Lion’s mane is a functional mushroom famous for its potential nootropic effects on the brain. As the scientific community has become more interested in lion’s mane, more information is coming to light about the compounds that help this mushroom achieve its benefits. Two of these compounds that really stand out are erinacines and hericenones.
Erinacines and hericenones are instrumental for understanding lion’s mane’s benefits and actions in the body. To learn what erinacines and hericenones are, what the difference between them is, and what benefits they may offer you, keep reading! At the end, I also reveal how to find lion’s mane that’s guaranteed to contain these beneficial compounds.
What are Erinacines? | Lion’s Mane Erinacines
If you’re familiar with lion’s mane, you know that one of its claims to fame is its potential to stimulate NGF (Nerve Growth Factor) synthesis in the brain. Simply put, erinacines are an isolated compound in lion’s mane that allow this stimulation of NGF to take place.
So far, 15 different kinds of erinacines have been discovered, with different ones offering different neuroprotective effects:
“To date, 15 erinacines have been identified and further investigations have demonstrated that eight of them have various neuroprotective properties, such as enhancing NGF release, reducing amyloid-β deposition, increasing insulin-degrading enzyme expression, or managing neuropathic pain, while others are either being currently discovered or have other pharmacological activities.” (Source)
Of these different erinacines, erinacine A has the strongest correlation with NGF stimulation both in vitro and in animals:
“Erinacine A, the main representative of the erinacine group, not only has an enhancing effect on NGF synthesis in vitro but also can increase NGF and catecholamine content in the locus coeruleus and hippocampus of rats after administration. This enhanced amount of NGF appears to markedly increase neuronal survival in different brain areas.” (Source)
What are Hericenones? | Lion’s Mane Hericenones
Hericenones may also stimulate NGF synthesis. They are essentially isolates of the fruiting body of lion’s mane, which have been shown to promote nerve growth factor synthesis in vitro.
Hericenone E may be particularly beneficial for NGF stimulation, with one study even finding that “Hericenone E was able to stimulate NGF secretion which was two-fold higher than that of the positive control.”
What’s The Difference Between Erinacines and Hericenones?
Given that both these compounds may promote NGF synthesis, one may ask what the main difference is between the two. The location of Hericenones and Erinacines in the lion’s mane mushroom appears to be the main distinguishing factor between these compounds, as “hericenones have been only reported in the fruiting bodies of H. erinaceus and erinacines only in the mycelia.” (Source)
Erinacines, Hericenones, & Lion’s Mane Benefits
Some benefits of lion’s mane may include:
-Increased focus and concentration
-General improvement in overall brain functions
-Aid digestive organs like the stomach, liver, intestine and colon
-Overall mood and creativity booster
Many of these lion’s mane benefits are attributed to the mushroom’s potential impact on NGF stimulus. The two compounds which facilitate this stimulus are erinacines and hericenones. It would stand to reason, then, that a lion’s mane richer in these compounds will offer more potential benefits, at least in terms of cognitive / nervous system support.
The trouble is that many supplement companies claim their lion’s mane may boost NGF, when in reality there are no erinacines or hericenones present in their lion’s mane products. This means that their lion’s mane likely has no impact on NGF levels, and fewer benefits.
So the question then becomes: “How do I find lion’s mane that contains erinacines & hericenones?”
How to Find Lion’s Mane with High Erinacines & Hericenones
If you want to find lion’s mane that’s guaranteed to contain these beneficial compounds, you need to make sure the lion’s mane you're buying is third party tested. If it isn’t tested, there’s no guarantee that it has these beneficial compounds.
The lion’s mane extract at Hyperion Herbs has been tested and confirmed to have 1.9% erinacine & hericenone content, with distributions as follows:
0.87% Total Hericenones
1.03% Total Erinacines
0.27% Erinacine A
This is among the highest in the industry. To learn more about the benefits of our lion’s mane, check out the product page. You can also take a closer look at our official lion's mane erinacine & hericenone testing results in the image below:
How to Take Lion's Mane for Maximum Erinacines & Hericenones
If you’re using a high quality Lion’s Mane extract, start by taking 1/4 teaspoon (about 1 gram) 1-2 times a day, or as directed by a health professional. From there, you can adjust to taking more or less based on how your own body responds to Lion’s Mane.
The lion’s mane extract at Hyperion Herbs can be easily added into coffee, tea, or other beverages of your choice, so it's very easy to take. As you can see below, as little as a teaspoon per day provides a nice helping of erinacines and hericenones.
76 mg of total erinacines and hericenones
41.2mg total erinacines
10.8mg Erinacine A
34.8mg total hericenones
Remember to consult a doctor or professional health care practitioner if you are taking prescription drugs, have a medical condition, or are pregnant or nursing.
To learn more about lion's mane, check out my Ultimate Lion's Mane Guide & FAQ.
Sources & References
Li, I. C., Lee, L. Y., Tzeng, T. T., Chen, W. P., Chen, Y. P., Shiao, Y. J., & Chen, C. C. (2018). Neurohealth Properties of Hericium erinaceus Mycelia Enriched with Erinacines. Behavioural neurology, 2018, 5802634. https://doi.org/10.1155/2018/5802634
Phan CW, Lee GS, Hong SL, Wong YT, Brkljača R, Urban S, Abd Malek SN, Sabaratnam V. Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr) Pers. cultivated under tropical conditions: isolation of hericenones and demonstration of NGF-mediated neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells via MEK/ERK and PI3K-Akt signaling pathways. Food Funct. 2014 Dec;5(12):3160-9. doi: 10.1039/c4fo00452c. PMID: 25288148.I-Chen Li, Wan-Ping Chen, Yen-Po Chen, Li-Ya Lee, Yueh-Ting Tsai, Chin-Chu Chen. (2018) Acute and developmental toxicity assessment of erincine A-enriched Hericium erinaceus mycelia in Sprague–Dawley rats. Drug and Chemical Toxicology 41:4, pages 459-464.