Lingzhi slows progress of Alzheimer’s

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January 23, 2008  
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CM NEWS – The legendary lingzhi mushroom has been shown to have another potential therapeutic function: to slow the progress of Alzheimer’s disease.

Lingzhi (Ganoderma lucidum), or reishi in Japanese, is a medicinal fungus used clinically in many Asian countries to promote health and longevity. has been shown to have an effect on and . Together with a special TCM formula, lingzhi can help sooth.

According to the researchers at the University of Hong Kong, synaptic degeneration is a key mode of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease. Recent studies have shown the loss of synaptic density proteins in each individual neuron during the progression of Alzheimer’s. It was recently reported that ?-amyloid could cause synaptic dysfunction and contribute to Alzheimer’s pathology.

How does ?-amyloid relate to Alzheimer’s? Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease and the most common cause of dementia in the elderly. The neuropathology of Alzheimer’s is characterized at first by the deposition of extracellular amyloid plaques and intraneuronal neurofibrillary tangles in the brain, and later by the loss of neurons and their processes.

Alzheimer’s disease is expressed by excessive deposition of the ?-amyloid peptide (?-AP) in the central nervous system. Cognitive impairment appears to be most closely correlated in time with the loss of neurons and neuronal processes.

A correlation between lower synapse density and greater proximity to ?-amyloid plaques was found in a Jan 2007 study.

One study said that antibodies against ?-Amyloid can slow cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease. ?-amyloid is a major histopathological hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease (National Institute on Aging 1997). It is associated with age-related cognitive decline, neurotoxicity, and the formation of neurofibrillary tangles.

In this study, the Hong Kong researchers reported that aqueous extract of lingzhi significantly attenuated A?-induced synaptotoxicity by preserving the synaptic density protein, synaptophysin.

What is synaptophysin? Synaptophysin is a synaptic vesicle glycoprotein with four transmembrane domains. It is present in neuroendocrine cells and in virtually all neurons in the brain and spinal cord that participate in synaptic transmission. It acts as a marker for neuroendocrine tumours.

Taken together, the results prove a hypothesis that anti-aging lingzhi can prevent harmful effects of the exterminating toxin A? in Alzheimer’s disease.

gou-qi or goji As a side note, an earlier research done by the same group of researchers at HKU found that anther anti-aging Chinese medicine gou qi (??, Lycium barbarum) could also worked against ?-amyloid peptide neurotoxicity in Alzheimer’s disease.

This group of researchers seem to believe that studies on anti-aging herbal medicines like lingzhi and gou qi may open a new therapeutic window for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

[Brain Research Volume 1190, 23 January 2008, Pages 215-224]

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More readings:
Evidence found for genes that affect risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (Mayo Clinic News)

More info about lingzhi here.