Sunday Health Hack No. 20 – Your brains new best friend!

Sunday Health Hack No. 20 – Put some Lion’s mane mushroom powder into your afternoon coffee for more focus, productivity, memory, creativity and (brain) energy.

Everyone knows the feeling of “gloom” and “sluggishness” after the “heavy” lunch break. Taking a “digestive” walk is one method to prevent the looming “brain fog” (and dread of the upcoming afternoon unproductivity). But there is another sustainable and “healthy” way to boost through your afternoon.

Lion’s mane mushrooms have been used in Eastern, specifically Chinese, medicine for hundreds of years. Packed with countless health benefiting compounds and chemicals, “Hericium erinaceus”, its scientific name, which – funny sidenote – translates to “hedgehog”, is used as a powerful antioxidant and nervous system repair worker.

But the large, white, shaggy, long-haired mushroom (which somewhat resembles a lion’s mane, or the smaller ones a hedgehog) didn’t get much scientific attention until the early 1990’s when researchers in Japan identifying the presence of two critical compounds, hericenones and erinacines, which act as Neuron Growth Factors (NGF’s) in the central nervous system, key players in nerve regeneration. Meaning this medicinal powerhouse plant medicine does support the growth of new neurons.

Whilst Chaga mushrooms are best for immunity health, Lion’s mane is the most popular medicinal mushroom for “brain health”. Think of Lion’s mane as a “Nootropic”, a substance that enhances brain function, an energy booster for (brain) productivity and improved cognitive functioning.
In fact, the Lion’s Mane has even been successfully used as a medication to treat anxiety and depression.

The majority of people today experience regular or even chronic symptoms of anxiety and depression. From mild symptoms like procrastination, to severe cases of panic attacks or suicidal thoughts, and everything in-between (insomnia etc.).
There are so many reasons for this – workload and pressure, social tension, lack of sleep, thyroid deficiencies, not enough nutrient in the diet, mineral deficiencies and on and on.
And while there are many outward causes for anxiety and depression, the resulting chronic (brain) inflammation is a major constant contributing factor.

New research has found that Lion’s mane has strong anti-inflammatory effects (especially on brain nerve cells) which reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
And other studies have found that Lion’s mane mushrooms can also help to even regenerate brain cells and improve the functioning of the hippocampus, a region of the brain responsible for processing memories and emotional responses.
But the precursor “fatigue”, or low energy, is the most common problem many people struggle with. And if Lion’s mane helps with severe forms of prevailing anxiety, it’s even more helpful as a good mood “maintenance” supplement.

Like Chaga, Lion’s mane mushrooms are also rich in polysaccharides, which boost your immunity. Specifically with Lion’s mane by increasing the activity of the intestinal immune system, which protects the body from pathogens that enter the gut through our mouth or nose, by preventing bacteria and viruses from attaching themselves to cells within the body.
Studies demonstrated that Lion’s mane acts as a strong prebiotic, encouraging the growth of health-promoting gut bacteria. The same study showed that (gut) tissue damage (leaky gut) could even be diminished, and that Lion’s mane also works successful against gastric and intestinal ulcers.

But let’s face it, once past a certain age and often dealing with the many responsibilities of family, finances, home, and work, we pay less attention to our health, we get out of good dietary habits, we skip exercise, we tend to sleep less, and hence our stress increases.
This is not only bad for your brain (and gut flora). Enter also cholesterol and blood pressure worries, atherosclerosis, weight gain, and a lot of time sitting on the desk or lying on our couches, reaching for comfort food, which, unfortunately, is usually high in sodium, saturated fat and sugar. All of this leads amongst others to the oxidation of cholesterol in our arteries. Oxidized cholesterol molecules attach to the walls of arteries, causing them to harden and increasing the risk of heart attacks or strokes.
Cardiovascular health is important to all of us. Like Chaga, Lion’s mane contains loads of antioxidants with highly anti-inflammatory effects like the prevention of the oxidation of cholesterol.

Much like using any other herbal supplement, the health benefiting effects will take a little bit of time to build up in our system.
The “brain boost” will not kick in after one cup of Lion’s mane coffee, and the plague in your arteries are not gone either.
The effects are subtle to the point where you’re not even sure it’s working. But looking back on the day, you will notice many health benefits to foster, in particular regarding Lion’s mane the increase in brain energy, focus and productivity.

So, my Sunday Health Hack for today is – After lunch have your (small, 2 mugs) French Press and brew your afternoon coffee. As mentioned in my Chaga Coffee Hack I use dark roasted 100% organic arabica coffee (1:10 coffee-to-water ratio). Then I add again a tablespoon of MCT oil to it (see my Sunday Health Hack No. 18) as well as some Lion’s mane powder (~500mg).
The most convenient (and quality reassuring) way to do that is again to get some organic, quality Lion’s mane mushroom extract in capsules. Open the capsule and put the extract powder to the coffee in the French Press.
Last but not least add hot water (~95 degrees Celsius) to it.

My trusted product source in Germany for (very) good quality Lion’s mane mushroom extract is again Sunday Natural, and, again, I do not have any affiliation with them –

Focus on Love,  Yours  Andreas

Sunday Quote
The greatest of follies is to sacrifice your own HEALTH for any other kind of happiness (or “external obligations”).

Sunday Music
A pleasant childhood memory is that we kids took on several hedgehogs during the wintertime, comforting their “winter sleep” (and survival) in our garage.