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A Closer Look at Lion’s Mane Mushroom and Immunity

Lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus) is a type of edible mushroom that grows on the dead trunks of hardwood trees. It is indigenous to North America and belongs to the hydnoid fungi group, also called the tooth fungus group because these mushrooms grow long tooth-like projections. The projections on a lion’s mane mushroom are fine and thin, resembling the mane of a lion.

We have all heard of lion’s mane mushroom and its purported health benefits. But what does the research really say? Here, we review five of the top studies on lion’s mane mushroom and its connection to improved immunity. Let’s dive in! 

  • Cognitive Function Improvement
    A Randomized, Placebo-controlled Trial Examining The Effects Of Lion’s Mane Mushroom On Cognitive Function In Healthy Older Adults (1)  This study conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled trial involving 30 healthy adults between the ages of 50 and 80 to measure the effects of supplementation with lion’s mane mushroom extract on cognitive function. At the end of 12 weeks, those who took 2g/day of the supplement showed significant improvement in cognitive function compared to those who had been given a placebo. 
  • Improved Neuron Regeneration & Protection
    Neuroprotective Properties Of The Lion’s Mane Mushroom Hericium Erinaceus (2) This study examined the neuroprotective properties of lion’s mane mushroom extract. It concluded that this extract contains compounds that may inhibit neuronal damage and improve neuron regeneration, both of which lead to improved cognition. 
  • Boosted Immunity & Disease Resistance
    Immune Modulatory Effects Of The Hot Water Extract From Lion’s Mane Mushroom Mycelia (3) This study examined the immune-modulating effects of lion’s mane mushroom mycelia hot water extracts in mice models. It found that these extracts could increase levels of natural killer cells, cytokines and other immunoregulatory factors, which led to improved immune system functioning and enhanced disease resistance in animals treated with the extract. 
  • High White Blood Cell & Reduced Mortality Rates
    The Effectiveness Of Hericium Erinaceus Extract On Improving Immunological Parameters In Mice With Lipopolysaccharide-induced Sepsis (4) This study investigated whether or not lion’s mane mushroom extract could improve immunological parameters in mice with lipopolysaccharide-induced sepsis. It found that treatment with this supplement could significantly reduce mortality rates and improve other clinical markers related to sepsis such as white blood cell count and body weight gain.   
  • Anti-Tumour & Reduced Inflammation
    Antitumor And Immunomodulating Activities Of Hericium Erinaceus Fruit Bodies (5) This final study looked at whether or not lion’s mane mushroom fruit bodies had anti-tumor and immunomodulating activities. It concluded that these compounds could stimulate antibody production, enhance natural killer cell activity, suppress tumor growth, induce apoptosis in cancer cells, reduce inflammation, modulate cytokine production and have antiangiogenic activity.   

These five studies provide compelling evidence for the role of lion’s mane mushrooms in improving immune system functioning. These mushrooms contain compounds that can stimulate natural killer cell activity, regulate cytokine production and even inhibit tumor growth; all things which can lead to better health overall! If you’re looking for a way to boost your immunity naturally then look no further than these amazing functional fungi!   

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5705027
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19291345
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23668749/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26085890
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6339515/
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