An area of great interest for many of us is the growing research into nootropics – the class of medicines, supplements and other substances that may improve cognitive function, including memory. Today, I’d like to discuss one of these substances, a medicinal mushroom that according to research contains bioactive substances that may protect against Alzheimer’s disease, help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety and even speed recovery from nervous system injuries.

Lion’s mane mushroom, named for its shaggy appearance, contains two special compounds that can stimulate the growth of brain cells: hericenones and erinacines. It has been shown to reduce symptoms of memory loss in mice, as well as prevent neuronal damage caused by amyloid-beta plaques, which accumulate in the brain during Alzheimer’s disease 1, 2, 3. While there have been no direct studies to date on people with Alzheimer’s, a 2009 study in older adults with mild cognitive impairment found consuming 3 grams of powdered lion’s mane mushroom daily for four months significantly improved mental functioning. The researchers noted the benefits disappeared roughly four weeks after supplementation ended.

A 2015 study found lion’s mane mushroom extract has anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression in mice. While yet another study found the extract can stimulate the growth and repair of nerve cells that can help speed recovery from nervous system injuries.

When choosing a lion’s mane supplement, two brands I really like are Host Defense and our own Vital Choice brand. Both brands offer organic lion’s mane in capsules. Host Defense also offers lion’s mane in a liquid extract, a loose powder (that’s great for smoothies) and in combination formulas that include lion’s mane with other nootropics like ginkgo and bacopa.  To learn more, please stop in and see us.

This information is not intended as personal medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.