Dementia continues to be a global health crisis, depleting resources around the world. But although drug companies have gone to great lengths to stop the disease, trials to date have had a poor track record of success. With no cure, researchers have focused much of their attention on the protective effects of foods, especially fungi. Functional medicine practitioner and longevity coach Frances McElwaine describes some of the cognitive health benefits of lion’s mane fungus.
Frances continued, “It can lead to regeneration of damaged nerves and improved cognitive function often experienced as reduced brain fog and greater focus.
“In addition, lion’s mane reduces depression and protects against neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
“Plus, its neuro-protective qualities mean that lion’s mane also improves sleep and our ability to deal with stress.”
A Japanese study confirms these claims, showing that the fungus can improve mild cognitive impairment within weeks.
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The study was performed on a group of 30 subjects, all of whom had mild cognitive impairment at the start of the study. Researchers noted marked improvements in subjects who consumed lion’s mane three times a day over a 16-week period.
These findings have been echoed in a series of similar studies, some of which highlight the fungus’s ability to manage blood sugar as a major benefit for dementia.
Frances explained, “Another great benefit is that lion’s mane also helps us manage blood sugar effectively – as one of the main causes of dementia (which is often referred to as type 3 diabetes) is actually resistance to it. long-term insulin, it can only be a good thing.
“Besides including lion’s mane and other fungi in your diet, cutting back on sugar and processed carbohydrates is probably one of the best things you can do to protect your brain health.”
Blood sugar control is essential for preventing dementia because blood sugar is strongly linked to the beta-amyloid protein, which plagues the brains of patients with dementia.
This protein can form clumps that lodge between nerve cells and prevent them from communicating with each other.
This results in memory loss and progressive cognitive decline, two hallmarks of the disease.
Academics explain that one of the most protective compounds against beta-amyloid protein formation is omega-3.
Omega-3s improve brain health by supporting memory and thinking, which reduces the risk of decline.
Frances added, “If omega 3 levels are optimal, our cell membranes will be soft, allowing nutrients to enter and toxins to exit.
“If it is less than optimal, then cell membranes become hard, resulting in decreased overall health in general and noticeable dependence on brain function in particular.”