Does Lion’s Mane Mushroom Fight Alzheimer’s?

The lion’s mane mushroom much heard about its effects on cognition and memory.

We carefully reviewed the current state of the science Hericium erinaceus and its implications in Alzheimer’s.

It turns out that this fungus may be able to slow the progression of this degenerative disease and even reverse its symptoms.

Let’s examine the science behind the effects of lion’s mane on Alzheimer’s disease.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

How does lion’s mane affect the brain?

Does the lion’s mane cross the blood-brain barrier?

Is lion’s mane good for Alzheimer’s patients?

What are the side effects of lion’s mane?

How to take lion’s mane for Alzheimer’s disease?

What is Lion’s Mane?

lion’s mane mushrooms, also known as pom pom and beard mushrooms, are medicinal mushrooms found in Europe, Asia and North America. Although Western medicine is just beginning to learn about their many abilities, these amazing mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries.

Hericium erinaceus is a saprotrophic fungus, meaning it feeds on organic matter known as detritus. More specifically, the lion’s mane feeds most of the time on the remains of dead trees. However, it can also be a parasitic fungus and feed on living trees, killing them in the process.

What are the benefits of lion’s mane mushrooms?

Research on health benefits of lion’s mane shows that the mushroom has significant potential to promote neurogenesisprevent nerve damage as well relieve dementiasymptoms of depressive disorders and neuropathic pain, among other nerve health properties. Hericium erinaceus seems to help:

  • relief from symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • improving cognitive functions
  • protection against dementia and Alzheimer’s
  • inflammation and reduction of nerve pain
  • fight various forms of cancer
  • apoptosis (cell death) of cancer cells
  • improving immune health
  • repair of nervous system injuries
  • lowering blood sugar levels
  • reducing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease

Lion’s mane mushroom bioactive compounds

Lion’s mane mushrooms contain many vitamins, including thiamin, biotin, niacin, folate and vitamin B6. They also contain various minerals, such as:

  • calcium
  • iron
  • phosphorous
  • zinc
  • potassium
  • magnesium
  • copper
  • selenium
  • manganese

In addition, lion’s mane mushrooms contain polysaccharides, polypeptides, beta-glucoxlan, prebiotic fibers, digestive enzymes, ericenones and erinacins.

Does the lion’s mane cross the blood-brain barrier??

The blood-brain barrier protects your brain from certain toxins found in the blood. Sometimes, however, this barrier doesn’t let compounds through that may be beneficial to your brain.

However, ericenones and erinacinsbioactive compounds in many mushrooms, including lion’s mane, it can cross the blood-brain barrier quite easily. These beneficial compounds include nerve growth factors (NGF) that can provide many benefits, including protection against brain injury, nerve regeneration (neurogenesis), and myelination.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia and a progressive disorder of brain function. There are two types of Alzheimer’s disease, early-onset, which starts between the ages of 30 and 60, and late-onset, which starts after 60.

The disease starts slowly and worsens over time, destroying memory and cognitive skills. Regardless of the type, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are similar and include memory loss, confusion, mood swings, trouble speaking or writing, and a shorter attention span.

How the lion’s mane affects the brain?

Hericium erinaceus it contains several biological compounds that may be beneficial for the brain. Studies have shown that Lion’s mane has two important sets of compounds that support brain health: stimulators of nerve growth factors and brain-derived neurotrophic factors.

Nerve growth factor, or NGF for short, is a protein that helps regenerate and maintain neurons. Compounds found in lion’s mane, such as erinacin A, was shown to increase NGF synthesis in rats. Mycelia enriched with erinacins appear to have an overall positive effect on the central nervous system, stimulating the growth of new brain cells and preventing cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Brain-derived neurotrophic proteins also play an important role in cognitive health. They promote the survival of nerve cells by helping the maturation and growth of these cells. ONE Study 2021 examined the effects of lion’s mane compounds on brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF for short). A western blot analysis showed that H. erinaceus increased the production of BDNF proteins.

Is lion’s mane good for Alzheimer’s patients?

According to research, helping to treat Alzheimer’s appears to be part of the many benefits of lion’s mane. For one, the polysaccharides found in adaptogenic mushroom appear to protect the brain from beta-induced neurotoxicity.

ONE study examined the effects of lion’s mane body fruit extract on neurological health. The ethanol extract showed promising neuroprotective properties in mice. More specifically, polysaccharides found in the fruit bodies of lion’s mane mushrooms reduced nerve cell damage caused by neurotoxic chemicals.

Mechanism of action of H. erinaceus in Alzheimer's diseaseSource:

Other study examined the neurotropic properties of lion’s mane mushrooms. An aqueous extract, which contained individual ericiones and erinacins, was shown to induce nerve growth factor synthesis. Although more research is needed, this study shows that lion’s mane has great neurotropic potential.

The lion’s mane and memory

Research shows great potential in terms of using the lion’s mane to enhance memory. ONE study published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms investigated the effects of lion’s mane on spatial memory in transgenic mice.

The animals were fed a lion’s mane supplement for two months. Although there were no significant changes in spatial memory in the mice, their recognition memory was improved.

Other animal study examined the effects of lion’s mane mushrooms on memory and cognitive deficits in mice. The mushroom prevented short-term spatial and visual recognition memory impairments.

Although more research is needed, these findings suggest so Lion’s mane mushrooms may be useful in improving cognitive function.

The lion’s mane and mild cognitive impairment

Hericium erinaceus appears to be quite beneficial in repairing cognitive problems. ONE double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled study examined its effects in Japanese patients with mild cognitive impairment. The age of the subjects ranged from 50 to 80 years. Half of the participants in the Japanese study were given lion’s mane supplements for 16 weeks, while the other half were given a placebo.

Participants taking the mushroom extract showed increased scores in their cognitive function. These significant increases suggest that Lion’s Mane Supplements May Improve Mild Cognitive Impairment and Help Neuron Health and Function.

Alzheimer's disease

Lion’s den and Alzheimer’s

ONE study 2020 looked at the effects of lion’s mane supplements on early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The double-blind, placebo-controlled study lasted 52 weeks and consisted of two parallel groups. Both groups showed symptoms of early Alzheimer’s.

The results suggest that Lion’s mane mushroom extract significantly improved cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients taking the Hericium erinaceus supplement. Participants experienced no side effects, suggesting that the mushroom is safe and well-tolerated for Alzheimer’s patients.

Another recent study reached a similar conclusion. The Animal study 2021 examined the effects of polysaccharides found in lion’s mane mycelium on oxidative stress, nerve regeneration and neuronal health. The compounds significantly improved cognitive behavior in mice. Lion’s Mane Reduces Oxidative Stress in the Brains of Alzheimer’s Mice by Regulating Brain Calcium Levels.

Lion’s mane mushroom side effects

Although no human studies have yet looked at the side effects of lion’s mane mushrooms, they appear to be completely safe. However, you may experience a negative effect in the form of digestive problems if you consume too much lion’s mane at once. So it’s best to start slow and talk to a healthcare professional if you notice any digestive discomfort.

Does lion’s mane interact with medications?

There are no studies that indicate that taking lion’s mane extracts interferes with medication. However, lion’s mane mushroom extract has been shown to slow blood clotting. While this property can be quite beneficial, it can lead to problems if you are already taking anticoagulants.

Who should not get the lion’s mane?

Although it is safe to eat, you should avoid the lion’s mane if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Since there are no studies on the safety of the mushroom in pregnant women, it is best to be cautious. If you are prone to allergies, especially to fungi, mold or yeast, be sure to take extra precautions if you plan to use a lion’s mane supplement.

Is Lion’s Mane addictive?

No, Lion’s mane mushrooms are not addictive. You will not experience side effects if you stop taking the mushroom, even if you do so abruptly.

I’m interested in Testing lion’s mane for Alzheimer’s?

If you are interested in trying lion’s mane for Alzheimer’s disease, AdaptogenShroomsSuperfood Granola it is an excellent choice. You won’t have to think about whether you’ve taken your supplement for the day, as you’ll get your daily dose of lion’s mane with your breakfast.

AdaptogenShroomsgranola comes in a variety of flavors, so you’re sure to find one you like. Gluten-free vegan cranola contains an ultra-concentrated lion’s mane extract, along with cordyceps and chaga. Enjoy the benefits of all three mushrooms without worrying about supplements or the earthy taste of mushrooms you may not enjoy.

 AdaptogenShroomssuperfood granola

Frequently asked questions about lion’s mane and Alzheimer’s disease

How do you test for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease?

Amyloid plaques are the most common pathological features of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. These proteins accumulate in the brain and kill neurons, causing the various symptoms of the disease.

The Hasegawa Dementia Scale-Revised is a cognitive function scale used to determine whether a person has dementia. This nine-question scale can also determine the stages of dementia and its severity. Those with dementia have significantly lower scores on the cognitive function scale compared to those without signs of dementia.

Are lion’s mane mushrooms edible?

Yes, lion’s mane mushrooms are completely edible. You can eat them raw, cooked, dried, or go for lion’s mane tinctures or capsules. Alternatively, you can make lion’s mane tea if you want the benefits of this amazing mushroom without the seafood-like taste. Or choose a fortified food such as our mushroom granolafor all the benefits of lion’s mane in a bowl of cereal.

Is lion’s mane psychoactive?

While lion’s mane mushrooms are not psychedelic, you wouldn’t be wrong to say they are psychoactive. The mushroom has the ability to affect the brain, as it can help with memory and improve focus. Since lion’s mane affects your nervous system, it has psychoactive properties. However, the mushroom does not get you high, meaning it is not psychedelic.

When to get the lion’s mane?

Since the many benefits of lion’s mane include its ability to enhance your ability to focus, it is best to take the mushroom in the morning or early afternoon. Taking it before starting your work day is the best course of action, especially if what you’re working on is psychological. You can take the mushroom later, but avoid taking it in the evenings, because it can make you restless.

How long does it take for lion’s mane to work?

Like most medicinal mushrooms, lion’s mane does not start working immediately. You will need to take it consistently for about two weeks before you start noticing its effects. Of course, the longer you take lion’s mane, the more noticeable benefits you can expect, so stick with it for at least a month, even if you haven’t noticed any changes yet.

How does a lion’s mane make you feel?

Lion’s mane can make you feel calmer and more focused. The mushroom will likely improve your mental clarity, meaning you’ll be able to focus on cognitive tasks for longer. It won’t get you high, but it will relieve mild symptoms of anxiety and depression, making you feel happier overall.

Is the lion’s mane scientifically proven?

Research into the lion’s mane is still in its infancy. However, recent studies done in humans, animals and in vitro cells show promising results. The mushroom appears to protect against dementia, reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and improve overall brain health, among other benefits.

Can a lion’s mane make you sleepy?

The lion’s mane will not make you tired or sleepy. Instead, the mushroom can give you a natural boost of energy. The anti-anxiety properties of lion’s mane may make you feel calmer overall, which may help you fall asleep more easily, but it won’t make you sleepy per se.

What happens if you get a lot of lion’s mane?

Lion’s mane mushrooms appear to be safe, even in high doses. However, taking too much mushroom can lead to digestive problems. So it’s best to start slow, especially if you’ve never had lion’s mane mushrooms before, and work your way up to a higher dose.

Is lion’s mane legal?

Yes, lion’s mane mushrooms are legal to eat and grow. They have no psychedelic effects and do not contain psilocybin. Therefore, there is no reason for these medicinal mushrooms to be illegal.

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