Dementia is a general term for a range of symptoms associated with brain decline. There are more than 400 types of dementia but the most common is Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is a progressive condition, which means the symptoms develop gradually over many years and eventually become more severe.
The first sign of Alzheimer’s disease is usually minor memory problems.
“For example, this could be forgetting about recent conversations or events, and forgetting the names of places and objects,” explains the NHS.
As the condition progresses into the later stages, memory loss can become severe.
The person affected may not recognise their closest family members, for example, notes the Alzheimer’s Association.
Animal studies have found that the lion’s mane mushroom may help protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
Lion’s mane mushroom and its extracts have been shown to reduce symptoms of memory loss in mice, as well as prevent neuronal damage caused by amyloid-beta plaques, which accumulate in the brain during Alzheimer’s disease.
While no studies have analysed whether lion’s mane mushroom is beneficial for Alzheimer’s disease in humans, it appears to boost mental functioning.
A study in older adults with mild cognitive impairment found that consuming three grams of powdered lion’s mane mushroom daily for four months significantly improved mental functioning, but these benefits disappeared when supplementation stopped.
The latest research suggests that other factors are also important, although this does not mean these factors are directly responsible for causing dementia.
- Hearing loss
- Untreated depression (although this can also be a symptom of dementia)
- Loneliness or social isolation
- A sedentary lifestyle
The research concluded that by modifying all the risk factors we’re able to change, our risk of dementia could be significantly reduced.
There’s also some evidence to suggest that rates of dementia are lower in people who remain mentally and socially active throughout their lives.
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