Brain Booster ~ Lion’s Mane’s Benefits for Supporting Cognitive Health
Brain care is fast becoming a priority in the self-care rituals of many, with good reason. Who wouldn’t want better focus and memory recall, creativity, motivation, and a sharp, clear mind? It’s brain states like these that help us move through day-to-day life with a greater sense of flow.
The medicinal mushroom that holds prime position in our cognitive care ritual is Lion's Mane. Lion's Mane is one of our most popular extracts and receives a great deal of attention coveted by biohackers, top-performing professionals and health seekers due to it being considered a natural nootropic. Nootropics are substances that improve cognitive function, memory, creativity or motivation in healthy individuals, in addition to strengthening bodily systems against cognitive decline.
So how can this shaggy looking mushroom said to have been historically used by Buddhist Shaolin monks to enhance focus be used to support our cognitive health today?
Lion’s Mane ~ How it Can Work to Support the Brain
Lion’s Mane has been referred to as ‘nature’s nutrient for the neurons,’ and this is derived from two key active compounds that are found in this super-shroom, hericenones and erinacines. Hericium Erinaceus, Lion’s Mane’s Latin name, directly alludes to these two substances which give the potential for this potent mushroom to provide brain supporting benefits
Studies on Lion’s Mane medicinal mushroom fruiting bodies have demonstrated that these compounds have the capacity to work together to support improved cognitive function through the stimulation of nerve growth factor (NGF).   NGF proteins protect and organise the functions of existing neurons and stimulate new neuron growth, supporting what’s known as brain ‘plasticity’ throughout life.
Hericenones and erinacines are molecular compounds that can stimulate the brain to make more NGF. The blood-brain barrier is not permeable by NGF proteins which, put simply, are too big to pass through. However, the unique thing about erinacines is that they are small enough to cross the blood brain barrier. As a result, together these compounds are thought to have the ability to foster NGF production within the brain.
Research into Lion’s Mane’s neurogenerative and neuroprotective capacity continues to show positive results. A 2008, double-blind, parallel, placebo-controlled study on older Japanese men and women with mild cognitive impairment found that Lion’s Mane effectively improved cognitive function within this randomised group.
Lion’s Mane as a Natural Nootropic
As we touched on above, nootropics are substances that improve cognitive function, memory, creativity or motivation in healthy individuals in addition to strengthening bodily systems against cognitive decline. Derived from the Greek words 'nous' (mind) and 'trepein' (to bend or turn), nootropics are thought to help optimise the functions of our mind. Nootropics come in two classes, natural (containing natural compounds) and synthetic (made from synthetic compounds and often coming with a lot of side effects).
Lion’s Mane falls into the natural category with no known side effects (except potentially for those that have mushroom allergies). Unlike some other natural nootropics, most notably caffeine, it’s non-addictive and its benefits don’t come hand in hand with a rise and crash after use.
Lion’s Mane & Mood
Lion’s Mane has also been studied for its potential benefits to support mood; key for a focused, switched on mental state. A 2010 study of Lion's Mane on a group of 30 women experiencing depression and anxiety was carried out over a 4-week period. At the end of the study, the participants in the test group reported an overall improvement in mood, depression and sleep quality. The promising results of this small study opens the door for greater research in this area.
Lion’s Mane & Focus
Lion’s Mane nootropic properties and its capacity for cognitive support are thought to target the causes of brain fog, that cloudy feeling in the mind that sometimes prevents us from doing our best work and can seriously hinder attention span.
Lion’s Mane’s actions to support nerve health and growth, as well its capacity to reduce neuroinflammation make it one of the tools worth having to hand to help combat brain fog and improve clarity and focus.
Lion’s Mane’s potential to support NGF production in the brain is thought to help to increase the function and strength of neural pathways which can foster states of creativity, embed memories and create stronger connections between ideas or thoughts.
Additionally, research has indicated that much like our gut, inflammation increases the permeability of the blood-brain barrier which can allow unwanted molecules to pass through impacting the function of our brain. Lion’s Mane, like other medicinal mushrooms, is a potent antioxidant which can help against states of inflammation.
So if you’re looking to optimise your brain health Lion’s Mane could be your new best friend.
Our Inner Atlas Lion’s Mane is:
- Semi-wild crafted, grown on hardwood in natural environmental conditions.
- Certified USDA & EU Organic.
- Grown Di Tao – sourced from the pristine and remote Gutian County growing region in China.
- Fruiting body only – 100% real mushrooms with no added fillers or mycelium.
- Lab-tested for purity.
- Highly potent, containing greater than 30% beta-D-glucans.
 Medicinal Mushrooms: A Clinical Guide https://www.amazon.com/Medicinal-Mushrooms-Clinical-Martin-Powell/dp/0956689809
 Friedman, “Chemistry, Nutrition, and Health-Promoting Properties of Hericium Erinaceus,” p. 7116.
 Hericenones and erinacines: stimulators of nerve growth factor (NGF) biosynthesis in Hericium erinaceus
 Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment:
 Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake
 Neurological Activity of Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus)
 Chemistry, Nutrition, and Health-Promoting Properties of Hericium erinaceus (Lion's Mane) Mushroom Fruiting Bodies and Mycelia and Their Bioactive Compounds