Lion’s Mane Mushroom Shows Promise in Treating Alzheimer’s

Hericium erinaceus, or lion’s mane mushroom, has been well-used for centuries in Japan and China as part of the diet for general system restoration. It has been included in treatments for digestive problems, and even cancers — but where this mushroom really shines is the brain. This mushroom’s effects on the brain and central nervous system are truly fascinating, linking lion’s mane and Alzheimer’s treatment protocols. Keep reading to learn about how you can get protection from lion’s mane for Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Lion’s Mane for Alzheimer’s: Nerve Cell Stimulation and Re-Growth

Though there are many active compounds in lion’s mane, the most researched and medicinal ones are its polysaccharides, fatty acids (Y-A-2), hericenons A through H, and the mycelium’s diterpenes, called erinacines, which are responsible for stimulation of nerve cell growth. (1) These compounds are relevant to the usefulness of lion’s mane for Alzheimer’s.

Erinacines closely mimic our body’s nerve growth factor (NGF). NGF is a protein required for maintenance and creation of sensory neurons in the brain. Hericenons have been shown to trigger the brain to make more of its own NGF. When the brain manufactures its own NGF, the result is normal neuron protection and maintenance. When this process is hindered through a degenerative neurological disease, however, neurons in the brain will not last long, and new neurons will not be made to replace old or damaged neurons. (2)

Furthermore, the brain is highly protective and selective as to the types of compounds it lets close to it. Our brains are wrapped in a special, semi-permeable border termed the blood-brain barrier (BBB). This barrier separates the circulating blood from the brain and the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds our brain tissue. The BBB is so selective that it actually does not allow NGF to cross through its boundaries; NGF is simply too big to pass through. This is an important reason why treatment of degenerative brain diseases has historically failed. When patients whose brains no longer produce NGF consume artificial NGF, it simply never makes it to the target destination of much-neglected nerve cells.

Both erinacines and hericenons stimulate our bodies’ own production of NGF. Amazingly, erinacines are small enough to penetrate the BBB, where they directly stimulate NGF production. Once the body senses circulating erinacines through the consumption of lion’s mane mushroom, new neurons begin to grow. There is even evidence pointing to erinacines’ ability to increase myelination along nerve pathways. (3) This is why more people are hearing about the promise of lion’s mane for Alzheimer’s prevention and treatment.

Lion’s Mane for Alzheimer’s: Implications for Alzheimer’s Disease Research and Treatment

Implications for the use of lion’s mane for Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases are huge. Currently, the most researched of these diseases has been Alzheimer’s, the most common irreversible form of dementia.

One researcher, Kawagishi, who has been working closely with lion’s mane and dementia since the 1990s, has suggested that “erinacines are the most powerful inducer of NGF synthesis among all currently identified natural compounds” (4). In one study of his, six out of seven patients with dementia showed an improvement in understanding, communication, and memory after ingesting the fruiting body of lion’s mane everyday in soup broth for six months. In vivo studies on erinacines with mouse models of Alzheimer’s have shown that lion’s mane produced anti-dementia activity through reduction of damage caused by amyloid-beta plaques (5).

Daily intake of lion’s mane — also known as “nature’s nutrient for the neurons” — is made easy with Mushroom Revival’s double extracted, organic tincture. Get your bottle here! We work hard to ensure that all of our lion’s mane extracts deliver all of the brain boosting compounds you need to keep your brain healthy and your mind intact. Suggested use is 1-2 dropperfuls 1-3 times daily.

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Sources for “Lion’s Mane for Alzheimer’s”

  1. Halpern, G. M. (2007). Healing Mushrooms: effective treatment for today’s illnesses. Square One Publishers. New York.
  2. Isokauppila, Tero. (2017). Healing mushrooms: a practical and culinary guide to using mushrooms for whole body health. Avery press, New York.
  3. Powell, Martin. Medicinal Mushrooms
  4. Kawagishi, H et al. (2004). The anti-dementia effect of lion’s mane mushroom and its clinical application – Hericium erinaceum – lion’s mane. Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients 249: 54-56.
  5. Tsai-Teng, T. et al. (2016) Erinacine A-enriched Hericium erinaceus mycelium ameliorates Alzheimer’s disease-related pathologies in APPswe/PS1dE9 transgenic mice. J Biomed Sci. 23(1):49.
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