Want to know why lion’s mane mushrooms are so popular? Ready to have your mind blown by everything lion’s mane can do for your body? Not sure if medicinal mushrooms are legal? You’re in the right place!
Let’s be honest. We say mushrooms, you think magic.
But lion’s mane mushrooms are nothing like their distant cousins, magic mushrooms. Lion’s mane mushrooms are medicinal, not magical. No hallucinations. No trips. And totally legal.
So what can this mighty little fungi do for your immune system?
A mushroom that can boost your immune system might sound a little mysterious, but it’s an incredible little mushroom that’s legal, safe and bursting with benefits.
Researchers have been discovering just how much this clever mushroom can do for humans. Lion’s mane is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, prebiotic, and studies have shown that it can prevent dementia.
If you’re not in love with lion’s mane at this point, you should be.
Benefits Of Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Is lion’s mane good for you? Well, lion’s mane offers a host of benefits because of all the helpful compounds it contains. Things like:
Better brain health - according to a study in 2011, lion’s mane is neuro-protective, which means it looks after your memory and can even protect you against strokes. Talk about peace of mind!
Improved focus - while we’re talking about the mind, lion’s mane can also help with focus issues. This makes it the ideal supplement to take ahead of studies, exams and big life events.
Mood regulation - lion’s mane is popularly known for helping people with depression, anxiety, addiction and hormonal mood disorders. This is because the natural chemicals found in lion’s mane work within your brain to regulate your mood.
- Immune system support - now this is where lion’s mane comes into its own. Because the immune system and your gut are directly linked, this mushroom is able to boost your immune system through prebiotics and antioxidants.
How Do Lion’s Mane Mushrooms Benefit Your Immune System?
We won’t get too deep into the science-y stuff, promise.
But when it comes to lion’s mane, research is still ongoing, gathering more and more evidence of exactly how lion’s mane helps your immune system. Scientists are still learning the many ways it works within your body, but right now we know lion’s mane mushrooms are so beneficial for the immune system because they work in two different ways:
The first way is by reducing inflammation and oxidisation. Lion’s mane reduces inflammation in your body with enzymes and other clever chemicals that only researchers can pronounce.
Lion’s mane also supports your intestinal immune system (gut health) by stimulating the special blood cells that are your body’s defense against illness. At the same it gives helps your gut flora with friendly prebiotic fibres.
How Inflammation Harms Your Immune System
Inflammation is a bit of a double-edged sword when it comes to your body. When your immune system recognises an attack, your first line of defense is those special white blood cells (these cause that feeling of ‘coming down with something’), it releases chemicals that cause inflammation.
It’s this inflammation that makes life really hard for the illness - so hard that it’s eventually wiped out.
Unfortunately the inflammation doesn’t just target the invading illness.
Those chemicals that your defense system released to attack the illness? They also affect your body. This can damage your healthy cells. Sometimes the inflammation sticks around long after the bug is gone, leading to other health issues.
Luckily lion’s mane is here to save the day and your gut!
The proteins in lion’s mane work by encouraging more of those special white blood cells that are your first line of defense. The proteins also reduce the inflammation chemicals, so you end up with what scientists call a more ‘robust’ immune system response, making the blood cells do more of the heavy lifting and telling your body to take it easy on the inflammation.
The Key To Good Immunity Is In The Gut
A healthy, functioning immune system starts in your gut. If you want a happy immune system the best place to start is in your intestine.
It might seem strange to think that a large percentage of your immunity comes from what’s going on in your gut, but they have an important connection.
Your gut is usually the first place foreign bacteria and new bugs enter your body through food and all the invisible things you ingest along with it. Which is why your gut has learned how to fight off such a huge variety of things, triggering your immune system at the first sign of trouble.
If your gut didn’t have your immune system for backup, it’d be outnumbered by the bad guys pretty quick. The best support for your gut is good bacteria and antioxidants, giving it the ammunition it needs to respond to anything it encounters.
Part of your gut’s response relies on something called the gut microbiome - a collection of friendly microorganisms living in your gut.
This is important because it’s how your intestinal tract gives you protection and immunity regulation. If your gut microbiome is disrupted or unbalanced, then it can lead to poor immune responses or worse - autoimmune diseases where your immune system attacks itself.
So keeping a happy gut is important for your immune system, and maintaining a healthy microbiome is crucial for your gut.
But how does lion’s mane come into this? Does lion’s mane help your immune system?
How Lion’s Mane Mushrooms Promote Gut Health
Lion’s mane mushrooms contain something called beta-glucans and as it turns out, your gut really, really loves these beta-glucans.
That gut microbiome we were talking about gobbles this up, ferments it, and in return gets a boost. The good stuff in lion’s mane makes your gut respond with more of its T-cells (the bouncers of your body), leading to a quicker, more intense defeat of whatever is attacking your gut.
But the benefits of lion’s mane don’t stop there. Because it’s such an anti-inflammatory mushroom, it manages to reduce your fever, aches and sickness symptoms at the same time as increasing your immunity’s response.
So you feel better while you’re getting better - in fact you probably wouldn’t even notice the battle going on in your gut!
The fact that medicinal fungi like lion’s mane can support your gut and therefore your immune system like this is a fairly new discovery, which makes it even more exciting.
So Can Something As Simple As A Mushroom Improve Your Immune System?
Medicinal mushrooms have been used for centuries, but we’re only now discovering just how much fungi can help us. Lion’s mane boosts your immunity in two clear ways, through beta-glucans that encourage more of those first response T-cells and with anti-inflammatory benefits that reduce the side effects of an immune response like aches, fever and long term allergies. Lion’s mane supplements are a safe and effective way to give your immune system some extra support.
If you’re interested in finding out what else medicinal mushrooms can do, check out our other blog on the mental health benefits of lion’s mane.
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