Reishi mushrooms, scientifically known as Ganoderma lucidum, have gained widespread recognition for their potential health benefits–from improving sleep to balancing hormones. This brings up some interest surrounding their potential for managing one particular condition related to hormone imbalance–hair loss.
Curious about reishi mushroom benefits for hair health and warding off hair loss? Stay tuned–we’re going to explore all of the potential benefits of reishi mushrooms for your locks, plus how to use these functional mushrooms to your hair’s advantage.
Table of Contents
Reishi mushrooms are rich in antioxidants that protect hair from damage.
They may help balance hormones, promoting healthier hair growth.
Scientific research is ongoing, so consult a professional before making significant changes.
What are Reishi Mushrooms?
Ganoderma lucidum, commonly known as reishi mushrooms, is a type of fungus that has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. It is often referred to as the "mushroom of immortality" due to its purported health benefits.
Reishi mushrooms are distinctively shaped with a glossy exterior and a woody, bitter taste, meaning they aren’t usually used in cuisine. Instead, many people turn to mushroom tea made from dried mushrooms or reishi mushroom extract supplements to reap their health benefits.
In many cases, supplements are the best options because reishi extract contains a higher concentration of the mushroom’s bioactive components than whole mushroom products.
Beneficial Compounds Found in Reishi Mushrooms
Reishi mushrooms are a rich source of bioactive compounds, including triterpenes, polysaccharides, and peptidoglycans. These compounds possess potential anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and immune-boosting properties. Such properties could play a role in promoting overall health, which may indirectly benefit hair health.
Thanks to its impact on stress hormones, Reishi is widely considered a powerful adaptogen, or a compound that regulates the stress response.
The health benefits of adaptogens include:
- Reduce the impact of free radicals on cellular membranes
- Aid in enhancing protein synthesis
- Facilitate the repair of impaired muscle tissue
- Foster efficient post-workout recovery
- Enhance muscular endurance
- Reduce stress levels
- Enhance nighttime sleep quality
- Improve cognitive acuity throughout the day
But how do any of these benefits tie into hair health? Let’s take a look:
Reishi Mushrooms Benefits for Hair Health
1. Potential Antioxidant Effects
2. Balancing Hormones
Hormonal imbalances can contribute to hair problems such as hair loss and thinning. Reishi mushrooms may have the potential to help balance hormones, which in turn could promote healthier hair growth.
Studies have found that Reishi may be useful for lowering cortisol (stress hormone) levels. It may also help by up-regulating the immune system and supporting the liver in a way that helps to detoxify xenoestrogens, substances that mimic estrogen and can cause side effects related to excessive estrogen levels. These substances have also been linked to various hair growth disorders.
3. Boosting the Immune System
4. Blocking DHT
Inflated levels of DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, is frequently linked to male pattern baldness, and DHT blockers are often prescribed to treat hale loss in men (and sometimes in women).
One study looked at the impact of the extracts of 19 different edible mushrooms and found that Reishi showed the strongest 5alpha-reductase inhibitory activity. 5alpha-reductase inhibitors block the conversion of testosterone to DHT, reducing overall DHT levels. So, this theory suggests that Reishi may work as a powerful DHT blocker, which may help to manage certain forms of hair loss.
5. Reduce Scalp Inflammation
Reishi mushrooms may offer anti-inflammatory benefits that are useful for alleviating scalp inflammation. Moreover, they actively support enhanced blood circulation, facilitating the transportation of vital oxygen and nourishing nutrients to the scalp.
This combination of lower inflammation levels and increased blood flow may help to promote hair growth while simultaneously lowering the risks of scalp afflictions like psoriasis, eczema, and dandruff.
Conclusion: How Does Reishi Benefit Hair Health?
Incorporating reishi mushrooms into your diet or hair care routine may offer potential benefits, but remember that scientific research on this topic is ongoing. It's essential to consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet or lifestyle.
To recap, reishi mushrooms hold exciting promise in addressing various hair issues, including male pattern hair loss, alopecia areata, and premature graying. Packed with potent antioxidants, they serve as a protective shield for the scalp and hair against environmental toxins and free radicals. This protection can potentially stimulate healthy hair growth.
Furthermore, their anti-inflammatory properties may mitigate the inflammation that weakens hair follicles and hampers blood flow to the scalp. Notably, reishi mushrooms could also contribute to combating autoimmune issues like alopecia areata, a condition where the body's attack on hair follicles leads to thinning hair and patchy bald spots.
However, for a comprehensive understanding and validation of these benefits, further extensive research is needed. Always seek professional guidance before integrating reishi mushrooms into your hair care routine.
How to Choose a High-Quality Mushroom Supplement
When choosing a mushroom supplement for pain relief, ensure it's from a reputable source. Look for supplements that have undergone rigorous testing for purity, potency, and quality. Check for certifications, and consult with healthcare professionals to determine the best supplement and dosage for your needs.
Here are key factors to weigh:
Whole Mushroom Powder vs. Mushroom Extract
- Whole Mushroom Powder: This form includes the entire mushroom, retaining all its natural nutrients and compounds. While akin to consuming a whole fruit, whole mushroom powder may lack the necessary beta glucans that provide therapeutic benefits.
- Mushroom Extract: Extracts are concentrated and contain specific anxiety-alleviating compounds. The extraction process enhances bioavailability, ensuring consistent and potent results. However, extracts often omit the fiber and other nutritional components found in whole mushroom products.
Fruiting Body Supplements vs. Mycelium Supplements
- Fruiting Body Supplements: Derived from the mature part of the mushroom, fruiting body supplements are richer in the sought-after therapeutic compounds, making them ideal for addressing health concerns.
- Mycelium Supplements: Mycelium, the mushroom's root system, may not offer the same anxiety-relief benefits as fruiting body supplements. Some companies use mycelium to reduce costs, but this may compromise the therapeutic potential.
Labeling and Transparency
When choosing a mushroom supplement for anxiety, prioritize transparency and thorough product information:
- Look for supplements from reputable manufacturers that provide clear details about sourcing, extraction methods, and quality control practices.
- Ensure the label specifies the mushroom species used, whether it's whole mushroom powder or an extract, and the source (fruiting body or mycelium).
- Aim for a beta glucan content of around 20% or more for effective anxiety support.
- Verify third-party testing for purity and potency.
Opting for products with transparent labeling empowers you to make an informed decision and trust the quality of your chosen mushroom supplement.
If you want to take full advantage of the "functional" side of functional mushrooms, consider a mushroom super-blend like our Lucid Coffee, Chai, or Matcha powders. It takes full advantage of the benefits of these superfood mushrooms by pairing Cordyceps, Maitake, Tremella, and Lion's Mane, plus powerful nootropics, like BCAA's, L-Theanine, Alpha-GPC, and more.
- “Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92757/
- “Hepatoprotective effects of aqueous extract from Lingzhi or Reishi medicinal mushroom Ganoderma lucidum (higher basidiomycetes) on α-amanitin-induced liver injury in mice” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23796220/
- “Risks and benefits related to alimentary exposure to xenoestrogens” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6104637/
- “Estrogen Leads to Reversible Hair Cycle Retardation through Inducing Premature Catagen and Maintaining Telogen”https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3390338/
- “Immune Modulation From Five Major Mushrooms: Application to Integrative Oncology” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684115/
- “Anti-androgenic activities of Ganoderma lucidum” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16029938/