mushrooms twice a week halves the risk – OI Canadian

Like all organs in the human body, the structure and function of the brain gradually deteriorate with age. This aging is completely normal and in most cases does not have a major impact on a person’s quality of life.

In some cases, however, the decline in brain performance can become more significant and lead to the appearance of “mild cognitive impairment”, ie episodes in which cognitive functions are subtly altered and cause unusual problems with memory, attention, language or visuospatial functions (orientation, driving, etc.).

Over time, these deficits can lead to a greater loss of cognitive function and ultimately the onset of dementia. With the aging population, this deterioration in cognitive health is likely to have serious consequences: recent estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO) predict that the number of people with dementia could triple in the next 30 years, with disastrous consequences for quality of life. of those affected and their loved ones.

The neuroprotective effect of foods rich in polyphenols

The WHO report highlights the importance of preventing the onset of dementia by adopting a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, body weight control and proper nutrition (e.g. the Mediterranean diet).

It is also interesting to note that several studies suggest that certain foods rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory polyphenols (olive oil, dark chocolate, turmeric, blueberries) appear to have a positive effect on brain function, raising the interesting possibility that the incorporating these foods into dietary habits may enhance the neuroprotective potential of healthy eating.

Even if some of the dementias are genetic in origin and therefore unavoidable, one should be aware that it is quite possible to prevent many of these dementias through lifestyle changes.

Two servings of mushrooms a week halve the risk of cognitive decline

Mushrooms are another category of foods that can help prevent cognitive decline. For example, studies have reported that regular mushroom consumption was associated with better cognitive performance in Norwegians aged 70-74, as well as a significant (20%) decrease in the risk of dementia in older Japanese. 65 years and older. This neuropreventive potential of mushrooms is also highlighted by the results of a recent study in Singapore of 663 people aged 60 years and older. Compared to people who rarely ate mushrooms (less than once a week), those who ate them regularly (2 or more servings per week) had a 56% lower risk of mild cognitive impairment such as memory loss.

The neuroprotective effect of mushrooms scientifically explained

As the authors point out, this protective effect of fungi is biologically explicable. On the one hand, mushrooms contain several specific molecules (hericones, erinacins, scabronins and dictyophorin) that are known to promote the synthesis of neuronal growth factor (NGF), a molecule involved in the survival of neurons. On the other hand, mushrooms are a very important source of L-ergothionein (ET), a molecule with a very strong antioxidant effect, which can accumulate in the brain and protect neurons from oxidative stress.

In addition, a study found that ET levels are significantly reduced in people with mild cognitive impairment, suggesting that ET deficiency could be a risk factor for neurodegeneration. Therefore, by increasing ET levels in the brain, regular mushroom consumption could prevent or at least attenuate the processes involved in the deterioration of cognitive functions associated with aging and its progression to neurodegenerative diseases such as dementia. .


World Health Organisation. A healthy lifestyle helps reduce the risk of dementia (

Feng et al. The association between mushroom consumption and mild cognitive impairment: a community-based cross-sectional study in Singapore. J. Alzheimer’s disease 197-203.

Cheah I et al. Ergothionein levels in an elderly population decrease with age and the incidence of cognitive decline; a risk factor for neurodegeneration? biochem. biophysics. Research Common. 478: 162-167.

* Presse Santé strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to everyone. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE INFORMATION PROVIDE NOT REPLACE THE ADVICE OF A HEALTH PROFESSIONAL.

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