“This will light you up like a Christmas tree,” was how Tim Ferriss described a brand of mushroom coffee.
I couldn’t resist. I went online and bought some for myself.
A week later, my package arrived. It was a great coincidence, because I was about to meet a potential client to talk about some business writing. I made a cup and the strange potion, and went to the meeting.
To make a long story short, the client wanted to see what I could write in 10 minutes. I came up with a draft for one of his web pages that made him laugh out loud. He wrote me a check on the spot.
So, did this magic mushroom coffee somehow make me smarter and more creative? Probably not from a single cup.
But there are a lot of good reasons to try it out. It might even help you handle longer and faster bike rides.
Introducing Lion's Mane
For the past year or so, there’s been a lot of buzz about this mushroom, Hericium erinaceus. It’s popularly known as Lion’s Mane, and it has been used for centuries as food and medicine.
Research and analysis have shown many health benefits. It is high in antioxidants and polysaccharides, just like all edible mushrooms. The benefits of these compounds are well-documented. But two things that set H. erinaceus apart are its ability to stimulate nerve growth, and to possibly enhance brain activity.
For years, Lion’s Mane was quietly touted as a “smart drug.” Then in 2009, Lion’s Mane was tested on humans. A Japanese study found that H. erinaceus helped people with mild cognitive impairment, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Unfortunately, a cup of mushroom coffee isn’t enough. The test subjects took almost a gram of dried Lion’s Mane every day for sixteen weeks. It was four weeks before any significant benefits were recorded.
I believe in doing things over the long term, and for the past month I’ve been taking Lion’s Mane supplements. I’m not smart enough to tell if this is making me any smarter, but the more I read, the more benefits I find out about.
One of these benefits is an increase in glycogen levels.
Glycogen is quick fuel for your muscles. It’s stored directly in your muscles, and the more you’ve got, the more endurance you have. A study in 2015 showed that H. erinaceum can increase the storage of glycogen in muscle tissues. At least if you're a mouse.
That’s good enough for me. I’m setting up a space in my house to grow my own Lion’s Mane. Apparently it’s delicious when fried in butter with a little bit of salt and pepper. I’ll keep you posted.
DISCLAIMER: Hopefully you know that I am NOT a doctor, and this article is not meant to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any illness. Consult a licensed professional before you consume anything meant to be medicinal.
By the way, if you want to try Lion's Mane for yourself, I recommend two things:
- Make sure you get the "fruiting body" of the mushroom. That's the part of the mushroom with all the recorded benefits. Cheaper brands might include other parts that taste nasty and have no confirmed benefits.
- Some of the beneficial compounds can be dissolved in water, others need alcohol to break them down. That's why I like the "dual extraction" process used by Four Sigma. They do both. Better still would be to get the actual mushroom, as I'm planning to do.
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