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Benefits - real or illusory - and side effects to stimulating NGF


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#31 tunt01

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 04:42 PM

I think that answers my question on whether there are any expected negative reactions to too much NGF.


just because she has taken it, doesn't mean its safe as a standalone product. i could never find a copy of her exact protocol. any increased hormone is obviously going to have oncogenic risks associated with it.

does she take some sort of antioxidant or eat some sort of diet that upregulates anti-cancer gene expression along with NGF eyedrops? how often does she take them, and at what level? i dont know. call her lab in italy and find out, maybe...


btw - we discussed this here: http://www.imminst.o...showtopic=29480

Edited by prophets, 17 February 2010 - 04:44 PM.


#32 mentatpsi

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 04:43 PM

Unless someone knows how to get NGF eyedrops :).
That would actually be somewhat interesting.

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#33 mentatpsi

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Posted 17 February 2010 - 04:47 PM

I think that answers my question on whether there are any expected negative reactions to too much NGF.


just because she has taken it, doesn't mean its safe as a standalone product. i could never find a copy of her exact protocol. any increased hormone is obviously going to have oncogenic risks associated with it.

does she take some sort of antioxidant or eat some sort of diet that upregulates anti-cancer gene expression along with NGF eyedrops? how often does she take them, and at what level? i dont know. call her lab in italy and find out, maybe...


Actually, the new formulation of New Chapter seems to have introduced a mushroom specifically for that purpose: Chaga. I was wondering if this was relevant when I was first reading about the new ingredients. Though the other new mushroom does have some sedative and cognitive effects, the Chaga I believe is more aimed as a potential anticancer agent.

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#34 chrono

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 12:28 PM

Awesome thread, global brain function improvement is very exciting :)

Also, the statement in your quote that I bolded is not a relative comparison. Translated that says that "Extracting via hot water is 30 times more potent than roots" I could allude to what they are trying to say is that "Hericenone extracts made via the hot water extract method are 30 times more potent than extracts made from the mycelium".

Babcock, that isn't what they're saying. "Hot water extracts are: 30 Times More Potent Than Mycelium" is saying that extracting the mycelium via hot water results in a product which contains 30x more active ingredients by weight compared to the raw mycelium starting material. Inactive plant matter (or undesirable actives) are left behind in an extraction, increasing the potency (actives/total weight). They are using the terminology correctly, so I think dismissing this product was a bit premature.

However, the assumption that hot water extracts all of the necessary actives (and thus is as efficacious as the raw mycelium) is another question. Their Hot Water Extracts page says that all medicinal mushroom studies have used hot water, but none of the refs are for Lion's Mane. However, looking at the product page, it's listed as a hot water/alcohol extract, which would generally extract a wider spectrum of molecules. MrSpud, can you look at your bottle again to see if it mentions alcohol?

A lot of chemists use comparably exotic extraction chemicals that are known to be more selective or more widely inclusive of certain molecules (depending on the study focus), and because they have bottles of it just sitting on the shelf. That doesn't necessarily mean that hot water or alcohol wouldn't be just as effective, but I agree it's important to know what was used in the studies we're basing our conclusions on. It all depends on the specific solubility of the actives; I'll look around and see if any better info is available on the different extractions.

Edited by chrono, 18 February 2010 - 12:31 PM.


#35 babcock

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 01:54 PM

Awesome thread, global brain function improvement is very exciting :)

Also, the statement in your quote that I bolded is not a relative comparison. Translated that says that "Extracting via hot water is 30 times more potent than roots" I could allude to what they are trying to say is that "Hericenone extracts made via the hot water extract method are 30 times more potent than extracts made from the mycelium".

Babcock, that isn't what they're saying. "Hot water extracts are: 30 Times More Potent Than Mycelium" is saying that extracting the mycelium via hot water results in a product which contains 30x more active ingredients by weight compared to the raw mycelium starting material. Inactive plant matter (or undesirable actives) are left behind in an extraction, increasing the potency (actives/total weight). They are using the terminology correctly, so I think dismissing this product was a bit premature.

However, the assumption that hot water extracts all of the necessary actives (and thus is as efficacious as the raw mycelium) is another question. Their Hot Water Extracts page says that all medicinal mushroom studies have used hot water, but none of the refs are for Lion's Mane. However, looking at the product page, it's listed as a hot water/alcohol extract, which would generally extract a wider spectrum of molecules. MrSpud, can you look at your bottle again to see if it mentions alcohol?

A lot of chemists use comparably exotic extraction chemicals that are known to be more selective or more widely inclusive of certain molecules (depending on the study focus), and because they have bottles of it just sitting on the shelf. That doesn't necessarily mean that hot water or alcohol wouldn't be just as effective, but I agree it's important to know what was used in the studies we're basing our conclusions on. It all depends on the specific solubility of the actives; I'll look around and see if any better info is available on the different extractions.


Thank you for the clarification Chrono, sorry if it sounded like I was passing judgement, I didn't mean to sound that way. I guess I should use IMO more often so it doesn't sound like I'm 100% sure I know what I'm talking about. Thanks for the info. I'm looking into setting up a supplement to stimulate NGF/ protect the brain hopefully I'll have it together in a few weeks.
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#36 chrono

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 02:29 PM

Thank you for the clarification Chrono, sorry if it sounded like I was passing judgement, I didn't mean to sound that way. I guess I should use IMO more often so it doesn't sound like I'm 100% sure I know what I'm talking about. Thanks for the info. I'm looking into setting up a supplement to stimulate NGF/ protect the brain hopefully I'll have it together in a few weeks.


haha, not at all, my friend. You've done some great work in this thread. If that reading had been true, passing judgement would have entirely justified, so I just wanted to point out the small error. I don't think the IMO thing is necessary, we all make mistakes in research, and even if you were an expert it would still be your opinion :)

OTOH, based on the letter on AD by Kawagishi et al, it sounds like you were correct about the hot water extraction not being ideal. They mention that an alcoholic extract with acetone contains some cytotoxic elements (toxic to cells), and then go on to use column chromatography and HPLC to isolate the hericenones and erinacines. These are some of the most advanced techniques available in chemistry, and to some extent aren't practical for commercial quantities, so the question of the ideal extraction for supplements is a complex one. They reference about 20 of their papers on the subject, stretching back to the early 90s, so perhaps one of those might provide enough data for a more informed decision. They're on my reference list for my next trip(s) to the library.

Edited by chrono, 18 February 2010 - 02:32 PM.

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#37 babcock

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 04:09 PM

Just came across this article while perusing the net. Different substance, different method of stimulating nerve growth. It will be an interesting study to follow.

Researchers have identified a compound in tree bark that mimics the chemical reactions of a naturally occurring molecule in the brain responsible for stimulating neuronal cell signaling. Neuronal cell signaling plays a crucial role in the growth, plasticity and survival of brain cells.


http://www.rxpgnews....lls_66657.shtml

#38 mentatpsi

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 06:11 PM

Actually, another compound: Star Anise.

Going back to lion's mane however:

if you look at this study

Among the four mushroom extracts, only H. erinaceus extract promoted NGF mRNA expression in a concentration-dependent manner. In addition, secretion of NGF protein from 1321N1 cells was enhanced by H. erinaceus extracts, and the conditioned medium of 1321N1 cells incubated with H. erinaceus extract enhanced the neurite outgrowth of PC12 cells. However, hericenones C, D and E, constituents of H. erinaceus, failed to promote NGF gene expression in 1321N1 cells.
...
Furthermore we examined the efficacy of H. erinaceus in vivo. ddY mice given feed containing 5% H. erinaceus dry powder for 7 d showed an increase in the level of NGF mRNA expression in the hippocampus.

In conclusion, H. erinaceus contains active compounds that stimulate NGF synthesis via activation of the JNK pathway; these compounds are not hericenones.


It appears 3 of the constituents of Lion's Mane (hericenones C, D, & E) failed to produce the particular NGF secretion through means of 1321N1 cells. As such, the notion to try and provide more of the mushrooms "active ingredients" seems a bit paradoxical in a way (in the manner that if some of the compounds do not exert the desired effect, then their inclusion is illogical).

Also if the last statement can be taken to the fullest extent; about the compounds not being hericenones which stimulated the particular secretion of interest, then I have to wonder at Mushroom Science product. I've tried it myself, noted the particular diversity of the different hericenones selected, however New Chapter is one of the few that gave me an actual swelling sensation when I first tried it. They don't seem to standardize based on the hericenones either. Also, New Chapter's formulation to include a couple other mushrooms (Reishi for longevity, Cordyceps for energy), doesn't hurt.

Maybe I'm a bit to harsh on Mushroom Science, but for a seller of products, their website is very primitive. Label me a fool for relating website quality to product quality, but I believe it's human nature. I haven't tried their product long enough to give a definitive statement however.

Edit: clarity and flow improvements

Edited by mentatpsi, 18 February 2010 - 06:42 PM.


#39 Dorho

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 06:50 PM

Awesome thread, global brain function improvement is very exciting :)

Also, the statement in your quote that I bolded is not a relative comparison. Translated that says that "Extracting via hot water is 30 times more potent than roots" I could allude to what they are trying to say is that "Hericenone extracts made via the hot water extract method are 30 times more potent than extracts made from the mycelium".

Babcock, that isn't what they're saying. "Hot water extracts are: 30 Times More Potent Than Mycelium" is saying that extracting the mycelium via hot water results in a product which contains 30x more active ingredients by weight compared to the raw mycelium starting material. Inactive plant matter (or undesirable actives) are left behind in an extraction, increasing the potency (actives/total weight). They are using the terminology correctly, so I think dismissing this product was a bit premature.

The Mushroom Science page is a bit sparse on information regarding just what parts of Lion's Mane they are using in the extracts, but assuming iHerb (link) has correct information, the product contains only hericenones (from the fruiting body), which, as pointed out by mentatpsi, do not stimulate the production of nerve growth factor. I'd go with erinacine A containing mycelium extracts. Check out Erinacine A increases catecholamine and nerve growth factor content in the central nervous system of rats

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#40 mentatpsi

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 07:13 PM

Awesome thread, global brain function improvement is very exciting :)

Also, the statement in your quote that I bolded is not a relative comparison. Translated that says that "Extracting via hot water is 30 times more potent than roots" I could allude to what they are trying to say is that "Hericenone extracts made via the hot water extract method are 30 times more potent than extracts made from the mycelium".

Babcock, that isn't what they're saying. "Hot water extracts are: 30 Times More Potent Than Mycelium" is saying that extracting the mycelium via hot water results in a product which contains 30x more active ingredients by weight compared to the raw mycelium starting material. Inactive plant matter (or undesirable actives) are left behind in an extraction, increasing the potency (actives/total weight). They are using the terminology correctly, so I think dismissing this product was a bit premature.

The Mushroom Science page is a bit sparse on information regarding just what parts of Lion's Mane they are using in the extracts, but assuming iHerb (link) has correct information, the product contains only hericenones (from the fruiting body), which, as pointed out by mentatpsi, do not stimulate the production of nerve growth factor. I'd go with erinacine A containing mycelium extracts. Check out Erinacine A increases catecholamine and nerve growth factor content in the central nervous system of rats


Excellent study, thanks :~.

#41 recitative

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 08:48 PM

I tried Lion's Mane for the first time yesterday morning. I found it sedating, and I am surprised that no one else here thinks it is sedating. I think I will only take it at night from now on.

#42 tunt01

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 09:28 PM

I tried Lion's Mane for the first time yesterday morning. I found it sedating, and I am surprised that no one else here thinks it is sedating. I think I will only take it at night from now on.


typical of a lot of hormone behavior. its why you repair/grow tissue during sleep -- when you are at rest.

#43 chrono

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Posted 18 February 2010 - 10:35 PM

The study mentatpsi quoted is from Biol Pharm Bull. 2008 Sep;31(9):1727-32: Nerve growth factor-inducing activity of Hericium erinaceus in 1321N1 human astrocytoma cells. (full text PDF). The relevant conclusions:

However, hericenones C, D and E did not increase NGF mRNA expression at 10—100 mg/ml in 1321N1 cells (Fig. 4). Furthermore, we failed to demonstrate that hericenones C, D, and E stimulated NGF mRNA expression in primary cultured rat astroglial cells (data not shown).
...
In conclusion, H. erinaceus contains active compounds that stimulate NGF synthesis via activation of the JNK pathway; these compounds are not hericenones.

The previous work which showed effectiveness of hericenones was performed by the Kawagishi group, and was based on rat studies. So in theory, this study could negate the relevance of those findings, because it used cultured human cells. However, it seems to challenge the validity as well, as they were unable to reproduce the earlier findings in rat cells. This seems to raise a question about methodology in one of the groups. Kawagishi et al have published over 20 papers on the subject, in some of the most eminent bio/chemistry journals, and they established the methods and reference spectra for the extraction of the compounds that were used in this study.


I don't know enough about the total functioning of the brain to answer this question: is the mechanism they studied (NGF gene expression via JNK signaling in 1321N1 cells) the only way hericenones might be able to stimulate NGF? It seems to be a necessary assumption of their conclusion. I could find no mention of it in general resources like this; all mentions seem to be in very-specific studies like this one.

This study only examined hericenones C-E; from the Kawagishi Townsend Letter:

Each group of hericenones, C-E and F-H, contains a characteristic alcohol site, and each hericenone contains one of three simple fatty acids. Hericenone D demonstrated the strongest stimulating activity in synthesis of NGF from [rat] astroglial cells.

Furthermore, this 2004 study established the presence of hericenone I-J. If the human and rat mechanisms are different, how can they say unequivocally that hericenones do not increase NGF by examining less than half of them?


As such, the notion to try and provide more of the mushrooms "active ingredients" seems a bit paradoxical in a way (in the manner that if some of the compounds do not exert the desired effect, then their inclusion is illogical).


I think it's too early to say that hericenones definitely don't have an effect on NGF, but those scientists sounded pretty sure for some reason, so I could be wrong.

But there are several other reasons to include a full spectrum of actives (assuming they cause no harm, which I could find no suggestion of). First, Lion's Mane has several other health benefits, including immuno-regulatory and anti-cancer/microbial properties [1] [2] [3] and prevention of stress-induced cell death in the endoplasmic reticulum [4] [5] [6]. The study in [5] demonstrated that Hericenone I was responsible for some of the ER-protective effects; none of the others studied the different compounds selectively, so it's hard to say which actives are responsible.

And a reason more relevant to the NGF issue is a conclusion from the study you posted. They find that alcoholic extract of Lion's Mane fruit bodies affects NGF, but not due to hericenones C-E (which there is too little of anyway). But the fruit body has not been shown to contain the proven active erinacines (only the mycelium (roots)). Hence, a possibility that yet-unidentified actives are increasing NGF in human cells:

Preparation of Mushroom Extracts: Fresh fruiting bodies of H. erinaceus...were lyophilized and powdered. The dry powder (5g) of mushrooms was extracted with 150ml of ethanol for 2h at room temperature
...
In the present study, we demonstrate that the ethanol extract of H. erinaceus promotes the synthesis of NGF in 1321N1 human astrocytoma cells.
...
100 mg/ml of the H. erinaceus ethanol extract significantly increased NGF mRNA expression but not NGF protein synthesis.
...
In addition, the concentrations of hericenones in the ethanol extract were very low (the concentrations of hericenones C, D, and E in the 100 mg/ml ethanolextract of H. erinaceus were 20, 4, and 2ng/ml, respectively) compared to their effective concentration (33 mg/ml) as shown in a previous report [Kawagishi 1991]


These results, therefore, raise the possibility that H. erinaceus has unknown active compounds that promote NGF expression, other than hericenones, which are lipid-soluble (soluble in ethanol and/or ethyl acetate).
...
On the other hand, the mycelia of H. erinaceus are known to contain erinacines, which also stimulate NGF synthesis...However, it has not yet been reported that the fruit body of H. erinaceus contains erinacines. Thus, it is necessary to reevaluate whether fruit bodies contain erinacines, and to examine the existence of unknown derivatives with NGF-inducing activity in the fruit bodies of H. erinaceus.


Edited by chrono, 18 February 2010 - 10:43 PM.


#44 mentatpsi

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 01:32 AM

Damn chrono, excellent analysis.

My main point was to state that some of the compounds do not have an effect on NGF secretion such as the ones mentioned. I do not mean that all hericenones should be removed only that the inclusion of some of them in the application of neuro degenerative diseases is illogical. A valid point however, other ingredients are certain to have effects in other medicinal properties of the mushroom. However, if I'm to purchase 550 mg per two capsules, I would prefer a higher percentage of that to be related to the secretion of NGF. In the end, it's more about which application we intend for the mushroom to have.

I did however have the same concern when I first read it, simply because that wasn't the mechanism of action ("NGF gene expression via JNK signaling in 1321N1 cells") doesn't suggest that it's the only mechanism of action. This is one of the reasons I posted the whole study, it was a topic which I would hope might get move coverage. In fact, I believe Chinese Star Anise uses the 1321N1 cells as well to illicit NGF secretion. My blog didn't mention this possibility as I'm not 100% sure, but through my searching of this particular cell I came across other substances which work in the same manner.

In regards to NGF:

"In the 1970s and 1980s it was discovered that the role played by NGF is likewise essential for primary or secondary cells of the immune system (mastocytes, T and B lymphocytes, macrophages and others) and endocrine system cells (hypophysis, thyroid and endocrine glands).

At the same lime it was discovered that the activity of the NGF molecule was not restricted to peripheral nervous system cells but extended also to cholinergic type central nervous system cells involved in cognitive (neocortical system) and emotional and affective (limbic system) activities. All the neuronal and non neuronal cells receptive to NGF action in the above systems are subjected to programmed death if deprived of the NGF molecule." (The Nerve Growth Factor and the Neuroscience Chess Board [pdf] [html] )


This could go to support the immune modulating effect as well.

#45 Dorho

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 11:55 AM

Hericium erinaceum (yamabushitake) extract-induced acute respiratory distress syndrome monitored by serum surfactant proteins.

Abstract:
This is the first report suggesting a causal relationship between acute respiratory distress syndrome and Hericium erinaceum extract, which is commercialized as a diet food. A 63-year-old man was admitted to our hospital for intensive care of severe acute respiratory failure with diffuse infiltration in both lungs. Bronchoalveolar lavage fluid revealed a high percentage of lymphocytes. Lymphocyte stimulation test showed a strong reactivity against extract formulation of Hericium erinaceum (Yamabushitake), which he had taken four months before onset. He recovered with successful steroid pulse therapy under mechanical ventilation. Concentrations of surfactant protein (SP)-A and SP-D in sera reflected the clinical features.


Another quote from the study:

A recent report (6) showed that "erinacines H", a component of the cultured mycelia of Hericium erinaceum, promotes the synthesis of nerve growth factor (NGF), an activator of differentiation of immune cells. This report demonstrates that Hericium erinaceum has a biological ability as an immunomodulator. It is also known that alveolar macrphages are one source of NGF production, and this factor has potential to differentiate immature lymphocytes to helper T cells (7). The present patient revealed ARDS after 4-months of ingestion of extract of Y Hericium erinaceum, and helper T cells (CD4) in his BAL fluid were increased in number. Finally, lymphocyte stimulation test using this extract showed a significantly positive reaction. These observable facts demonstrate the causal relationship between the onset of ARDS and the extract.


Full text: http://www.journalar...;startpage=1219

Edited by Dorho, 19 February 2010 - 12:05 PM.


#46 chrono

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 01:44 PM

Good paper, dorho. For those who don't read the full text, I think it's important to note that it's the only known case of such a severe reaction, the patient had untreated diabetes, and the authors suggest allergic reaction as a possible mechanism:

These observable facts demonstrate the causal relationship between the onset of ARDS and the extract. Another report showed Hericium erinaceum-induced occupational contact dermatitis (8) [abstract]. Therefore, this mushroom is thought to contain a certain component, which provokes an allergic reaction.

Something to keep in mind if supplementing, though. If you happen to have "low fever, hemosputum, cough and dyspnea on exertion," get yourself to a hospital. Also, if you know you have diabetes, do something about it!

Edited by chrono, 19 February 2010 - 01:51 PM.


#47 chrono

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 10:59 PM

Thanks for the kind words, mentat. It is by will alone I set my mind in motion ^_- I'll try to find some more answers about that cell when I have time to start leafing through textbooks. But I think your point about extract priority is a good one. I would primarily be seeking the NGF neuroenhancement too, so it's probably best to look for inclusion of what we know to work first, and view molecules with debatable and peripheral benefits as secondary.

On that note, I've exchanged a few e-mails with MushroomScience today.

On whether they extract from the mycelium or fruit bodies: "Our Lions Mane extract is from the mushroom." As quoted in my previous long-winded post, the fruit bodies are thought to contain only hericenones, but based on activity the presence of ericanines or yet-unknown NGF modulators is somewhat likely.

My question about the accuracy of the profile listed at iHerb (hericenones A-H) was not answered. I assume this information is based on current understanding in literature of what is present in the bodies, and not on advanced assays that exceed those of the groups who identified the molecules which show the positive absence of erinacines.

"After hot water extraction we use precipitation with alcohol to further concentrate the complex polysaccharides." This means that only water-soluble materials are extracted, which are then isolated more selectively using alcohol. I have yet to retrieve any of the references with solubility data for the hericenones, to be able to confirm the profile listed via this process.

The paper mentatpsi posted suggests that water extraction is less than ideal:

Moreover, we investigated the effects of H2O and ethyl acetate extracts of H. erinaceus on NGF mRNA expression compared with the effects of the ethanol extract. The ethanol and ethyl acetate extracts promoted NGF mRNA expression in a concentration-dependent manner with similar potency. However, the H2O extract did not increase NGF mRNA expression (Fig. 3).

Posted Image

Again, this mechanism (mRNA expression in 1321N1 cells) may not be comprehensive of NGF activity. What this does show is that whatever is responsible for the effect present in the ethanol examples (erinacines or unknowns), it is not extracted by water. And if any of the hericenones besides C-E do indeed show activity, they too are not extracted by water.


Given that (through the one human mechanism tested, which is at least indicative): water extracts do not extract the proven NGF-modulating constituents, and the hericenones it probably does extract are not active with regard to NGF, I would suggest that the MushroomScience extract should not reasonably be expected to stimulate NGF. Though if anyone can see any flaws or gaps in my reasoning, please say so.

Edited by chrono, 19 February 2010 - 11:04 PM.


#48 mentatpsi

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 05:34 PM

Indeed, I'm still searching for the juice of sapho lol.

I do quite agree with your conclusion regarding Mushroom Science's Formulation. I don't want to say it definitively because on the situation it does illicit some response, then my words would be damaging a good product. I can say however that the strength isn't that high in comparison to New Chapter and the graph you made note of also would suggest the same conclusion.

I'm kind of wondering why they don't use Supercritical Extraction as they use in their other formulations. Here's a quote from New Chapter's:

"The supercritical process is extraordinarily complex and high-tech, but at its core we think it is rather easy to understand. Here is a short “botany” lesson: there are two major groupings of phytochemicals, or plant constituents, that are generally extracted. One type of plant constituent “likes” water, and is thus willing to be dissolved in water (like in making a tea, which is simply a hot water extract) or a related solution like ethanol. The other type of plant constituent “dislikes” water, avoids it totally (like oil and water!), and is thus unwilling to be dissolved in it. These water-avoiding constituents are fatty or oily in nature, and they are willing to dissolve only in “lipophilic” or fat-loving solutions. To extract an “oily” constituent, people conventionally either dissolved the herb in a chemical solvent or heated the herb to beyond boiling, evaporating out the water-based ingredients. That is the sum and substance of conventional extraction: a water-loving constituent either can be dissolved in a water or alcohol solution, or it is fatty or oily and needs to be dissolved in a different manner. We should note that some lipophilic substances can be extracted with ethanol, but it is not the preferred extraction method for those substances."


I know there are cases when this method isn't viable, but I wouldn't mind giving it a shot since it seems the constituents of interest more likely require different extraction protocols.

#49 mentatpsi

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Posted 21 February 2010 - 05:45 PM

Indeed, I'm still searching for the juice of sapho lol.

I do quite agree with your conclusion regarding Mushroom Science's Formulation. I don't want to say it definitively because on the situation it does illicit some response, then my words would be damaging a good product. I can say however that the strength isn't that high in comparison to New Chapter and the graph you made note of also would suggest the same conclusion.

I'm kind of wondering why they don't use Supercritical Extraction as they use in their other formulations. Here's a quote from New Chapter's:

"The supercritical process is extraordinarily complex and high-tech, but at its core we think it is rather easy to understand. Here is a short “botany” lesson: there are two major groupings of phytochemicals, or plant constituents, that are generally extracted. One type of plant constituent “likes” water, and is thus willing to be dissolved in water (like in making a tea, which is simply a hot water extract) or a related solution like ethanol. The other type of plant constituent “dislikes” water, avoids it totally (like oil and water!), and is thus unwilling to be dissolved in it. These water-avoiding constituents are fatty or oily in nature, and they are willing to dissolve only in “lipophilic” or fat-loving solutions. To extract an “oily” constituent, people conventionally either dissolved the herb in a chemical solvent or heated the herb to beyond boiling, evaporating out the water-based ingredients. That is the sum and substance of conventional extraction: a water-loving constituent either can be dissolved in a water or alcohol solution, or it is fatty or oily and needs to be dissolved in a different manner. We should note that some lipophilic substances can be extracted with ethanol, but it is not the preferred extraction method for those substances."


I know there are cases when this method isn't viable, but I wouldn't mind giving it a shot since it seems the constituents of interest more likely require different extraction protocols.


Actually, just noted that ethanol still belongs to the same constituents extraction as Hot Water Extraction. I still wonder what might be yielded if they tried different extractions.

Edited by mentatpsi, 21 February 2010 - 05:45 PM.


#50 jondalar

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Posted 22 February 2010 - 10:28 PM

G,day,

I came across this article...

The erinacines were obtained from Lion's Mane as follows. Following 4 weeks in culture, the mycelium was extracted with 85% ethanol. The ethanol extract was concentrated, and then fractionated with ethyl acetate and water. Erinacines A-I were isolated by silica gel column chromatography on HPLC and preparative TLC.

The activities of erinacines A-G in vitro are shown in Figure 2. As can be seen, all of these compounds are more potent inducers of NGF synthesis than epinephrine. The newly-discovered erinacine H stimulated 31.5 /- 1.7 pg/ml of NGF secretion into the medium at 33.3 [micro]g/ml concentration, which was five times greater than NGF secretion in the absence of the compound. The erinacines are the most powerful inducers of NGF synthesis among all currently identified natural compounds.

#51 mentatpsi

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 03:19 AM

Excellent find jondalar. So far the assumption that the mycellium is where most of the active ingredients lie is proving accurate. Leaving Swanson's Lion Mane product at a rather disadvantage.

Any new discoveries?

#52 chrono

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Posted 17 April 2010 - 02:10 PM

Actually, just noted that ethanol still belongs to the same constituents extraction as Hot Water Extraction. I still wonder what might be yielded if they tried different extractions.

Hi mentat! Just noticed some new posts here as I was reading about NGF again today.

New Chapter's explanation of plant extractions is ridiculously misleading. The complex molecules of interest have varying solubility in a wide range of solvents, based on many chemical properties. Water and ethanol will sometimes extract the same molecules, but not always. Just look at the chart I posted above; water, ethanol and ethyl acetate had markedly different effects, because each of those solvents dissolve the various hericenones/erinacines/unknowns to varying degrees. Their assertion that water and alcohol extract the same constituents, but ethanol "is not the preferred extraction method for those substances" by no means applies to every plant. As the study showed, in the case of lion's mane, water extraction pulled out no substances which modulate NGF.

The article jondalar quoted is the one mentioned up in the first post. It shows that erinacines are the most potent NGF inducers, and that they can be extracted with ethanol from the mycellium. But it doesn't necessarily rule out that they could be present in fruit bodies as well; as the other studies showed, something is causing NGF stimulation from the bodies, and can be extracted with ethanol.

Based on the studies we've looked at so far, it would seem that an alcoholic extract of the mycellium would be the best route, and second-best would be the fruit body. Do we know of any products which use this method? Failing this, I'd be most inclined to use the whole mushroom (unless that's a bad idea for some reason), to make sure I get all the actives.

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#53 nito

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 04:44 AM

in summary, the mushroom science on iherb is not the real thing you guys mean?

#54 chrono

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 10:16 AM

I found a single patent last night, which has a few experiments showing a water extract was effective at inducing NGF. But even they say that ethanol is the standard solvent for this. I want to retrieve a few more papers to see if I can find any more conclusive solubility data. I've seen cytotoxicity mentioned a few times as well, so eating the whole plant is probably out. I'm hoping there will be info somewhere about which extraction method obviates this concern, too.

nito: especially given the conflicting data in the patent I found, I don't think I would say that at this point. We're trying to figure out what the best extraction method is based on specific data (as opposed to the vague pseudoscience all these companies seem to employ in their marketing). As mentatpsi said, at least until we have more data, all of these conclusions are pretty conditional.

#55 chrono

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Posted 18 April 2010 - 01:45 PM

I just found this company, which Babcock posted in another thread: Myco Essentials. They sell whole (unextracted) mycellium of Lion's Mane in capsules or powder.

Once the culture period is complete, the mycelium material is collected and immediately processed by controlled temperature drying, milling and encapsulation. This ensures that the desirable beta-glucans and other mycelial components are maintained for maximal bioavailability. We do NOT subject our products to fractionation procedures whereby some components are retained and others discarded. We retain “all” the mycelial or fruit body components and take extra effort to maintain their initial composition and consistently produce what we believe is a highly bioavailable product.

While consuming this whole is definitely the most promising way to get all the active ingredients (erinacines, hericenones and any unknowns), I'm somewhat concerned with the possibility of cytotoxicity:

The Anti-Dementia effect of Lion's Mane mushroom and its clinical application

The hericenones were derived from Lion's Mane as follows. The fruit body of the mushroom was crushed...
...
The fractionation of the extract is an essential step for applying the compounds to the NGF assay, because there is an optimum concentration for the activation of NGF synthesis, and also most of the fractions at this stage exhibit cytotoxic activity. For separation purposes, silica gel chromatography and preparative thin layer chromatography (TLC) were employed...

This warning was mentioned with regard to the fruit body, and is not repeated a few paragraphs later when they describe extraction of the mycellium. But I think it raises the possibility of cytotoxicity in either.

I will do some more digging to see if any more specifics are available as to where toxins are located, and what solvents extract them.

#56 nito

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 04:20 AM

ok just bought the mushroom science one from iherb to experiment with. As well as vinpocetine and l theanine relora.

#57 babcock

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 12:59 PM

I just found this company, which Babcock posted in another thread: Myco Essentials. They sell whole (unextracted) mycellium of Lion's Mane in capsules or powder.

Once the culture period is complete, the mycelium material is collected and immediately processed by controlled temperature drying, milling and encapsulation. This ensures that the desirable beta-glucans and other mycelial components are maintained for maximal bioavailability. We do NOT subject our products to fractionation procedures whereby some components are retained and others discarded. We retain “all” the mycelial or fruit body components and take extra effort to maintain their initial composition and consistently produce what we believe is a highly bioavailable product.

While consuming this whole is definitely the most promising way to get all the active ingredients (erinacines, hericenones and any unknowns), I'm somewhat concerned with the possibility of cytotoxicity:

The Anti-Dementia effect of Lion's Mane mushroom and its clinical application

The hericenones were derived from Lion's Mane as follows. The fruit body of the mushroom was crushed...
...
The fractionation of the extract is an essential step for applying the compounds to the NGF assay, because there is an optimum concentration for the activation of NGF synthesis, and also most of the fractions at this stage exhibit cytotoxic activity. For separation purposes, silica gel chromatography and preparative thin layer chromatography (TLC) were employed...

This warning was mentioned with regard to the fruit body, and is not repeated a few paragraphs later when they describe extraction of the mycellium. But I think it raises the possibility of cytotoxicity in either.

I will do some more digging to see if any more specifics are available as to where toxins are located, and what solvents extract them.


Howdy, Haven't posted in a while but from the research I did a few months back; Reading the published scientific studies done on Lion's Mane, It appears that the difference between the fruit body and the mycellium H&E's is just concentration. Hence the concentration of H&E's in the mycellium is up to 10x's greater (it's in one of my posts) than in the fruit. The only human trial I read about was done in Japan and is mostly anecdotal but a group of 100 Alzheimers patients were given 5g of dried Lion's Mane (in fruit form I would imagine) everyday in their soup. After 6 months of supplementation if was found that 6 out of 7 showed improvement in cognition. It's all summarized in a post somewhere. Anyway, I definitely plan on going mushroom hunting this fall as Lion's Mane grows in my area. I also found that there are many good resources for finding/growing Lion's Mane online via Mushroom Enthusiast boards etc.

Ohh, On the topic of extraction, All the studies (on rats) I read noted their extraction process which took the form of mixing the mycellium and fruit with lots of chemicals to make sure the H&E were successfully extracted. This is why I'm very skeptical of the H&E Lion's Mane extracts out there. That's why, for now, I'm interested in consuming the whole fruit/mycellium as opposed to taking an extract. Also, all the extracts I've seen appear to originate from the same source. That's also why I mentioned looking into the mushroom enthusiast boards online as many people already grow and consume Lion's Mane as I guess it tastes like lobster when cooked.

Just thought I'd give a quick summary of what I found.

#58 chrono

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 01:42 PM

Hi babcock! Nice to hear from you again. I'm waiting to get a lot of papers to sift through for some more detailed data. But from all the abstracts/titles I read yesterday, my impression is that hericenones are always obtained from the fruit bodies, and ericanines from the mycelium (this is also what you said in post #12). If you have data on hand about any crossover (and to what extent) it would be useful, in case I've missed something so far.

The reason I'm leaning very much toward mycelium over fruit body right now is that the erinacines appear to be stronger/more reliable inducers of NGF, but also because hericenone A and B are probably cytotoxic. To what extent, I'm waiting to see.

Edited by chrono, 19 April 2010 - 01:48 PM.


#59 babcock

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 02:43 PM

Hi babcock! Nice to hear from you again. I'm waiting to get a lot of papers to sift through for some more detailed data. But from all the abstracts/titles I read yesterday, my impression is that hericenones are always obtained from the fruit bodies, and ericanines from the mycelium (this is also what you said in post #12). If you have data on hand about any crossover (and to what extent) it would be useful, in case I've missed something so far.

The reason I'm leaning very much toward mycelium over fruit body right now is that the erinacines appear to be stronger/more reliable inducers of NGF, but also because hericenone A and B are probably cytotoxic. To what extent, I'm waiting to see.


Ah, you're correct. I definitely agree that the mycelium is the way to go as all studies point to it being much more capable of stimulating NGF. I think the big hang up in supplementing with it is finding a reliable source (isn't this always the case :-P). Seeing the NGF post brought back up here and the other one in the general supplements forum has piqued my interest again so I'll get in touch with some people and see if I can come up with anything promising. Keep ya posted.

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#60 rwac

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Posted 19 April 2010 - 03:05 PM

The reason I'm leaning very much toward mycelium over fruit body right now is that the erinacines appear to be stronger/more reliable inducers of NGF, but also because hericenone A and B are probably cytotoxic. To what extent, I'm waiting to see.


So do you have a good source for Lion's Mane mycelium ?
Perhaps the negative effect was due to the fruit body.




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