The Science Behind Hericium Erinaceus

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained on this website is complete and accurate. However, neither the company nor the author is engaged in rendering professional advice or services to any individual. The ideas, treatments, medications, procedures, and other suggestions contained on this website are not intended as a substitute for consulting with your physician. All matters regarding your physical health require medical supervision. Neither the company nor the author shall be liable or responsible for any loss, injury, or damage allegedly arising from any information or suggestion on this website. All information on this page was sourced from the book "The Power of the Lion's Mane Mushroom: Regenerate Your Brain With Lion's Mane" . -Bond Ph.D., Ward W.. The only intentions of the following information is to educate others on the studies and science behind Hericium Erinaceus.


In traditional ancient Chinese medicine, Lion’s Mane is used to promote health, digestion, vitality, and for prevention of cancer. Our Product, "Cognitive Coherancy", contains a dual extract process of Hericium Erinaceus, which is an ethanol extraction to activate the fat-soluble compounds, and a decoction extraction which activates the water-soluble compounds. In clinical trials with older individuals with age related mental illness, Hericium Erinaceus treatment was able to heal methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections. MRSA is a pathogen in hospital environments. Scientific studies in Asia confirm that use of Hericium Erinaceus can be used for the respiratory and nervous system. Japanese studies indicate that Hericium Erinaceus regenerates neurons by stimulating production of Nerve Growth Factor. (Kawagishi, H, et al “The Inducer of the Synthesis of Nerve Growth Factor from Hericium erinaceum” Explore! Vol. 11, No. 4, 2002).


Nerve Growth Factor

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Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) belongs to a family of proteins that play a part in maintenance, survival and regeneration of neurons during adult life. As we age, NGF declines, resulting in less efficient brain functioning. In mice, its absence leads to a condition resembling Alzheimer’s disease. In 1986, two scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine for the discovery and isolation of NGF. Italian biologist Rita Levi-Montalcini and American biochemist Stanley Cohen won for their groundbreaking work, which opened new fields of widespread importance to basic science. Their work has lead, and continues to lead, to development of new therapeutic agents and improved treatment of various diseases. Dr. Levi-Montalcini appeared to be personally benefiting from her discovery. She died in 2012 at age 103 years old. Her amazing vitality could be due to the fact that she took NGF in eye drops every day. She admitted towards the end of her life that her brain was more vigorous than it was four decades ago.


Many clinical trials have shown that NGF can reduce neurodegeneration and can treat diseases in the nervous system. Dr. Will Boggs reported in Neurology magazine that NGF significantly improves pain symptoms of HIV-infected patients with sensory neuropathy. Sensory neuropathy most commonly affects the feet, legs, hands and arms, and affects more than a third of all AIDS patients. Dr. Giovanni Schifitto from the University of Rochester, New York studied the safety and effectiveness of human NGF for HIV-associated distal sensory polyneuropathy in 200 affected patients. Their symptoms were significantly alleviated with the administration of NGF. 


NGF has been shown to play a role in a number of diseases, such as coronary atherosclerosis, obesity, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. NGF could also be related to various psychiatric disorders, such as dementia, depression, schizophrenia, autism, Rett syndrome, anorexia and bulimia. NGF has been shown to accelerate wound healing, and there is evidence it could be useful for treating skin and corneal ulcers. 


In 2005, researchers at the University of Pavia, Italy found that people have high levels of NGF when they first fall in love, but that these levels return to former levels after one year. NGF levels of 58 subjects were compared to controls that were either single or presently engaged in a long term relationship. Results showed that NGF levels were significantly higher in subjects in love compared to either control group. 


Since the discovery of NGF, researchers have been interested in ways of enhancing NGF. But because it is unable to cross the blood-brain barrier, it cannot be administered as an oral drug. Accordingly, scientists have been directing their attention to finding bioactive compounds with a low molecular weight that could penetrate the blood-brain barrier and be taken orally to induce synthesis of NGF within the brain. 


A breakthrough occurred when Hirokazu Kawagishi, Ph.D., discovered a class of compounds in Lion’s Mane that stimulate production of NGF, causing neurons to regrow.5 These compounds, called hericenones, are the first active substances found in natural products to induce NGF synthesis. Hericenones were isolated from the fruiting body of Lion’s Mane and introduced into a culture containing astroglial cells obtained from rats. After 24 hours, an assay revealed that NGF was secreted into the culture medium. 


Hericenones and other bioactive substances in Hericium Erinaceus are believed to have great potential for repairing neurological damage, improving intelligence and reflexes, and, even more significant, preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease.



Amyloid Beta-Peptide


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An additional fat-soluble fraction isolated from Lion’s Mane, called amyloban (a fat-soluble fraction containing dilinoleoyl-phosphatidylethanolamine and other active compounds), was found to protect against neuronal cell death caused by toxic amyloid beta-peptide.6 Amyloid beta-peptide is the main component of plaque that develops in the brains of Alzheimer’s disease patients, causing destruction of neurons as it progresses. It is believed that amyloid deposition also increases the risk of cerebral hemorrhagic stroke by causing blood vessels to become brittle and eventually break. Death of neurons is a feature of neurodegenerative disease, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and prion diseases (Creutzfeldt-Jakob/mad cow disease). Amyloid beta-peptide is a chief offender that induces cellular stress and damages neurons. So, if natural products could reduce cellular stress they would be good candidates for preventing cell death. There are reports that unsaturated fatty acids, like those in fish and plants, exert a protective effect on certain neurodegenerative diseases. However, in most of these, the detailed mechanisms by which protection is afforded have not been resolved. This is not the case with amyloban as research has identified a chemical pathway as the mechanism. In assays of rat cell viability, researchers found that amyloban protects neurons from endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress- or oxidative stress-dependent cell death associated with amyloid beta-peptide. In the course of further extensive screening, researchers found three new active compounds in Lion’s Mane.7 One of these, identified as 3-hydroxyhericenone, showed significant protective activity against chemically-induced ER stress in neural cells. It should be mentioned here that amyloban and hericenones are not found in all Lion’s Mane products. Because amyloban and hericenones are fat-soluble, they are not contained in Lion’s Mane products extracted by hot water only. Also, there has been no report to suggest that the mycelium (root-like structure) contains hericenones or shows bioactivity like amyloban. The method to concentrate active compounds, which requires ethanol (alcohol) extraction and some fractionations, has been filed for a U.S. patent.8 This is the extract found in the product AMYLOBAN® 3399 (a designation from the Japanese patent #394,3399.)

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