Lion's Mane receives much of its enormous hype for being a nootropic and a brain health supplement, but science is showing it may be able to confer health benefits which extend beyond the brain.
The science is overwhelming that Lion's Mane is gastro-protective. In other words, it may be great for gut health!
A 2019 study found that a Lion's Mane extract inhibited the growth of H. pylori (the bacteria known for causing stomach ulcers) (1).
A 2018 study found found a polysaccharide in Lion's Mane to have gastroprotective activity as well as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (2).
A 2016 study found a Lion's Mane extract got rid of ulcerative colitis in mice by suppressing inflammation (3).
A 2013 study found that an extract of Lion's Mane protected the gastric mucosa of the mice (4).
A 2017 study found that a polysaccharide in Lion's Mane prevented oxidative stress in vitro in human gastric epithelial cells (5).
An emerging theme in health science is the interconnection of the brain and gut. All kinds of psychological and neurological issues like depression and even neurodegenerative diseases are being linked to the gut microbiome.
Brain fog? That could be because you have a bacterial overgrowth. That bacteria is producing lactic acid which is creating inflammation and potentially causing disease, in addition to making it harder to think clearly.
Your gut is packed with neural tissue. It's how your stomach and your brain communicate to tell your stomach to secrete its acids to help you digest your food; or how hormones like leptin and ghrelin are sent between your brain and other tissues to regulate your appetite.
Gut health is absolutely critical to brain health. If one has issues, they probably both do. And conversely, if health is promoted in one, health is probably also promoted in the other; they are that interrelated. It's not a coincidence that Lion's Mane may have profound benefits on the health of both your brain and stomach.
In the West, we're very focused on productivity and how we can take supplements to improve it. In recent years there has been a big focus on nootropics and brain-boosting supplements. But sometimes, the best way to improve brain health is to improve gastric health since the two are intrinsically linked.
1. Wang, GE, Zhang, Xiumin, Maier, Susan E, Zhang, Liping, Maier, Robert J. Inhibition of Helicobacter pylori by Ethanolic Extracts of Lion's Mane Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, Volume 21, 2019 Issue 1. Pages 1-11.
2. Xiao-Yin Wang, Jun-Yi Yin, Ming-Ming Zhao, Shi-Yu Liu, Shao-Ping Nie, Ming-Yong Xie, Gastroprotective activity of polysaccharide from Hericium erinaceus against ethanol-induced gastric mucosal lesion and pylorus ligation-induced gastric ulcer, and its antioxidant activities, Carbohydrate Polymers, Volume 186,
2018, Pages 100-109, ISSN 0144-8617.
3. Qin, Mingming, et. al. Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ethanol Extract of Lion’s Mane Medicinal Mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Agaricomycetes), in Mice with Ulcerative Colitis, International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, DOI: 10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.v18.i3.50
4. Wong JY, Abdulla MA, Raman J, et al. Gastroprotective Effects of Lion's Mane Mushroom Hericium erinaceus (Bull.:Fr.) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae) Extract against Ethanol-Induced Ulcer in Rats. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:492976. doi:10.1155/2013/492976
5. Wang M, Kanako N, Zhang Y, Xiao X, Gao Q, Tetsuya K. A unique polysaccharide purified from Hericium erinaceus mycelium prevents oxidative stress induced by H2O2 in human gastric mucosa epithelium cell. PLoS One. 2017;12(7):e0181546. Published 2017 Jul 24. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0181546