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Lions Mane Brain Fog & Brain Health Benefits
May 20, 22
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Author: Sony Sherpa

Lions Mane Brain Fog & Brain Health Benefits

  • by Sony Sherpa
  • |
  • 16 min read

Do you suffer from brain fog? You're not alone. Many people experience an inability to focus, poor memory recall, and a general feeling of being out of it. While there are many potential causes of brain fog, one possible solution is to use Lion's mane mushrooms. 

These mushrooms are known for their beneficial effects on brain health and cognitive function. In this post, we'll look closely at Lion's Mane mushrooms and explore how they can help reduce brain fog

We'll also discuss the scientific evidence behind these benefits and share tips on how to use Lion's Mane mushrooms for brain fog relief. So, if you're looking for an effective natural remedy for brain fog, keep reading to learn more!

How Does Lion's Mane Mushroom Supplement Help The Brain?

When it comes to improving and supporting the brain, Lion's mane carries many health benefits. The nootropic effects of the mushroom are due to the presence of high amounts of the antioxidant known as beta-glucoxylan

Taking Lion's mane gives you access to four other polypeptides and polysaccharides that significantly enhance the human immune system and overall body health.

Taking Lion's mane stimulates the synthesis of the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). These particular types of proteins regenerate the neurons and support brain plasticity. 

The Lions mane Nerve Growth Factor prevents neuronal death while enhancing its growth and survival. The Lion's mane Nerve Growth Factor is produced in the brain's hippocampus and is essential for learning, memory, and neuroprotection following brain injury. 

Hericenones and Erinacines are the two natural products isolated from the fruiting bodies and the mycelium of Lion's mane mushroom. These products easily cross the blood-brain barrier and induce the nerve growth factor NGF synthesis. 

Many health supplements cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. It is due to this fact that the benefits of Lion's mane mushrooms for brain health are widely revered. 

However, the exact mechanism by which Lion's mane extracts synthesize nerve growth factor is still unclear. However, there is a belief that the mushroom's ability to break the blood-brain barrier contributes to the synthesis of the nerve growth factor NGF.

How Do You Feel After Taking Lion's Mane Extract?

How Do You Feel After Taking Lion’s Mane Extract?

Lion's mane medicinal mushroom takes around two weeks to build in your system. You won't see the benefits of Lion's mane immediately. However, continued and consistent use leads to a boost in mental energy and mood. 

Improvement in the sense of smell and depth perception becomes apparent after using Lion's mane extract for several weeks. Some individuals have reported improved ability to solve problems, learn, and make decisions, all of which come with the use of Lion's mane mushroom extract. 

Lion's mane supplement also decreases the symptoms of anxiety and depression while improving concentration and eliminating brain fog. 

What Are The Lion's Mane Mushrooms Brain Fog Benefits?

Lion's mane extract has potent anti-inflammatory, immunostimulant, and antioxidant activity that is beneficial in many neurological diseases and brain health. The following are the various ways Lion's mane helps people beat brain fog:

1. Lion's Mane Extract Promotes Neurogenesis

One of the best mushrooms for brain fog, Lion's mane mushroom, by stimulation of NGF, promotes neurogenesis. 

Read More: Learn how Lion's mane supports neurogenesis

Researchers(1) found that Lion's mane increased the levels of NGF in the hippocampus of mice. The mice were fed 5% freeze-dried mushroom extract for a week. Research has shown that more NGF helps people beat brain fog. 

In another research study(2) exploring Lion's mane brain fog benefits, Lion's mane supplements promoted neuron regrowth after injury. Rats with gluteal nerve damage consumed Lion's mane extract and were able to walk afterward—this shows that Lion's mane was able to improve nerve health. 

Read More: See how Lion's mane neuropathy benefits boost nerve health. 

Animal studies on Lion's mane benefits for brain have also shown that the mushroom extracts stimulate the synthesis of Brain-Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF). BDNF is a protein that supports brain health by increasing the production of new cells while strengthening existing ones. 

It also increases brain plasticity, which helps the brain remain resilient in stressful times or with age. The synthesis of BNDF protects the brain from chronic inflammation.

2. Lion's Mane Mushrooms Have Therapeutic Potential For Alzheimer's Disease

Brain fog is characterized by confusion, forgetfulness, and a lack of focus and mental clarity. These symptoms are closely related to Alzheimer's disease, which is mainly characterized by memory loss. Lion's mane brain fog benefits often materialize in the mushroom's fruiting body ability to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's disease is related to(3) the functional deficiency of NGF. This protein plays an integral part in the pathogenesis of the disease. 

Lion's mane cognitive studies conducted in 2009 on patients with Alzheimer's reported significant improvements in mental functioning—part of these benefits were a result of the mushroom extracts improving nerve health, especially the nerve growth factor (NGF). 

The older individuals with mild cognitive impairments were given 3 grams of Lion's mane organic mushroom powder for four months. The researchers also noted the decline in its benefits four weeks after cessation of Lion's mane extract and supplements. 

The conclusions from the study suggested that Lion's mane powder reverses Alzheimer's in older people and supports nerve health.  

Preclinical and human studies on the effects of Lion's mane on Alzheimer's have also indicated that Lion's mane mushroom extracts reduce the beta-amyloid plaques in the brain and build the neurons' protective myelin sheaths. 

Research suggests that these plaques are the biological markers of Alzheimer's that accumulate and cause neuronal damage in the disease. High-quality Lion's mane products reduce the accumulation of the plaques, reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. 

Studies on mice have shown that Lion's mane is one of the best mushrooms for Alzheimer's. The mushroom prevents short-term memory reduction induced by beta-amyloid peptides.

3. Lion's Mane Improves Dementia And Memory

Alzheimer's disease is a leading cause of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of dementia cases. Dementia is not a normal part of aging. It results from brain cell damage which affects the ability to communicate, which, in turn, can affect thinking, behavior, and feelings. 

As noted earlier, one of the lions mane brain benefits is reducing the risk of Alzheimer's. This further reduces the risk of dementia. Dementia has been known to make brain fog worse. 

Lion's mane improves memory according to a few studies(4) performed on animal models. In the past, a Lion's mane dementia study(5) has demonstrated that the fruiting bodies of the mushroom provide anti-dementia activity. 

When using Lion's mane for dementia, the compounds in the mushroom protect against progressive memory loss by reducing plaques in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus.

A research study taking a deeper look at the relationship betweenLion's mane and dementia was published recently by the journal of Behavioral Neurology. Published in 2018(6), the study confirmed that Lion's mane mushroom is one of the foods that can stop dementia before it starts. 

Most of the recorded Lion's mane dementia studies indicate that the mushroom positively impacts treating these conditions.

4. Lion's Mane Improves Mood And Depression

Depression is a known cause of brain fog. For example, the lack of sleep—a common symptom of depression—tends to make the brain foggy. 

Lion's mane improves mood with its anti-inflammatory properties. Some evidence suggests the role of inflammation in depression. 

Amycenone extracted from Lion's mane has antidepressant effects(7) and could be potentially used as a supplement to prevent inflammation-related depression. Amycenone is an activator of brain function.

What's more, research has shown that taking Lion's mane before bed improves sleep quality. Better sleep further improves depression and mood.

Read More: See how Lion's mane fights depression

5. Lion's Mane Reduces Stress And Anxiety

Lion’s Mane Reduces Stress And Anxiety

While brain fog is a pretty common condition, it is rarely a medical problem on its own. In most cases, it is a symptom of several issues—for instance, it can be a symptom of stress and anxiety. 

If we use an analogy where your brain is a computer, then anxiety and stress are the programs that run in the background and take up tons of memory. The programs running in the background slow down your memory, causing brain fog. 

Lion's mane, however, helps to calm the nerves. For this reason, Lion's mane reduces anxiety and irritability in post-menopausal women. Lion's mane also improves pre-menopausal symptoms like fatigue and mood swings.

As noted earlier, one of the main benefits of Lions mane mushrooms for brain health is that it increases the level of BDNF, which is also a natural antidepressant. Amyloban, a bioactive compound extracted from the mushroom, has improved neurocognitive function in patients with recurrent depressive disorder(8).

Another research study(9) also found that the mushroom significantly reduced depression and anxiety. The results were after an eight-week oral administration of three mushroom capsules containing extracts of Hericium Erinaceus.

The mushroom boosts energy and reduces fatigue when people use Lion's mane pre-workout. This allows people to work out more. A research study published in 2004(10) found regular exercise beneficial for people suffering from depression and anxiety.

6. Lion's Mane Inhibits Ischemic Stroke-Induced Neuronal Cell Death

Another way through which Lion's mane eliminates mental fog is by fighting Ischemic Stroke-Induced Neuronal cell death. The Lion's mane nerve growth properties prevent ischemic injury to neurons. The nerve growth properties of the medicinal mushroom inhibit neuronal cell death in transient stroke, providing a beneficial effect on the injured brain(11)

Some preclinical studies on the mane mushroom benefits for brain health have indicated a reduction in infarct volume with medicinal mushroom use. These are promising results that need further clinical studies. 

7. Lion's Mane Improves Motor Skills In Parkinson's Disease

While this Lion's mane benefit is not directly related to brain fog, it impacts clear thinking. Oral administration of Hericium Erinaceus acts as an anti-neuroinflammatory agent that leads to neuroprotection in Parkinson's disease. 

The mushroom's neuron-protective effect(12)  seems to exist both in vitro and in vivo. It has also been shown to improve motor skills in studies performed on mouse models with Parkinson's. Three different dosage levels (5.38, 10.76, and 21.52 mg/kg) of Lion's mane mushroom decreased the motor deficits.

Read More: See how Lion's mane aids Parkinson's treatment

8. Lion's Mane Improves Cognition

Cognition problems are characterized by slow thinking, difficulty focusing, confusion, lack of concentration, forgetfulness, or haziness. All these symptoms are directly related to brain fog.

One of the most referenced Lion's mane cognitive studies—a double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group randomized trial(13) performed in 2008—found that Lion's mane mildly improved cognitive function. To study Lion's mane brain benefits on cognition, researchers requested the subjects to take four 250 mg tablets of 96% Yamabushitake dry powder thrice a day for 16 weeks. 

Post-termination, the study subjects, consisting of older Japanese men and women, showed significantly improved cognitive function scale scores. The laboratory tests showed no adverse effects of the mushroom.

Another double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial was conducted on patients to determine the effectiveness of Lions mane for Alzheimer's disease. This 2020 human study(14) investigated Lion's mane cognition benefits. To study the Lions mane brain neurocognitive benefits, scientists gave the participants three 350 mg of Lion's mane capsules per day for 49 weeks. 

A significant decrease in the Cognitive Abilities Screening Instrument score was noted in the placebo group. Meanwhile, the study group significantly improved the Mini-Mental State Examination score. Researchers found a significant difference in the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living score between the two groups.

From the conclusions drawn in the two Lion's mane cognitive studies, it is easy to see that Lions mane mushroom can be a safe and effective solution for people dealing with cognition problems.

9. Lion's Mane Mushrooms Improve Memory And Focus

Regarding the benefits of Lions Mane mushrooms for brain health, we can't leave out the mushroom's ability to improve focus and memory. The mushroom's anti-inflammatory effect enhances blood flow in the brain. This provides the brain with more oxygen which leads to enhanced performance.

Is Lion's Mane Safe?

Now that we have answered the question, "does lion's mane help with brain fog?", you may want to know whether the mushroom is safe before taking the fungi to clear your mind. 

One thing we would like to note is that in addition to being one of the most beneficial mushrooms for brain health, Lion's mane carries a wide range of other benefits, including: 

  • It can help you lower blood sugar levels 
  • It boosts mental energy 
  • Lion's mane mushrooms reduce inflammation 
  • The fungi repair damaged nerve cells 
  • Helps with the treatment of cancer cells and prevents tumor growth 
  • Improves emotional responses to stressful conditions 

The crab meat-tasting mushroom, like other medicinal mushrooms, may carry very few side effects. However, avoiding these side effects is extremely easy when you use the proper Lion's mane dosage

Lion's mane mushroom is non-toxic. Small clinical studies suggest that this mushroom is safe for consumption. The most common adverse effect is gastrointestinal discomfort, like nausea.

If you are allergic to the mushroom, always talk to your doctor to avoid suffering from an allergic reaction when using the mushroom. 

Apart from that, there are no reports of toxicity due to long-term consumption of the mushroom. There is limited evidence to support these claims as most studies on Lion's mane have been performed on rodents. However, there are no side effects or toxicity on animals, even in doses up to 5 grams per kilogram of body weight.

Final Thoughts

Lion's mane mushrooms are a great way to improve your brain health and prevent cognitive decline. In this blog post, we've explored the evidence behind the benefits of lions mane mushrooms for brain fog and cognitive function. 

How have you incorporated these medicinal fungi into your life? What brain health benefits have you experienced? Let us know in the comments.

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References

  1. Nerve Growth Factor-Inducing Activity of Hericium erinaceus in 1321N1 Human Astrocytoma Cells, (1)https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/bpb/31/9/31_9_1727/_article  
  2. Peripheral Nerve Regeneration Following Crush Injury to Rat Peroneal Nerve by Aqueous Extract of Medicinal MushroomHericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae), (2)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21941586/  
  3. Neuronal Health – Can Culinary and Medicinal Mushrooms Help? (3)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3924982/  
  4. Dietary Supplementation of Hericium erinaceus Increases Mossy Fiber-CA3 Hippocampal Neurotransmission and Recognition Memory in Wild Type Mice (4)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5237458/ 
  5. Erinacine A-enrichedHericium erinaceus mycelium ameliorates Alzheimer’s disease-related pathologies in APPswe/PS1dE9 transgenic mice, (5)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27350344/  
  6. Neurohealth Properties ofHericium erinaceus Mycelia Enriched with Erinacines, (6)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5987239/   
  7. Effects of amycenone on serum levels of tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-10, and depression-like behavior in mice after lipopolysaccharide administration, (7)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26150007/
  8. Marked improvement of neurocognitive impairment after treatment with compounds from Hericium erinaceum: A case study of recurrent depressive disorder, (8)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2186495014000108
  9. Hericium erinaceus Improves Mood and Sleep Disorders in Patients Affected by Overweight or Obesity: Could Circulating Pro-BDNF and BDNF Be Potential Biomarkers?, (9)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6500611/ 
  10. The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed, (10)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC474733/ 
  11. Protective Effects ofHericium erinaceus Mycelium and Its Isolated Erinacine A against Ischemia-Injury-Induced Neuronal Cell Death via the Inhibition of iNOS/p38 MAPK and Nitrotyrosine, (11)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4200813/ 
  12. Hericium erinaceus mycelium and its isolated erinacine A protection from MPTP-induced neurotoxicity through the ER stress, triggering an apoptosis cascade (12)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26988860/ 
  13. Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial (13)https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ptr.2634
  14. Prevention of Early Alzheimer's Disease by Erinacine A-Enriched Hericium erinaceus Mycelia Pilot Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study, (14)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32581767/
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