Lion's Mane, NGF and BDNF, OH MY!
We LOVE Lion's Mane! Lions Mane (Hericium erinaceus) is a medicinal mushroom with a special metabolite that's been shown to promote nerve regeneration, remyelination, and an increase in Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) & Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF.)
Nerve Grown Factor is a protein that plays a major role in the maintenance, survival and regeneration of neurons in both our central and peripheral nervous systems. Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) is a protein that promotes the survival of nerve cells (neurons) by playing a role in the growth, maturation (differentiation), and maintenance of these cells.
BDNF improves the function of neurons, encourages their growth, and protects them against premature cell death. It also binds to receptors at the synapses, to improve signal strength between neurons.
BDNF has been spoken of as the “Miracle Grow” of the brain essentially fertilizing brain cells to keep them functioning and growing, as well as stimulating the growth of new neurons.
We each have different genotypes for activation of BDNF at birth. Some individuals have naturally decreased activation of BDNF, which has been shown to result in decreased short-term plasticity.
No matter what your genetic pre-disposition, BDNF levels have been show to increase with regular exercise and consumption of Lion’s Mane Mushroom.
Neurotransmitters like acetylcholine are critical in brain function because they transport neuronal signals, but it’s BDNF that builds and maintains the brain circuits which allow the signals to travel.
Basically, the more BDNF we have in our brains, the better the brain works!
Here's a recent study exploring the neurotrophic properties of Isohericerinol A:
Total Synthesis of Isohericerinol A and Its Analogues to Access Their Potential Neurotrophic Effects
"The secondary metabolites from Hericium erinaceus are well-known to have neurotrophic and neuroprotective effects. Isohericerinol A, isolated by our colleagues from its fruiting parts has a strong ability to increase the nerve growth factor secretion in C6 glioma cells. The current work describes the total synthesis of and its regioisomer in a few steps. We present two different approaches to and a regiodivergent approach for both and by utilizing easily accessible feedstocks. Interestingly, the natural product, regioisomer, and their intermediates exhibited potent neurotrophic activity in in vitro experimental systems. Thus, these synthetic strategies provide access to a systematic structure–activity relationship study of natural product."
For additional research and writing on Lion's Mane and BDNF for both brain and nerve health, see below! The top section contains studies and the bottom section is an archive of the best articles we've come across on the topic. Have fun!
"Neuronal Health – Can Culinary and Medicinal Mushrooms Help?"
"Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia."
"Neurological Activity of Lion’s Mane ( Hericium erinaceus )."
"Therapeutic Potential of Hericium erinaceus for Depressive Disorder."
"Lion’s Mane Mushroom Benefits Memory And Cognition: In this article, we will review some experiments which helped establish the effects and benefits that lion’s mane mushroom has on cognition."