Improving Effects of Yamabushitake
By Shota Yamamoto, M.D.
This is a summary of the article Improving Effects of the Mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Double-blind Placebo-controlled Clinical Trial written by Mori et al. published in Phytotherapy Research 2008.
Yamabushitake is also known as Hericium erinaceus, an edible mushroom that is used commonly in Japan and China. Cell experiments have shown that this compound is capable of promoting nerve growth factor synthesis (1). Thus, this became a subject for possible supplement to improve cognitive function.
In this paper by Mori et al, the effect of yamabushitake was studied in a population of Japanese men and women who were diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. Using a double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled trial, patients from 50-80 years old were randomized to a group of ones who receive a placebo pill, versus ones who receive the yamabushitake supplement for 22 weeks (2 weeks preliminary exam, 16 weeks of taking the compound, and 4 weeks of evaluation). Overall cognitive assessment was performed by evaluating patients using a Revised Hasegawa Dementia Scale (HDS-R).
As noted in this figure, the cognitive function of patients who took the yamabushitake was significantly higher than patients who took placebo pills. If you look closely, it appears that the statistically significant changes labeled in # start as early as 8 weeks and continues for the duration of the study (until the end of the 22 week study). None of the patients, both on the placebo and test cohort experienced any adverse problems. Finally, the study mentions that patient’s impairment got worse after coming off of the compound, providing another level of evidence that perhaps this compound is effective while taking it on a routine basis.
This figure shows the individual score performance before and after taking the compound for 16 weeks. It is quite clear that in the test cohort, basically everyone showed improvement, while only 6 people on the placebo side showed any inclination of improvement.
Cut to the chase/Final thoughts:
Yamabushitake is a rare food which appears to promote NGF synthesis in experiments and helps patients with mild cognitive impairment. Also, as a bonus, this is low in calories, rich in fiber, and are safe for patients overall, making this a NO-BRAINER supplement to try before your next big test/event/competition!
Mori, Koichiro, et al. "Nerve growth factor-inducing activity of Hericium erinaceus in 1321N1 human astrocytoma cells." Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin 31.9 (2008): 1727-1732.