Lion's Mane mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus) have shown promising potential in treating Alzheimer's disease due to their ability to stimulate the production of nerve growth factor (NGF). NGF is crucial in maintaining and repairing neurons—neurons are vital for cognitive function and memory.
While preliminary in vitro, human, and animal studies have demonstrated the positive effects of Lion's Mane on Alzheimer's-related symptoms, more extensive clinical trials are needed to confirm these findings. However, incorporating Lion's Mane into a holistic treatment plan, alongside other brain-boosting foods, exercise, sleep, and stress reduction, could be beneficial in managing Alzheimer's.
This detailed guide will examine how Lion's Mane helps people with Alzheimer's disease. Moreover, we will show you how to incorporate Lion's mane mushroom into your routine to enhance your cognitive health.
What Does the Science Say About Using Lion's Mane for Alzheimer's?
Overview of Existing Research
Lion's mane mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus), also known as H. Erinaceus, have been studied for their potential in treating Alzheimer's disease. The existing research includes in vitro, human, and animal studies investigating the effects of Lion's mane on the central nervous system.
In-vitro studies have shown that Lion's mane extract can promote nerve growth and reduce inflammation in nerve cells. These findings have prompted further investigation into the potential health benefits of Lion's mane mushrooms for Alzheimer's disease.
Animal studies, particularly those involving transgenic mice, have demonstrated that Lion's mane supplements can improve cognitive performance and recognition memory in mice with Alzheimer's. Additionally, Lion's mane extract has been shown to reduce amyloid plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, in the brains of these mice.
For example, in one study(1), the mice were given Lion's mane mushroom mycelia for 30 days, which attenuated the burden of the plaques of Alzheimer's in the brain.
In another study(2), Erinacine S and Erinacine A isolated from Lion's mane medicinal mushrooms attenuated the burden of Alzheimer's plaque in the cerebral cortex in mice. This resulted in improved cognitive functioning.
Similar results were seen in a 2018 study(3), where mice received Erinacine A and S for 30 days. Again, the results indicated the beneficial effects of Erinacine A and S, including the promotion of neurogenesis. In addition, results showed that Erinacine A improved cognitive performance.
In another study(4), the results revealed that Lion's mane prevented impairments of memory induced by the amyloid peptide, suggesting that this traditional Chinese medicine could effectively reduce the risk of Alzheimer's.
In one study(5) involving 50- to 80-year-old men and women diagnosed with cognitive impairment, the group receiving Lion's mane supplement showed significantly increased scores on the cognitive performance scale compared with the placebo group.
In a 2019 study(6), researchers explored the improvement of cognitive functions by oral intake of Hericium Erinaceus. A cognitive test designed to measure dementia showed that oral intake of Lion's mane mushroom significantly improved cognitive functions and prevented deterioration.
Interesting Read: See how Lion's Mane fights dementia.
Lion's Mane and Alzheimer's: What’s the Relationship?
NGF is a protein essential for the growth, maintenance, and survival of nerve cells in the brain. It plays a crucial role in cognitive performance, including learning and memory. In Alzheimer's disease, NGF levels are often reduced, leading to the degeneration of brain cells and subsequent cognitive deficits.
Lion's mane promotes neurogenesis, enhancing NGF production in the brain.The bioactive compounds in this traditional Chinese medicine cross the blood-brain barrier and stimulate the production of nerve growth factors, such as NGF and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
This increase in NGF promotes nerve growth, nerve regeneration, and the formation of new brain cells, which can improve cognitive performance in individuals with mild cognitive impairment and mild Alzheimer's disease.
How to Incorporate Lion's Mane Mushroom into Your Diet
Recommended Forms and Dosage
Lion's mane supplements are available in several forms to promote brain health. These include:
- Lion's mane powder
- Lion's mane supplement
- Lion's mane mushroom extract
The optimal dosage of Lion's mane for Alzheimer's patients is still being researched; however, studies have shown significant improvements in cognitive performance and spatial memory at varying dosages. However, a recommended dosage is typically 500-3,000 mg daily, taken in divided doses.
Remember to follow the manufacturer's instructions and consult a healthcare professional before taking Lion's Mane for Alzheimer's or other cognitive issues.
Delicious and Nutritious Recipes
Lion's mane mushrooms can be easily incorporated into your daily diet. Fresh Lion's mane mushroom can be sautéed, added to soups, or used in stir-fries. Dried Lion's mane powder can be mixed into smoothies, oatmeal, or baked goods to boost brain health benefits.
Some delicious and nutritious Lion's mane recipes you can use include:
- Sautéed Lion's Mane mushroom with garlic and herbs: A simple and flavorful dish that highlights the unique texture and taste of Lion's Mane mushrooms
- Lion's Mane mushroom risotto: A creamy, comforting dish packed with the neuroprotective properties of Lion's Mane mushrooms
- Lion's Mane mushroom powder smoothie: Blend Lion's Mane mushroom powder with your favorite fruits, greens, and protein for a brain-boosting beverage
Combining Lion's Mane Mushroom with Other Lifestyle Changes to Fight Alzheimer's Disease
How to Embrace a Holistic Approach to Alzheimer's Treatment
A holistic approach to Alzheimer's treatment is crucial to address the multifaceted nature of the disease effectively. While Lion's Mane mushrooms may offer potential benefits in improving cognitive performance and memory, it is essential to consider other lifestyle factors contributing to overall mental health.
Combining Lion's Mane with a comprehensive, well-rounded treatment plan can potentially improve the quality of life for those affected by Alzheimer's disease and their caregivers.
Combine Lion's Mane With Other Brain-Boosting Foods
In addition to incorporating Lion's Mane mushrooms into your diet, consuming other brain-boosting foods can further enhance cognitive function and overall mental health. Some of these foods include:
- Fatty fish,such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines: These are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that support brain function and reduce inflammation
- Berries, especially blueberries: These contain potent antioxidants that protect brain cells from damage
- Leafy green vegetables, such as kale, spinach, and collard greens: These are packed with essential nutrients and antioxidants that support cognitive performance
- Nuts and seeds, like walnuts and flaxseeds: These are rich in healthy fats, antioxidants, and vitamins that promote cognitive function
Invest Time In Exercise, Sleep, And Stress Reduction
Exercise, sleep, and stress reduction are critical components of a holistic approach to Alzheimer's treatment, as they play a significant role in maintaining overall mental health and cognitive performance.
Regular physical activity has been shown(7) to improve cognitive function, increase blood flow to the brain, and reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week and muscle-strengthening activities two or more days per week.
Interesting Read: See how taking Lion's Mane pre-workout can improve your workout.
Adequate sleep is essential for maintaining cognitive performance and overall cognitive health. Moreover, research has shown that(8) poor sleep quality or insufficient sleep can exacerbate cognitive decline and negatively impact memory, increasing the risk of developing Alzheimer's. Therefore, aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night and prioritize good sleep hygiene practices.
Research shows(9) chronic stress can increase the risk of Alzheimer's disease. Incorporating stress-reducing practices, such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises, can help improve overall well-being and support brain health.
FAQs About Lion's Mane Alzheimers Benefits
Does Lion's Mane Improve Memory?
Lion's Mane mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus) have shown potential for improving memory, especially in individuals with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease. Studies have found that Lion's Mane can stimulate the production of nerve growth factor (NGF), crucial in maintaining and repairing neurons essential for cognitive function and memory.
Animal studies have demonstrated that Lion's Mane supplementation can improve recognition memory in mice with Alzheimer's disease. Preliminary human studies have also suggested that Lion's Mane can positively impact memory and cognitive performance in Alzheimer's patients with mild cognitive impairment.
Is Lion's Mane Good for Dementia?
Lion's Mane mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus) have shown potential in treating and managing dementia, including Alzheimer's. The neuroprotective properties of Lion's Mane are believed to be due to its ability to stimulate the production of nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). These factors are crucial for maintaining healthy neurons and cognitive function.
Preliminary animal studies and human trials have suggested that Lion's Mane may positively impact cognitive performance, memory, and overall brain health in individuals with mild cognitive impairment or dementia. In addition, some studies have also shown that Lion's Mane can reduce the formation of amyloid plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.
Does Lion's Mane Interact With Medications?
Lion's Mane mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus) have the potential to interact with certain medications, although research on these interactions is limited. Some possible interactions include:
- Blood-thinning medications (anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs): Lion's Mane may have blood-thinning properties, increasing the risk of bleeding when taken alongside medicines like warfarin, aspirin, or clopidogrel.
- Hypoglycemic medications: Some studies suggest that Lion's Mane might have blood sugar-lowering effects. This could potentially enhance the effects of medicines for diabetes, leading to excessively low blood sugar levels.
Since research on Lion's Mane interactions with medications is limited, it is always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before using Lion's Mane, particularly if you have a pre-existing medical condition or are taking any prescription medications.
Lion's Mane mushrooms (Hericium erinaceus) have shown promising potential in treating and managing Alzheimer's disease and cognitive decline. Its neuroprotective properties, particularly its ability to stimulate the production of nerve growth factor (NGF) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), may help improve cognitive function and memory in individuals with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer's disease. Preliminary animal and human studies have demonstrated the potential benefits of Lion's Mane, including improved memory, reduced amyloid plaques, and enhanced brain health.
While the initial findings on the effects of Lion's Mane on Alzheimer's disease are encouraging, more extensive research is needed to understand its efficacy fully. Furthermore, it will help to elucidate the full range of potential benefits that Lion's Mane might offer in the context of Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative conditions.
For individuals affected by Alzheimer's, it's important to remember that there is hope, and the scientific community is continuously working to find effective treatments and preventive strategies. Incorporating Lion's Mane into a comprehensive, holistic treatment plan, alongside other brain-boosting interventions such as exercise, proper nutrition, and stress reduction, could improve the quality of life for Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers.
It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before using Lion's Mane for Alzheimer's or any other health condition and to stay informed about the latest research and developments in the field.
Have you used Lion's Mane to boost your cognitive performance? What were the results? Please share with us in the comment section below.
- Erinacine A-enriched Hericium erinaceus mycelium ameliorates Alzheimer's disease-related pathologies in APPswe/PS1dE9 transgenic mice, (1)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27350344/
- Erinacine S, a Rare Sesterterpene from the Mycelia of Hericium erinaceus, (2)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26807743/
- The Cyanthin Diterpenoid and Sesterterpene Constituents of Hericium erinaceus Mycelium Ameliorate Alzheimer's Disease-Related Pathologies in APP/PS1 Transgenic Mice, (3)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29463001/
- Effects of Hericium erinaceus on amyloid β(25-35) peptide-induced learning and memory deficits in mice, (4)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21383512/
- Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial, (5)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18844328/
- Improvement of cognitive functions by oral intake of Hericium erinaceus, (6)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31413233/
- Relationship Between Exercise and Alzheimer’s Disease: A Narrative Literature Review, (7)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7113559/
- Sleep and Alzheimer: The Link, (8)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9168575/
- The relationship between stress and Alzheimer's disease, (9)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5991350/