Australian scientists at the University of Queensland have discovered that Lion’s Mane mushrooms have a significant impact on the growth of human brain cells and can improve memory. The team found new active compounds in the mushroom that can boost nerve growth. The findings of the pre-clinical test could have applications in treating and protecting against neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers believe that the discovery could help regulate the growth of neurons in the brain, leading to improved memory formation. The properties of Lion’s Mane mushrooms have been used in traditional medicine for centuries to maintain health and treat ailments. The research is uncovering the molecular mechanism of the mushroom’s compounds and their effects on brain function, particularly memory.
“Extracts from these so-called ‘lion’s mane’ mushrooms have been used in traditional medicine in Asian countries for centuries, but we wanted to scientifically determine their potential effect on brain cells. Pre-clinical testing found the lion’s mane mushroom had a significant impact on the growth of brain cells and improving memory. Laboratory tests measured the neurotrophic effects of compounds isolated from Hericium erinaceus on cultured brain cells, and surprisingly we found that the active compounds promote neuron projections, extending and connecting to other neurons. Using super-resolution microscopy, we found the mushroom extract and its active components largely increase the size of growth cones, which are particularly important for brain cells to sense their environment and establish new connections with other neurons in the brain,” Professor Meunier said.
“Our idea was to identify bioactive compounds from natural sources that could reach the brain and regulate the growth of neurons, resulting in improved memory formation,” Dr Martinez-Marmol said.
“This important research is unravelling the molecular mechanism of lion’s mane mushroom compounds and their effects on brain function, particularly memory,” Dr Lee revealed.