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Lion’s Mane for Dementia: What Does Research Say?

| Leestijd 9 Minuten
Is Lion’s Mane a beneficial supplement for dementia treatment? Lion’s Mane has gained recognition in herbal medicine for its purported ability to enhance cognitive functions. Many people use Lion’s Mane to their boost memory, focus, and mental alertness. But what does scientific research say about Lion’s Mane’s benefits for the brain, particularly its potential as a remedy for dementia? This article delves into that question.

What is dementia?

Dementia is a term for symptoms that occur in brain disorders. It is not a disease, but a ‘collection’ of symptoms. What is a disease, however, is Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. There are also vascular dementia, Lewy-body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and mixed dementia.

  • In particular, older people over the age of 65 develop Alzheimer’s disease. About five per cent of over-65s in the West develop Alzheimer’s.
  • However, dementia can also manifest in younger people. While age is a known risk factor, it’s not the sole cause. Genetic predispositions, brain injuries, infections, or underlying health conditions may also contribute to its development.

Death of brain cells

In many forms of dementia, brain cells eventually die as a result of the underlying disease processes. For example, in Alzheimer’s disease, abnormal protein fragments, such as amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary nodules, form in the brain. These protein accumulations damage and kill nerve cells, leading to progressive cognitive decline.

Can you use Lion’s Mane for dementia treatment?

older people wondering if Lion's Mane helps fight dementia

Clearly, it’s important to take good care of your brain. This will make you more likely to prevent dementia. Medicinal mushrooms, especially Lion’s Mane, are known to contribute to body and brain health.

Scientific studies done so far also suggest that Lion’s Mane may have positive effects on memory and brain health. Although most of those studies have been done in animals, studies in humans are growing. Those studies so far show positive results.

The neurotrophic effects of Lion’s Mane (H. erinaceus)

Neurotrophic effects refer to the positive impact that certain substances or activities can have on the health of nerve cells, also known as neurons. Simply put, a ‘neurotrophic effect’ means promoting or supporting the growth and function of nerve cells.

They’re important for a healthy brain – and for preventing dementia.

A 2013 study on human cells found that Lion’s Mane had neurotrophic effects:

‘The extract of H. erinaceus [contained] neuroactive compounds that induced NGF synthesis’ – 2013 study

This means that the extract of Lion’s Mane contained substances that help produce NGF, or Nerve Growth Factor. NGF is important for nerve cell growth and development and is essential for maintaining the cholinergic system in the basal forebrain.

  • Choline is an important substance associated with memory functions. In the 1970s, anticholinergic drugs (for depression, stomach problems, and mental disorders) were found to have an adverse effect on learning ability.

The researchers of the 2013 study concluded that their Lion’s Mane had neurotrophic effects, but no neuroprotective effects (slowing or stopping the progression of neuronal atrophy, or cell death, after the onset of a disease).

This suggests that Lion’s Mane might not directly counteract dementia. However, it could potentially help prevent cognitive problems, dementia, and brain diseases.

Improved cognitive functions thanks to Lion’s Mane

Besides research in human cells, there have so far been three studies in groups of people of more than 30.

Lion’s Mane for reducing inflammation

lion's mane mushroom cultivated

Inflammation in the brain is one of the important factors that can contribute to the development of dementia. Inflammation can lead to the breakdown of nerve cells, impaired neurotransmitter function, damage to the blood-brain barrier, and degeneration of brain tissue.

These inflammations can form due to age, an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, brain injuries and exposure to pollution or chemicals, among other things.

Now, studies have also been done on Lion’s Mane as a remedy for inflammation. Several studies show that the mushroom has an anti-inflammatory effect on the brain. This suggests that Lion’s Mane can make a valuable contribution to keeping the brain healthy – and thus preventing dementia.

How to use Lion’s Mane?

Lion’s Mane supplements can be taken every day, as long as you don’t take more than two capsules a day. It is recommended to take Lion’s Mane in the morning, but some people prefer the evening, as Lion’s Mane can also improve sleep quality.

You may combine Lion’s Mane with other mushroom supplements, such as Turkey Tail, Cordyceps, Chaga and Reishi. As long as you don’t take more than two capsules a day in total.

  • Benefits of Reishi: Reishi can help reduce stress and anxiety, promote a calm mind and a good night’s sleep. Moreover, Reishi is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may contribute to stronger immunity.
  • Cordyceps benefits: Cordyceps is used to increase energy, improve sports performance, enhance libido, shorten recovery time and support a healthy immune system.
  • Benefits of Chaga: Chaga is known for its positive impact on skin and hair health, anti-inflammatory properties and high antioxidant content.
  • Benefits of Turkey Tail: Turkey Tail is used to support healthy gut function, immune system and digestion. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is rich in antioxidants.

Conclusion: Does Lion’s Mane help with dementia?

Although more research is needed to confirm results, so far the research on the potential benefits of Lion’s Mane for cognitive health is promising. Lion’s Mane supplements could potentially help support cognitive functions, hopefully preventing dementia and neurodegenerative diseases.

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Supplements should not be used as a replacement for a diverse diet, a healthy lifestyle, or as a treatment for any medical condition. Keep this product out of the reach of children. If you are ill, pregnant, or in doubt, always consult with your healthcare provider. The information provided on this website is intended for general informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. While traditional Chinese medicine has a history spanning thousands of years and has been tested on numerous individuals, MushPeak does not make claims indicating the proven medicinal properties of herbs or mushrooms, in accordance with current EU legislation. Detailed information about mushrooms is available from publicly accessible sources on the Internet. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.


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