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< class="article__title title lions-mane-mushroom-dementia-does-the-mushroom-help"> Lion's Mane Mushroom Dementia: Does The Mushroom Help?>
Lion's Mane Mushroom Dementia: Does The Mushroom Help?
Oct 18, 22
This article has been vetted by the Onnit Advisory Board. Read more about our editorial process.
Author: Sony Sherpa

Lion's Mane Mushroom Dementia: Does The Mushroom Help?

  • by Sony Sherpa

    Medically reviewed by

    Sony Sherpa

    A rising star in the holistic health field, Dr. Sony Sherpa has been studying medicinal mushrooms for more than 7 years. Although she started writing on Nature’s Rise one year ago, her knowledge of medicinal mushrooms is backed by a master's degree in Holistic Medicine.

  • |
  • 28 min read

Lion's mane is a mushroom to remember—and quite literally so! The mushroom has been making noise about its health applications for dementia, and experimental studies have shown promise.

Worldwide, around 55 million people have dementia. Unfortunately, there are currently no drugs available that can slow, stop, or reverse the progression of Alzheimer's disease, the most common cause of dementia. Therefore, scientists are looking for alternative treatments like Lions Mane to combat the disease.

So, how can Lion's mane help dementia? And what is the link between Lion's mane mushroom and dementia?

Let's examine why the mushroom gets a lot of buzz for its effects on cognition and memory. The information in this detailed guide will give you a deeper understanding of Lion's mane mushroom dementia benefits.

Lion's Mane Mushroom For Dementia

Hericium Erinaceus, an adaptogenic fungus, has a distinctive, shaggy appearance that mimics a lion's mane. It is a gourmet mushroom that is frequently consumed in Asian countries without causing any significant side effects. 

Read More:Are there Lion's mane look-alikes

The mushroom has made a name for itself by fighting depressive disorders, eliminating amyloid plaques, and carrying many other potential health benefits. In this article, however, we will stick to the help of Lion's mane in improving and maintaining the brain's ability and capabilities. 

Below, we will discuss research that has explored the relationship between consuming Lion's mane and dementia improvement.

The fruiting body and mycelium are the two edible parts of Lion's mane mushroom, which contains Hericenones and Erinacines. These organic compounds may have therapeutic effects on the central nervous system (CNS) and can act as stimulants(1) of nerve growth factors (NGF)—Lion's mane is famous for enhancing NGF release. In the CNS, nerve growth factors perform a supporting role and are essential for providing sufficient protection for both surviving and developing neurons.

Read More: Interested in how Lion's mane promotes nerve growth factor production? Learn more about Lion's mane neurogenesis benefits

In one study, researchers examined the effects of consuming powdered Lion's Mane Mushroom on mild cognitive impairment(2). The early stages of dementia and Alzheimer's are also referred to as mild cognitive impairment.

Try Lion's Mane Today

The researchers divided two groups of trial participants—one receiving the mushroom powder and the other a placebo. For 16 weeks, the researchers gave the test volunteers either the mushroom powder or a placebo. Then, on a "cognitive function scale" with a range of 0 to 30, they assessed their cognitive function throughout the 16 weeks of study and four weeks after the end of the study.

The researchers also conducted testing for cognitive impairment. The most outstanding result (the minor degree of cognitive impairment) is a score of 30, while the worst outcome is a score of 0 (the most cognitive impairment).

So, what were Lion's mane dementia effects? How did Lion's mane benefit patients with mild cognitive impairment?

The group that consumed the mushroom powder displayed less cognitive impairment, which translated to a much higher score. By week 16, two of the subjects who took the mushrooms achieved the top score of 30.  Most of those who consumed the mushrooms scored 26 or higher. But no one in the placebo group scored higher than 26.

Read More: See the top mushrooms that boost overall brain health

The group who consumed the mushrooms saw a 14% increase in their average score. Meanwhile, the group who received the placebo only saw an increase of 3% in their average score, 

For 16 weeks, the study participants who consumed the mushrooms took four Yamabushitake (Lion's Mane Mushroom) dry powder tablets, each containing 250 mg.

They consumed Lion's mane mushroom powder totaling 3000 mg every day. This Lion's mane dosage effectively boosted their nerve growth factor and improved their overall cognitive health.

Boost Your Brain Health With Our 100% Organic Lion's Mane Mushroom Powder - Claim Your 10% Discount Now!

How did the Lion's Mane mushroom improve dementia symptoms?

How did the Lion’s Mane mushroom improve dementia symptoms?

At this point, you already know that Lion's mane mushroom can improve mild cognitive impairment. However, how did the Lion's Mane mushrooms improve dementia symptoms in the research study described above?

Patients with Alzheimer's disease and other causes of dementia have noticeable cholinergic neuronal abnormalities in their brains.  NGF protein influences cholinergic neurons and encourages their survival. However, because the NGF protein cannot traverse the blood-brain barrier, delivering NGF through medications is challenging.

Compounds found in Lion's mane mushrooms encourage the synthesis of NGF, which aid in the brain's survival and differentiation of cholinergic neurons. Taking Lion's mane supplements or using Lion's mane mushroom recipes to prepare a nice meal with the fungus increases the rate at which your body generates the Nerve Growth Factors. 

Increased numbers of healthy cholinergic neurons in the brain improve cognitive function and lessen Alzheimer's and dementia symptoms.

The study's findings demonstrate the usefulness of Lion's mane mushroom in treating and preventing dementia. By boosting the level of NGF in dementia patients, the mushroom improves the patient's memory.

Researchers have performed more clinical trials to analyze further the effect of Lion's mane on nerve and brain health—we will now look at the benefits of Lion's mane on cognitive decline in a study using an animal model. 

In this study(3), rats given Erinacine A for three weeks had higher levels of homovanillic acid and noradrenaline in the hippocampus than those who did not receive the mushroom. They also displayed signs of an overall rise in NGF levels, particularly in the brain's hippocampus.

In addition to raising blood sugar levels and breaking down fat to encourage tremendous energy, homovanillic acid, and noradrenaline increase memory retrieval and alertness. These findings suggest that Erinacine A supports nerve and brain health in animals.

Likewise, a pilot study(4) investigated the efficacy and safety of three 250mg Lion's mane mycelia capsules, each containing 5 mg/g Erinacine A active ingredient per day, for treating patients with mild Alzheimer's Disease.

Read More: Learn how Lion's mane fights Alzheimer's disease

In this study, eligible patients were randomly divided to receive either three 5 mg/g mycelia capsules per day or identically appearing placebo capsules for a 49-week treatment period. Researchers took cognitive assessments, eye examinations, and images of the brain throughout the study period.

After 49 weeks, a significant decrease in the Cognitive Abilities Screening Instrument score was noted in the group that did not receive the mushroom. However, there was a considerable improvement in Mini-Mental State Examination scores in the group treated with the mushroom. Researchers concluded that Lion's mane mycelium is safe, well-tolerated, and may be crucial in achieving neurocognitive benefits.

Lion's Mane Fights Diseases That Increase the Risk of Developing Dementia

Dementia is often associated with several conditions that often increase its risk. Luckily, taking organic Lion's mane mushroom powder fights these risk factors, reducing the risk of developing the disease later in life. 

Below, we will show you how Lion's mane boosts neurological health, increases brain-derived neurotrophic factors, and reduces the risk of dementia by fighting various risk-causing diseases. 

1. Dementia Fights Diabetes

According to the Centers for Diseases Control (CDC)(5), about 10% of Americans have diabetes. Approximately 37.3 million Americans have type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a risk factor for a wide range of diseases, including kidney diseases and cardiovascular diseases. 

Read more: See how cordyceps mushroom fights kidney disease

However, most people do not know that diabetes is also a risk factor for Alzheimer's and dementia—numerous research studies have supported this fact. 

Researchers conducted a study in 2013(6) to analyze the impact of diabetes on dementia risk. In the meta-analysis study, the researchers analyzed a total of 28 studies. The results showed a 73% increased risk of All Types of Dementia, a 56% increase in Alzheimer's Disease, and a 127% increase in Vascular Dementia in diabetes patients.

Another research study conducted in 2016(7) confirmed that diabetes increases the risk of developing dementia later in life. 

A study conducted in 2021(8) analyzed the relationship between the age of diabetes onset and how it increased the risk of developing diabetes. The researchers used a prospective cohort study of 10,095 participants in the study. The researchers concluded that younger people at the onset of diabetes were at a higher risk of developing dementia later in their lives. 

Yet another study conducted in 2021(9) analyzed the risk factor of dementia in individuals with diabetes. The researchers investigated the effect of type 2 diabetes duration on the risk of developing dementia. 

In a sample of 13,761 subjects (2,558 dementia cases) older than 65 years, the researchers used piecewise exponential models with a linear and quadratic term for time since the first type 2 diabetes diagnosis to predict the risk of developing dementia. The researchers used the Adopted Diabetes Complications Severity Index to control diabetes severity.

The researchers discovered a U-shaped dementia risk curve over time. After being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the risk of dementia decreased (26% after one year) and peaked at 4.75 years before increasing until the end of the study. 

The pattern was consistent across treatment groups, with insulin treatment and those with diabetes complications at the time of diagnosis showing the strongest U-shape. The researchers concluded that diabetes is a significant risk factor for developing dementia later in life. 

The good news, however, is that diabetes only increases the risk of developing dementia if the patient does not control their blood sugar levels. With good blood sugar control, people with diabetes can reduce their risk of dementia—that is, they can enjoy an improved cognitive function for life. 

This is where Lion's mane diabetes benefits come to help. Various research studies have confirmed that Lion's mane helps with diabetes management. 

Try Lion's Mane Mushroom Powder For Improved Brain Health and Memory

A study conducted in 2017(10) confirmed that Lion's mane has anti-hyperglycemia benefits. This study demonstrates that Lion's Mane mushrooms can help lower blood sugar levels, keeping them in check. 

A study conducted in 2013(11) used an animal model to investigate the effects of Lion's mane mushrooms on blood sugar levels. The researchers induced type 2 diabetes in Wistar rats by administering streptozotocin.

The researchers then gave the rats Lion's mane mushroom supplements for 28 days. The researchers evaluated the effects of Lion's mane on blood glucose, insulin, lipid levels, and oxidative stress parameters in the liver.

The administration of Lion's mane mushroom extracts to the diabetic rats for 28 days resulted in a significant decrease in serum glucose and a significant increase in serum insulin levels. Treatment with Lion's mane also reduced lipid disorders. The researchers concluded that Lion's mane mushroom has hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic, and antioxidant properties.

By helping people with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels, Lion's mane mushrooms lower the risk of dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases. Moreover, since diabetes is often associated with nerve pain, taking Lion's mane mushrooms can help manage neuropathic pain. 

Read More: See how Lion's mane fights neuropathy.

2. Lion's Mane Fights Obesity

According to the CDC(12), obesity prevalence from 2017 through 2020 was 41.9%. Between 2000 and 2020, obesity prevalence jumped from 30.5% to 41.9%. 

This shows that obesity is slowly becoming a significant problem in the United States. The growing number of obese people forced the CDC to adjust the Body Mass Index Charts(13) for severely obese kids. The CDC made the changes to the BMI charts in December of 2022. 

Obesity is a risk factor for numerous diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart problems, and high blood pressure. 

Read More: See how Chaga fights high blood pressure.

Moreover, obesity is a significant risk factor for dementia. An article published by the National Institute of Aging(14) in 2021 confirmed that obesity is a significant risk factor for developing dementia.  

A research study conducted in 2018(15) analyzed obesity trajectories and the risk of dementia. In the study, researchers followed 10,308 people for 28 years. The study started in 1985 with all participants between the ages of 35 and 55 and ended in 2015. The researchers assessed the BMI 6 times, and 329 cases of dementia were recorded during the study period. The researchers concluded that obesity (BMI of 30 kg/m2) increased dementia risk at age 50.

Yet another research study conducted in 2022(16) concluded that obesity is now the top modifiable risk factor for dementia in the United States. A research study conducted in 2019(17) also arrived at the same conclusion, indicating that obesity is a leading risk factor for developing dementia. 

Obese people, however, can reduce the risk of dementia later in life. All they have to do is change their food and incorporate physical activity to lose excess weight. Regarding foods that help individuals lose weight and lower their risk of becoming cognitively impaired later in life, one can use Lion's mane. 

Studies on rats and mice have shown that Lion's mane boosts fat metabolism. For example, researchers conducted a study in 2013(18) to analyze the impact of Lion's mane mushroom on rats fed a high-fat diet. The results from the study indicated that Lion's mane mushrooms can cure excessive body fat in rats and may be an effective natural medicine for treating hyperlipidemia in humans. The Lion's mane mushroom can increase fat metabolism, facilitating weight loss and fighting obesity.

Read More:See how Lion's mane promotes weight loss

Another research study(19) analyzed the effects of Hericium Erinaceus on mice consuming a high-fat diet. After 28 days, rats consuming a high-fat diet and given daily doses of Lion's mane extract had 27% lower triglyceride levels and 42% less weight gain. This study further indicates that Lion's mane is an adequate weight-loss food. 

We have already established that obesity is a leading risk factor for dementia. Therefore, anything that can fight obesity will lower the risk of dementia. Lion's mane, thus, can help you maintain normal brain functioning and help with dementia prevention by helping you maintain a healthy body weight. 

Read More: See how Chaga tea facilitates weight loss.

3. Lion's Mane Fights High Blood Pressure

Lion's Mane Fights High Blood Pressure

According to the CDC(20), nearly half (47% or 116 million) adults in the United States live with high blood pressure. Unfortunately for these people, research has connected high blood pressure to an increased risk of developing dementia later in life. 

According to a research article published on the Heart Org website(21), people who develop high blood pressure between the ages of 35 and 44 are 61% more likely to develop dementia. Another study conducted in 2020(22) noted that midlife high blood pressure was associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline, Alzheimer's disease, and dementia. 

A more recent research study in 2022(23) analyzed the effect of high blood pressure trajectories for 35 years and the resulting risk of dementia. In the retrospective cohort study of participants aged 70, researchers evaluated 9,720 people for dementia. 

Researchers invited all residents over the age of 20 to participate in four surveys: HUNT1 1984-1986, HUNT2 1995-1997, HUNT3 2006-08, and HUNT4 2017-19.

At HUNT4, the study sample ranged in age from 70 to 102 years, with 15.5% having dementia, 8.8% having Alzheimer's disease (AD), 1.6% having vascular dementia (VaD), and 5.1% had other types of dementia. Compared to those who did not have dementia at HUNT4, those with dementia at HUNT4 had higher blood pressure levels at HUNT1 and HUNT2 but lowered SBP at HUNT4. The study concluded that the early onset of high blood pressure increases the risk of developing dementia. 

Luckily for people with hypertension who would like to avoid memory loss and reduce the risk of other complications associated with high blood pressure, Lion's mane can help. One research study(24) confirmed that Lion's mane boasts ACE inhibitory activities. ACE inhibitors help lower high blood pressure. 

Read More: See how Lion's mane fights high blood pressure.

As noted earlier, Lion's mane is known to treat diabetes and fight obesity, two conditions that increase the risk of developing obesity. The mushroom also reduces cholesterol, which blocks blood vessels, increasing blood pressure. For these reasons, taking Lion's mane will help you maintain an ideal blood pressure level, lowering your risk of dementia. 

4. Lion's Mane Fights Sleep Problems

According to the Sleep Foundation(25), 10 to 30 percent of Americans deal with chronic insomnia. Between 30 and 48% of Americans also experience insomnia. This suggests that many people in the United States have trouble getting enough restorative sleep. 

Most people do not know that the negative effects of poor sleep often go beyond making you tired the next day. Poor sleep can also increase your risk of dementia—studies have proved this. 

A research study concluded in 2021(26) analyzed the duration of sleep in old and middle age people and its association with dementia. The researchers used data from 7,959 participants for the study. During the 25-year follow-up period, 521 people developed dementia. 

By analyzing those who developed dementia and comparing their sleeping patterns to those who did not develop dementia, the researchers discovered that persistent short sleep duration between the ages of 50 and 70 increased the risk of developing dementia by 30%. The researchers concluded that short sleep duration in mid-life can increase the risk of dementia significantly. 

If you are currently struggling with insomnia or other sleep disorders, improving your sleep quality can help reduce the risk of developing dementia. However, before you take pharmaceutical drugs, consider using Lion's mane mushroom.

One of the reasons most people stay up at night is stress. Some people also deal with depression and anxiety, risk factors for poor sleep. Luckily, Lion's mane fights depression and anxiety. Hericium Erinaceus is an adaptogenic mushroom that helps the body adapt to stress—the mushroom helps your body relax, allowing you to enjoy deep restorative sleep.  

Various research studies have also shown that Lion's mane improves sleep quality. In one study(27), 30 women were assigned to either Lion's mane extract or placebo cookies. These women took Lion's mane extract or placebo cookies for four weeks. At the end of the research study, the women taking the cookies containing Lion's mane mushroom had lower levels of anxiety, depression, stress, and irritability. These women enjoyed better sleep quality. 

Read More: See how taking Lion's mane mushroom before bed benefits your sleep

5. Lion's Mane Boosts Testosterone

In men, low testosterone can be a risk factor for dementia—various research studies have confirmed this. According to a research article published in 2022(28), middle-aged and older men with lower testosterone concentrations have a higher prevalence and incidence of cognitive decline and dementia, including Alzheimer's disease.

In a research study concluded in January of 2022(29), researchers analyzed the relationship between dementia and testosterone levels. The researchers analyzed 159,411 community-dwelling men in the research study. Within the study period, 826 men developed dementia, with 288 developing Alzheimer's Disease. The researchers noted that lower testosterone levels were associated with a higher incidence of dementia in these men. 

A research study conducted in 2016(30) analyzed testosterone supplementation's effect on participants' cognitive health. The researchers investigated whether testosterone treatment significantly improved performance on various cognitive functioning measures.

Before being randomly divided into two groups, 44 men were given neuropsychological tests to establish a baseline. The first group (Group A) received testosterone treatment (T treatment), followed by four weeks of washout, and then 24 weeks of placebo (P); the second group (Group B) received the same treatments, but in reverse order (Placebo, washout, and then T treatment). Following testosterone treatment, there was a significant improvement in general cognitive functioning as measured by the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) in group A compared to baseline.

In group B, there was a significant increase in cognitive abilities from baseline following testosterone treatment and a trend toward an increase compared to placebo treatment. Improvements in baseline depression scores (as measured by the Geriatric Depression Scale) were observed in both groups following testosterone/placebo treatment, with no difference observed when testosterone was compared to placebo treatment. These findings show that testosterone treatment improves global cognition.

Another research study conducted in 2020(31) analyzed the impact of low testosterone levels on the risk of dementia. In this meta-analysis, the researchers analyzed 27 studies with 18,599 participants. The meta-analysis showed an increased risk of all-cause dementia in people with decreasing testosterone levels. The researchers noted that testosterone supplementation might help reduce the risk of developing dementia. 

If you think low testosterone levels could increase your risk of developing dementia, Lion's mane mushroom can help. Therefore, before going for testosterone replacement therapy, consider trying Lion's mane testosterone benefits

Lion's mane fights diabetes and obesity, which negatively affect testosterone. Moreover, the mushroom promotes better sleep, allowing your body to produce enough testosterone. Finally, Lion's mane encourages the production of hypothalamic hormones, which directly benefit testosterone production. 

FAQs About Lion's Mane Mushroom Dementia

Does Lion's Mane Reverse Dementia?

Current treatments, including Lion's mane mushroom, cannot reverse the damage caused by dementia. However, the superfood fungi can instead help improve the symptoms.

Does Lion's Mane Mushroom Help With Alzheimer's?

Results of clinical studies have shown that Lion's mane mushroom significantly improves cognitive function in Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, the particular fungus can help fight the symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s, a condition that decreases cognitive abilities.

What Are The Negative Effects Of Lion's Mane?

Lion's mane mushroom appears to be safe, even in higher dosages. However, some reported side effects are digestive issues and allergies. Also, the mushroom may not favor people taking anti-coagulants or blood-thinning medications. The mushroom decreases blood clotting and can compound the effect of anti-coagulants, increasing the risk of bleeding. 

Read More: Learn about Lion’s mane drug interactions

Can Lion's Mane Mushroom Improve Brain Function?

Lion's mane mushroom improves focus, memory, and cognition while clearing brain fog. It is called nature's brain juice for these reasons!

Key Takeaways

Lion's mane mushroom may help improve the symptoms of dementia by stimulating the growth of neurons in the brain. The bioactive compounds in Lion's mane stimulate the production of NGF, which crosses the blood-brain barrier and enhances neuron proliferation, survival, and differentiation.

If you are interested in experiencing Lion's mane mushroom dementia benefits, speak to a healthcare provider to work out a dose that is best suited for you. While you may come across average Lion’s mane dosages online, to be on the safe side, consider working out a dose that best fits you with a healthcare professional. 

Have you used Lion’s mane before? What did you use it for? What results did you get from this functional mushroom? We would love to hear from you—leave us a comment below. 

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  1. Hericenones and erinacines: Stimulators of nerve growth factor (NGF) biosynthesis in Hericium erinaceus, (1)
  2. Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial, (2)
  3. Erinacine A increases catecholamine and nerve growth factor content in the central nervous system of rats, (3)
  4. Prevention of Early Alzheimer's Disease by Erinacine A-Enriched Hericium erinaceus Mycelia Pilot Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study, (4)
  5. The Facts, Stats, and Impacts of Diabetes, (5)
  6.  Diabetes mellitus and risk of dementia: A meta‐analysis of prospective observational studies, (6) 
  7. Type 2 Diabetes, Cognition, and Dementia in Older Adults: Toward a Precision Health Approach, (7) 
  8. Association Between Age at Diabetes Onset and Subsequent Risk of Dementia, (8) 
  9. Diabetes duration and the risk of dementia: a cohort study based on German health claims data , (9) 
  10. Structures, biological activities, and industrial applications of the polysaccharides from Hericium erinaceus (Lion's Mane) mushroom: A review, (10) 
  11. Antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic activities of aqueous extract of Hericium erinaceus in experimental diabetic rats, (11) 
  12. Obesity is a common, serious, and costly disease, (12) 
  13. Growing obesity crisis in U.S. prompts CDC to expand body mass index charts for severely overweight kids, (13) 
  14. Obesity associated with a higher risk for dementia, new study finds, (14) 
  15. Obesity trajectories and risk of dementia: 28 years of follow-up in the Whitehall II Study, (15) 
  16. Obesity Is Now the Top Modifiable Dementia Risk Factor in the US, (16) 
  17. Obesity as a Risk Factor for Alzheimer’s Disease: Implication of Leptin and Glutamate, (17) 
  18. Hypolipidaemic Effect of Hericium erinaceum Grown in Artemisia capillaris on Obese Rats, (18) 
  19. Yamabushitake mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) improved lipid metabolism in mice fed a high-fat diet, (19) 
  20. Facts About Hypertension, (20) 
  21. Earlier onset of high blood pressure affects brain structure, may increase dementia risk, (21) 
  22. Hypertension and the Risk of Dementia, (22) 
  23. Blood pressure trajectories over 35 years and dementia risk: A retrospective study: The HUNT study, (23) 
  24. Evaluation of Selected Culinary-Medicinal Mushrooms for Antioxidant and ACE Inhibitory Activities, (24) 
  25. Sleep Statistics, (25) 
  26. Association of sleep duration in middle and old age with incidence of dementia, (26) 
  27. Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake, (27) 
  28. Testosterone, cognitive decline and dementia in ageing men, (28) 
  29. Lower serum testosterone concentrations are associated with a higher incidence of dementia in men: The UK Biobank prospective cohort study, (29) 
  30. The Effects of Testosterone Supplementation on Cognitive Functioning in Older Men, (30)
  31. Testosterone and Cognitive Impairment or Dementia in Middle-Aged or Aging Males: Causation and Intervention, a Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, (31)

Let Us Know Your Comments

1 Response

Dorothy | November 11, 2022

My husband is 84 years of age in good health but now has developed alzheimers and has been taking Lion’s Mane for 4 weeks but only half a teaspoon a day with no real benefit can you give me an indication of how much he could take to show some benefit.