Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disorder that destroys thinking skills and memory. Ultimately Alzheimer's disease starts to wipe out the ability to do even the simplest of day to day tasks. With most, the symptoms start to appear in their mid to late 60's. There are many estimates out there but some experts even say that more than 5 million people in the US, most above 65, may have some varying degree of dementia caused by Alzheimer's disease. Mushrooms in general are showing very promising effects towards a wide range of cognitive function improvement for people with Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, but the two showing real strides toward beating Alzheimer's into submission are Lion's mane (Hericium erinaceus) and reishi (Ganoderma lucidum).
Lion's mane is starting to emerge as the tonic for all things brain related. Not only is it drawing the attention of many clinical studies towards defeating Alzheimer's disease, it is also showing very encouraging results in the fights against Dementia, Multiple Sclerosis, neuropathy, nerve damage and even anxiety and depression. Because Lion's mane has the ability to stimulate the production of nerve growth factor many scientists are getting excited about all the possible ailments it can possibly treat in the not so far future. In controlled studies, patients with mild forms of dementia showed some beneficial effects when supplementing their treatment with Lion's Mane. In one study 86% of the patients showed improvement in their functional capacity. Their memory, communication and understanding all improved to some extent while supplementing Lion's mane. Better still, all of the patients in the study showed improved functional independence scores for tasks like eating/dressing etc. In a similar study patients with mild dementia aged 50-80 were supplemented with Lion's Mane and many showed significant increases in cognitive function.
Another brain boosting medicinal mushroom that is looking very effective is reishi. Reishi is the most well known of the medicinal mushrooms with annual sales over a whopping $2 billion. The health benefits are vast all the way from being extremely anti-microbal, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory, to being a great weapon in battles having to do with cancer, cholesterol and Alzheimer's disease. Traditionally reishi was used often as an anti-aging medicine as the spores have shown the capability to improve cognitive function and to protect neurons from apoptosis. In addition, reishi extract has shown to inhibit beta-amyloid synaptic toxicity which has very promising benefits for Alzheimer's disease patients.
For the millions of people suffering fro Alzheimer's disease, in addition to various exercises and approaches to help patients maintain mental function, manage behavioral symptoms, and slow down the symptoms of disease, reishi mushrooms is looking like it could be the next heavy hitter up to bat.