Potential health benefits of lion’s mane mushroom

If you’re looking to jump on the mushroom-as-medicine trend, you might want to consider talking to your doctor or integrative registered dietitian about lion’s mane. This large, white, shaggy mushroom has been part of East Asian medicinal culture for centuries, used in the past as food and medicine for a variety of health problems.

“Beneficial compounds can be found in the fruiting bodies of lion’s mane (the part that contains the spores) and the mycelium (the root-like structure),” says Monique Richard, RDN, an integrative nutritionist and dietitian in Johnson City, Tennessee, and spokesperson for Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Fruiting bodies and mycelium contain many active ingredients. Namely, polysaccharides, erinacins, hericins, steroids, alkaloids, and lactones, according to Lindsey Delk, RDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Houston who specializes in the relationship between food and mental health. These ingredients may explain the many possible health and wellness benefits of lion’s mane, which range from heart health to immune support.

However, it is important to note: although there is increased interest in lion’s mane for various health conditions, unfortunately there is only very limited human research. Here are some mostly lab-based studies that may pique your interest and show some theoretical benefits of mushrooms. More human studies are needed to substantiate these possible benefits to human health, so keep that in mind.

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