Lion's Mane Mushrooms & Dementia

Large, white and shaggy, a lion's mane mushroom is a time-tested nootropic superfood, but appearances can often be deceiving. Multiple scientific studies suggest that bioactive substances that can offer invaluable support for a person's cognitive health are within this fungus's mushroom and the mycelium. 

Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia rob sufferers of their cognitive abilities and their memories. It is an emotionally daunting process that tends to be incredibly difficult for both patients and those who love them. 
Lions mane mushroom cut in half
Research into Hericium erinaceus offers some hope for dementia patients. In one promising study, researchers induced dementia in rats then gave them extract from fruit body of H. erinaceus. The treatment led to significant improvements in the rodents' ability to learn and remember[1].

In another interesting study, researchers fed rats a diet containing the mushroom Hericium erinaceus and periodically administered amyloid β(25-35) peptide, a substance that is known to cause certain cognitive deficits. Here, the fungus seemed to have a protective effect, preventing impairments in both spatial short-term and visual recognition memory[2].

In a third study, researchers examined the mushroom's neuritogenic effects. Their experiments demonstrated that the bioactive substances in this fungus have a positive effect on neurite outgrowth and differentiation in PC12 cells[3].

Other studies have suggested that H. erinaceus encourages nerve growth factor production and supports nerve regeneration[4]. 

Reference List

  1. Diling C, Tianqiao Y, Jian Y, Chaoqun Z, Ou S, Yizhen X. Docking Studies and Biological Evaluation of a Potential β-Secretase Inhibitor of 3-Hydroxyhericenone F from Hericium erinaceus. Frontiers in pharmacology 2017;8:219. PMID 28553224
  2. Mori K, Obara Y, Moriya T, Inatomi S, Nakahata N. Effects of Hericium erinaceus on amyloid β(25-35) peptide-induced learning and memory deficits in mice. Biomedical research (Tokyo, Japan) 2011;32(1):67-72. PMID 21383512
  3. 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 & function 2014;5(12):3160-9. PMID 25288148
  4. Mori K, Obara Y, Hirota M, Azumi Y, Kinugasa S, Inatomi S, Nakahata N. Nerve growth factor-inducing activity of Hericium erinaceus in 1321N1 human astrocytoma cells. Biological & pharmaceutical bulletin 2008;31(9):1727-32. PMID 18758067