Lion's mane (Hericium erinaceus) is a medicinal mushroom known for its potential health benefits, including immune support, cognitive enhancement, and anti-inflammatory properties. Recent research has sparked interest in its potential for cancer treatment, with studies showing antiproliferative effects on cancer cell lines, apoptosis induction, and tumor growth inhibition in animal models.
Lion's mane may also alleviate chemotherapy-induced side effects and improve the quality of life for cancer patients. However, human clinical trials are limited, and more research is needed to fully understand the implications of Lion's mane in cancer treatment. Therefore, always consult a healthcare professional before adding any new supplement or treatment to your routine, especially if you are undergoing cancer treatment.
In this article, we will delve into the science behind Lion's Mane, explore the current research findings related to its role in cancer treatment, discuss its potential benefits for cancer patients, and provide guidance on how to incorporate this powerful mushroom into your diet.
Lion's Mane and Cancer: Current Research Findings
A wealth of scientific research has been conducted to understand the potential of the Lion's mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) in combating cancer. These studies have investigated the effects of Lion's mane extract on cancer cells and its potential benefits for overall health.
Most studies have suggested that Lion's mane mushroom extracts inhibit metastasis of cancer cells, with these medicinal mushrooms improving the quality of life of people with cancer.
What Does the Research Say About Using Lion's Mane for Cancer?
It Has Antiproliferative Effects on Cancer Cell Lines
Lion's mane mushroom extracts have demonstrated antiproliferative effects on various cancer cell lines, including colon cancer cells. These findings suggest that(1) Lion's mane mushrooms may have the ability to slow down or halt the growth of tumor cells, making them an excellent health-promoting functional food.
It Induces Apoptosis
In addition to inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, Lion's mane mushroom extract has been found to(2) induce apoptosis or cancer cell death. This is an essential mechanism in controlling cancer cell metastasis, as it helps prevent the spread of cancer cells to other parts of the body.
It Inhibits Tumor Growth
Research on animals has further demonstrated the potential of Lion's mane mushrooms in cancer treatment. Studies have shown that the administration of Lion's mane extract can inhibit tumor growth in animal models, specifically in cases of colon cancer.
Research on the Effects of Lion's Mane on Common Types of Cancer
Lion's Mane for Breast Cancer
A 2021 study(3) explored the anti-cancer effects of Lion's mane supplements on receptor-positive (ER+) human breast adenocarcinoma cells. The mushroom's water extract could inhibit the cell survival of breast cancer cells.
In addition, treatment with Lion's mane significantly induced apoptosis and arrested the progression of the cellular proliferation cycle in breast cancer. The study suggested that Hericium erinaceus edible mushrooms could improve the health of women with breast cancer.
Lion's Mane for Leukemia
Leukemia, or cancer of white blood cells, is what we commonly refer to as blood cancer. Research studies have shown that when using Lion's mane for cancer, the Erinacines, Hericenones, and other bioactive ingredients in the mushroom can help inhibit blood cancer growth and development.
A study(4) performed on human leukemia cells showed that aqueous and ethanolic extracts of Lion's mane mushroom aided in cancer cell apoptosis. Similarly, aromatic compounds(5) isolated from the alcoholic extract of the fruiting bodies and mycelium of Lion's mane mushroom significantly reduced cell proliferation in human acute promyelocytic leukemia cells. Furthermore, these same compounds also induced the apoptosis of the tumor cells.
Lion's Mane for Lung Cancer
Hericium Erinaceus can scavenge free radicals and induce apoptosis in human lung cancer cells, according to a 2020 study (6). Peptides obtained from these edible mushrooms have antioxidant abilities and demonstrate antiproliferative activity against human lung carcinoma cells. The mushroom also can induce apoptosis.
Four extracts of Hericium Erinaceus were investigated for their ability to stop the spread of tumor cells, also known as antimetastatic activity(7). The hot water extracts of Lion's mane mushroom strongly elicited cancer cell death through apoptosis and inhibited metastasis of cancer cells to the lungs by 66% and 69%, respectively.
Lion's Mane for Brain Cancer
Research has shown that Glioma, one of the most common tumors of the central nervous system, may benefit from Lion's mane mushroom.
Two new natural products, Erinacerin O and Erinacerin P, were isolated and identified from Hericium Erinaceus in a 2020 study(8). The experiment showed that the compounds could increase the apoptosis rate and reduce the replication of cancer cells.
Researchers concluded that the compounds obtained from Hericium Erinaceus could be potential novel inhibitors of Glioma.
Lion's Mane for Gastrointestinal Cancer
The anti-cancer potential of Hericium erinaceus extracts against human gastrointestinal cancers was explored in a 2014 study(9). The results obtained from the research study suggested that Lion's mane may be effective in dealing with all types of Gastrointestinal cancers, including colon cancer.
In another study on colorectal cancer(10), Erinacine A, one of the major bioactive diterpenoid compounds extracted from the mycelia of Lion's mane mushroom, displayed great antitumorigenic activity, fighting colon cancer cells. Furthermore, the study found that the treatment with Erinacine A induces cell apoptosis of the colorectal cancer cells, thereby providing a new mechanism for Erinacine A treatment in vitro and in vivo.
Interesting Read: See how mushrooms improve gut health.
Potential Synergistic Effects With Conventional Cancer Treatments
One exciting area of research is the potential for Lion's mane mushroom supplement to work synergistically with conventional cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Some studies have shown that combining Lion's mane mushroom extract with these treatments may increase their efficacy while reducing side effects.
The Benefits of Lion's Mane in Cancer Support
Lion's mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine and is now gaining attention in the modern world for its numerous health benefits. Beyond its potential anti-cancer effects, Lion's mane may also provide valuable support for cancer patients in various ways.
1. Boosts The Immune System
One of the key health benefits of Lion's mane extract is its ability to boost the immune system. The bioactive compounds in Lion's mane extract, such as polysaccharides and terpenoids, have demonstrated immune-enhancing properties. A strong immune system is crucial in the fight against cancer, as it helps the body recognize and eliminate cancer cells more effectively.
2. Alleviates Chemotherapy-Induced Side Effects
Cancer patients undergoing traditional cancer medications like chemotherapy experience various side effects. Lion's mane mushroom extracts may help alleviate some of these side effects:
- Nausea and vomiting - Lion's mane mushrooms possess anti-emetic properties that may help reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
- Fatigue - Consuming Lion's mane extract may help combat the tiredness often experienced by cancer patients. The bioactive compounds in the mushroom enhance energy levels and reduce oxidative stress.
- Cognitive impairment - Lion's mane extract is also known for its neuroprotective effects. It has been studied for its potential in treating neurodegenerative diseases. Cancer patients experiencing cognitive impairment due to chemotherapy may benefit from Lion's Mane supplements to support brain function.
3. Improves Quality of Life for Cancer Patients
Integrating Lion's mane medicinal mushrooms into a cancer patient's diet may contribute to an improved quality of life. Studies on colon cancer and breast cancer patients have shown that using Lion's mane mushroom supplements, alongside traditional cancer treatments, can result in better overall health, reduced side effects, and enhanced well-being.
How to Incorporate Lion's Mane into Your Diet For Cancer Treatment
To fully harness the potential of this medicinal mushroom in treating cancer, it's essential to know how to choose the right Lion's Mane supplements, prepare Lion's mane in various dishes, and understand the recommended dosage and potential side effects.
How to Choose High-Quality Lion's Mane Supplements
Look for reputable brands that use high-quality Lion's mane mushroom fruiting bodies in their supplements. Ensure that the product has been tested for purity, potency, and the absence of contaminants.
Opt for Lion's mane supplements that contain both acidic and alkaline extracts, as they provide a comprehensive range of bioactive compounds with various health benefits.
How to Prepare Lion's Mane in Various Dishes
Fresh Lion's mane mushrooms can be found in specialty stores or farmer's markets. They can be sautéed, stir-fried, or added to soups and stews for a delicious and nutritious meal.
Dried Lion's mane mushrooms can be rehydrated and used similarly to fresh mushrooms or ground into a powder and added to smoothies, oatmeal, or baked goods. You can also use dried Lion's mane for mushroom tea.
Lion's mane mushroom extracts are available in liquid, capsule, or powder form and can be incorporated into beverages or recipes as needed.
Use an Ideal Lion's Mane Dosage
The optimal dosage of Lion's Mane supplements may vary depending on the individual, the specific product, and the intended health benefits. Generally, a typical dosage for powdered extracts ranges from 500 mg to 3,000 mg per day. In comparison, Lion's mane supplements in capsule form often suggest 1,000 mg to 3,000 mg daily. Both forms are taken in divided doses.
It is, however, essential to talk to a healthcare professional to ensure you are using a dosage that suits your needs. One that will not cause side effects.
FAQs About Lion's Mane Cancer
What Are The Negative Effects Of Lion's Mane?
Lion's mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) is generally safe and well-tolerated by most individuals. However, some people may experience adverse effects, such as gastrointestinal discomfort or allergic reactions.
Gastrointestinal issues may include stomach discomfort, gas, bloating, or diarrhea, while allergic reactions can manifest as skin rashes, itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing. If you suspect an allergic reaction, it's crucial to discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional immediately.
Additionally, there is limited research on potential drug interactions with Lion's mane. Those taking prescription medications, especially for diabetes or blood sugar control, should consult their healthcare provider before starting Lion's Mane supplements, as it may lower blood sugar levels. Monitoring blood sugar levels and discussing any concerns with a healthcare professional can help ensure the use of Lion's mane safely and appropriately.
Can Lions Mane Be Taken Long-Term?
Lion's mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) is generally considered safe for long-term use when consumed appropriately. Many people incorporate Lion's mane into their daily routine as a dietary supplement to support cognitive function, immune health, and overall well-being.
However, individual reactions to supplements can vary, and long-term safety data from human clinical trials is limited. Therefore, as with any supplement, following the recommended dosages and consulting a healthcare professional before starting or continuing long-term use is essential, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking prescription medications.
Should You Take Lion's Mane Every Day?
Taking Lion's mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) every day is a personal choice, depending on your health goals and individual needs. Lion's mane is generally considered safe and well-tolerated when consumed daily at appropriate dosages.
Nonetheless, it's crucial to recognize that people's responses to supplements may differ, and long-term safety data from human clinical trials are scarce. Consequently, when using any supplement, it's vital to adhere to the suggested dosages and seek advice from a healthcare professional before incorporating it into your daily routine.
Lion's mane has demonstrated promising potential in various cancer treatment and support aspects. For example, it has shown the ability to inhibit cancer cell growth, induce apoptosis, and boost the immune system, making it a valuable natural remedy. Moreover, Lion's mane may help alleviate chemotherapy-induced side effects and improve cancer patients' overall quality of life.
While the current findings on Lion's mane are encouraging, it's essential to acknowledge the limitations of existing research. Most studies have been conducted in vitro or on animals, and human clinical trials are limited. Therefore, continued research and clinical trials are necessary to fully understand the benefits of Lion's mane in cancer treatment and to determine the optimal way to incorporate Lion's mane supplements into cancer treatment plans.
The growing interest in Lion's mane and other natural remedies highlights the shift towards integrative cancer care, which combines conventional treatments with complementary therapies to improve patient outcomes and overall well-being. Lion's mane and other medicinal mushrooms are just a few examples of the many natural remedies that can complement traditional cancer treatments, providing patients with a more holistic approach to their healing journey.
Have you used Lion's Mane before? What benefits were you seeking? Did you enjoy the experience with the mane mushroom? Please share your experience with the mushroom in the comments section.
- Recent developments in mushrooms as anti-cancer therapeutics: a review, (1)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3339609/
- Isolation and identification of aromatic compounds in Lion's Mane Mushroom and their anticancer activities, (2)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25306354/
- Transcriptome-Wide Analysis Reveals the Molecular Mechanism of Tumoricidal Effects of Lion's Mane Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Agaricomycetes), on MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cells, (3)https://www.dl.begellhouse.com/journals/708ae68d64b17c52,367ee73d7a1caab0,3d4c5fa53a165c60.html
- Mechanism of Hericium erinaceus (Yamabushitake) mushroom-induced apoptosis of U937 human monocytic leukemia cells, (4)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21779573/
- Isolation and identification of aromatic compounds in Lion's Mane Mushroom and their anti-cancer activities (5)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25306354/
- Peptides obtained from edible mushrooms: Hericium erinaceus offers the ability to scavenge free radicals and induce apoptosis in lung cancer cells in humans, (6)https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2020/fo/d0fo00227e
- Hericium erinaceus (Lion's Mane) mushroom extracts inhibit metastasis of cancer cells to the lung in CT-26 colon cancer-tansplanted mice, (7)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23668749/
- Erinacerins, Novel Glioma Inhibitors from Hericium erinaceus, Induce Apoptosis of U87 Cells through Bax/Capase-2 Pathway (8)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32753025/
- Anti-cancer potential of Hericium erinaceus extracts against human gastrointestinal cancers, (9)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24631140/
- Induction Apoptosis of Erinacine A in Human Colorectal Cancer Cells Involving the Expression of TNFR, Fas, and Fas Ligand via the JNK/p300/p50 Signaling Pathway With Histone Acetylation, (10)https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2019.01174/full