Can a mushroom stop dementia?

April 11, 2011
Volume 2    |   Issue 06

If you’re over the age of 65, you have a 10% chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease. If you’re over 85, your risk goes up to 50%. And that’s just Alzheimer’s disease. These numbers don’t include other forms of dementia. As a result, it’s vital you protect your brain now. And recent research suggests one particular mushroom can help you do just that.

Researchers at a rehabilitative hospital in Gunma, Japan studied the effects of Lion’s Mane mushroom on 100 patients. They had 50 patients take the mushroom, while 50 remained in a control group. The researchers were looking at how Lion’s Mane can treat various illnesses, so not all of these participants had dementia. They had Parkinson’s disease, diabetic neuropathy, and spinal cord injuries, to name a few.

But seven of the patients had clear dementia. And all seven cases were different types of dementia. So the study was able to evaluate Lion’s Mane on different memory problems.

The researchers gave each of the treatment group five grams of dried Lion’s Mane mushroom per day. And they did so for six months. The researchers also evaluated their Functional Independence Measure (FIM) before and after the six-month period. The FIM measures how independent a person is in physical (dressing, eating, walking, etc.) and perceptual (memory, understanding, etc.) capabilities.

After six months, six of the seven participants had significant improvements in their perceptual capabilities. And the overall FIM scores of all seven saw improvement. That means their physical capabilities improved as well.

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While this study is small, it does give hope that two compounds in Lion’s Mane – hericenones and erinacines — are able to cross the blood-brain barrier. Other studies have shown that both of these compounds are strong stimulates of Nerve Growth Factor. This is a protein that maintains and regenerates neurons. If Lion’s Mane does indeed take these compounds into the brain, this could be a huge discovery in the treatment of dementia.

After they released this study in 2004, the researchers called for more research. In 2009, another study found similar results from only 1,000 mg of dried Lion’s Mane. In this study, researchers gave 30 participants this dosage three times daily for 16 weeks. Interestingly, the improved cognitive function disappeared after the participants stopped taking the Lion’s Mane. So you may have to take the mushroom indefinitely.

We know that mushrooms are good for us, as they help more than just our brain. So eat plenty of Lion’s Mane mushrooms in your food. But also consider taking a Lion’s Mane supplement, especially if you’re showing signs of dementia. They’re available at most health food stores and on the Internet.

Your insider for better health,

Steve Kroening

Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.


Kasahara, K., et al. “The Benefits of Lion’s Mane for Aged-disabled.” Gunma Medical Supplementary issue.” 2001; 77-81; Phytother Res., 2009 March;23(3):367-72.

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