Supplementing with Lion's Mane improves mental fitness in people over 50
Lion's Mane, also known as Hericium erinaceus, is a mushroom that traditional Asian healers have used for centuries against forgetfulness and incipient dementia. According to a Japanese trial with good reason.
Yusuke Saitsu, a chemist from Kindai University, published a study in Biomedical Research in 2019 in which he tested the effect of Lion's Mane supplementation in healthy over-50s. The mean age of the subjects was 61.
16 subjects in the experimental group took a biscuit containing 0.8 grams of dried Lion's Mane 4 times a day. So in total they consumed 3.2 grams of dried mushroom per day. The 15 subjects in the control group ate a placebo biscuit 4 times a day.
Saitsu tested the subjects' cognitive abilities with 3 different tests just before, halfway through and on the last day of the supplementation period. Nothing came out of 2 tests, but according to the Mini Mental State Examination [MMSE], supplement with Lion's Mane made the study participants slightly better with their little fingers after the supplementation period.
The optimal test result for the MMSE is 30. Scores below 23 are wrong.
The Japanese have not studied the mechanism of action of Lion's Mane, but based on the scientific literature they have some suspicions about how the mushroom might work. The above-ground part of Lion's Mane [the part that Saitsu gave to his test subjects in dried form] contains hericenones which stimulate the production of Nerve Growth Factor [NGF] in brain tissue.
NGF is related to BDNF. It has a similar biological function.
"We speculate these various compounds contained in Hericium erinaceus have multiple effects to the brain neural networks and improve the cognitive functions," the Japanese conclude.
Biomed Res. 2019;40(4):125-31.
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Alzheimer & Dementia