What is Lions Mane+ good for?


Lions Mane Mushroom + CDP-Choline & Huperzine A for Memory and Mental Clarity.

A curated stack utilising Lions Mane Mushroom to promote neuron growth and repair, paired with a brain bioavailable building block (CDP-Choline) to the essential neurotransmitter acetylcholine, then supported with a Huperzia Serrata extract to reduce the degradation of the same acetylcholine.

The end result: improved mental clarity and memory recall today, but also supporting your brain in the years to come.

Lions Mane+ is working to solve our everyday quality of life challenges. Having a clear head to respond to that client email or comfortably discuss your project in a meeting. Too often the culture in modern offices is to reach for that third or fourth coffee, Lions Mane+ steps in to replace that need with a -free approach - pairing well with coffee but reducing your need for excess.

But sometimes even more so it's outside of the workplace that the smooth clarity of mind can really shine too - among the biohacking circles Huperzine A is fondly known as the one go-to herbal extract to "know where you put the car keys" or that "remember that one word on the tip of your tongue". Allowing better management of your life admin as well as social times with friends and family.

The Simple Formula

60 Capsules per bottle (30 serves), every 2 capsule serve includes:

  • 1,000mg Lions Mane Mushroom Extract (10:1);
  • 250mg CDP-Choline;
  • 20mg Huperzia Serrata standardised to 1% Huperzine A (yeilding 200mcg).

How to use Lions Mane+?

Our standard recommended use is to take two capsules in the morning daily as a dietary supplement. This fills the role as a stimulant-free "foundation" type nootropic for better brain health and clarity, which you can then stack with other nootropic ingredients, such as Uridine Monophosphate, L-theanine or your favourite stimulant. Lions Mane+ pairs excellent with a cup of coffee, and optimally with a source of fats. 

For very best complimentary brain health and mood supporting benefits, we also recommend pairing your Lions Mane+ with a source of Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA).

If desired for an extra boost, you can take additional capsules of Lions Mane+ for "on-demand" performance. However we do not advise more than a maximum of four capsules daily to prevent tolerance buildup.

What is Lions Mane Mushroom?

Alternative names: Lions Mane Mushroom is known by many names, in scientific literature it is commonly identified by it's Latin "Hericium erinaceus" , but also sometimes by it's Japanese title "Yamabushitake", hóu tóu gū (“Monkey head mushroom”) in Chinese or by other names attributing to its visual appearance "Pom Pom", "Bearded tooth carpophore", "Bearded hedgehog", "Sheep's Head", Bear's Head", "Old Man's Beard" and "Sartyr's Beard".

Lions Mane is a saprophytic and parasitic fungus, growing on both living and dead hardwood trees (oak, walnut, beech, maple, sycamore and others) native to North America, Europe, and Asia. Found most frequently on logs or stumps. The fruiting body component is very distinguishable by appearance due to it's downward, cascading spines which are typically white, then browning with age. Now Lions Mane is commonly farmed on bags or bottles of sterilized sawdust or grain, or by a more traditional method injecting spawn into logs. 

Lions Mane Mushroom has well established medical applications in both modern medicine and traditional medicine, especially due to the presence of β-glucan polysaccharidesHericenones, and erinacines, which have demonstrated a wide array of potent medical properties.

Lions Mane Mushroom is also very popular for its culinary addition to food, in Paul Stamets famous Mushroom tome 'Growing Gourmet & Medicinal Mushrooms' he specifies "hericium erinaceus is one the few mushrooms imparting the flavour of lobster when cooked", to others he notes may find the flavour more reminiscent of eggplant.

Historical Use of Lions Mane Mushroom 

It has a long history in ChineseTraditional Medicine (TCM), "said to be nutritive to the five internal organs (liver, lung, spleen, heart, and kidney), and promotes good digestion, general vigor, and strength." In TCM Lions Mane is well known for function on the Central Nervous System to alleviate insomnia, general weakness and other characteristic symptoms of what TCM identifies as Qi deficiency. 

Lions Mane Mushroom Tea is also said to have been used for thousands of years by Japanese Buddhist monks for to improve their focus and meditation ability, such that the Japanese name for Lions Mane "yamabushitake", translates to "mountain priest mushroom".

Nootropic Use for Lions Mane Mushroom

The key nootropic function for using Lions Mane Mushroom is to promote better long-term neuronal health by stimulating increased production of the neurotrophin "Nerve Growth Factor" (NGF). NGF is a protein which is primarily responsible for the growth, maintenance and survival of certain neurons. Most notably peripheral sensory and sympathetic nerve cells (for touch and muscle or organ function) as well as cholinergic neurons in the Central Nervous System (CNS aka.your brain). It is important to note that this function is to promote a the gradual maintenance and adaptation of the hardware of your brain. For valuable benefit, long-term consistent use Lions Mane Mushroom supplementation works to promote better cognitive, muscular function and sensory function. By this mechanism it is also considered to play a neuroprotective role in preventing cognitive decline with age.

"The NGF plays a pivotal role in the survival and function of cholinergic neurons of the basal forebrain complex (BFC), such functions include attention, arousal, motivation, memory and consciousness."
Nerve growth factor: from the early discoveries to the potential clinical use, Journal of Translational Medicine.

Recent investigations has also linked Lions Mane Mushroom with modulatory effects on another neurotrophin similar to NGF, known as Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF). This will also contribute to neuroplasticity benefits, however the body of evidence is still far less than the NGF promoting research.

Lions Mane Mushroom has also demonstrated additional nootropic benefit through it's neuroprotective anti-inflammatory effects, as well as some modulating activity of the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine (monoamines).

And finally, in research over the last decade into different approaches to mood disorders, anti-anxiety and anti-depression, Lions Mane Mushroom has demonstrated value in alleviating symptoms. Most likely through a mixed approach of improving neuroplasticity via it's NGF and BDNF stimulating activities, the monoamine balancing activities, as well as the anti-inflammatory properties. 

Other potential uses for Lions Mane Mushroom

Other that it's functions for neuroprotective and nootropic use cases, Lions Mane Mushroom as also demonstrated a wide array of health activities, including:

  • Immunomodulatory activities
    • Lions Mane Mushroom is shown to increase concentrations of "T Cells", a type of lymphocyte and white blood cell critical to adaptive immune response. Increasing your bodies defense when under
    • Lions Mane Mushroom is shown to increase concentrations of macrophages, a type phagocyte responsible for the detection and destruction of pathogens and unwanted cells.
  • Anti-cancerous activities
    • Lions Mane Mushroom is shown to contribute toward reducing total tumour volume.
  • Anti-oxidant & Anti-inflammatory activities
    • β-Glucans and other Polysaccharides present in high concentrations in Lions Mane Mushroom have demonstrated potent free radical scavenging activities, protecting cells from oxidative damage in both brain and body.

    More on the additional Nootropic Ingredients: CDP-Choline and Huperzine A

     Adding the "plus" in our Lions Mane+ stack, CDP-Choline and Huperzine A make for an excellent pairing with the Lions Mane to further promote both the long term brain health actions of the stack, as well as bringing valuable benefits you can feel quickly after use (usually 45-60 minutes) as cholinergic nootropics.

    Huperzine A from a Huperzia Serrata herbal extract

    Huperzia Serrata is a popular herb with a long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as well as Japanese culture for a wide range of applications, particularly for memory support, anti-inflammatory and pain releif applications. Huperzia Serrata is also known by the names "Toothed Clubmoss", "Wolf's Claw" and "Ground Pine" due to it's distinctive plant structure, as shown in the figure here. 

    In modern clinical use Huperzia Serrata has been extensively researched for the purposes of treating Schizophrenia, Alzheimer's and preventing cognitive decline due to aging. Through this research, the main bioactive compound Huperzine A has been widely proven to be a potent, selective and well-tolerated inhibitor of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE). By the inhibition of AChE, Huperzine A very effectively prevents the breakdown of the key neurotransmitter "acetylcholine" which is critical to cholinergic neuronal function. Through this function huperzine has proven valuable to these medical conditions.

    "...large amount of clinical studies have shown that huperzine A administration can significantly improve the memory, cognitive skills, and daily life abilities of AD patients with no severe side effects. Besides being indicated for AD, huperzine A is also used in treating memory impairment in vascular dementia (VaD) patients, schizophrenia patients and sleep disorder in insomniacs" - New insights into huperzine A for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, Acta Pharmacologica Sinica, Nature (2012) 

    Take home: While there is little research on the effect of huperzine A in healthy populations, due to it's very applicable mechanism of action on increasing acetylcholine concentrations, outcomes have been shown similarly valuable across the board. Biohackers and nootropics enthusiasts have enjoyed huperzine A supplements for decades to provide very noticeable improvements in working memory and attention, neuroprotective effects as well as it's long term benefits in promoting neuroplasticity for long-term memory storage.

    CDP-Choline, source of bioavailable Choline

    Also known as "Citicoline" or by it's full chemical name "cytidine-5′-diphosphocoline", CDP-Choline is a more modern nootropic ingredient. First awarded it's "Generally Recognised As Safe" (GRAS) status in the USA in 2013 and is acknowledged to be a valuable source of both choline and uridine nutrients. 

    "Oral supplementation of citicoline is metabolized into choline and uridine within the intestine and is rapidly absorbed, with waste excretion of less than 1% as demonstrated by pharmokinetic studies" - The Effect of Citicoline Supplementation on Motor Speed and Attention in Adolescent Males (Sage, 2015).

    Why supplement with Choline? Choline is an essential building block for the synthesis of both phosphatidylcholine and the acetylcholine in the brain. Phosphatidylcholine is a major phospholipid used for neuronal membrane repair (neuron walls), valuable for long term brain health. Acetylcholine is the essential neurotransmitter and neuromodulator involved in cholinergic function, increasing cellular concentrations with has demonstrated benefits including working memory, attention, and long term brain health via promoting neuroplasticity and neuroprotection.

    Why supplement with Uridine? As noted above, Citicoline in complete form does not directly cross the blood brain barrier, and is actually broken down to principle components "choline" and "uridine" in the liver. However the a critical building block to manufacture of Phosphatidylcholine is the complete CDP-Choline. Hence in the brain, CDP-Choline is re-synthesised. This is where dietary uridine is critical, to provide that base component alongside free choline, allowing for the synthesis of Phosphatidylcholine (benefits discussed in the paragraph above). See the figure below for synthesis pathways.

    Take home: Citicoline supplementation has demonstrated a wide array of benefits for in both diseased and healthy populations to enhance performance and quality of life, particularly improving motor function and attentional abilities. Also working via neuroprotective mechanisms for better memory capabilities and resistance to cognitive decline with age. These outcomes are consistent with the individual roles the nutrients Choline and Uridine provide, as discussed above.

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    Source: Short-term administration of uridine increases brain membrane phospholipids precursors in healthy adults: a 31-phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy study at 4T (Bipolar Disorders, 2010)

    Further Reading

    If you're keen for some further reading on Lions Mane, CDP-Choline and Huperzine A, below are a number of research articles we recommend as an introduction.

    Lions Mane Mushroom

    Hericium erinaceus: an edible mushroom with medicinal values

    Neurological Activity of Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus)

    Therapeutic Potential of Hericium erinaceus for Depressive Disorder

    Huperzine A

    New insights into huperzine A for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease

    The pharmacology and therapeutic potential of (−)-huperzine A

    CDP-Choline

    Neuroprotective Actions of Dietary Choline

    Citicoline: A Superior Form of Choline?

    The Effect of Citicoline Supplementation on Motor Speed and Attention in Adolescent Males

    Short-term administration of uridine increases brain membrane phospholipids precursors in healthy adults...

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