Quick Answer: Is Reishi Mushroom Anti-Androgenic?
Reishi mushroom is anti-androgenic, but it does not trigger or tell your body to lower androgen production. Using reishi does not result in decreased testosterone or estrogen – either free testosterone or bound testosterone. If anything, reishi has more potential for increasing levels of androgen hormones in those who have chronically low levels of androgen hormones thanks to its adaptogenic qualities.
So, how is reishi anti-androgenic? There is a drug class (actually, it is one kind of chemical) called 5-alpha-reductase. Because 5alpha-reductase (a chemical found in reishi extracts, among others) binds to androgen receptors, it is considered to be anti-androgenic.
As we know, cell growth and androgen-induced regrowth is at the heart of both benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer. The anti-androgen effects of eeishi, however limited and specific, do indeed contribute to prostate health, suggesting an ability to alleviate BPH, and perhaps to prevent or treat prostate cancer. The study on reishi as an anti-androgenic is a study on reishi’s ability to promote prostate health and to either prevent, treat, or serve as a complementary treatment to prostate cancer. This is a unique and highly significant property of reishi, and it is one that should not be minimized or overlooked. More men develop prostate cancer than women do breast cancer, and although Western treatments for prostate cancer are effective in eliminating cancer, they also remove the prostate gland, sometimes taking sex and urinary functions with them.
As a tonic, Reishis anti-androgenic effects are helpful for prostate health, rather than hampering mens healthy levels of androgens. In modern studies conducted about Reishis broad anti-cancer effects, the most prominent preparation is a combination of cracked reishi spores and an extract from the reishi fruiting body. Research into the health-promoting effects of reishi for prostate function used an extract of 30% polysaccharides from the Reishi fruiting body, as found in our selection of products. The research on this ganoderma lucidum combo inspired in part the formulation of the reishi powders and tinctures we feature on this website.
Reishi, Androgens, and 5alpha-reductase
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is considered to be one of the most important tonic herbs known. Throughout history and even to this day. Reishi is also one of my personal favorite fungi. Everything about it, from its lore, its beauty, its healing and tonic effects, totally and completely appeals to me.
There is magic in functional mushrooms, and reishi has plenty of it. Sometimes, people are confused about the fact that we talk about reishi so much. This is because reishi has been shown to have anti-androgenic effects and we specializes in anti-androgenic fungi.
So on the surface, it seems like a mismatch. There is some truth to that, clinical analyses of ganoderma lucidum demonstrate an anti-androgenic effect over and over. There is not, however, any real disconnect. The problem is, the term anti-androgenic is not terribly descriptive in this context, but even though this term is vague, the actions Reishi has on the body are far from vague.
Before explaining, it is important to note that although classical Chinese medicine holds reishi in high esteem due to its systemic tonic and adaptogenic effects, traditional Chinese medicine (which is only in the 1950s) is much more concerned with reishi’s anti-cancer effects and properties. Thus, the overwhelming majority of real-world medical studies on ganoderma lucidum are concerned with the identification of both its anti-cancer effects as well as the mode of action for these effects. Valuable information, but limited primarily in scope. So, in order to understand reishi’s anti-androgenic effects, as well as what research is telling us, we must first don the “cancer hat” so we can better understand and put into context the information research is giving us.
Reishi is one of those amazing herbs that never ceases to impress, and research into just how cancer-protective reishi is just compounds that astonishment. While I tend to look at reishi more in terms of its classic properties, I like visiting science and learning about all of the ways that reishi contributes to overall body health. We focus primarily on the androgenic fungi, but also focus on select tonic herbs that are proven to support whole-body, whole-mind systemic (and emotional) health, as well as those that profoundly affect men’s health.