Mushrooms Aren’t Just Tasty, They Have a Compound That May Help Boost Your Memory

Mushrooms are packed with nutrients and linked with plenty of health benefits, including boosting your immune system, improving your gut health, and lowering cholesterol. There’s also been past research demonstrating benefits to brain health, and a new study may have found one of the reasons why.

Researchers at the University of Queensland – along with team members from Gachon University and Chungbuk National University – investigated compounds in the lion’s mane mushroom, which has long been used in traditional medicine and linked with nerve regeneration. The goal was to find out more about these possible brain benefits.


Professor Frederic Meunier, co-author from the Queensland Brain Institute, says, “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.”

According to their findings, published in the Journal of Neurochemistry, compounds isolated from the mushroom and used on cultured brain cells had a “significant impact” on the growth of these cells and improved memory. Lab measurements showed that the compounds promote neuron projections, extending and connecting to other neurons. This may have been related to an observed increase in growth cones, which are key to brain cells gauging their environment and establishing such connections.

The team hopes these findings could ultimately help Alzheimer’s patients and those with other neurodegenerative conditions.


Dr. Ramon Martinez-Marmol, first author from the University of Queensland, says, “Our idea was to identify bioactive compounds from natural sources that could reach the brain and regulate the growth of neurons, resulting in improved memory formation.”

The team says that further research is needed to determine whether the lion’s mane’s compounds could be used to improve memory and slow cognitive decline, as well as what would need to be targeted to best induce these possible brain benefits.

This isn’t the first research to link mushrooms with brain health. A past study in Singapore found that eating more than two servings of mushrooms per week was associated with a lower risk of mild cognitive impairment.

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