Neuroscientists used to believe that “adult neurogenesis”—an adult brain’s ability to grow new neurons—was impossible. The old belief was that once the brain reached maturity around age 25, the number of neurons was fixed. It wasn’t until 1998, when researchers found new brain cells growing in an adult hippocampus, that they discovered that neurogenesis continues throughout our lifetime.
Lion’s Mane is an edible mushroom that has long been valued for its potent health benefits—especially when it comes to brain health. Dubbed “nature’s nutrient for neurons,” the lion’s mane constituents have a unique ability to stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF) within the brain thus stimulating the growth of new neurons.
Since the initial discovery of neurogenesis in adult brains, researchers have made a number of other fascinating discoveries—one of the most notable being that an edible mushroom called lion’s mane can actually stimulate neurogenesis. Today we’re going to break down this fascinating topic into more bite-sized pieces and explore how one of the world’s most unique mushrooms can play a part in brain wellness and growth.
What Is Lion’s Mane?
Lion’s mane (also known as Hericium erinaceus) is an edible mushroom that’s prized for its seafood-like taste, something that’s unheard of in the mushroom world. Besides its unique flavor, lion’s mane has long been valued for its potent health benefits—especially when it comes to brain health. Dubbed “nature’s nutrient for neurons,” lion’s mane has a unique ability to stimulate nerve growth factor (NGF) within the brain.
What Exactly Is Nerve Growth Factor?
Nerve growth factor is a protein that stimulates the growth of new neurons (neurogenesis) and supports the health and maintenance of mature ones.
Based on animal studies, researchers believe that nerve growth factor contributes to many brain-building and neuroprotective activities including regenerating brain and nerve cells, developing new and existing neural pathways, promoting myelin sheath repair, and supporting the entire nervous system.
How Does Lion’s Mane Promote Neurogenesis?
Now that we have a better understanding of what lion’s mane and nerve growth factor are, you might be wondering how lion’s mane actually stimulates nerve growth factor. Here’s how it works: the primary compounds in lion’s mane are hericenones and erinacines. Each part has its own function—hericenones help your brain produce nerve growth factor, while erinacines easily cross the blood-brain barrier to boost the production of neurons. Once past the blood-brain barrier, the compounds in lion’s mane stimulate enzyme production that releases nerve growth factor. This stimulates the growth of new neurons.
What Can Lion’s Mane Do For You?
The discovery that lion’s mane stimulates nerve growth has significant implications when it comes to improving brain function. Due to its ability to encourage neural growth and repair, lion’s mane may enhance your cognition, boost your memory, increase your ability to focus, relieve mild symptoms of depression and anxiety, support recovery from nervous system injuries, and perhaps most importantly, relieve symptoms of (and potentially protecting against), neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.
Anecdotally, people who regularly supplement with lion’s mane report increased ability to make decisions, learn new things, and concentrate. Many also report better moods and an increased feeling of mental energy, alertness, and wellness.
Try Lion’s Mane for yourself
Who knew a mushroom could offer such powerful wellness benefits? If you’re interested in improving the growth of neurons, repairing and building new neural pathways, try our neurogenesis blend today.
Empyrean. Elevated, by Nature.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.