lion's mane prevents and treats mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease

This weird looking mushroom that looks like a shaggy head of hair may turn out to be great for your brain with studies beginning to suggest its value for aging memory and cognition.

There are very few treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and no new advances in pharmaceutical treatments for almost twenty years. But, here’s a new one: people who eat more mushrooms have a reduced odds of developing Mild Cognitive Impairment (J Alzheimers Dis. 2019;68(1):197-203). People with MCI may have some difficulty with memory, thinking, language and judgement, but the trouble is not debilitating enough to cause the problems of Alzheimer’s disease. Not everyone with MCI will develop dementia, but MCI is associated with an increase in risk.

In an intriguing new double-blind study, 49 people with mild Alzheimer’s disease were given either a placebo or Hericium erinaceus (lion’s mane) Mycelia. The dose of the lion’s mane was 350mg, standardized for 5mg/g erinacine, three times a day. The study lasted for 49 weeks.

At the end of the study, the people who took the lion’s mane has significant improvement on the Mini-Mental State Examination score and there was a significant difference between the groups on the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living score. Vision tests of contrast sensitivity also improved in the lion’s mane group.

This study shows that lion’s mane significantly reduced cognitive decline in people with mild Alzheimer’s disease and helped them to live independently.

Another recent double-blind study showed that lion’s mane helped prevent deterioration of short memories and improved cognitive function in people with an average age of 61.3 (Biomed Res. 2019;40(4):125-131).

And an earlier double-blind study found that lion’s mane taken at a dose of 250mg three times a day significantly improved scores on the cognitive function scale compared with the placebo (Phytother Res. 2009 Mar ;23(3):367-72).

The evidence pointing to lion’s mane as a potentially valuable botanical for cognition, including Alzheimer’s disease, is beginning to mount.

Front Aging Neurosci. 2020; 12: 155


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