For anyone suffering from damage to the peripheral nerves, vitamin B12 supplementation is critical to promoting nerve regeneration. Methyl-B12 has been shown to help regenerate nerves and promote the rebuilding of the myelin sheath – a protective coating around the nerves. While B-12 still reigns king, researchers have recently linked yet another substance to the regeneration of nerves and the myelin sheath. This link may prove beneficial to those suffering from peripheral neuropathy
Hericium erinaceus, also known as Lion’s Mane mushroom, was the subject of a recent study by researchers from the Department of Anatomy at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur. The purpose was to study the ability of aqueous extract of the mushroom in the treatment of nerve injury following peroneal nerve crush in Sprague-Dawley rats. The results showed that hericium erinaceus was capable of promoting peripheral nerve regeneration after injury.
The regeneration capabilities of Lion’s Mane seem to be a result of two different types of Nerve Growth Factors (NFGs) found in the mushroom. Nerve growth factors are small proteins that are essential for the growth, maintenance, and survival of certain nerve cells. The two classes of NFG’s contained within Lion’s Mane are hericenones and erinacines.
In addition to rebuilding nerves and regenerating the myelin sheath, the mushroom has the potential to improve mood and cognition. In a 2010 study, researchers in Japan discovered that after 4-weeks of hericium erinaceus intake, depression and anxiety levels in a control group of patients were significantly lower than the placebo group.
Two additional studies by researchers in Japan have shown Lion’s Mane to have similar effects on improving memory and concentration. A 2009 study showed that patients suffering from mild cognitive impairment who were treated with Lion’s Mane for 16 weeks showed significantly increases scores on a cognitive function scale when compared with the placebo group. A 2011 study on mice showed the mushroom to improve short-term memory and visual recognition.
Though more research is forthcoming, the existing studies show real promise for the mushroom’s healing and regenerative capabilities. For those plagued by the symptoms of damaged peripheral nerves, it could be yet another natural approach to rebuilding healthy nerves and easing the pain and discomfort of peripheral neuropathy.