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< class="article__title title"> 4 Lion’s Mane Depression Benefits>
4 Lion’s Mane Depression Benefits
Jun 06, 22
This article has been vetted by the Onnit Advisory Board. Read more about our editorial process.
Author: Sony Sherpa

4 Lion’s Mane Depression Benefits

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

Depression, also known as major depressive disorder, is a fairly common but serious mental health disorder. It negatively affects the way you think, feel and act. Depression can lead to a host of physical and emotional problems affecting your ability to perform at home and/or at work.

There are several things people can do to help reduce the symptoms of depression. Apart from seeking professional help, using medications and talk therapy, regular exercise, and quality sleep are some natural ways to cope.

But have you heard about Lion's mane mushroom for depression? Amazing as it may sound, researchers have found a link between lion's mane and depression.

So how does Lion's mane help with depression? Or does lion's mane make you happy?

Below we will take a comprehensive look at 4 Lion’s mane depression benefits. We will also let you in on how much lion’s mane is good for depression.

Let’s find out!

Lion’s Mane Mushroom: What Is It?

Lion’s mane mushroom, called Hericium Erinaceus in Latin, is a medicinal mushroom with white long spines resembling the mane of a lion. But unlike the ferocious king of the jungle, Lion’s mane mushroom is something you want to get your hands on!

If you are not fond of the wild, the good news is that they can be found at a grocery near you. Even better, they are sold as health supplements. Lion’s mane mushroom has many health-boosting effects. They are most famous for their extraordinary brain-boosting power(1)and have been rightly nicknamed a “brain tonic”. These same benefits can be of help to ease symptoms of depression.

How Is Lion's Mane Mushroom Good For Depression?

1. Increases Happy Hormones

Lion’s mane may be able to raise dopamine levels, according to this 2018 study(2). When mice who were under stress were given Lion’s mane mushrooms, their dopamine levels stabilized. Before the administration of Hericium Erinaceus, a dip in the levels of the happy hormone was found. The results suggest that Lion’s mane mushroom may have antidepressant-like effects.

2. Anti-inflammatory Effects

 Inflammation(3) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of depressive disorders. Several studies have found that Lion’s mane mushroom tempers inflammation in depression. There is also evidence that inflammation could activate some signals which can trigger the transition to depression(4).

In one such 2015 study carried out in animals, the Amycenone(5) obtained from the extract of Lion's mane mushroom markedly blocked an increase in the serum TNF-α levels, a marker of inflammation. 

It also significantly attenuated the levels of Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) which is a substance that is known to increase inflammation in the body.

These findings suggest that amycenone can exert antidepressant effects by controlling inflammation, thereby proving to be beneficial in such conditions.

A very recent 2021 study has obtained similar results. Extracts of Hericium Erinaceus were given to animals for 4 weeks. The mushrooms were shown to induce anti-neuroinflammatory effects(6) in areas of the brain involved in depression.

3. Increases The Growth Of Neurons In Depression-affected Areas Of The Brain

Extracts of Lion’s mane mushrooms have been documented to enhance(7) the production of a nerve stimulant called Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). This NGF helps repair damaged neurons in the brain and also increases the growth of new brain cells.

The hippocampus of the brain is highly sensitive to stress. They are found to play a central role(8) in depression.

Chronic administration of Lion’s mane extracts was found to show antidepressant-like effects by enhancing the neurogenesis(9) in the hippocampal region (which shrinks in depression). This animal-based study indicated an increased proliferation of the nerve cells in this region of the brain.

This indicates that Lion’s mane mushroom can prove beneficial in depression by possibly enhancing neurogenesis.

In a 2010 study(10), cookies containing the extracts of Lion’s mane mushroom were given to women and the clinical effects of the fungus on depression, effects of menopause, and sleep quality were assessed.

The 30 women who took part in the study were randomly given either a cookie containing Lion’s mane or cookies without the mushroom for a total duration of 4 weeks. 

At the end of the study, several parameters related to depression and anxiety were found to be significantly reduced. The results of the study suggested that Lion’s mane mushroom had the possibility of reducing depression and anxiety.

Lion’s mane mushroom is also known to stimulate the production of and brain-derived neurotrophic (BDN) factor(11). This is a chemical that supports the differentiation, maturation, and survival of neurons in the brain. An increase in the expression of BDN factors has been linked to the antidepressant effect(12) of the Hericium Erinaceus mushroom.

4. Improves Sleep

Disturbed sleep(13) is both a risk factor and a symptom of depression. It is estimated that about 75% of people with depression have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. There is also a 10-fold higher risk of developing depression in people with insomnia than in people who get a good night’s sleep.

Lion’s mane mushroom has been proven to enhance sleep quality and duration(14). A Japanese study that was conducted on students with irregular sleep patterns reported fewer symptoms of depression and insomnia(15) with the use of the fungus. The study participants also said they experienced a reduction in other symptoms like anxiety, irritability, and fatigue.

How To Use Lion’s Mane For Depression?

How To Use Lion’s Mane For Depression?

Lion’s mane can be best taken in the form of supplements such as capsules, tinctures, or powders.

A spoonful of the powder can be mixed with your favorite food and beverage. Capsules are convenient, travel friendly, and fuss-free to use. Tinctures have a higher absorption rate and can be directly placed under the tongue.

Make sure to look for high-quality brands that use the best ingredients when purchasing your Lion’s mane supplements.

Lion’s mane mushroom can also be consumed fresh and can be turned into a delicacy. But unless you live close to the native habitat of the mushroom, sourcing it can be quite cumbersome.

Lion’s Mane Dosage For Depression

The exact Lion's mane mushroom dosage for depression has not been established. Clinical trials(16) have tested up to 3 grams of Lion’s mane per day.

In a 2014 study(17), 1950 mg/tablet of Lion’s mane was used per day for 6 months. Similarly, the Japanese study performed on students also used the same amount, albeit for 4 weeks.

Therefore, the general recommended oral dose is 1500 to 2000 mg. However, it is best to ask your healthcare provider what works best for you.

Final Thoughts

Animal and human studies have suggested that  Lion’s mane depression benefits may be linked with its ability to promote the growth of brain cells. It has also been shown to increase the levels of dopamine in a few studies. The mushroom also combats inflammation and promotes sleep, two factors that may contribute to depression

Lion’s mane mushroom may be a cost-effective complementary and alternative medicine for the treatment of depressive disorders, generally with fewer side effects. It is however not intended to replace your antidepressant medications.

References

  1. Lai, P. L., Naidu, M., Sabaratnam, V., Wong, K. H., David, R. P., Kuppusamy, U. R., Abdullah, N., & Malek, S. N. (2013). Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia.International journal of medicinal mushrooms,15(6), 539–554.  https://doi.org/10.1615/intjmedmushr.v15.i6.30 
  2. Chiu, C.-H., Chyau, C.-C., Chen, C.-C., Lee, L.-Y., Chen, W.-P., Liu, J.-L., Lin, W.-H., & Mong, M.-C. (2018). Erinacine A-Enriched Hericium erinaceus Mycelium Produces Antidepressant-Like Effects through Modulating BDNF/PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β Signaling in Mice.International Journal of Molecular Sciences,19(2), 341.  https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19020341 
  3. Maes M. (1994). Cytokines in major depression.Biological psychiatry,36(7), 498–499.  https://doi.org/10.1016/0006-3223(94)90652-1 
  4. Walker, A. K., Kavelaars, A., Heijnen, C. J., & Dantzer, R. (2013). Neuroinflammation and comorbidity of pain and depression.Pharmacological reviews,66(1), 80–101.  https://doi.org/10.1124/pr.113.008144 
  5. Yao, W., Zhang, J. C., Dong, C., Zhuang, C., Hirota, S., Inanaga, K., & Hashimoto, K. (2015). Effects of amycenone on serum levels of tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-10, and depression-like behavior in mice after lipopolysaccharide administration.Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior,136, 7–12.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pbb.2015.06.012 
  6. Chong, P. S., Poon, C. H., Roy, J., Tsui, K. C., Lew, S. Y., Phang, M., Tan, R., Cheng, P. G., Fung, M. L., Wong, K. H., & Lim, L. W. (2021). Neurogenesis-dependent antidepressant-like activity of Hericium erinaceus in an animal model of depression.Chinese medicine,16(1), 132.  https://doi.org/10.1186/s13020-021-00546-8 
  7. Lai, P. L., Naidu, M., Sabaratnam, V., Wong, K. H., David, R. P., Kuppusamy, U. R., Abdullah, N., & Malek, S. N. (2013). Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia.International journal of medicinal mushrooms,15(6), 539–554.  https://doi.org/10.1615/intjmedmushr.v15.i6.30 
  8. Campbell, S., & Macqueen, G. (2004). The role of the hippocampus in the pathophysiology of major depression.Journal of psychiatry & neuroscience : JPN,29(6), 417–426. 
  9. Chong, P. S., Fung, M. L., Wong, K. H., & Lim, L. W. (2019). Therapeutic Potential ofHericium erinaceus for Depressive Disorder.International journal of molecular sciences,21(1), 163.  https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21010163 
  10. Nagano, M., Shimizu, K., Kondo, R., Hayashi, C., Sato, D., Kitagawa, K., & Ohnuki, K. (2010). Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake.Biomedical research (Tokyo, Japan),31(4), 231–237.  https://doi.org/10.2220/biomedres.31.231 
  11. Li, T. J., Lee, T. Y., Lo, Y., Lee, L. Y., Li, I. C., Chen, C. C., & Chang, F. C. (2021). Hericium erinaceus mycelium ameliorate anxiety induced by continuous sleep disturbance in vivo.BMC complementary medicine and therapies,21(1), 295.  https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-021-03463-3 
  12. Chiu, C.-H., Chyau, C.-C., Chen, C.-C., Lee, L.-Y., Chen, W.-P., Liu, J.-L., Lin, W.-H., & Mong, M.-C. (2018). Erinacine A-Enriched Hericium erinaceus Mycelium Produces Antidepressant-Like Effects through Modulating BDNF/PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β Signaling in Mice.International Journal of Molecular Sciences,19(2), 341.  https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms19020341 
  13. ‌Steiger, A., & Pawlowski, M. (2019). Depression and Sleep.International Journal of Molecular Sciences,20(3), 607.  https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20030607 
  14. Furuta, S., Kuwahara, R., Hiraki, E., Ohnuki, K., Yasuo, S., & Shimizu, K. (2016). Hericium erinaceus extracts alter behavioral rhythm in mice.Biomedical research (Tokyo, Japan),37(4), 227–232.  https://doi.org/10.2220/biomedres.37.227 
  15. Okamura, H., Anno, N., Tsuda, A., Inokuchi, T., Uchimura, N., & Inanaga, K. (2015). The effects of Hericium erinaceus (Amyloban® 3399) on sleep quality and subjective well-being among female undergraduate students: A pilot study.Personalized Medicine Universe,4, 76–78. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmu.2015.03.006
  16. Saitsu, Y., Nishide, A., Kikushima, K., Shimizu, K., & Ohnuki, K. (2019). Improvement of cognitive functions by oral intake of Hericium erinaceus.Biomedical research (Tokyo, Japan),40(4), 125–131.  https://doi.org/10.2220/biomedres.40.125 
  17. Inanaga, K. (2014). Marked improvement of neurocognitive impairment after treatment with compounds from Hericium erinaceum: A case study of recurrent depressive disorder. Personalized Medicine Universe,3, 46–48.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmu.2014.02.004
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