Lions Mane Mushroom & Anxiety

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, as many as 40 million adults suffer from anxiety disorders in the US alone[1]. However, less than 40 percent of those suffering receive treatment. In recent years, scientists have been researching natural remedies & treatments for these disorders. One treatment that has shown significant supportive results and positive effects is hericium erinaceus, also known as lions mane mushroom. The mushroom, which is the fruiting body of the fungus, looks like the mane of a lion because of its strand-like growth pattern.

Hericium erinaceus

Research Findings for Anti-anxiety Properties of Hericium Erinaceus

In a 2018 study by Chiu et al., researchers studied the effects of the Hericium erinaceus fungus. They gave stressed subjects daily doses of 200 to 400 milligrams for each kilogram of their body weight. The mycelium of the fungus is loaded with erinacine A. The researchers saw that several neural pathways were opened at the end of the treatment cycle, as a result of the lions mane mushroom supplements. The pathways that were opened were ones that play a vital role in neuroprotection. After the studies were examined, the researchers concluded that the fungus produced an anti-anxiety effect[2].

Erinacine A is a natural substance that is found in lions mane fungus more so in the mycelium. It contains anti-depressive properties, stimulates nerve growth factor and may have additional benefits. Nerve growth factor is a substance in the body that protects healthy neurons. It promotes neurogenesis, which is the development of new and healthy nervous tissue. Enhanced hippocampal neurogenesis has been linked to anti-depressive and anti-anxiety effects. It may become the target of new treatments in the future, as research shows that it helps regulate affective states.

A 2018 study confirmed that the Hericium erinaceus fungus extract promoted hippocampal neurogenesis in adult subjects[3]. The researchers examined two groups. One group was given a saline solution, and the second group received Hericium erinaceus extract for four weeks. Scientists and researchers discovered that the brains of the Hericium erinaceus-treated subjects showed enhanced neurogenesis. After this, the researchers concluded that repeated consumption of lions mane could produce anti-anxiety effects.

Another study that involved administering the fungus over the span of four weeks also showed that it had noticeable antidepressant and anti-anxiety benefits[4]. This study was performed using only female adults. The researchers assigned the women to two groups. Each group consumed cookies over the next four weeks, and one group received placebo cookies while the other received cookies with lions mane fungus. At the end of the study, the group that consumed the mushroom reported lower levels of irritation and anxiety.

Reference List
  1. Facts & statistics. (n.d.). Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA.
  2. Chiu CH, Chyau CC, Chen CC, et al. Erinacine A-Enriched Hericium erinaceus Mycelium Produces Antidepressant-Like Effects through Modulating BDNF/PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β Signaling in Mice. Int J Mol Sci. 2018;19(2). PMID 29364170
  3. Ryu S, Kim HG, Kim JY, Kim SY, Cho KO. Hericium erinaceus Extract Reduces Anxiety and Depressive Behaviors by Promoting Hippocampal Neurogenesis in the Adult Mouse Brain. Journal of medicinal food 2018;21(2):174-80. PMID 2909152
  4. Nagano M, Shimizu K, Kondo R, Hayashi C, Sato D, Kitagawa K, Ohnuki K. Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake. Biomedical research (Tokyo, Japan) 2010;31(4):231-7. PMID 20834180