What are adaptogens? They’re plants such as herbs, mushrooms, and fungi used to help the body adapt and respond to stress. They help to create a calming state of homeostasis or balance in the body. And although they’ve only recently gained popularity in Western countries, they’re the latest talk of the nutrition world thanks to their numerous potential health benefits.
And we have to admit that lion’s mane is one of our personal favorite adaptogens, and for good reason! This edible mushroom — also called sheep’s head, bear’s head, hou tou gu, the Japanese yamabushitake, or its Latin name hericium erinaceus — is practically bursting with health-boosting benefits (1).
Read on to learn more!
Lion’s Mane Quick Benefits
- Supports reduced inflammation for overall wellness
- Helps boost digestive and immune health
- May improve mental sharpness (focus, concentration, memory)
- Supports stress reduction and hormonal balance
- Promotes greater energy levels and endurance
What is Lion’s Mane?
Lion’s mane, which grows on the trunks of hardwood trees, is both a culinary delicacy and medicinal mushroom in many Asian countries including China, India, Japan, and Korea (2, 3). But today it’s gaining popularity in Western regions of the world thanks to its potential nootropic health benefits (4).
As for its appearance, it’s different from other mushrooms with its long, white spines. It looks a bit like a shaggy dog, a cheerleader’s pom-pom, a kitchen mop, or as its namesake lion’s mane (5).
You can eat those shaggy spines raw, cook them in a pan, or dry them for your tea (5). But their most common use is as an ingredient in health supplements (or meal replacement shakes like our new 310 Shake blend!).
In-Depth: Lion’s Mane Potential Health Benefits
We’re still scratching the surface of all the potential health benefits of this powerful fungi. But the biggest potential benefits early animal research has found so far include helping to reduce inflammation, promote a healthier immunity, improve cognitive function and memory, decrease stress levels, and reduce fatigue (2, 6). Some studies also show that lion’s mane could have prebiotic properties that can help support healthy digestion (6).
Let’s dive into the specifics of how lion’s mane could help boost your health for both mind and body:
Helps reduce inflammation
Inflammation is a response from your body as a way to fight off unwanted bacteria and viruses (7). It’s designed to help protect you but sometimes the body triggers unnecessary inflammation resulting in damage (7). Chronic inflammation is the cause of many serious health concerns (7).
In one study on mice, researchers found that lion’s mane mushroom extract had anti-inflammatory effects (8). In another study on 50 patients, researchers found that taking a mushroom supplement with 14.7% lion's mane extract resulted in reduced inflammation in the digestive tract (9).
It also has a medicinal use stretching back decades for helping reduce inflammation in the stomach (3). This possible anti-inflammatory effect has unlimited health potential given how much inflammation contributes to many different medical conditions.
Promotes a healthier immunity and digestion
Thanks to its potential anti-inflammatory properties, lion’s mane could also help improve your immune system and digestion in the process (5). In another study on mice, researchers found that lion’s mane mushrooms encouraged the growth of beneficial gut bacteria (10).
We rely on the good bacteria in our gut for helping digest our food and keeping us healthy. So the happier your gut microbiome, the healthier your immune system. And we’re behind the times in realizing this potential benefit. Cultures have used lion’s mane for more than 2,000 years to help treat digestive problems like constipation and indigestion (4).
May improve cognitive functioning and memory
Early research shows that lion’s mane may also help improve cognitive function through better focus, memory, and concentration (3). It could help protect nerves from damage and regenerate cells in the hippocampus region of the brain, which is responsible for learning and memory (3).
In one study on 50 to 80-year old Japanese men and women with mild cognitive impairment, those taking lion’s mane showed increased cognitive function compared to the control group (11). Animal studies have shown similar results, with one study finding that lion’s mane regenerated brain cells in the hippocampus region of mice test subjects (12). And two other mice studies found that lion’s mane supplements improved their recognition and memory (13, 14).
Supports decreased stress levels
Lion’s mane, like many other adaptogens, may also impact your body’s response to stress, helping to create more balance in your hormones. This balance makes it easier for your brain and nervous system to react to your stress as opposed to feeling overwhelmed.
In one study on Japanese menopausal women, researchers found that eating lion’s mane daily for one month helped reduce their self-reported symptoms of irritation and anxiety (15).
A 2019 study on human participants found similar results, with a daily dose of lion’s mane resulting in fewer symptoms of sadness and anxiety (16). While not a cure on its own, lion’s mane could work alongside other solutions to help in reducing higher stress levels.
Helps reduce fatigue
Because adaptogens like lion’s mane help create a state of homeostasis or balance in your body, this has the added benefit of potentially helping boost your energy levels. When your body is better prepared to manage stress and maintains a higher level of cognitive function, this may increase your attention, focus, and energy.
In yet another study done on mice, researchers found that a diet including lion’s mane resulted in both greater muscular endurance and energy levels (17). And instead of reaching for sugar or caffeine, which give energy that eventually wears off, with lion’s mane, you build up your body’s response to stress and fatigue over time.
Find Lion’s Mane in NEW 310 Shake
As you can see, adaptogens like lion’s mane could offer numerous potential health benefits for both the brain and body. And we’re just getting started understanding the full potential of these powerful fungi and herbs!
Take care of yourself with better nutrition, including powerful superfoods and superherbs like lion’s mane every day with the new 310 “All-In-One” Shake blend!
Shop our exciting new flavors and add some adaptogens to your diet today!
And in case you missed it, check out this article Explaining All About Different Adaptogens and how they might benefit you — including every adaptogen you’ll find in brand-new 310 meal replacement shakes!