Lion’s Mane and Parkinson’s: Can Lion's Mane mushrooms treat Parkinson's disease?

Lion’s mane mushrooms are powerful fungi that offer a wide range of benefits.  There has been some interest lately in their use as a treatment for Parkinson’s disease.  


Currently there is no cure for Parkinson’s, but there are treatments available to help manage the symptoms.  And while the evidence is not yet conclusive, there is reason to believe that lion’s mane mushrooms can work in opposition to the effects of Parkinson’s disease. Here is some more information aboutlion’s mane, Parkinson’s, and the connection between them. 


What is Lion’s Mane? 

Lion’s mane is an adaptogenic mushroom that grows on the trunks of dead hardwood trees.  Lion’s mane has a long history of human consumption: It has been used as a medicinal mushroom for many centuries in East Asia. It is considered adaptogenic because it contains phytonutrients called adaptogens.  These adaptogens are bioactive compounds that come from plants and fungi, and that can help our bodies and brains cope with stress. They help with bodily adaptation and maintaining homeostasis, even when we are faced with large amounts of stress.


Benefits of Lion’s Mane 

In addition to stress management, lion’s mane mushrooms also provide a number of  other benefits, to both the brain and the body. These fungi contain essential brain nutrients that can help prevent cognitive decline and enhance mental functioning.  The vitamins and nutrients in lion’s mane also have mood-boosting impacts, so can help treat depression and other mood disorders.  Additionally, lion’s mane mushrooms have immune-boosting and antioxidant properties.  They can help to prevent disease and keep your body as healthy as possible! 


These are just a few of the many great benefits one can reap from adding adaptogenic mushrooms to their diet. 


What is Parkinson’s disease? 

Before getting into the ways lion’s mane can help treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s, it is important to have an understanding of the disease. Parkinson’s disease is a central nervous system disorder.  It is progressive, and stems from certain nervous cells in the brain gradually breaking down and dying. It affects movement, and often one of the first signs is a slight tremor in the hands. Other common symptoms of Parkinson’s include uncontrollable movements, shaking, stiffness, and difficulty balancing. As mentioned above, although there is no known cure for Parkinson’s, there are treatments that can help to manage it and minimize the symptoms. 


Lion’s Mane and Parkinson’s Disease

So why might lion’s mane help those afflicted with Parkinson’s disease? Both anecdotal evidence and research suggest a tie between the positive effects of lion’s mane and treatment for Parkinson’s.  


It has been proven that lion’s mane, or Hericium erinaceus, promotes the growth of brain nerve cells. A study in the Journal of Restorative Medicine found that lion’s mane mushrooms seem to have neuro-protective and neuro-regenerative properties. 


Lion’s mane promotes neuron growth while the effects of Parkinson’s are felt because of neuron destruction. Thus, the two work in opposition to each other and it is reasonable to think the positive effects of lion’s mane can help to offset the negative progression of Parkinson’s disease. 

 

While there is not much research that specifically looks at lion’s mane in relation to Parkinson’s, there is evidence of lion’s mane as an effective treatment for other neurodegenerative illnesses. Since many of these disorders effect the brain in ways similar to Parkinson’s, it is promising and points to lion’s mane as a potentially effective treatment for Parkinson’s disease as well. 


Summary 

Overall, it is clear more human research is needed before a clear and conclusive tie between lion’s mane and Parkinson’s disease treatment can be drawn.  However, the limited evidence we have seen does suggest lion’s mane works in opposition to the disease, and could be an effective treatment to minimalize Parkinson’s symptoms.  

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