Why Lion’s Mane Mushrooms may help you fight diabetes, obesity and heart issues

Lion’s Mane Mushroom have many benefits such as improving brain function, better memory, blood sugar regulation and managing weight issues.
A lion's mane mushroom
Lion's mane mushrooms are very beneficial in terms of blood sugar regulation as well as providing necessary vitamins and minerals to the body. Image courtesy: Freepik
Published: 21 Apr 2024, 19:44 pm IST
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Be it treating dementia, nerve damage, or even diabetes, Lion’s Mane mushroom is widely recognised as a traditional medicine. In appearance, these are big and white, resembling a lion’s mane. They can be enjoyed as a delicacy as well as consumed as medicine. They can even be eaten raw, as well as cooked!

Lion’s Mane mushrooms are rich in thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin; vitamins that are needed by the body. It also contains many minerals such as manganese zinc as well as potassium. Asian countries such as India, Japan, Korea as well as China use Lion’s mane mushrooms in abundance, according to a study conducted by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

What is Lion’s Mane mushroom?

Lion’s Mane mushroom is a kind of mushroom that looks like a small white pom-pom. They are generally found on trunks of beech and oak trees in North America, part of Asia as well as Europe. The history of Lion’s Mane mushrooms stems back to 450 BC when Greek physician Hippocrates discovered their anti-inflammatory properties as fungi, according to a study in the Journal of Restorative Medicine. The study adds that Lion’s Mane mushroom is known to have bioactive compounds that have neuroprotective and neuroregenerative properties.

Health benefits of Lion’s Mane mushroom

Wondering what is Lion’s Mane good for? Lion’s Mane mushrooms have a variety of health benefits.

1. May help with dementia and Alzheimers

Be it memory loss or promoting nerve growth, Lion’s Mane mushroom has shown growth in both areas. According to a study published in Antioxidants, Lion’s Mane mushrooms have special compounds such as hericenones and erinacines that help to grow brain cells. This works well in dementia patients as dementia is a degenerative brain disease. This mushroom also helps reducing memory loss and prevents further damage caused by amyloid-beta plaques, that usually happens in Alzheimer’s Disease, states this study, published in the Journal of Biomedical Science.

2. May fight inflammation

Inflammation is a result of many health conditions such as arthritis, heart disease as well as cancer lead to a lot of inflammation in the body. “This gives rise to free radicals, which can make you sicker. One of the biggest Lion’s mane mushrooms benefits is that they have antioxidants in them and these reduce the damage that these free radicals cause,” says dietician Garima Goyal. Plus, they are also anti-inflammatory, states this study, published in International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms.

3. May improve mental health

Lion’s Mane and brain benefits are inter-connected. Depression and anxiety can be treated with Lion’s Mane mushroom. A study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, states that this mushroom is anti-inflammatory  and this helps it fight symptoms of depression. It can also help improve the functioning of the brain where memories and emotional responses are stored, states this study, states the Journal of Medicinal Food.

4. Helps in nerve regeneration

Lion’s Mane mushroom promotes the growth and survival of nerve cells. “The compounds found in the mushroom, cross the blood brain barrier, making their way to the brain,” says Goyal. This can help it promote anti-neuroinflammatory and neuroprotective actions in the brain, states a Nutrients study. It also helps to grow and repair nerve cells, according to a study published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms.

An old woman holding her forehead
Lion’s Mane mushrooms help in fighting dementia and Alzheimer’s disease . Image courtesy: Freepik

5. May help diabetes management

This variety of mushroom is beneficial in the case of diabetic patients as it helps to lower blood sugar levels. It does this with the help of an enzyme called alpha-glucosidase. This helps to break down the carbs in the small intestine. A study, published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, supports this claim. A mice study was also conducted and published in the International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, which saw that the mushroom lowered blood sugar levels to 2.7 mg per one pound of body weight.

6. May reduce risk of heart diseases

Obesity, cholesterol, and blood clots can all be reduced by Lion’s Mane mushroom. A rat study, published in Mycobiology, states that the mushroom extract helps to increase metabolism, thereby reducing triglyceride levels. Obesity and elevated triglyceride levels can lead to heart disease. A study published in BioMed Research International, also reveals that Lion’s Mane mushroom helped stop oxidation of cholesterol in the blood.

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7. May boost digestion

One of the benefits of Lion’s Mane mushroom extract is that helps to prevent ulcers from forming on the lining of the stomach, small intestine, or the large intestine. This study, published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, states that Lion’s Mane mushroom stops the growth of the bacteria H. Pylori, which is responsible for peptic ulcers in the stomach. It also helps prevent ulcers produced by excess of alcohol, states this study, published in the Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

8. May help to fight cancer

The mushroom has cancer-fighting abilities because of the compounds that are present in it. The study, published in Food & Function, revealed that when Lion’s Mane mushroom is mixed with human cancer cells in a test tube, the cancer cells proceed to die faster. Another mice study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, states that the mushroom extract stops cancer from spreading to the lungs by 69 percent.

9. May increase immunity

The mushroom helps to increase the strength and immunity of the intestines. This, in turn, helps fight pathogens that enter the body, states a study published in Food & Function. However, this property of Lion’s Mane mushroom  needs further investigation.

Side effects of Lion’s Mane mushroom

Although the mushrooms appear to be safe for consumption, there are some things to take care of while consuming these in any form. If you are allergic to mushrooms, you should steer clear of this variety as well. A study published in Internal Medicine documents cases of skin rash and breathing difficulties after consuming Lion’s Mane mushrooms as the participants were allergic to mushrooms. Also, it is important to consult a doctor if you are pregnant or are breastfeeding.

How to consume Lion’s Mane mushroom?

Lion’s Mane mushroom can be consumed in powder and supplement form. “They are easily available but it should be noted that most of these are not FDA approved, especially when they list out the benefits on the packaging. Besides this, you also get Lion’s Mane mushroom pill, tablets, capsules, and tinctures,” says Goyal. They can also be had fresh. They can be eaten raw or even in cooked form.

Some capsules and tablets
Tablets and capsules, besides powders and supplements are also available for those who want to have Lion’s Mane mushrooms. Image courtesy: Freepik

How to cook Lion’s Mane mushroom?

Lion’s Mane mushrooms can be cooked as other mushrooms and added to many dishes such as soups and pastas. There are many Lion’s Mane mushroom recipes that you can try out by adding basic seasoning and stir-frying them. Other than this, they can also be brewed as tea, coffee as well as other hot beverage. This can be made by adding hot water to the mushroom powder.

How much Lion’s Mane mushroom can I have?

There are no fixed dosages as such. However, the Association for the Advancement of Restorative Medicine states that 3 to 5 grams per day can be consumed, for cognitive development. Another study, published in Evidence Based Complimentary Alternative Medicine, states that a dosage of 400mg capsules per day, for a period of eight weeks helped fight depression and sleep disorders.


Can you have Lion’s Mane mushrooms every day?

Yes, you can have it every day, but it should be had in moderate quantities. While there are no side effects as such that are reported from daily dosage, if you experience any adverse symptoms, you should consult a doctor.

How long do Lion’s Mane mushrooms take to work?

Regular consumption of Lion’s Mane mushroom takes about 2-3 weeks to show any change. However, they must be consumed for a 2-3 months to bring about significant change.

What is the best to time to have Lion’s Mane mushrooms?

The best time to consume Lion’s Mane Mushrooms is during the first half of the day. The mushrooms should ideally be had anytime between morning to afternoon.



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