Progressive memory loss has become one of the biggest health worries in modern times. In fact, older Americans are more worried about brain disorders than they are about cancer or heart disease. Memory loss can, indeed, develop as we age. However, referring to it as an age-related development is misleading.
By taking a closer look into the potential causes of mental decline, we see that one of the main underlying factors behind Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia is the formation of plaque in the brain. The core issues are not necessarily to do with aging. They are more to do with finding out what is behind brain plaque formation and how to stop it.
Developing effective strategies for preventing and reversing brain plaque development is now one of the greatest medical challenges of the 21st century.
Research on Stopping Brain Plaque
Science is making slow progress on this problem. Most research is devoted to understanding what brain plaque is and how our bodies make it. The hope is that such knowledge will provide clues about how to prevent it from forming.
So far we know that brain plaque is comprised of a very small protein, called amyloid beta (Aβ). This small protein comes from the breakdown of a much larger protein called amyloid precursor protein (APP). APP is widespread in many kinds of tissues, especially nerves. Scientists believe that it plays an important role in nerve growth and repair.
Proteins normally wear out over time. They have to be recycled as they wear out. Unfortunately, the healthy recycling of APP can go awry. When it does so, it spits out Aβ molecules into our brains.
This is the process where the best clues are for how to stop Aβ from forming in the first place.
What do we already know about the formation of Aβ from APP? It should be no surprise that, as with nearly all modern health challenges, inflammation appears to play a significant role in neurodegenerative diseases. The role of inflammation in the appearance of Aβ in Alzheimer’s disease is now well-known.
This means that the most fruitful research on stopping the formation of Aβ might simply be finding out how to reduce the inflammation behind it.
Brain Protection by a Mushroom
Thousands of natural products exhibit anti-inflammatory properties. A mushroom called Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) ranks as one of the top sources of such bioactive substances. Already the anti-inflammatory health-promoting properties of this mushroom include a phenomenal list of benefits, as follows:
Improved cognitive function
Neuroprotection and improved cognitive function, in particular, are attracting notice due to certain ingredients in the mushroom that can reduce the toxicity of Aβ.
The battle against Aβ by the Lion’s Mane is not just a laboratory phenomenon, either. Even before anyone knew about how the mushroom blocks the effects of Aβ toxicity, a 2004 clinical study in Japan demonstrated its anti-dementia effects.