One of the most important body parts is the brain. While our body rests when we sleep, our brains remain active and continue to control the rest of our body. Our thoughts, movement of the arms and legs, and the function of many organs within our body are being controlled by our brain. The brain also stores information, memories, and interprets information from the outside world.
Since our brain commands the rest of our body, our brain needs to be a well-oiled machine for us to live and work effectively. But have you ever experienced feeling fuzzy? Or the feeling of being unable to focus and think clearly? Or maybe you feel confused or disorganized and find it difficult to put your thoughts into words?
We have all experienced these in one way or another. These are common occurrences that are all part of cognitive decline or impairment which we tend to experience as we get older. Obviously, as we get older, changes occur in all parts of the body, including the brain. Studies found that as we grow old, certain parts of our brains shrink in volume, especially those important to learning and other complex mental activities. These changes affect our mental function, especially that of memory function. As we age, the memory function of our brain declines.
This is why it is very important that we take steps to take care of our brains as early as now. We can also resort to nootropics to prevent the adverse effects of aging on our brains. Nootropics are also said to improve our mental performance or to boost memory.
Nootropic comes from the Greek for “to bend or shape the mind.” Nootropics are natural or synthetic substances that improve brain function and are claimed to boost creativity, memory, decision-making, or other high-level brain functions.
One known cognitive enhancer is a medicinal mushroom called Hericium Erinaceus, or Lion’s Mane. Lion’s Mane mushrooms had long been used in traditional Chinese Medicine. They are white, globe-shaped fungi that have long and shaggy spines. Lion’s Mane has tons of science-backed benefits.
In this article, experts from Superfood Australia explains the benefits of Lion’s Mane to our brain health.
Our brain naturally slows down as we age. This explains why mental functioning gets worse in many older adults. Older people experience cognitive impairment and they have trouble remembering, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions that affect their everyday life.
Some studies have found that lion’s mane offers health benefits including support for neuronal health. They found that lion’s mane contains hericenones and erinacines; these two compounds can encourage brain cell growth. Some researchers also inferred that lion’s mane may have the potential to prevent diseases that cause a decline in cognitive health, such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. In one study, 30 older adults with mild cognitive impairment were assigned to take either lion’s mane extract or a placebo every day for 16 weeks. When they were given cognitive tests, those who took the lion’s mane extract showed significantly greater improvements compared to members of the placebo group.
Alleviates Anxiety and Depression
Lion’s Mane can also be used as a treatment for anxiety and depression. Anxiety is a mental condition where a person experiences intense and paralysing sense of fear or a more sustained pattern of worrying even when there is no real danger or threat. Meanwhile, depression is characterized by feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, recurring suicide thoughts, and loss of interest in interest in hobbies, friends, work, or any other activity. These two mental conditions usually cause disruption in everyday lives.
Although there are several factors which can cause anxiety and depression, some studies found that chronic inflammation could be a major contributing factor. In one study conducted on mice, it was found that lion’s mane mushroom extract has anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Moreover, lion’s mane can also improve the functioning of the hippocampus which can help reduce anxious and depressive behaviours. The lion’s mane extract may also contain agents that are useful for treating depressive disorders.
In a small Japanese study, 30 menopausal women consumed cookies containing either lion’s mane or a placebo every day for four weeks. The participants of the lion’s mane group reported lower levels of irritation and anxiety than those in the placebo group.
Full of Antioxidants and Anti-inflammatory
Lion’s mane contains a number of health-promoting substances, including antioxidants. A 2012 study examining the medicinal potential of 14 types of mushroom, Lion’s mane was found to have the fourth highest antioxidant activity out of 14 different mushroom species. Antioxidants are chemical compounds thought to combat damage caused by oxidative stress such as sun exposure, pollutants and other harmful substances. They help get rid of free radicals. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals, preventing them from causing inflammation or damaging your cells. Because of its antioxidant properties, Lion’s Mane is also considered anti-inflammatory.
Lion’s mane mushrooms are said to strengthen the immune system, partly by reducing inflammation and preventing oxidation. Although most of the studies on this area were done with animals, it was proven that lion’s mane mushrooms can boost immunity by increasing the activity of the intestinal immune system, which protects the body from pathogens that enter the gut through the mouth or nose.
In conclusion, research has proven that Lion’s Mane has tons of science-backed benefits, from preventing cognitive impairment to boosting the immune system. Other potential benefits of this medicinal mushroom are still currently being explored. Today, lion mane australia are mostly available in health stores in the form of capsule, powder, liquid, and tablet.