How Lion's Mane Mushrooms Provide Immune Support

Portrait of two young friends drinking fresh fruit juice. Women standing together immunity having juice.

Article at a Glance:

  • Lion’s Mane has been shown to boost immunity by increasing the activity of the intestinal immune system.
  • Lion's Mane contains a special type of polysaccharide called beta-glucan, which is well known to stimulate innate immune cells.
  • For a tasty and convenient way to help boost immunity, try our vegan gummies, which contain 500mg of lion's mane per serving.

Immunity is something that’s at the forefront of everyone’s mind these days.

With the current state of affairs and increasing interest in enhancing host defense and resiliency, many individuals are searching for ways to support their immune system.

A strong, robust immune system protects the body from harmful pathogens, including bacteria, viruses, protists, and parasites. Conversely, a weak immune system increases the risk of developing infection (as well as slower recovery and more severe outcomes following infection).

Several dietary supplements individuals commonly use to support the immune system, including Vitamin C, Echinacea, and Elderberry.

Today, we look at one of the "under the radar" supplements relatively well-known, but not necessarily for its immune-supporting properties -- Lion's Mane.

How Lion’s Mane Provides Immune Support

We’ve touched on lion’s mane a time or two before, particularly regarding its potential benefits for brain health and cognitive function.

As it turns out, this funky-looking fungi may also provide immune support, similar to other functional mushrooms like reishi, chaga, and turkey tail.

Animal studies suggest that lion's mane may provide immune support by increasing the activity of the intestinal immune system (an important yet often overlooked component of the immune system). This, in turn, may help protect against pathogens that can enter the gut through the mouth or nose.[1]

Additional research has investigated a specific protein in lion’s mane (HEP3) that possesses immunomodulatory activity.

More specifically, HEP3 demonstrated immunomodulatory activity by reducing the overproduction of inflammatory biomarkers, including tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin (IL)-1β, and IL-6.[2]

Researchers also observed a reduction in the expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase and nuclear factor-κB p65.  

HEP3 may also improve the immune system by regulating the composition and metabolism of gut microbiota to activate the proliferation and differentiation of T cells (essential cells of the immune system) and stimulate the intestinal antigen-presenting cells in high-dose cyclophosphamide-induced immunotoxicity in mice.[2]

Research even suggests the proteins in lion's mane mushroom may play a prebiotic role in the instance of excessive antibiotics in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) model mice.[2]

Additionally, lion’s mane mushrooms may provide immune support by increasing host resistance to infection and increasing white blood cell uptake of bacteria.[3]

More specifically, lion's mane was found to increase the ability of macrophages to engulf ("eat") the bacteria, resulting in its destruction. In addition, cell culture studies found that the administration of lion's mane extract led to greater activity against the bacteria compared to control.  

Lastly, lion's mane (like other functional mushrooms) contains a special type of polysaccharide (carbohydrate) called beta-glucan, which is well known to stimulate innate immune cells.[3]

The Bottom Line on Lion’s Mane and Immune Support

Lion’s mane is a mushroom that has been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine.

It is most commonly used for its potential brain health benefits, but additional research indicates it may also provide immune support.

Currently, research is still ongoing investigating lion's mane's potential as an immune support supplement, but initial studies are very enticing.

Lion’s Mane Mushroom Gummies

At this point, you're probably wondering the best way to incorporate this magnificent mushroom into your life? While lion's mane supplements are available as capsules, extracts, and powders, we prefer gummies since they are convenient, easy to take, and mess-free.

Each Fungies™ gummy contains 500mg of lion's mane per serving (standardized to contain 30% Beta-Glucans) and is gluten-free, gelatin-free, and vegan-friendly. Did we mention that they're delicious too? 

So grab a bottle (or two) today and experience firsthand how lion's mane can help provide immune support.

References

  1. Sheng X, Yan J, Meng Y, Kang Y, Han Z, Tai G, Zhou Y, Cheng H. Immunomodulatory effects of Hericium erinaceus derived polysaccharides are mediated by intestinal immunology. Food Funct. 2017 Mar 22;8(3):1020-1027. doi: 10.1039/c7fo00071e. PMID: 28266682.
  2. Diling C, Chaoqun Z, Jian Y, Jian L, Jiyan S, Yizhen X, Guoxiao L. Immunomodulatory Activities of a Fungal Protein Extracted from Hericium erinaceus through Regulating the Gut Microbiota. Front Immunol. 2017 Jun 12;8:666. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2017.00666. PMID: 28713364; PMCID: PMC5492111.
  3. SP Kim et al., “Hericium erinaceus mushroom extracts protect infected mice against Salmonella Typhimurium-Induced liver damage and mortality by stimulation of innate immune cells.” Journal of Agricultural and FoodChemistry, vol. 60, no. 22