If you're like me and have been on the internet within the last year or so, you've probably heard of Lion's Mane, or other varieties of seemingly life-altering mushrooms like Reishi and Chaga. Why the sudden burst of hype about mushrooms? Because we're late to the game. Seriously, this stuff has been around for so, so long (as in centuries). Also, because our levels of stress are THROUGH THE ROOF and we generally care more now about our health and what we're doing to our precious vessels.
So, what is Lion's Mane and why do we care about this mushroom in particular? According to people much smarter than myself, Lion's Mane is the only mushroom CLINICALLY proven to support brain function (excellent for TBI recovery in particular). Research shows it also supports mood regulation, the immune system, and the nervous system. It has adaptogen properties, and supports the production of NGF (nerve growth function).
(Let's take a quick pause to clarify.)
Adaptogens are incredible. They're a kind of herb that ADAPT to YOU. I read a great example that uses the concept of a thermostat to explain how they work:
"When the thermostat senses that the room temperature is too high it brings it down; when the temperature is too low it brings it up. Adaptogens can calm you down and boost your energy at the same time without over stimulating. They can normalize body imbalances."
Whether you're fighting brain-fog, fatigue, stress, or anxiety, a bit of crazy-looking mushroom may get you back to balance. Pretty impressive.
Now we've come to NGF. Nerve Growth Factor is essential for the survival of neurons, specifically our sensory neurons. As the name suggests, it promotes growth and protects our nerve cells, which means NGF plays a critical role in...everything. A mushroom I can buy at the market and throw in my pasta to boost the growth and connection of my brain cells? Yes, please!
Now that we know what Lion's Mane is and what it can do, where do we get it and how do we use it?
This mushroom can be found in a variety of forms- capsule, powder, liquid, whole (natural), and probably some sort of oil vapor I haven't heard of yet. Personally, I put a scoop (or two) of Om's organic Lion's Mane powder in my coffee every morning and have been known to sneak it into my partner's breakfast smoothies as well, because we all know the saying, "There's nothing lonelier than watching a movie at 7 PM while your boyfriend falls asleep next to you," is all too true. Our dear Jenni prefers Paul Stamet's brand, Host Defense, which comes in capsule form. Which form of Lion's Mane to use and how much is subjective to each person's needs, but benefits are typically seen after longer-term supplementation.
How has Lion's Mane helped you? Is there a product you've tried and think we should know about? We'd love to hear from you!