Life with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) can be challenging—its symptoms can impact all areas of life. However, what if we told you there is a natural way of managing MS?
Lion's mane mushrooms can help you manage and treat MS. This detailed guide will examine how Lion's mane helps multiple sclerosis patients.
Let's jump right in!
What's Multiple Sclerosis And How Can You Manage It?
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune condition that affects the central nervous system. The immune system of a person with MS attacks the protective layer which surrounds the nerves, known as the myelin sheath, and causes various symptoms.
The symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis include:
- Vision problems
- Difficulty walking
- Weak bladder control
- Muscle stiffness and spasms
- Problems with coordination and balance
- Problems with planning, thinking, and learning
- Tingling and numbness in different body parts
Living a healthy lifestyle is one of the most significant ways people with MS can start taking charge of the disease. In addition to your prescription medication, a nutritious diet, getting enough sleep, and stress reduction plays a crucial role in managing all types of MS.
Read More: See how taking Lion's mane before bed improves your sleep.
But what if we told you there is a (not so little) mushroom that can help you improve your life when living with multiple sclerosis?
One of the best mushrooms for multiple sclerosis, Hericium Erinaceus or Lion's mane is a fiery-looking fungus that has been used for centuries as a culinary and natural remedy. And if you are wondering about the link between Lion's mane mushroom and MS, this is the perfect place to start.
So how is Lion's mane good for MS?
Researchers believe that the bioactive ingredient in Lion's mane induces the production of a protein that regulates the growth, development, and maintenance of certain neurons in the brain. This protein is known as the nerve growth factor in the scientific community.
Research studies using animals as test subjects have found evidence suggesting that Lion's mane mushroom may help repair the myelin sheath.
Read More: See how Lion's mane improves neurogenesis to repair and protect the myelin sheath.
The big question now is, is Lion's mane good for ms? How does this traditional Chinese Medicine help MS patients? Does the mushroom provide its benefits without causing side effects?
Let's answer all of these medical questions in the following section.
Lion's Mane Mushroom Benefits For MS
A handful of studies have explored the relationship between Lion's mane and MS. As the data is primarily animal-based, additional human research is required to ascertain the specific impact.
It is, however, worth noting that the information derived from animal studies has shown that Lion's mane herbs or supplements can help provide relief when it comes to MS symptoms. The studies also confirm that the mushroom may aid the healing process, although it may not completely cure Multiple Sclerosis.
Here are some benefits of using Lion's mane for MS:
- Aids the process of nerve damage repair
- Helps myelination
- Immunomodulatory effects.
- Combats inflammation.
Lets' take a closer look at each of them.
1. Helps Repair Nerve Damage And Stimulates Nerve Growth Factor Production
Lion's mane mushroom is most renowned for its ability to nourish nerve cells. The medicinal fungus has several bioactive compounds believed to give "nerves of steel." Moreover, Lion's mane fights neuropathy, meaning that it has the potential to provide relief from the impacts of nerve damage.
The mushroom contains two unique, organic compounds: Hericenones and Erinacines(1). The former is isolated from the fruiting bodies, while the latter is found in the fungal mycelium. Hericenones and Erinacines can easily cross the blood-brain barrier and stimulate the production of Nerve Growth Factors (or NGF).
The nerve growth factor (NGF) is a protein that can boost nerve health activities. NGF plays a crucial role in the development and survival of nerve cells or neurons. The ability to stimulate nerve growth factor levels is why experts in dietary supplements recommend Lion's mane multiple sclerosis.
Brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF) is another vital molecule stimulated by Hericium Erinaceus. BDNF plays an essential role in the survival and growth of neurons.
Together, these compounds (or proteins)—the Nerve Growth Factor and the brain-derived neurotrophic factor—play a substantial role in developing, maintaining, surviving, and repairing neurons, which is essential in MS.
As noted earlier, Multiple Sclerosis generally results from the immune system unknowingly attacking the nerves and destroying them. Lion's mane medicinal mushrooms can offer protection, making the fungus a potential solution your doctor can recommend after diagnosing MS.
2. May Aid The Process Of Myelination
In MS, the immune system attacks the myelin sheath or the cells that produce and maintain it. This attack causes inflammation and injury to the nerve sheath and its surrounding nerve fibers.
Research(2) has shown that extracts of Hericium Erinaceus—one of the best herbal remedies for MS—had an activating action on the nerve tissue. Furthermore, data obtained from the study revealed that the process of myelination in the presence of the mushroom extract began earlier than controls and at a higher rate.
Scientists concluded that Lion's mane mushroom extract promoted the myelination process in vitro.From the results of this study, taking advantage of Lion's mane mushroom extract may reduce or eliminate the symptoms of multiple sclerosis MS. Consistent use of the mushroom can even regulate immune function, preventing severe nerve injury and other neurological diseases.
3. Modulates The Immune System
MS is an autoimmune disease in which the body's overactive immune system attacks its nerve tissues. The Lion's mane extracts regulate the immune system, which benefits your cognitive function and reduces the risk of a central nervous system disorder like MS.
Read More: See the difference between Lion's mane extracts and powders.
Lion's mane mushroom contains phytochemical substances like beta-glucans that can modulate the immune system(3). Studies have also shown that Lion's mane mushroom polysaccharides can regulate immune activity effectively.
Apart from this, heteroglycan, heteroglycan-peptide, β-1,3 branched-β-1,2-mannan are other immunomodulatory polysaccharides that impart similar effects.
By modulating the immune system, the mushroom holds the power to offer protection against multiple sclerosis symptoms like muscle spasms and partial or complete paralysis. In addition, the health benefits of Lion's mane on the immune system can reduce the rate at which the progressive disease deteriorates an individual's overall health.
4. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease(4) of the central nervous system, where inflammation drives the demyelination process. The condition that often affects different body parts, including the spinal cord and the brain, can be prevented by reducing or eliminating body inflammation.
Luckily, Lion's mane supplements do more than promote nerve growth. In addition, the Lion's mane mushroom has potent anti-inflammatory benefits(5).
Read More: See how Lion's mane prevents cancer by fighting inflammation.
This property of the fungus also helps temper the immune responses. Owing to the dual benefits, Lion's mane may be a good option to help control inflammation and immune responses in MS.
How Lion's Mane Fights The Risk Factors For Multiple Sclerosis
In most cases, Multiple Sclerosis, which affects the body's peripheral nervous systems, results from unaddressed risk factors. This traditional Chinese medicine—Lion's mane mushroom—can help treat the risk factors. This can lower the risk of developing MS or dealing with its effects on the brain cells.
Below, we will look at how Lion's mane addresses the risk factors for MS:
Lion's Mane Mushrooms Fight Diabetes
Diabetes is a leading precursor for many health problems, including weak bladder control, inflammatory bowel disease, brain fog, etc. Research has also shown that diabetes is a leading risk factor for Multiple Sclerosis.
A study conducted in 2017(6) showed that type 2 diabetes significantly increases the risk of developing MS. Another study conducted in 2021(7) determined that kids born by mothers with diabetes are at a much higher risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis than kids born by healthy mothers.
Lion's mane treats diabetes—it is one of the few medicinal mushrooms that help diabetic people maintain a healthy blood sugar level.
In people without diabetes, the mushroom reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In addition, with a reduced risk of diabetes, Lion's mane lowers the risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis.
Lion's Mane Fights High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure—or hypertension—is another condition that happens to be a precursor for Multiple Sclerosis. A research study conducted in 2018(8) determined that high blood pressure is associated with a delayed diagnosis of MS and an increased risk of progression.
Research has shown that some of the bioactive ingredients in Lion's mane prevent high blood pressure. The mushroom acts like an ACE inhibitor which is extremely common in high blood pressure medications. Lion's mane can reduce the risk of MS by preventing hypertension.
Lion's Mane Fights Obesity
Research has shown that obesity is one of the significant risk factors for developing the precursors mentioned above—obesity increases the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. In addition, since diabetes and high blood pressure are risk factors for MS, obesity indirectly increases the risk of Multiple Sclerosis.
Also, obesity directly impacts the risk for MS. A research study conducted in 2016(9) showed that early childhood and adolescent obesity are significant risk factors for MS susceptibility. In addition, an article published in 2021(10) in the National Library of Medicine showed that obesity is a considerable risk factor for Multiple Sclerosis.
Lion's mane promotes weight loss—if you struggle with weight loss, the mushroom can speed up the rate at which you shed extra kilos.
The mushroom contains fiber and proteins that keep you full for longer, which helps you avoid consuming too many calories. However, that's not all—when you take Lion's mane pre-workout, the mushroom lowers your fatigue during a workout and gives you the energy you need to have longer workout sessions. This further promotes weight loss.
Lion's Mane Fights Vitamin D Deficiency
Research has shown that low vitamin D levels increase MS risk. One such study(11) was conducted in 2015. The study concluded that there is clear evidence that vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for MS.
One of the reasons many people love Lion's mane is that it carries numerous nutrients. One of the most beneficial nutrients in Lion's mane is vitamin D.
Whether you use Lion's mane organic mushroom powder or cook fresh mushrooms, Lion's mane provides enough vitamin D to reduce the risk of MS.
Lion's Mane Fights Depression
Depression is not a precursor for multiple sclerosis. However, most people suffering from multiple sclerosis deal with depression—numerous research studies have proved this.
A research study(12) determined that depression has a prevalence of more than 50% among people with MS. A study conducted in 2020(13) determined that depression, anxiety, and stress were much higher in people with MS than in healthy people.
Luckily, Lion's mane is an adaptogenic mushroom that helps the body adapt to stress. For this reason, Lion's mane treats depression and anxiety.
People with MS can use the mushroom to treat MS and, at the same time, eliminate depression, anxiety, and stress.
Lion's Mane Dosage For MS
The exact dosage of Lion's mane mushroom for MS has not yet been determined. However, when using mushrooms for MS, you can always rely on the average recommended daily dosage for the mushroom.
Long-term usage of Lion's mane, up to dosages of 2gm/day, has been shown to up-regulate immune functions, which could be beneficial in multiple sclerosis. In addition, this Lion's mane dosage will also provide effective Lion's mane myelin sheath benefits.
If you're new to the medicinal fungus or using lions mane for MS, you can always start with a lower dosage and work your way up over a few weeks. Also, seeking professional medical advice before using Lion's mane to ease nerve pain or treat neurological diseases is always a good idea.
Is Lion's Mane Good For Nerve Regeneration?
Emerging research suggests that Lion's mane mushroom extracts may encourage nerve cells to grow and repair more quickly. As a result, many people use the edible mushroom lion's mane for MS. Also, one of Lion's mane mushroom benefits for MS is that it replaces nerves damaged by the immune system.
Can Lion's Mane Cause Nerve Damage?
No evidence points to the nerve-damaging effects of Lion's mane mushrooms.
Does Lion's Mane Work For Neuropathy?
Lion's mane helps heal and regenerate nerve fibers, reduces inflammation, and combats infections, which can benefit neuropathy.
Lion's mane mushrooms repair damaged nerves and myelin sheath and temper the immune and inflammatory responses that play a crucial role in the development and progression of multiple sclerosis.
The mushroom has made a name for itself by fighting various neurological disorders. Therefore, if you are diagnosed with the condition, these benefits of Lions mane for MS can help ease your symptoms.
Have you used Lion's mane for its general health benefits? What notable improvement did you notice? Let us know in the comments.
- Neurohealth Properties of Hericium erinaceus Mycelia Enriched with Erinacines, (1)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5987239/
- The influence of Hericium erinaceus extract on myelination process in vitro, (2) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12675022/
- Immunomodulatory Effects of Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms and Their Bioactive Immunoregulatory Products, (3)https://www.mdpi.com/2309-608X/6/4/269/htm
- Inflammation in multiple sclerosis, (4)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8053832/
- The Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Lion's Mane Culinary-Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) in a Coculture System of 3T3-L1 Adipocytes and RAW264 Macrophages, (5)https://www.dl.begellhouse.com/journals/708ae68d64b17c52,05ab5a7e40e7ba9a,23e858671d0eab97.html
- A population-based cohort study suggests an increased risk of multiple sclerosis incidence in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, (6)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5394222/
- Maternal diabetes and risk of multiple sclerosis in the offspring: A Danish nationwide register-based cohort study, (7)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33332240/
- Effects of Systolic Blood Pressure on Brain Integrity in Multiple Sclerosis, (8)https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fneur.2018.00487/full
- Obesity and Multiple Sclerosis Susceptibility: A Review, (9)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5156319/
- Obesity and Multiple Sclerosis—A Multifaceted Association, (10)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8234028/
- Update in vitamin D and multiple sclerosis, (11)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4727614/
- Depression in multiple sclerosis: a review, (12)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1739575/
- Prevalence of anxiety, depression, and stress in patients with multiple sclerosis in Kermanshah-Iran: a cross-sectional study, (13)https://bmcpsychiatry.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12888-020-02579-z