While long available in the general health world, lion’s mane (Yamabushitake) is only recently available within the dietary supplement industry. It is a form of mushroom containing over 30 bioactive compounds, believed to be able to impact neurological function, placing it within the nootropic class of supplements.
Due to very few relevant studies, lion’s mane remains a semi-mystery in what it can do outside of anecdotal reports. Despite this, the limited scientific data on lion’s mane shows it may be effective in reducing levels of anxiety and depression and slowing the rate of cognitive decline.
Since scientific research is costly and slow going, most will have to refer to anecdotal reports to see what they might be able to expect from this supplement. Some reported benefits include enhanced cognition, improved memory and recall, reduced stomach pain, and anti-inflammatory effects.
Like with many other dietary supplements which have not been studied in depth, lion’s mane exact mechanisms of action are not currently well understood. One major theory regarding its nootropic benefits resides in its purported ability to increase nerve growth factor (NGF) within the brain.
NGF is a small protein which helps spur the growth, continued upkeep, and overall health of neurons within the brain. Higher levels of NGF are correlated to increased brain functions, allowing those with increased levels to think, remember, and focus more effectively than those who have lower levels.
Suggested dosing of pure lion’s mane is 3,000mg/day; however, this dosing can be significantly reduced when using a more potent extract. When utilizing an extract such as a 10:1 ratio, doses as low as 300mg/day may be effective. For best results, try dosing your lion’s mane approximately 30-60 minutes before you require the desired effects, and continue to take your doses every day for a minimum of three weeks to assess results.