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Adaptogen Profile: What is Lion's Mane?

Riley Webster

Lion's mane is a type of mushroom named for its white, shaggy cap. Known for its ability to help increase cognitive function, this mushroom has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine to support longevity and brain health. Most plentiful in late summer and fall months, lion’s mane grows wild in North America, Asia and Europe. As a powerful adaptogen, meaning a food that helps the body better adapt to stress without depleting the body’s innate resources, lion’s mane can help increase physical and emotional resiliency. Due to its calming effect on the nervous system and its ability to improve mood and memory, lion’s mane is a potent, nutritional powerhouse deserving to be in everyone’s supplement drawer! Lion's Mane
Here’s how it can help you on your path to wellness:

1. Helps regenerate the nervous system

For those who’ve experienced trauma or damage to their nervous system, a study shows that extracts of lion's mane mushrooms have been linked to encouraging nerve cells to grow and repair. These mushrooms activate nerve growth factor (NGF) needed by the brain and neurons for their development and maintenance.

2. Can help improve memory and brain function

Since lion’s mane promotes NGF to help the brain process and transfer information, the mushroom can help to increase concentration, attention, focus and memory retention. By supporting increase nerve growth, it can also potentially slow or reverse cell degeneration in the brain, which is characteristic of diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

3. Can improve gut health

Lion’s mane helps to reduce inflammation and increase the growth of healthy gut bacteria. A report suggests that this mushroom also has antibacterial properties to improve digestion and reduce harmful bacteria in the gut, such as the H. pylori bacterium which is linked to stomach ulcers.

4. Supports heart health

Research shows that lion’s mane may help lower LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and increase HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). Another study linked lion’s mane to encouraging the reduction of blood clots that may contribute to strokes.

5. Helps reduce depression

Although there can be many causes of depression, inflammation can be a major factor. Lion’s mane helps reduce inflammation, and may even help regenerate brain cells and improve the hippocampus’ ability to process memories and emotions.

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