Are you worried about hair loss? You're not alone—millions of people worldwide experience some degree of hair loss each year. While there are many causes of hair loss, including genetics and hormonal changes, it's possible to reverse this process through lifestyle changes and natural remedies.
One such remedy is the reishi mushroom. This article will answer questions like, what does Reishi mushroom do for hair? What about Reishi mushroom for hair loss?
If you have brittle and weak hair or have issues with hair fall, this mushroom may be the one for you. The reishi mushroom products can reverse hair loss, helping you avoid balding.
Keep reading below to learn about the 13 Reishi mushroom hair loss benefits that may help you get your lustrous hair back. We will show you scientific and research-backed ways through which reishi mushrooms can help promote healthy hair growth.
Ganoderma Lucidum: What Is Reishi Mushroom?
Ganoderma Lucidum, or Reishi, is a medicinal superfood fungus used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. This orange-to-red fan-shaped "mushroom of immortality" has gained significant interest among pharmaceutical industries and alternative medicine for its many health-boosting benefits.
Read More: Are there any Reishi mushroom look-alikes?
Reishi mushroom is native to Asia and was widely cultivated and studied for medicinal use. Today the fungus is available as supplements, and people take it to enhance immunity and as a preventative anti-inflammatory treatment, among many other benefits.
Read More: See all the benefits of Reishi mushroom.
However, while most people only take Reishi for its general health benefits, the mushroom has much more uses—one of the most overlooked uses is helping with hair loss.
This detailed guide will show how Reishi mushroom helps people maintain youthful hair. Stay with us to see how to use reishi mushroom powder for hair. We will also show you the best time to take reishi mushrooms to promote healthy hair growth.
13 Reishi Mushroom Benefits For Hair Loss
So, how does Reishi mushroom help with hair loss? Or, how does Reishi prevent male pattern baldness?
To understand Reishi mushroom hair loss benefits, we must first examine why people often lose their hair. Hair loss results from breakage from a weak shaft, diseases like Alopecia, inadequate nutrition, and other factors damaging the hair.
Reishi mushrooms can help combat hair loss by addressing these concerns and may effectively promote new hair growth. So, let's examine 13 ways Reishi mushroom improves hair health, which eventually reduces hair fall.
1. Prevents Baldness In Men
Regarding reishi mushrooms and hair growth, baldness is the most common problem that necessitates using the mushroom. This condition often affects more men than it does women.
Studies have shown that the most common hair loss problem globally is the pattern of baldness in men, also known as Androgenic Alopecia (AA). Androgenetic Alopecia results from a byproduct hormone of testosterone called Dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
The higher the levels of DHT in the body, the more likely you will experience AA. Since men have more testosterone than women, so they tend to deal with androgenetic Alopecia more often than women.
It is worth noting that testosterone is the most important sex hormone in males. Testosterone, therefore, is a healthy hormone.
Read More: See Reishi testosterone benefits.
However, testosterone, converted to DHT, creates problems. Reishi mushroom extract reduces the conversion of testosterone to DHT.
Studies have shown that Ganoderma Lucidum can help reduce the levels of DHT(1). Although the research is limited, here is what we know about reishi mushroom benefits for hair growth, especially regarding men and DHT.
In one study, researchers investigated different mushrooms' ability to decrease 5 alpha-reductase, an enzyme responsible for converting testosterone to DHT. Of the 19 mushrooms tested, Reishi outperformed each one of them.
Reishi mushroom contains a unique group of fatty molecules called Ganoderic acids. These compounds have major anti-androgen effects that reduce the enzyme 5-alpha reductase and decrease the expression of the androgen receptor. This reduces the ability of the male hormone to attach to the cells and exert its functions.
Going back to the study, the alcohol extracts of Reishi inhibited 5-alpha reductase by 75%, which is comparable to what the anti-hair loss drug finasteride does (60-90% inhibition). Therefore, regarding preventing premature hair loss, Reishi's effectiveness is similar to one of the medications given to people experiencing hair loss.
However, would a doctor say the potency of Reishi is similar to that of Finasteride? Or, can Reishi be a natural form of Finasteride?
We can't say for sure at this point because these studies have not been done on humans yet. We can't consider Reishi a 100% replacement for other hair loss treatments like Finasteride.
But what we can say is that the mushroom has the potential to benefit Androgenic Alopecia because it does seem to lower DHT. You can, therefore, use it as a supporting hair loss treatment option.
Read More: See how Chaga mushroom fights hair loss.
2. Helps Prevent Premature Discoloration
While this advantage is not directly related to Ganoderma benefits for hair loss, it significantly impacts hair appearance. For most people, grey hair can be a significant cause of concern.
Unlike male pattern hair loss, which predominantly affects one particular group of people, greying hair tends to affect both males and females. However, reishi extract hinders premature hair discoloration.
Read More: Learn how to use Reishi mushroom powder and extracts.
Oxidative stress in the hair leads to premature strands of grey that we dislike. There is an accumulation of massive amounts of hydrogen peroxide, an oxygen-containing compound that damages cells in the body.
Ganoderma mushroom is power-packed with antioxidants. The polysaccharides of Reishi mushroom are known to mimic the function of Superoxide Dismutase (SOD), an enzyme responsible for breaking down oxygen-derived free radicals like hydrogen peroxide.
3. Reduce Scalp Inflammation
One of the best mushrooms for hair growth, Ganoderma helps with hair growth by boosting blood circulation on the scalp. Scalp inflammation is a leading cause of hair loss in both men and women.
Poor or improper blood circulation on the scalp is one of the leading causes of hair loss. The mushroom's ability to improve scalp health reduces the risk of hair fall, allowing people to keep their hair without having to rely on medications.
Research(2) has shown that Ganoderma contains polysaccharides and peptidoglycans that can reduce many inflammatory conditions.
To tackle the hair loss problem, maintaining a healthy scalp is equally important as maintaining healthy hair. Reishi mushrooms can help relieve scalp inflammation, which may improve circulation in the scalp.
Read More: See how Reishi prevents cancer by fighting chronic inflammation.
When your scalp is healthy, your hair growth is enhanced.
4. Modulates The Immune System
A poor immune system is a leading cause of male pattern baldness. By boosting the immune system, the Reishi mushrooms promote healthy hair.
Ganoderma mushrooms can help modulate the immune system(3). It can strengthen a weak and ineffective immune system to fight stressors or temper an overactive immune system like in autoimmune diseases like Alopecia.
In Alopecia, the immune system attacks the hair follicles. The compromised immunity leads to follicle damage and falling out. Bald patches of hair loss are seen not only throughout the scalp but also in the beard and other body parts.
Over time when this is left untreated, it can permanently lose hair in these areas.
Reishi mushroom manipulates the immune system's mediators (chemicals called cytokines). A proper immune response would mean that the attack on hair follicles reduces, encouraging healthy hair growth.
There is no clinical evidence of the benefits of Reishi mushroom on Alopecia. But given the immunomodulatory effects of the fungus, it is fair to say it could be beneficial in treating such conditions.
5. Combats Oxidative Stress
Reishi mushroom is jam-packed with powerful antioxidants. Its ability to combat oxidative stress(4) can be attributed to glutathione, ergothioneine triterpenoids, and other polysaccharides.
So how is this antioxidant property linked with hair? Free radical damage caused by oxygen molecules can diminish the health of your hair.
Reishi mushrooms can help protect your hair and scalp from these damages. It plays a role in maintaining a healthier scalp and a better environment for hair follicles to regrow. The results: stronger and thicker hair!
6. Provides nutrition
Like many other medicinal mushrooms, Ganoderma Lucidum mushrooms are an excellent source of proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
Read More:See Maitake's nutritional values.
When you take Reishi mushroom supplements, your body benefits from its nutrient profile, and even your hair can soak it up.
7. It May Help Fight Infection
Bacterial overgrowth and fungal infection can lead to unhealthy shafts and hair fall. Reishi mushroom has antimicrobial and antifungal properties that can help fight scalp infections.
The Ganodermin(5) protein in the Reishi mushroom has antifungal properties. It improves the scalp's condition, eventually improving hair loss.
Adding Reishi's anti-bacterial(6) properties into your daily routine helps prevent clogging and blocking hair follicles. This will ensure that the hair follicles have a suitable environment for optimum growth and development.
8. Reishi Helps With Cancer Treatment And Prevention
One study(7) revealed that in tests with cancer cells, Ganoderma Lucidum exhibits anticancer activity. It may have therapeutic potential as a dietary supplement and alternative breast and prostate cancer therapy.
While cancer may not directly cause hair loss, cancer treatment often leads to hair loss. Chemotherapy may result in hair loss not just on your scalp but elsewhere on your body.
Your pubic hair, armpit hair, brow hair, and other body hair can fall out occasionally due to chemotherapy treatment. Different doses of chemotherapy medications can result in anything from mild hair thinning to complete baldness, and some chemotherapy drugs are more prone to induce hair loss than others.
By aiding in the treatment of cancer and also preventing the disease, Reishi indirectly fights hair loss.
9. Reishi Fights Anxiety
Research has shown that chronic stress leads to hair loss. A study conducted in 2021(8) helped researchers from the Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) establish the biochemical process by which ongoing stress damages hair follicles, supporting previous theories that stress may contribute to hair loss.
The mushroom Reishi has anxiety benefits and depression benefits. Anxiety and depression are both a result of stress. By fixing these issues, the Reishi mushroom lowers the risk of hair loss.
10. Reishi Fights Allergies
Research has confirmed that allergies cause hair loss. According to a research study conducted in 2020(9), allergy promotes alopecia areata—sudden hair loss that starts with one or more circular bald patches that may overlap—in a subset of patients.
Luckily, Reishi fights allergies. By helping patients fight allergy symptoms, the mushroom also reduces the risk of suffering from hair loss and baldness.
11. Reishi Offers Hormonal Balance Benefits
Hormonal balance plays a crucial role in hair loss and hair growth. For example, in men, the leading cause of hair loss is the hormone testosterone being transformed into DHT (as described earlier).
In women, hair gets much thinner as estrogen and progesterone levels fall. The production of androgens, or a class of male hormones, rises in response to a drop in these hormones. Androgens cause hair follicles to shrink, which causes head hair loss.
The mushroom Reishi has hormonal balance benefits. By balancing hormones, Reishi reduces the risk of hair fall.
12. Reishi Helps With Diabetes Treatment
People with type 1 diabetes are generally at a higher risk of developing Alopecia Areata. This could result from the stress associated with living with the condition and the side effects of medications used for diabetes treatment.
The mushroom Reishi helps with diabetes management. By reducing the risks and stress associated with living with diabetes, the reishi mushroom minimizes the risk of suffering from hair loss.
13. Reishi Helps With Blood Pressure Management
While high blood pressure may not cause hair loss, some medications used to manage hypertension can cause hair fall. Beta-blockers may cause hair loss, while ACE inhibitors often lead to hair thinning.
Just like Chaga helps with blood pressure management, Reishi is known to offer blood pressure benefits. Research conducted in 2018 showed that Reishi is as effective as a medication known as Losartan in blood pressure management.
By using Reishi to manage their blood pressure, people with hypertension can avoid medications whose side effects cause hair loss. Even better, combining Chaga and Reishi can have a much better impact on balancing blood pressure levels.
How To Use Reishi Mushroom For Hair Loss?
The easiest way of using Reishi mushroom for hair loss is by including it in your daily supplement. Ganoderma lucidum is widely available as tablets, capsules, powders, and tinctures, which can be taken as such or mixed in your favorite snacks, soups, and desserts.
When using Reishi for hair loss, always use the proper reishi dosage to avoid side effects.
Additional tip: Mix Rishi powders in your favorite protein shake for an added protein boost.
Reishi mushrooms may protect hair from damage by strengthening and restoring damaged hair follicles. The mushroom may offer antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties that nourish and improve the scalp's condition and provide the benefits you need to grow healthy and strong hair.
Although the Reishi mushroom hair loss benefits may not be directly evident at this point, the mushroom does play many different roles in improving hair fall. If you have problems with hair fall, give this mushroom a chance to work its magic.
Have you tried using reishi mushrooms to improve your hair health? Let us know how they've worked for you in the comments. We love hearing from our readers, so please don't be shy!
- Anti-androgenic activities of Ganoderma lucidum, (1)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16029938/
- Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi or Reishi), (2)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92757/
- Immunomodulation of RAW264.7 macrophages by GLIS, a proteopolysaccharide from Ganoderma lucidum, (3)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17524580/
- Antioxidant Properties of Several Medicinal Mushrooms, (4)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12358482/
- Ganodermin, an antifungal protein from fruiting bodies of the medicinal mushroom Ganoderma lucidum, (5)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16039755/
- Antimicrobial Effect of the Lingzhi or Reishi Medicinal Mushroom, Ganoderma lucidum (Higher Basidiomycetes) and Its Main Compounds, (6)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24940906/
- Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi) in cancer treatment, (7)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14713328/
- Corticosterone inhibits GAS6 to govern hair follicle stem-cell quiescence (8)https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03417-2
- Allergy promotes Alopecia areata in a subset of patients, (9)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31479542/
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