Mushrooms & Cognitive Decline. Could Odd Nutrition Help?:
SCIENCE! cured Polio, but it hasn’t solved all the health problems out there yet.
Hence, all the nutbar alternative therapies that can at-times have a spotty record.
So until the time a company like Biogen finally cures Alzheimer’s,
Researchers are left trying to find any good habits associated with better-outcomes.
And in a mix of folksy-sounding ancient medicine coupled to new research that may confirm old suspicions,
A Singapore team may have found yet another thing you can do to try to stave-off cognitive decline before it happens…
Old Traditions Vs. Modern-Medicine:
So far, several drugs to cure Alzheiemer’s have failed at the final trial-stage of testing,
Including the recent one that caused a 30%+ drop in the stock of Biogen.
So the best we have are the studies that show correlations with behavior and better outcomes.
And the short answer is the newest work by Singapore researchers shows an odd correlation between people who eat mushrooms regularly and have lower incidence of cognitive decline.
Read on to find out more…
The Dietary Difference, Starting With Saturated Fat:
So Neal Barnard showed that if you get saturated fat out of your diet down past a certain threshold,
Your incidence of pre-dementia almost vanishes.
He even showed that the protective phytochemicals in blueberry juice help reverse existing cases of it,
If you drink enough of it for a long-enough duration of time.
In that TED talk, he also outlines a few other small-study-supported dietary changes you can make to improve your brain, too.
But that’s not all.
Neurogenesis, Red Wine, & Mediterranean Diets:
Sandrine Thuret showed us we can grow new brain-cells and also change our behavior to avoid killing any more of them.
And Dr. Claire McEvoy confirmed what several other specific-diet nutrition studies have shown,
That if you get a Mediterranean-style diet it can actually help reduce your incidence of cognitive decline as you age, too.
It may even keep your brain-volume from shrinking with time.
So this new work shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.
Fighting Cognitive Decline. The Mushroomy Specifics:
In a study by Dr. Feng Lei’s team from the National University of Singapore,
On about 660 Chinese subjects over the age of 60, who were tracked for their brain-health outcomes over the 6 years from 2011-2017,
Those who ate mushrooms regularly had a lower incidence of what’s being called “Mild Cognitive Impairment”.
-Which is something along the lines of always forgetting where you put your car keys.
The results showed about a 43% decrease in the rate of that problem for every 10.5 ounces of cooked mushrooms subjects ate per week.
That was measured versus a rough control group who ate less than 5 ounces a week.
The effect was even greater at a 52% lower incidence of MCI for those who ate more than the 10.5 ounces / 2-portion-size amount.
These effects were borne-out by cognitive exams similar to the IQ-test that demonstrated better function in thinking and processing-speed in the mushroom-eating group.
So What Exactly What The Fungus Is Going On Here?:
While the sample-size is not gigantic and these results are self-reported, like all diet-studies,
And they’re not from 300,000 subject like Dr. McEvoy’s Mediterranean Diet study,
They still are suggestive.
Not only do mushrooms of all types, including the +/-six from the study,
(which btw, were Golden, Shiitake, Oyster, the standard White Button everyone eats, and then 2 generic varieties of random Dried ones, and random Canned ones)
Supply your gut microbes with a type of insoluble fiber, called Beta-Glucan, they need to thrive that’s rarely-available elsewhere,
Dr. Lei theorizes that out of the many micro-nutrients in shrooms that Dr. Joel Fuhrman would love,
There is a very peculiar Amino Acid, called ErgoThioneine, that’s also found in them.
And allegedly, people who display MCI are particularly-deficient in this amino compared to the average person who doesn’t have any type of pre-dementia yet.
Could Other Factors Be At-Work?:
In-addition to the Far-Eastern diet that would be different than ours,
Mushrooms that the Singaporean-subjects ate also pack a few other things, like:
1) Vitamin B
2) Vitamin C
3) Vitamin D
-Which may not be the end of the list.
Because mushrooms also have very-curious history of also improving Immune-Response.
In-fact, there is an all-mushroom-derived compound called AHCC that people use as an anti-biotic when other things stop working.
It may also be ErgoThioneine’s anti-oxidant, or even anti-inflammatory effects.
Sadly, we just don’t know it all yet; because if we did, maybe researchers could make a super-powerful extract from mushrooms that Entirely-prevents Alzheimer’s and Dementia in the first place!
We Don’t Have A Cure, But Research Still Helps:
So for now, just be encouraged in the knowledge that Science keeps trying,
And every day they get closer to a cure and then a prevention for some of the worst diseases out there.
Until then, eat your mushrooms and try to keep in the best-possible habits for avoiding things like Mild Cognitive Impairment, or even Alzhiemer’s in the first place!
Photo Credits: “oven baked vegan mushrooms”, by Mittmac