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The Chinese have understood the benefits of fungi for centuries. Western science is now beginning to catch up with this ancient knowledge. The mushroom resembling the shaggy lion is one of these. Lions Mane has been shown to support cognition, and much more. There are a host of benefits from medicinal mushrooms which support mental clarity, mood & immunity.
Mushrooms are making headlines in the world of natural medicine. We have particularly noticed the uptake of Lions Mane, that has some interesting research relating to cognition & neuronal development. If you are feeling like you need a little extra clarity and focus, or you know you have a particular risk for cognitive decline, you might want to read on.
Mushrooms have a variety of actives, some of which are water soluble, and others which need to be extracted by alcohol. If you are a chef extraordinaire, you probably know to soak dried mushrooms in water and add both the fruiting body and the broth into your dinner. This releases the water soluble beta glucans. The challenge with mushrooms is that some of their actives called triterpenes, of which there are various, are bound in the skin, and need alcohol to extract them. Quality commercial mushroom supplements have dual extraction, where they are first soaked in boiling water to product a water based extract and then the body of the mushroom undergoes alcohol extraction also, to release those bound actives. These extracts may then be dried and encapsulated, or left as powders, to be added to food or even coffee!
Lions Mane has been shown in clinical trials to support people with mild cognitive impairment. A small Japanese double blinded clinical trial, showed cognitive improvement when taking 1000mg of Lions Mane Powder, 3 times daily. As the trial progressed (16 weeks), the benefits became more apparent, but when the supplement was withdrawn, the cognitive improvement was lost.
Some nutritional supplements, such as glucosamine for joint health, only provide benefit for the duration of taking the product, or a short time beyond. The same argument could also be made for glasses and hearing aids, as they only work when you use them. If considering taking Lions Mane, then you may wish to consider this as an ongoing supplement for continuous cognitive benefit.
Reported in February this year, the University of Queensland have identified the active substances that support neuronal growth & improved memory formation, contained in Lions Mane mushrooms. Co-author, UQ’s Dr Ramon Martinez-Marmol said “the discovery had applications that could treat and protect against neurodegenerative cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.” See the full article below.
Like all supplements, mushroom products are not created equally. Any herbal product has the potential for contamination from bacteria or insects, and things such as heavy metals and pesticides. In addition to this, any product that has been grown has the potential to deliver different nutritional value, due to soil conditions, quality of the seed, cultivator, or even purposeful contamination such as fillers. We have all had a tomato that is perfectly ripe and full of flavour, versus a watery, squishy disappointment. The only true way to determine whether a grown product is of good quality is to test it, both for its active constituents and for contaminants. Mushrooms are no exception to this.
Flow State is our company of choice for mushroom extracts, because their products are produced to an extremely high quality standard. Organically grown overseas, the fruiting bodies are dual extracted, and batch tested in New Zealand (at Hills Laboratory and Waikato University) for both contaminants and the active constituent of beta glucans. We also get incredible customer feedback on these products.