Lion's Mane Mushroom for Brain Health and Gut Health

Lion's Mane Mushroom for Brain Health and Gut Health

If you are looking for a natural way to promote brain health, including memory, focus, and mood, Lion's Mane mushroom is worth looking into. This natural mushroom supplement has garnered attention for its potential benefits in supporting cognitive function and neurogenesis—so much so that it's been branded "the smart mushroom" in biohacking circles.

Whether you are a student, a busy professional, or simply someone looking to promote your mental clarity, Lion's Mane can be a valuable addition to your daily health regimen, supporting your ability to concentrate and perform at your best.

To better understand the role Lion's Mane may play in your holistic health regimen, we'll explore the effects of this unique mushroom on brain function and gut health, as well as offer some practical advice to help you reap the health-promoting benefits of Lion's Mane mushroom.

What is Lion's Mane?

Lion's Mane—scientifically known as Hericium erinaceus—is a unique mushroom characterized by its white, fuzzy appearance resembling a lion's mane. Fittingly, the edible mushroom goes by a number of other names, including Monkey Head mushroom, Yamabushitake (in the Japanese language), Houtou (in the Chinese language), and Pom-pom mushroom.

This fascinating fungus is native to North America, Europe, and Asia, where it grows on hardwood trees in a symbiotic relationship. Historically, the Lion's Mane mushroom has been used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine for its various health-promoting benefits, including supporting brain function, promoting gut health, and supporting healthy immune function.

The many health-supportive benefits of Lion's Mane mushroom are associated with its composition of bioactive compounds such as flavonoid compounds, phenolic compounds, polysaccharides, alkaloids, lactones, and unique bioactive compounds (such as erinacines, hericerins, and hericenones) [1].

Lion's Mane Benefits

Lion's Mane is a valuable addition to any holistic health regimen. By incorporating the mushroom into a daily routine, one can experience the potential health-supportive benefits. More specifically, you can promote brain health, focus, memory, and cognitive function—as well as support gut health.

Lion's Mane for Brain Health

Lions Mane Mushroom for Brain Health

The remarkable impact of Lion's Mane on brain health can be attributed to its unique bioactive compounds, which can cross the blood-brain barrier and promote a healthy brain environment that supports cognitive function, including focus, memory, mood, and overall mental clarity.

In particular, the compounds present in Lion's Mane, such as erinacines and hericenones, stimulate the production of proteins like Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), and Synaptophysin (SYP)—which play vital roles in maintaining healthy neuronal communication and structure [2].

NGF is a protein that is critical for the survival and maintenance of nerve cells, while BDNF is involved in the growth, development, and maturation of neurons. Synaptophysin, on the other hand, is a protein involved in the release of neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers that transmit signals between nerve cells.

By supporting the production of these proteins and fostering a healthy brain environment, Lion's Mane contributes to optimal brain health—ultimately enhancing cognitive abilities, memory, and focus. According to a study published in Phytotherapy Research, taking Yamabushitake (Lion's Mane) may be an effective way to promote cognitive performance [3].

Furthermore, Lion's Mane is known to support a healthy inflammatory response as well as scavenge potentially harmful free radicals, which are properties that promote overall brain health [4] [5].

What are the Benefits of Lion's Mane for Memory

Lion's Mane mushroom may significantly stimulate healthy memory by supporting the growth and maintenance of neurons in the brain. This process is also known as “neurogenesis.”

To quote researchers from a 2023 animal study appearing in the Journal of Neurochemistry, "The traditional medicinal mushroom Hericium erinaceus is known for [supporting] peripheral nerve regeneration through targeting nerve growth factor (NGF) neurotrophic activity" [6].

The researchers went on to conclude that dietary supplementation with H. erinaceus significantly promoted healthy memory acquisition and recognition memory by activating a novel pan-neurotrophic signaling pathway.

This suggests that incorporating Lion's Mane into a daily health regimen can be a natural and effective way to support memory and overall cognitive function.

Lion's Mane for Focus

Lion's Mane supports focus and mental clarity by encouraging optimal cognitive function and promoting a healthy brain environment.

The benefits of Lion's Mane for focus and concentration may be attributed to the mushroom's potential to support a healthy inflammatory response and scavenge free radicals in the brain—encouraging optimal cerebral blood flow [4] [5]. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain cells, which are vital for their optimal cognitive functioning.

Another benefit of Lion's Mane mushroom for focus and concentration is its ability to promote neurogenesis and synaptic plasticity [2] [6]. Neurogenesis is the process of creating new neurons in the brain, whereas synaptic plasticity is the process of strengthening or weakening the connections between neurons.

By providing a supportive environment for neurons and fostering healthy neuronal communication, Lion's Mane may support optimal focus, attention, and mental clarity.

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Lion's Mane for Mood

Incorporating Lion's Mane into a daily health regimen can encourage a more positive mood and a healthier outlook on life by supporting healthy brain function and neurotransmitter balance.

According to an animal study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, Lion's Mane may support a healthy mood by promoting hippocampal neurogenesis [7]. The hippocampus is a brain region that plays an important role in emotional responses. Lion's Mane stimulated the expression of proteins involved in brain plasticity, which is crucial for maintaining a healthy mood.

These findings are supported by another study appearing in Biomedical Research, whereby supplementation with Lion's Mane was found to significantly promote a healthier outlook on life among menopausal women [8].

Given the increasing evidence supporting the gut-brain axis, it is possible that the benefits of Lion's Mane on mood may also be influenced by its gut-supporting properties.

The gut-brain axis is a fascinating system that connects your digestive tract and your brain, influencing your mood, cognition, immune system, and more.

Your gut is home to trillions of microbes, collectively known as the microbiome, that produce various molecules that can affect your brain function. These molecules can travel through the bloodstream, the nervous system, or the immune system, reaching different parts of the brain and altering its activity. For example, some gut bacteria can produce neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, that regulate your emotions and motivation.

The gut-brain axis also works in reverse, meaning that your brain can influence your gut function. Your thoughts and feelings can trigger the release of hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, that affect your digestion and gut motility. Stress, anxiety, and depression can also alter the composition and diversity of your microbiome, leading to inflammation and dysbiosis.

So by supporting both the brain and the gut (discussed in detail below), Lion's Mane can have a positive impact on overall health and well-being.

Lion's Mane for Gut Health

Lions Mane Mushroom for Gut Health

The potential mood-promoting effects of Lion's Mane may also be attributed to its positive impact on gut health.

Research shows that Lion's Mane supports gut health by promoting the growth of good bacteria and supporting a healthy inflammatory response within the digestive system.

In a 2017 study titled "Immunomodulatory Activities of a Fungal Protein Extracted from Hericium erinaceus through Regulating the Gut Microbiota," the findings showed that Lion's Mane played a prebiotic role and could promote immune health by encouraging a healthy composition and metabolism of gut microbiota [9].

In a 2023 study appearing in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, a team of researchers analyzed available evidence on the health-promoting effects of Lion's Mane on the gut [10]. They asserted that:

"H. erinaceus is closely related to the modulation of the gut microbiota. In general, it seems to be able to change the gut microbiota's quantitative and qualitative phenotypes in a health-promoting manner. Therefore, it has often been defined as a prebiotic or probiotic. It appears that H. erinaceus selects certain beneficial bacterial strains from the gut microbiota at the expense of pathogenic strains."

This was discussed above, can we rephrase this section about how Lions Mane influences the inflammatory response? Lion's Mane promotes gut health by supporting a healthy inflammatory response [9]. A study published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms showed that extracts from Lion's Mane encouraged a healthy inflammatory response in the intestines [11].

There's also evidence that Lion's Mane is a strong free radical scavenger within the intestinal lining, and it helps support the integrity of the gastric mucosal barrier [10].

How to Take Lion's Mane for Brain Health and Gut Health

Incorporating Lion's Mane mushroom into your daily routine can offer numerous benefits for brain health, focus, memory, and gut health.

With its unique combination of brain-stimulating and gut-supporting properties—backed by a wealth of research supporting its potential benefits—Lion's Mane is a valuable addition to any health regimen.

Consider giving Lion's Mane a try and discover how it can promote your cognitive performance and overall well-being.

This versatile mushroom can be consumed in various forms, such as supplements, powders, or even as a culinary ingredient in soups and stir-fries.

Best Lion's Mane Supplement for Brain Health

Are you looking for a natural supplement that can promote your brain health (including mood, memory, and focus) and support your digestive system? If so, you might want to try Ascent Nutrition's Lion's Mane Mushroom powder.

Unlike other products on the market, Ascent Nutrition's Lion's Mane mushroom powder is made from a unique blend of mycelium and fruiting body. Why is this important?

Here's why:

  • The fruiting body contains hericenones, which can stimulate the production of nerve growth factor (NGF) in the brain. Increasing NGF may promote neuroplasticity, memory, learning, and cognitive function, as discussed earlier.

  • Mycelium, on the other hand, contains erinacines, which can cross the blood-brain barrier and also increase NGF levels in the brain. Erinacines can support healthy inflammatory responses and help scavenge free radicals.

Ascent Nutrition takes a unique approach to cultivating Lion's Mane by using a specific combination of both mycelium and fruiting bodies.

This process yields more active constituents (e.g., erinacines and hericenones) that work synergistically to maximize the benefits of Lion's Mane.

However, there's a common concern in the industry that mycelial-based powders may contain excessive residual substrate (organic brown rice), resulting in a product with a low amount of active constituents and a high amount of inactive starch powder.

To address this concern, Ascent Nutrition's Lion's Mane mushroom powder is derived from a carefully selected strain of Lion's Mane mushroom grown in organic conditions for up to 16 weeks. This yields a product with a higher amount of fruiting body (sometimes over 20% by volume). It also ensures that the mushroom converts most of the substrate into fungal biomass, resulting in a dark-colored powder that is rich in active constituents.

Ascent Nutrition's Organic Lion's Mane mushroom powder is easy to use and versatile. You can add it to your smoothies, coffee, tea, or any other beverage of your choice. You can also sprinkle it on your food or bake it into your favorite treats to experience the amazing health-promoting benefits of the mushroom for your brain and gut.

Consider trying Ascent Nutrition's Lion's Mane Mushroom and discover how it can support your cognitive performance, gut health, and overall well-being.


  1. Tachabenjarong, N., Rungsardthong, V., Ruktanonchi, U., Poodchakarn, S., Thumthanaruk, B., Vatanyoopaisarn, S., ... & Uttapap, D. (2022). Bioactive compounds and antioxidant activity of Lion's Mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) from different growth periods. In E3S Web of Conferences (Vol. 355, p. 02016). EDP Sciences:

  2. Chiu, C. H., Chyau, C. C., Chen, C. C., Lee, L. Y., Chen, W. P., Liu, J. L., ... & Mau, J. L. (2018). Erinacine A-enriched Hericium erinaceus mycelium ameliorates Alzheimer's disease-related pathologies in APPswe/PS1dE9 transgenic mice. Journal of Biomedical Science, 25(1), 1-12.

  3. Mori, K., Inatomi, S., Ouchi, K., Azumi, Y., & Tuchida, T. (2009). Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: A double‐blind placebo‐controlled clinical trial. Phytotherapy Research: An International Journal Devoted to Pharmacological and Toxicological Evaluation of Natural Product Derivatives, 23(3), 367-372: 

  4. Zhang, J., An, S., Hu, W., Teng, M., Wang, X., Qu, Y., ... & Wang, D. (2016). The neuroprotective properties of Hericium erinaceus in glutamate-damaged differentiated PC12 cells and an Alzheimer's disease mouse model. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 17(11), 1810.

  5. Kushairi, N., Phan, C. W., Sabaratnam, V., David, P., & Naidu, M. (2019). Lion's mane mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. suppresses H2O2-induced oxidative damage and LPS-induced inflammation in HT22 hippocampal neurons and BV2 microglia. Antioxidants, 8(8), 261:

  6. Martínez‐Mármol, R., Chai, Y., Conroy, J. N., Khan, Z., Hong, S. M., Kim, S. B., ... & Meunier, F. A. (2023). Hericerin derivatives activates a pan‐neurotrophic pathway in central hippocampal neurons converging to ERK1/2 signaling enhancing spatial memory. Journal of Neurochemistry:

  7. Ryu, S., Kim, H. G., Kim, J. Y., Kim, S. Y., & Cho, K. O. (2018). Hericium erinaceus extract reduces anxiety and depressive behaviors by promoting hippocampal neurogenesis in the adult mouse brain. Journal of medicinal food, 21(2), 174-180: 

  8. Nagano, M., Shimizu, K., Kondo, R., Hayashi, C., Sato, D., Kitagawa, K., & Ohnuki, K. (2010). Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake. Biomedical Research, 31(4), 231-237:

  9. Diling, C., Chaoqun, Z., Jian, Y., Jian, L., Jiyan, S., Yizhen, X., & Guoxiao, L. (2017). Immunomodulatory activities of a fungal protein extracted from Hericium erinaceus through regulating the gut microbiota. Frontiers in Immunology, 8, 666:

  10. Gravina, A. G., Pellegrino, R., Auletta, S., Palladino, G., Brandimarte, G., D’Onofrio, R., ... & Federico, A. (2023). Hericium erinaceus, a medicinal fungus with a centuries-old history: Evidence in gastrointestinal diseases. World Journal of Gastroenterology, 29(20), 3048: 

  11. Qin, M., Geng, Y., Lu, Z., Xu, H. Y., Shi, J. S., Xu, X., & Xu, Z. H. (2016). 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, 18(3): 

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