Mushroom, which one of the few natural sources of Vitamin D, is now being touted as a superfood fungi. Mushrooms are also know for their surprising immunity-boosting benefits and anti-cancer properties. A new study, published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, adds to the list of its benefits. Researchers from the University of Malaya in Malaysia have shown that regular consumption of mushrooms may enhance nerve growth in the brain and thus, help in delaying the development of age-related neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
According to latest reports, it as been ascertained that the prevalence of neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease will continue to rise steadily and is expected to reach 42 million cases worldwide in 2020. Bearing this in mind, this study opens up a new avenue to prevent the risk of such chronic diseases.
The study discovered that certain edible and medicinal mushrooms contain bioactive compounds that offer neuroprotective and cognitive benefits to protect against neurotoxic stimuli such as inflammation that contribute to neurodegenerative diseases. “According to our evidence, mushrooms exhibit antioxidant, anti-tumour, anti-virus, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulating, anti-microbial, and anti-diabetic activities,” explains Vikineswary Sabaratnam from the University of Malaya in Malaysia.
Mushrooms are also known for their anti-inflammatory properties and can be used as functional foods to suppress inflammation, which contributes to many age-related chronic diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases.
The researchers believe that the current drug therapy for neurodegenerative diseases is ineffective with many side effects, and it only provides a short-term delay in the progression of the disease. Therefore, we need to find appropriate solutions to prevent or reduce the severity of neurodegenerative diseases associated with impaired neuritogenesis. There are about 100 species of mushrooms and some of them can be great natural medicines.