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Lions Mane Mushroom and NGF

Lions mane Mushroom

Lion’s Mane mushroom or Hericium Erinaceus is definitely a rising star among natural treatments for some of the world’s most difficult health problems.  This mushroom has been highly prized in Chinese tradition, where it was eaten exclusively by the Emperors.  Lion’s Mane’s medical benefits were claimed by Chinese doctors as a curative for problems of the digestive tract such as stomach and duodenal ulcers, as well as for cancers of the esophagus, stomach and duodenum.

Its beta glucan polysaccharides, along with polypeptides and fatty acids have a lot to do with these curative effects.  Clinical studies have shown that these polysaccharides, along with adenosine and oleanolic acids, stimulate induction of interferons and modulation of the immune system, boosting the white blood cell count to help the healing process.  These substances also enhance the function of the gastric mucus barrier, accelerate the healing of ulcers, and exhibit anti-inflammatory effects.

Lion’s Mane has also been shown to help regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels.  It is completely safe, showing no signs of toxicity or side effects in any scientific research.  One of the most exciting areas of potential is its ability to  help combat some of the symptoms and underlying causes of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease as well as peripheral neurological dysfunction.

Dr. Hirokazu Kawagishi of Shizoka University Japan, a recognized authority on Lion’s Mane for the past 15 years, showed the mushroom to have the remarkable activity of stimulating the synthesis of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF).  A lack of NGF is considered one of the major causes of Alzheimer’s disease.

What is NGF?  NGF is a protein molecule that was discovered by Rita Levi-Montalcini and isolated by Stanley Cohen, for which they jointly recieved the 1986 Nobel Prize for Medicine.  It is synthesized in minute amounts in all vertebrate tissues.

Dr. Mark Tuszynski of University of California, San Diego explains that NGF is the prototype of the neurotrophion family of polypeptides.  They play an essential role in the differentiation and survival of several nerve cell populations in the peripheral and central nervous system.

NGF as a protein, however, cannot pass through the blood-brain barrier, the semi-permeable membrane between the blood and brain, which allows only small, lipid soluble molecules to pass through it.  NGF is too large to permeate the membrane; so in a brain with diminishing amounts of NGF, how do we maintain an adequate amount to support healthy neuron repair and renewal?

Dr. Kawagishi and his team isolated two types of molecules within Lion’s Mane which both stimulate NGF production and also crucially, pass unhindered through the blood-brain barrier.  The first of these substances is found in the fruiting body (the part of the mushroom which sprouts out of the ground or tree stump) and are called hericenones.  Hericenones stimulate the brain to produce more NGF.  An even more powerfully effective group of substances called erinacines were found in the mycelia (the root system) of Lion’s Mane.  Small enough to pass through the blood-brain barrier, erinacines work from within the brain to promote NGF production, which in turn helps make more neurons.   This is one of the most significant discoveries of the last 50 years and is why the Nobel Prize was awarded for its discovery.
As Paul Stamets, one of the world’s leading mycologists and author of several reference works on medical mushrooms, puts it, “Lion’s Mane mushroom mycelium is nature’s nutrients for your neurons.”  The Chinese have known this benefit for thousands of years, as the ancient herbalists promised nerves of steel and the memory of a lion to the privileged few who were allowed to east this restricted delicacy.

The erinacines, by promoting NGF production throughout the body, also help to alleviate symptoms of peripheral neurological dysfunction.  Dr. Will Boggs reports in Neurology magazine that NGF significantly improves the pain symptoms of HIV-infected patients with sensory neuropathy.  Sensory neuropathy affects as much as 35% of all AIDS patients.

Dr.  Giovanni Schifitto from the University of Rochester, New York studied the safety and effectiveness of human NGF for HIV-associated distal sensory polyneuropathy in 200 affected patients.  Their symptoms were significantly alleviated with the administration of the NGF.  As the numbers of sufferers needing some type of NGF replacement therapy climbs ever higher, and with no cure in sight from modern medicine, many people are starting to turn to Lion’s Mane mushroom as a real way to slow down and reverse the symptoms of these devastating diseases.

The breakdown in healthy neurological function can be prevented by adding Lion’s Mane mushroom to the diet.  A national trend to add Lion’s Mane to our daily supplemental requirements would go a long way to improve the quality and length of life.

The more we know about the intricate details of this wonder food, the more we begin to understand the prized value it held among the royal palaces of the Orient.


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The Power Within the Mushroom

Improving Well-Being with Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

Lion’s Mane Mushrooms are fantastic immune system boosters. Those who take Lion’s Mane claim that within a week they are able to notice a difference in memory after building up within the immune system. How people take Lion’s Mane varies. People may find that a regular intake of juices with the mushrooms can significantly influence the immune system. Some individuals with arthritis even notice a difference in their joint movement after taking Lion’s Mane for a while. This could be because the body is able to better fight any toxicity within the body and protect the joints from inflammation and infection.

Lion’s Mane and the Mind

Lion’s Mane is certainly gaining more attention than what it used to because of its ability to ward off dementia. Perhaps this is why it has been used as a treatment for some of the world’s most difficult diseases for centuries. At one time, Chinese tradition only allowed Lion’s Mane to be eaten by Emperors. This shows how the effect of the mushroom was already known by Chinese doctors. They used Lion’s Mane to help relieve issues involving the digestive tract such as duodenal ulcers and stomach ulcers. The mushrooms were also given to those with cancers of the esophagus, the duodenum, and of the stomach.

These effects are due to the beta glucan polysaccharides, or complex sugars, along with fatty acids and polypeptides. All of these have a lot to do with the curative effects. Also contained within Lion’s Mane is oleanolic acids and adenosine. These stimulate the modulation of the immune system and the induction of interferons. These processes boost the number of white blood cells to help in healing processes. The healing of ulcers is accelerated, gastric mucus barrier function is enhanced, and anti-inflammatory effects are exhibited.

One of the most significant effects of Lion’s Mane is that it has a positive effect on dementia. A study conducted by Shizoka University Japan showed that Lion’s Mane stimulates Nerve Growth Factor. A lack of Nerve Growth Factor is what contributes to such conditions as Alzheimer’s Disease. Unfortunately, Nerve Growth Factor is something that diminishes and it can be difficult to replenish because it is too large and significant to pass through the membrane that protects it. The study conducted at Shizoka showed that Lion’s Mane can replenish Nerve Growth Factor, therefore reducing the effects that dementia can have on a person’s life. This significantly improves the quality of life.

This is basically a prevention of the breakdown of healthy neurological function. If there is a breakdown, that breakdown can be stopped and further breakdown prevented. This is not a cure for dementia, but the benefits are significant in slowing down the effects and possibly halting any further damage. To get optimum effects, it is important to add Lion’s Mane to an existing supplement schedule. Do not change the intake of vitamins and minerals. Simply add Lion’s Mane to the routine to reap the benefits of all the things you are doing to improve your health.

Right now, the most conventional method to treat Alzheimer’s Disease is to treat those symptoms that are the result of dying neurons. With Lion’s Mane, the cause is treated. The mushroom actually has an influence on what the cause is. It is not completely understood what leads to the loss of Nerve Growth Factor, but replenishing the Nerve Growth Factor through a natural remedy makes a significant difference.

A person can also add Lion’s Mane to their diet to simply work on preventing dementia. Keeping Nerve Growth Factor fed will help it remain intact as you age. You can also reap the other health benefits that Lion’s Mane has to offer.

Other Health Benefits

Other health benefits that are exhibited by Lion’s Mane include regulating cholesterol levels and blood sugar. These are very important for healthy lifestyles. What is even better is that Lion’s Mane is deemed completely safe. There are no signs of toxicity since the mushroom itself promotes the expulsion of toxins within the body. Scientific research has shown that there are no known side effects, which may have something to do with the fact that Lion’s Mane is completely natural and edible. Throughout recorded history, there have not been any side effects recorded. If there have been any, they have not been significant enough to mention.

It is clear to see that the benefits are many. Lion’s Mane may seem somewhat complicated, but it is that complicity that makes it so effective. It works on bodily processes to ensure they continue to function the way that they’re supposed to. This provides a degree of equilibrium in your life that you need to function properly. You’ll feel better and you’ll even live longer when you take care of yourself. The benefits can’t be denied, so it is ideal to start your intake of Lion’s Mane as soon as you can.

The Power Within the Mushroom
By Omid Jaffari

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Some Facts about Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Lion’s Mane Facts

* This species has many names including the bearded tooth mushroom and the pom pom mushroom. It is sometimes called the hedgehog mushroom, although that name usually refers to a different species altogether, Hydnum repandum.

* All species of Hericium are considered saprotrophs, meaning they feed on dead material. Hericium erinaceus is also a parasite, meaning it attacks and kills living trees.

* They’re found in late summer to fall on dead or dying hardwood trees, especially oak and beech. They grow in North America, China, Japan, and Europe.

* This doesn’t look like your typical mushroom. It has no real cap and no stem. Instead it sports long spines (greater than 1 cm) coming out from a single clump.

* Their color is mainly white, although they become brown or yellow with age. Their spore print is white as well.

* This is not a common species of mushroom, so finding one may be a rare treat. They grow higher up on trees rather than at the base, which means that they’re also often missed during a mushroom hunt.