Hey there! It's great to have you here. Today, we're going to dive into an intriguing topic that affects us all: “Brain Health”. You might be wondering, what exactly is the difference between brain health and mental health? Well, let's clear that up first.
When we talk about brain health, we're focusing on the overall well-being and functioning of our brain. It's like taking care of the engine that powers our thoughts, emotions, and actions. On the other hand, mental health revolves around our psychological and emotional well-being, encompassing aspects like our mood, feelings, and mental states.
Now, let's zoom in on brain health a bit more and explore the various diseases that can disrupt its optimal functioning. It's fascinating to realize that not all brain conditions fall under the heading of mental illnesses. There are neurological or brain disorders that have their roots in the physical structures and mechanisms of the brain. These conditions are not purely psychological in nature, but rather stem from abnormalities or dysfunctions in the brain.
You see, there's a wide range of brain disorders out there, and they stem from different origins, including genetics, environmental influences, infections, traumatic brain injuries, or even age-related changes. They can affect the brain's structure, chemistry, or electrical activity, leading to a wide range of symptoms and impairments.
Conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, or stroke are examples of brain disorders that alter the fundamental mechanisms that keep the brain functioning. These illnesses can have a profound impact on a person's life, affecting their memory, movement, speech, and overall cognitive abilities.
Now, here's where things get interesting. Enter Lion's Mane mushroom—a fascinating natural remedy that shows promise in positively impacting brain health. Lion's Mane has been gaining attention for its potential to promote the growth of brain cells, regenerate nerves, and enhance cognitive function. Preliminary research studies have shown that Lion's Mane mushroom extracts may have neuroprotective and neuroregenerative properties, which could potentially benefit those with brain disorders.
So, as we journey through this blog, we'll explore the incredible world of Lion's Mane mushroom and how it may contribute to maintaining a healthy brain. Join me in discovering the potential of this unique natural remedy and the exciting possibilities it holds for supporting brain health and overall well-being. Stay tuned!
Remember, I'm here to share information and provide insights, reported and published in peer-reviewed scientific research journals. Let's continue this conversation and unlock the secrets of brain health together!
What Is Lion’s Mane And How It Works?
Lion’s Mane is also known as Hericium erinaceus, found in North America, Europe and Asia. It is an edible fungus that has been used for a very long time in Traditional Chinese Medicine. This mushroom is rich in many bioactive compounds such as beta-glucan polysaccharides, hericenones and erinacine terpenoids, isoindolinoes, sterols and myconutrients. These are all neuroprotective and can cross blood brain barrier (BBB). These compounds have been found to increase the production of nerve growth factor (NGF), a protein that plays a crucial role in the growth, survival, and maintenance of neurons (1,2). By enhancing NGF production, lion's mane mushroom supports the growth and development of brain cells, contributing to brain health and functioning.
In addition to promoting the growth of brain cells, lion's mane mushroom has the potential to regenerate nerves. Research has shown that lion's mane extract stimulates the synthesis of myelin, a protective covering around nerve fibers that facilitates proper nerve signal transmission (3). By promoting myelin production, lion's mane mushroom may aid in the regeneration of damaged nerves and improve their functioning.
Thus, Lion’s Mane also has the ability to stimulate the production of nerve growth factor, which helps repair and renew neurons and supports myelination.
Lion’s Mane Benefits In Brain Health
You know, diseases like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and stroke, which affect the aging nervous system, are a big challenge for public health worldwide. Sadly, there's still no cure for these conditions. Big pharmaceutical companies have been investing a lot of time and resources in finding medications to alleviate the symptoms, but the success rate in clinical trials for new drugs has been quite low.
That's why there's been a growing interest in the search for small preventive compounds that can support the brain and its neurons. These compounds should be able to cross the blood-brain barrier and play a role in maintaining, protecting, and even regenerating neurons. It's an exciting field of research!
Lion's mane mushrooms fit the bill perfectly! They have caught the attention of researchers and are being considered excellent candidates for supporting brain health and potentially preventing cognitive decline. By exploring the benefits of lion's mane mushrooms, we might find a way to enhance our brain health and protect ourselves from these diseases in a natural and holistic manner.
1. Lion's Mane Mushroom and its Potential in Brain Stroke Injuries
Did you know that Lion's Mane mushroom can help protect against a type of brain injury called ischemic stroke? In a study with rats, they gave the rats Lion's Mane mushroom extract before inducing a stroke-like condition. They found that when the rats were given this extract, the size of the damaged area in their brains decreased by 22% and 44% respectively, depending on the dosage. They also noticed that there were more healthy brain cells in the rats that received the Lion's Mane extract (4).
So how does it work? Well, when there's a stroke, our brains can produce harmful substances called reactive oxygen species, which can cause more damage. But the Lion's Mane extract seems to reduce the levels of these harmful substances. It also lowers the levels of certain proteins that contribute to inflammation in the brain. All of this suggests that Lion's Mane mushroom could be a promising natural remedy for stroke injuries. It has the potential to protect brain cells, reduce the size of the damaged area, and help the brain recover from a stroke (5).
2. Lion's Mane Mushroom and its Potential in Parkinson's Treatment
Did you know that Lion's Mane mushroom could help protect against Parkinson's disease? It's a common neurodegenerative disorder that causes problems with movement, like tremors and stiffness. In studies using a model of Parkinson's disease, they used a drug called MPTP that mimics the condition. This drug can harm brain cells and cause damage similar to Parkinson's (6).
But here's the interesting part: when they gave the rats Lion's Mane mushroom extract before giving them the MPTP drug, it had a protective effect. The extract improved the health of the brain cells and reduced oxidative stress. It even helped the rats perform better in motor tests.
How does it work? The extract seems to block a stress response in the cells, which can lead to their death. By doing this, it prevents the damage caused by MPTP and supports the health of the brain cells (7).
These findings suggest that Lion's Mane mushroom could be a potential new treatment for Parkinson's disease. It shows promise in preventing and possibly treating this condition.
3. Lion's Mane Mushroom and its Potential in Alzheimer's Disease
Did you know that Lion's Mane mushroom could offer protection against Alzheimer's disease? It's a condition where things can spiral out of control once it starts. You see, there are these plaques called amyloid-β that build up in the brain. They cause damage and trigger other harmful processes like inflammation and cell death (8).
The interesting thing is that even if you remove those amyloid-β plaques, there's another problem that continues called tau protein tangles. These tangles are stubborn and can't be stopped easily. So, the key is to prevent these problems from happening in the first place (9, 10).
In a study with mice, they gave them Lion's Mane mushroom extract. After a month of taking it, they noticed some positive effects. The extract reduced the burden of amyloid-β plaques in the brain and prevented the activation of cells associated with those plaques. It also promoted the growth of new brain cells (11).
Not only that, but the mice treated with Lion's Mane extract showed improvements in their behavior after about three months. This suggests that Lion's Mane mushroom could be a promising approach for managing Alzheimer's disease.
It's exciting to think that a natural remedy like Lion's Mane mushroom could potentially help prevent and treat this challenging condition.
4. Lion's Mane Mushroom and its Potential in Neuropathic Pain
Did you know that Lion's Mane mushroom could provide relief from neuropathic pain? It's a type of pain caused by damage to the nerves in our body. Scientists have discovered that certain receptors in our nerves play a key role in transmitting this kind of pain (12).
So, they decided to investigate if Lion's Mane mushroom extract could help with pain relief. They tested it in the lab using human cells and found that the extract could block the signaling of these pain receptors. This means it has the potential to reduce pain sensations (13).
They also did some tests with mice, where they induced heat-induced pain. When the mice were given Lion's Mane mushroom extract, they noticed a significant delay in their response to the pain. This suggests that the extract has great potential for providing relief from pain.
It's exciting to think that Lion's Mane mushroom, with its natural properties, could offer a solution for neuropathic pain. It could be a promising option for those who suffer from this type of chronic pain.
5. Lion's Mane Mushroom and its Potential in Age-Related Hearing Loss
Did you know that Lion's Mane mushroom could help protect against age-related hearing loss, also known as presbycusis? It turns out that this type of hearing loss might be linked to the early stages of Alzheimer's disease (14).
Researchers have discovered that a protein called NGF can promote the regrowth of nerve fibers in the ears of animals with hearing loss. Interestingly, people with hearing problems have lower levels of NGF compared to those with normal hearing (15, 16).
So, they decided to investigate if Lion's Mane mushroom extract, which contains special compounds called erinacines, could help protect against age-related hearing loss. They tested it on aging mice and found something fascinating!
The mice that received the Lion's Mane mushroom extract had significantly better hearing compared to the mice in the control group. They measured this by using different sounds and checking the hearing thresholds of the mice. The results showed that the extract slowed down the deterioration of hearing (17).
Isn't that incredible? Lion's Mane mushroom could potentially be a natural way to protect our hearing as we age. It's exciting to think that something like this could help prevent hearing problems in the future.
- Lai PL, Naidu M, Sabaratnam V, Wong KH, David RP, Kuppusamy UR, Abdullah N, Malek SN. Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2013;15(6):539-54.
- Mori K, Inatomi S, Ouchi K, Azumi Y, Tuchida T. Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytother Res. 2009 Mar;23(3):367-72.
- Wong KH, Naidu M, David RP, Bakar R, Sabaratnam V. Neuroregenerative potential of lion's mane mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. (higher Basidiomycetes), in the treatment of peripheral nerve injury (review). Int J Med Mushrooms. 2012;14(5):427-46.
- Lee K. F., Chen J. H., Teng C. C., et al. Protective effects of Hericium erinaceusmycelium and its isolated erinacine A against ischemia-injury-induced neuronal cell death via the inhibition of iNOS/p38 MAPK and nitrotyrosine. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2014;15(9):15073–15089. doi: 10.3390/ijms150915073.
- Allen C. L., Bayraktutan U. Oxidative stress and its role in the pathogenesis of ischaemic stroke. International Journal of Stroke. 2009;4(6):461–470.
- Meredith G. E., Rademacher D. J. MPTP mouse models of Parkinson’s disease: an update. Journal of Parkinson's Disease. 2011;1(1):19–33.
- Kuo H. C., Lu C. C., Shen C. H., et al. Hericium erinaceusmycelium and its isolated erinacine A protection from MPTP-induced neurotoxicity through the ER stress, triggering an apoptosis cascade. Journal of Translational Medicine. 2016;14(1):p. 78.
- Wang L., Benzinger T. L., Su Y., et al. Evaluation of tau imaging in staging Alzheimer disease and revealing interactions between β-amyloid and tauopathy. JAMA Neurology. 2016;73(9):1070–1077.
- Das P., Verbeeck C., Minter L., et al. Transient pharmacologic lowering of Aβproduction prior to deposition results in sustained reduction of amyloid plaque pathology. Molecular Neurodegeneration. 2012;7(1):p. 39.
- DeMattos R. B., Lu J., Tang Y., et al. A plaque-specific antibody clears existing β-amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s disease mice. 2012;76(5):908–920.
- Tsai-Teng T., Chin-Chu C., Li-Ya L., et al. Erinacine A-enriched Hericium erinaceusmycelium ameliorates Alzheimer’s disease-related pathologies in APPswe/PS1dE9 transgenic mice. Journal of Biomedical Science. 2016;23(1):p. 49.
- Burnstock G. Purinergic mechanisms and pain. Advances in Pharmacology. 2016;75:91–137.
- Liu P. S., Chueh S. H., Chen C. C., Lee L. Y., Shiu L. Y. Lion’s mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus(Agaricomycetes), modulates purinoceptor-coupled calcium signaling and murine nociceptive behavior. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 2017;19(6):499–507.
- Gates G. A., Anderson M. L., Feeney M. P., McCurry S. M., Larson E. B. Central auditory dysfunction in older persons with memory impairment or Alzheimer dementia. Archives of Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery. 2008;134(7):771–777.
- Shah S. B., Gladstone H. B., Williams H., Hradek G. T., Schindler R. A. An extended study: protective effects of nerve growth factor in neomycin-induced auditory neural degeneration. The American Journal of Otology. 1995;16(3):310–314.
- Salvinelli F., Casale M., Greco F., et al. Nerve growth factor serum level is reduced in patients with sensorineural hearing impairment: possible clinical implications. Journal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents. 2002;16(3):176–180.
- Chan Y. C., Chen C. C., Lee L. Y., Chen W. P. Active Substances for Preventing Hearing Deterioration, the Composition Containing the Active Substances, and the Preparation Method There of.Taiwan: G.K.B. LTD; 2017.