Scientists from the National University of Singapore may have found in mushrooms the key to preventing cognitive deterioration, a clinical finding that, in some cases, can lead to other disorders such as senile dementia or even Alzheimer’s.
A recent study, published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, notes that mushrooms could be a natural protector against brain deterioration thanks to the unique antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substances they contain.
A study carried out between 2011 and 2017, with a sample of 600 people aged close to 60 years, found that those who consumed mushrooms such as Shiitake or Oyster Mushroom obtained better results than those that didn’t eat any mushrooms in analytical tests. According to the researchers, the results were even better amongst those who consumed more than 300 grams of mushrooms per week.
Other foods such as green tea, green leafy vegetables, nuts, and fish were also implicated in this correlation. However, scientists highlighted the role of mushrooms in the results due to their content of “neuronal protectors” such as ergothioneine, Vitamin D, selenium and spermidine.
Clinical trials with Lion’s Mane
In 2009, the results of a double blind, randomized and placebo-controlled clinical trial using Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) were published. The conclusion indicated better results in people who consumed Lion’s Mane compared to those who didn’t.
In this 2009 trial, the researchers stressed that these results could be explained due to the presence of hericenones. Thus, they indicated that there is a existing literature on the ability of these substances to stimulate Nerve Growth Factor, which is necessary for the survival of brain cells.
The bioactive compounds highlighted in both studies; ergothioneine and hericenones, are naturally occurring in Lion’s Mane, which we include in both whole power and extract form in a range of our different products.»
Tips to limit the risk of age-related syndromes
According to the Spanish Society of Geriatrics and Gerontology, it is also important to support the sense organs by using hearing aids, or well-graded lenses, etc.
- Avoid air pollution and contact with solvents in the workplace.
- Practice aerobic and anaerobic exercise.
- Maintain and stimulate social relations.
- Preserve cognitive activity.
- Control exposure to stressful situations.
Cognitive impairment has also been linked to cardiovascular problems. Therefore, it is recommended to assess risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, obesity, smoking and even alcohol consumption.
Statistics and history of mild cognitive impairment
Studies suggest that one or two in every 10 people (10-20%) over 65 may have MCI and 10.1% in Ireland within a sample of 5364 individuals aged ≥ 50 years. Risk increases with age and men appear to be at higher risk than women, according to Alzheimer’s Research UK and the NHS. Models project that between 2002 and 2040, the number of people with MCI will have risen by 66% (from 461,000 to 765,000) (A. Comas-Herrera et. al, 2003).
Milestones in the definition of mild cognitive impairment
- The MCI is defined as cognitive dysfunction that does not meet the degree of dementia to be classified as a clinical indication of Alzheimer’s disease (1991).
- In 1999 it was defined as a syndrome that manifests itself as a greater cognitive deficit than expected for the age and cultural level of an individual which, however, allows a normal life. It was highlighted that memory alteration is the main mental function which is affected by MCI.
- The Spanish Society of Neurology proposes criteria to definitively determine cognitive impairment and mild cognitive impairment (2000).
- An international conference is organized to reach a consensus on the classification of MCI by broadening the spectrum of cognitive areas implicated ( 2003).
Diet is considered a contributing factor in the prevention of mild cognitive impairment. Mushrooms, as a functional food, can therefore contribute to this aspect of health management. There is mounting literature that indicates that mushrooms, due to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory constituents such as ergothioneine, are a valuable resource in the fight against the loss of intellectual capabilities.
- www.alzheimersresearchuk.org LINK
- www.londonscn.nhs.uk LINK
- www.sciencedirect.com LINK
- http://eprints.lse.ac.uk LINK
- National University of Singapore. “Eating mushrooms may reduce the risk of cognitive decline.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 March 2019. LINK
- Mori, K., Inatomi, S., Ouchi, K., Azumi, Y., & Tuchida, T. (2009). Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Phytotherapy Research, 23(3), 367–372. doi:10.1002/ptr.2634. LINK
- Sociedad Española Neurología. Prevalencia de deterioro cognitivo en España. Estudio Gómez de Caso en redes centinelas sanitarias. Volume 33, Issue 8, October 2018, Pages 491-498. LINK