Grow Hair with Reishi
"Life isn't perfect but your hair can be." Anonymous
Thick, shiny, voluminous hair are goals that we all aspire to have. It is a symbol of youth, good health and physical attraction, not to mention confidence. According to a 2014 survey by the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (available at http://www.statisticbrain.com/hair-loss-statistics/), approximately 35 million men in the United States suffer some type of hair loss, and while approximately 21 million women are affected by hair loss. With so many treatments and products on the market claiming to prevent hair loss and even hair growth, could Reishi mushroom help with hair loss? The answer is yes! Reishi has various properties that can treat pattern baldness. Here you will learn about Reishi (the mushroom of immortality and luscious hair), what causes hair loss and how Reishi can be used to help it.
What is Reishi
The reishi mushroom is also known as Lingzhi or Ganoderma lucidum. It has a glossy surface and a woody texture. Compared to other medicinal mushrooms, it has a deep bitter taste, hense are various mushroom-coffee blends coming on the market.
It has a long history of use in Asian countries promoting longevity and health. Dating as far back as 2000 years, you will find the reishi mushrooms in ancient scriptures. That is why this is the most extensively studied mushroom for its current and potential uses.
Within the mushroom you will find these active biomolecules that scientist are most interested in; polysaccharides, peptidoglycans, and triterpenes.
Varying types of polysaccharides have been extracted from the fruiting body, mycelia and spores of the mushroom and have exhibited these benefits:
Hair Loss and DHT
Hair loss can be caused by numerous reasons. Some are treatable and others permanent.
Hereditary hair loss
Childbirth, illness, and other stressors
Hairstyle pulls on your scalp
Androgenetic alopecia (AGA) is also known as “Hereditary hair loss” that affects 95% of hair loss in men according to the American Hair Loss Association. It is the leading cause of AGA.
DHT (dihydrotestosterone) is a hormone made when converted with an enzyme called 5α-reductase from androgen, testosterone.
Hereditary hair loss is an inherited trait that generates a thinning crown and receding hairline caused by DHT sensitivity in the scalp.
How does the DHT hormone cause hair loss?
DHT causes hair follicles that are sensitive to the hormone to shrink over time. As a result of that, the life span of the hair becomes shorter and smaller. Eventually the thick hair you once had is gone.
How Reishi helps with hair loss
How does reishi help reverse this natural process? Luckily for the majority of men who experience the symptom of “hereditary hair loss,” DHT inhibition is possible. With a cautious approach that leaves the sensitive hair follicles undisturbed, hair loss may be reversible.
The gentle approach is the supplementation of reishi mushroom.
In 2005, in a Japanese study, to determine the 5α-reductase inhibitory effects of mushrooms researchers conducted a study using 19 species of mushrooms.
19 mushroom ethanol extracts species were used in this experiment to study the inhibitory effects on DHT. Each extract would present a percentage of inhibitory activity for each species of mushroom. The extracts were added to a suspension containing rat liver and prostate microsomes to determine the percentage of inhibitory activity. With a result of 70-80% percentage of inhibition, reishi displayed the highest result.
How else can Reishi be used for hair loss?
Alopecia arena is a form of hair loss that is caused by your immune system. Your immune system fights off bacteria and viruses and protects your body from foreign attacks.
Those who suffer from alopecia areata, their immune system recognizes the hair follicle as a foreign object and attacks it. As a result, it damages the hair follicle and even causes it to fall out. The visual effect is patchiness of baldness and if left untreated, it could lead to full baldness.
One of the bioactive molecules of the Reishi mushroom is the polysaccharide and is responsible for the immune stimulating benefit.
The Reishi mushroom can support the immune system to function properly and assist for a proper immune response. Although there are no current studies on alopecia areata with the use of reishi, we are hopeful that by supporting the immune system, reishi can lessen the attack on the hair follicles and give the hair follicles a chance to grow.
Ways to use Reishi mushroom
If you are already supplementing with reishi, you are inhibiting the DHT hormone and preventing hair loss. Other methods include adding reishi extract to your shampoo, making your own shampoo with reishi extract, and making a serum/hair mask (apply to the scalp).
Common dosages of reishi extract vary from 1.5 to 9 grams a day. Doses vary depending on where you are getting your extracts. Some companies use extracts from different parts of the mushroom, for example the fruiting body or the mycelium on grain.
In America alone, 12.42 million people use hair regrowth products in 2020 and is projected to increase to 12.94 in 2024. Maybe we see reishi as an ingredient in one of these products.
For those who are concerned about baldness, contact your doctor or dermatologist and you can work together to come up with a plan that is catered to your needs.