The University of Queensland’s researchers have uncovered a potent compound from an edible mushroom, which has been found to stimulate nerve growth and improve memory. Professor Frederic Meunier from the Queensland Brain Institute stated that the research team has uncovered new active compounds from the Hericium erinaceus mushroom.
Pre-clinical trials have shown that consuming Lion’s Mane mushrooms can lead to improved brain cell growth and enhanced 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,” Professor Meunier said.
Preliminary trials have revealed that consuming Lion’s Mane mushrooms can lead to a marked increase in brain cell growth and memory improvement.
In the laboratory, the effects of compounds isolated from Hericium erinaceus on cultured brain cells were analyzed, and the active compounds were found to stimulate neuron projections, promoting connection and extension with other neurons.
By using advanced super-resolution microscopy researchers revealed that the mushroom extract and its key components significantly enhance the size of growth cones, which play a crucial role in enabling brain cells to perceive their surroundings and form new connections with other neurons in the brain.
According to Dr. Ramon Martinez-Marmol from UQ, this discovery has the potential to treat and prevent neurodegenerative cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
“Our aim was to identify bioactive compounds from natural sources that could reach the brain and control the growth of neurons, leading to improved memory formation,” Dr. Martinez-Marmol stated.
Dr. Dae Hee Lee from CNGBio Co, a collaborator on the research project, highlighted that Lion’s Mane mushrooms have been utilized in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to treat various conditions and maintain overall health.
“This cutting-edge research is shedding light on the molecular mechanisms behind the compounds in Lion’s Mane mushrooms and their impact on brain function, particularly memory,” said Dr. Lee.
The study was published in the Journal of Neurochemistry.