Summary: A new study reveals that Lion's Mane (H. erinaceus), a medicinal mushroom, increases longevity by significantly promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, reducing pathogen bacteria, enhancing cognitive function, and decreasing inflammation in brain regions crucial for memory.

This study underscores the potential of dietary interventions, particularly with medicinal mushrooms like H. erinaceus, to modulate the gut microbiome and positively influence cognitive function and inflammation in aging individuals. As the global population ages, finding accessible and effective strategies to mitigate age-related cognitive decline is crucial. These findings suggest a promising avenue for developing nutritional interventions that could enhance brain health and potentially mitigate cognitive decline in aging populations, thereby contributing to improved quality of life and reduced healthcare burden associated with age-related cognitive impairments.

  • Gut Makeover:

    Intake of Hericium erinaceus mushrooms caused changes in gut bacteria linked to memory, cognition, and inflammation. Although the overall balance of gut microbes stayed constant, specific gut bacteria strains were affected, highlighting the potential of dietary interventions to target microbial populations relevant to cognitive function and inflammation.

  • Improved Cognitive Function:

    Consumption of H. erinaceus mushrooms also led to improved cognitive performance, indicating their potential role in enhancing brain function, especially in aging individuals. This underscores the significance of dietary approaches in supporting cognitive health.

  • Reduced Hippocampal Inflammation:

    Supplementing with Lion's Mane mushrooms resulted in decreased inflammation in brain regions crucial for memory. This suggests a mechanism through which dietary interventions may protect against age-related cognitive decline, emphasizing the importance of dietary modulation in maintaining brain health.

A 2024 study led by Erica Cecilia Priori, a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Biology and Biotechnology at the University of Pavia, along with researchers from the University of Milano-Bicocca and the University of Milan, presents novel findings on the pre-biotic benefits of Lion's Mane mushroom, known as Hericium erinaceus or H. erinaceus mushroom, on gut microbiome composition—and their potential benefits for promoting brain function and slowing age-related cognitive decline.

Lion's Mane mushrooms: Unlocking longevity through brain and gut health.

The study employed a comprehensive approach to investigate the effects of oral supplementation with Lion's Mane mushrooms on gut microbiome composition, cognitive function, and brain inflammation. Utilizing a murine model of aging, researchers administered Lion's Mane extract orally to elderly frail mice over a two-month period. Subsequently, they conducted extensive analyses to assess changes in gut microbiota composition, cognitive performance, and inflammatory markers in brain regions associated with memory.

The researchers observed significant shifts in the populations of gut microbiota genera linked to cognitive function and inflammation pathways after supplementing with Lion's Mane extract, suggesting that Lion's Mane has a targeted effect on gut microbial communities relevant to brain health. Incredibly, these changes didn't disrupt the overall balance of the gut microbiome, highlighting the selectivity of the dietary intervention in modulating specific microbial populations.

Importantly, the research also aligns with old and new research, concluding that supplementing with the Lion's Mane extract improved the cognitive performance of elderly frail mice. Behavioral tests assessing various aspects of cognitive function, including memory and learning, revealed enhanced performance following Lion's Mane supplementation compared to control groups. These findings underscore the cognitive-enhancing potential of Lion's Mane mushrooms, offering promising implications for preserving cognitive function, particularly in aging populations vulnerable to cognitive decline.

Furthermore, the study demonstrated a significant decrease in markers of inflammation and cellular senescence in brain regions crucial for memory, such as the dentate gyrus and Cornus Ammonis hippocampal areas. Senescent cells are essentially "zombie cells" that have stopped dividing and functioning properly but still take nutrients from the body, leading to age-related health problems. Immunohistochemical analyses revealed reduced levels of inflammation-related proteins, including CD45, GFAP, IL6, p62, and γH2AX, following Lion's Mane supplementation.

This implies that adjusting the diet can influence the gut-brain connection and reduce inflammation in the brain, which may help maintain cognitive abilities and lessen age-related cognitive decline.

In summary, the study provides compelling evidence of the multifaceted, multi-depth effects of Hericium erinaceus mushrooms on gut microbiome composition, cognitive function, and brain inflammation. By targeting specific gut microbial populations, supplementing H. erinaceus enhances cognitive performance and reduces inflammation in brain regions critical for memory. These findings underscore the potential of dietary interventions, particularly with medicinal mushrooms, in promoting brain health and combating age-related cognitive decline.

Read: 3 Incredible Lion’s Mane Benefits for Your Brain, Gut, and Sleep

Where to find high-quality Lion's Mane extracts.

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Formulated with Psilocybe cubensis, Lion's Mane, Niacin (B3), Cinnamon, and Sage, Brain Stack is proactive and reactive brain health, helping to enhance focus, memory, and mental clarity across several major neurological systems. Our studied microdose formula supports your body’s own ability to upregulate the production of key neurotransmitters, BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor), and other pathways that are critical for optimal brain function.

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About this psychopharmacology research news.

Simple summary.

The gut microbiome is a complex and unendingly changing community of bacteria that lives inside animals, including humans. Emerging evidence has proved that gut microbiome composition is associated with several human health outcomes, which include cognitive performance. However, few epidemiological studies exist, and research in this field is still ongoing and developing. The current article suggests that oral consumption of an edible medicinal mushroom named H. erinaceus promotes the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, parallelly reducing pathogen bacteria, therefore revealing its prebiotic effect. Additionally, this oral supplementation had a positive impact on cognitive function, also leading to a decrease in inflammation in the hippocampus, a brain area crucially involved in memory formation and consolidation. Overall, these findings support the notion that changing the gut microbiome composition through nutrition modulation could trigger longevity-promoting effects, protecting from age-related cognitive decline.


Ageing is a biological phenomenon that determines the impairment of cognitive performances, in particular, affecting memory. Inflammation and cellular senescence are known to be involved in the pathogenesis of cognitive decline. The gut microbiota–brain axis could exert a critical role in influencing brain homeostasis during ageing, modulating neuroinflammation, and possibly leading to inflammaging. Due to their anti-ageing properties, medicinal mushrooms can be utilised as a resource for developing pharmaceuticals and functional foods. Specifically, Hericium erinaceus (He), thanks to its bioactive metabolites, exerts numerous healthy beneficial effects, such as reinforcing the immune system, counteracting ageing, and improving cognitive performance. Our previous works demonstrated the capabilities of two months of He1 standardised extract oral supplementation in preventing cognitive decline in elderly frail mice. Herein, we showed that this treatment did not change the overall gut microbiome composition but significantly modified the relative abundance of genera specifically involved in cognition and inflammation. Parallelly, a significant decrease in crucial markers of inflammation and cellular senescence, i.e., CD45, GFAP, IL6, p62, and γH2AX, was demonstrated in the dentate gyrus and Cornus Ammonis hippocampal areas through immunohistochemical experiments. In summary, we suggested beneficial and anti-inflammatory properties of He1 in mouse hippocampus through the gut microbiome–brain axis modulation.

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