In 1998 the Spanish researcher José Manuel García Verdugo (University of Valencia) in collaboration with the Mexican Arturo Álvarez-Buylla (University of California) demonstrated that the renewal of neurons is the work of neuronal stem cells with the characteristics of astrocytes. His work, published in Nature, described the "cradle" of neuronal stem cells, located in the subventricular zone.
For several years, numerous studies have appeared that confirm that there is constant neurogenesis in our brain. In natural circumstances, in the absence of injury or illness, to prevent cell death, neurons are equipped with mechanisms of self-repair and constant self-reparation.
But also, if we suffer an injury (a stroke, a skull fracture or suffer from a degenerative disease such as Alzheimer), thousands of neurons are destroyed and circuits are disconnected between them making it impossible to perform the functions they have entrusted.
Nerve Growth Factor (NGF)
To correct this, chemicals called neurotrophins or nerve growth factors (Nerve Growth Factor, NGF) are synthesized in specialized neurons and are the mediators of the process. In recent years there has been an increasing interest in artificially promoting neurogenesis, acting on the genes, proteins and trophic factors that regulate it.
Hercenonas and erinacinas
In this last section, the lion's mane plays a crucial role in neurogenesis. This fungus (autochthonous in our forests) contains hercenic (A, B, C, D and E), as well as ericenins, which induce the production of the hormone nerve growth factor (NGF).
How does lion's mane help your memory?
Different trials have shown the action of the hericenonas as stimulators of the renewal at two levels:
Neuronal regeneration (stimulating the production of NGF). This factor plays an important role in peripheral neuropathies and especially those related to diabetes.
Regeneration of the protective myelin layer. This is a decisive factor in the treatment of multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Other studies have shown its adaptogenic action against stress, insomnia, memory recovery or the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's or Alzheimer's.
It has been demonstrated that the neurogenesis-promoting substances existing in lion's mane are able to cross the selective blood-brain barrier, thus entering into direct contact with the astrocytes.
This is one of the many endangered species of mushrooms in our forests, therefore this mushroom must not be collected in the wild. But If you want to consume it, it's highly recommended to buy it from growers with an organic certification.