Lion's Mane Mushrooms & Parkinson's Disease
Hericium erinaceus (lion's mane mushroom) has multiple benefits for the brain and nervous system. The mushroom gained its common name from the appearance of its fruiting body, which is a cluster of strands. Although it has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, researchers have been studying its possible benefits for helping patients with Parkinson’s disease.
Lion's Mane Benefits for Parkinson's Disease
Some nerve growth has been studied from the stimulating effects of this fungus. The body naturally produces nerve growth factor molecules, and they are vital for the development, preservation and regeneration of important neurons in the body.
H. erinaceus helps protect myelin, which coats the axons of neurons. Axons send important information via electrical impulses to other neurons, glands and muscles and demonstrated a regulatory effect on the process of myelin genesis.
Research Findings for Lion's Mane in Parkinson's Treatment
Many studies have shown several benefits of consuming the mycelium alone. However, when the mycelium is enriched with erinacine A, there may be additional benefits. A study that was published in 2018 showed that consumption of the mycelium after enrichment with erinacine A promoted nerve regeneration and reduced cell death. Eranacines promote NGF synthesis, which is important for maintaining neuronal cell health.
Another important benefit of enriched Hericium erinaceus mycelium is that it has been shown to prevent dementia. A study of transgenic mice showed a reduction of the brain plaque that eventually leads to dementia.
A 2016 study confirmed the neuroprotective effects of Hericium erinaceus mycelium.
In 2017 researchers separated sterols and several compounds isolated from the fruiting bodies of H. erinaceum and put them through multiple tests. They found that the substances had the following effects:
- Reduced oxidative stress
- Showed antioxidant effects
- Revealed anti-osteoporotic effects
While the last two points may be useful in developing nutraceuticals for other conditions in the future, the reduction of oxidative stress is a crucial action in relation to Parkinson's treatment. Since high levels of oxidative stress have been tied to degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, this study’s implications are important in considering neuritogenic effects. Neurogenesis is the production of healthy nervous tissue, and it is essential for reducing the degenerative effects of Parkinson's disease.
Other studies about the neuritogenic effects of CNS diseases show a clear link between oxidative stress and neurogenesis. An earlier study supported the findings of Hericium Erinaceus effect on stress responses when ingested. It was found that the mushroom demonstrated neuroprotective properties by increasing the proteins that fight stress responses.
Another 2017 study supported those findings and also showed that the Hericium erinaceus protected vital cells from NGF deprivation, which contributes to cell death.
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