If brain health isn’t enough for lion’s mane mushroom benefits, remember it benefits our stomach, too

WARNING: This post contains graphic images.

Hericium erinaceus, commonly known as Lion’s Mane mushroom has compelling research in its benefits as a functional mushroom. Primarily celebrated for its benefits for the brain and nervous system, the mushroom has become a popular nootropic. Lion’s mane is amazing because it’s the only validated natural medicine for repairing the myelin sheath surrounding our neurons. This impressive property is indeed its VIP benefit, but many of the other lion’s mane mushroom benefits are overlooked. Namely, its potential benefits to the gut and stomach ulcer.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom Benefits Stomach Ulcers

For centuries ulcers have been and continue to be a threat to populations worldwide. In 2010, 14.99 million people in the United States suffered from peptic ulcers (both gastric and intestinal). Many cases of peptic ulcers are due to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and the overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori bacteria, which increase production of gastric acid, and in turn impairs gastric mucus. Ulcers form when this gastric mucus is decreased, resulting in perforation in the stomach lining and subsequent stomach bleeding. 

The current strategy for treatment is to limit production of gastric acid with pharmaceutical drugs which cause unpleasant side effects. Among the natural medicines, curcumin, mucuna pruriens leaf, ginger, and lion’s mane are accredited. 

One study showed the efficacy of lion’s mane for mitigating ulcers in rats, and here is the summary:

  • Ulcers significantly reduced in the groups that were given mushrooms compared to the control.
  • No significant difference in ulcer reduction between the groups that were given higher doses of lion’s mane and those that were given the drug Omeprazole.
  • Lion’s mane activated the gastric mucus barrier and prevented free-radical damage in the tissue by quenching the free radicals.
  • Lion’s mane exhibited cytoprotection (cell protection) as well as antioxidant activity.

Below is an image from the study (1)  that depicts visual evidence of this medicine in action. Refer to the footnotes for which image corresponds to which group:

Source: Gastroprotective Effects of Lion’s Mane Mushroom Hericium erinaceus (Bull.:Fr.) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae) Extract against Ethanol-Induced Ulcer in Rats (1) 

This chart depicts the gastric wall mucus, where a blue dye (appears purple)  binds to the capacity of the mucus. The darker and more spread out the dye is, the higher the capacity:

Source: Gastroprotective Effects of Lion’s Mane Mushroom Hericium erinaceus (Bull.:Fr.) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae) Extract against Ethanol-Induced Ulcer in Rats (1)

Did you know that lion’s mane is also great at helping us wind down to get a better night’s sleep? Check out this blog post about taking lion’s mane before bed.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom Benefits Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBM)

In another study, (2) lion’s mane was found to relieve inflammatory bowel disease by regulating gut microbiota and immunity— another major plus when it comes to gut health.

Causes of IBD aren’t understood, and treatments are unfortunately limited. We do know however, that balanced gut microbiota is imperative for maintaining intestinal mucosal integrity, and is very influential on the severity of IBD. 

Lion’s mane is rich in diterpenoid compounds, steroids, polysaccharides and other functional compounds. When rats with IBD were treated with lion’s mane, the structure of gut microbiota changed, cytokine levels were restored to near normal, T cells activated, and neutrophils decreased (neutrophils are the main inflammatory cells in damaged colon tissue). The stats are also convincing that lion’s mane could play a prebiotic role, furthering is beneficial effect on our gut health.

*The studies mentioned were all conducted with extracts of Lion’s mane fruiting bodies.

Lion’s Mane for our Second Brain

We are beginning to understand the importance of gut health on mental health— afterall, we call the gut the ‘second brain’. If cognition isn’t reason enough to incorporate this awesome mushroom into our lives, the additional lion’s mane mushroom benefits on our gut would call attention to all health conscious people.

Give lion’s mane a try and take solace in the fact that you are protecting your brain and gut to optimize your own health! The studies mentioned were all conducted with extracts of Lion’s mane fruiting bodies (as are most other studies with the mushroom!), so be sure to source 100% organic and extracted from fruiting bodies to get the most from your medicine and best bang for your buck. May we suggest Mushroom Revival’s Lion’s Mane tincture? Try it out here: Lion’s Mane Tincture

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