co.uk…
“Since taking them I feel they have had a very positive impact on everything from memory to ending that annoying thing where you can't think of the word, or lethologica as I now remember it's called :P. They've also had a positive impact on my mood.”
And I think that just sums it up for me too.
There are preclinical trials showing Lion’s mane has a significant impact on neural growth and improved memory formation.
Researchers say that this could have clinical applications in treating and preventing neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, so it’s not unlikely that it could also help healthy people improve their word recall and verbal intelligence.
I was expecting lion's mane to give me energy and focus. And while it does give me some extra focus when I need it, when I take it in the evening, it relaxes me and puts me off into a deep sleep.
This effect was first brought to my attention by my cousin, who I gave some lion’s mane capsules to a while ago.
After using them for a while, he was raving to me about how effective they are for helping him unwind and drift off to sleep at night.
Strange, I thought. Until I tried it myself.
He thought that it might be to do with him having ADHD and the lion’s mane working by calming his mind.
I don’t have ADHD, but I do have quite an active mind, especially at night. So perhaps there’s something to this.
Again, there’s little scientific evidence to explain these effects, so that’s the best explanation I have right now.
Since I’ve been taking lion’s mane every day, not only has my focus improved, unexpectedly, so has my cravings, social anxiety and sleep.
I don’t fully understand why as research on this remark mushroom is still pretty scarce, but it works for me so I’ll keep doing it.
What benefits have you noticed? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading.
But hericene A-rich lion's mane extract capsules here.
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