The Truth About Reishi & DHT

Reishi mushroom, commonly known as Ling Zhi in Traditional Chinese Medicine is a potent medicinal mushroom known to have many health benefits. However, a recent research study exploring the anti-androgenic effects of 20 species of mushrooms, found that reishi mushrooms had the strongest action in inhibiting testosterone, or specifically, DHT. 1

Basically, this study found that reishi mushroom reduced levels of 5-alpha reductase, the enzyme responsible for the conversion of testosterone into the more potent DHT. 

If you follow conventional medicine, you will be told that high levels of DHT are a risk factor for conditions such as benign prostatatic hypertrophy (BPH), acne, and baldness. However, these claims are simply not true. In fact, DHT is a necessary androgen supportive of optimal metabolic health. 

So unfortunately, for the people who understand this, they often avoid the consumption of Reishi mushroom. However, this might not be necessary, especially considering the many benefits Reishi does possess. 

Reviewing the Research: Does Reishi Mushroom Lower DHT?

Look at the study that drew the conclusion of Reishi's anti-androgen properties, there is much to discuss. 

First, let's point out some basic, but important factors; the research is highly incomplete, there is only one study confirming Reishi has ant-androgenic properties. Secondly, the study stated that "the evidence was of low quality, and that no head-to-head trials were forms." Meaning, Reishi was never isolated and compared to the rest of the botanicals and pharmaceuticals to determine its true effect. 

Studies will often do this; for example, when DHT was first blamed for #prostate cancer, they found that when testosterone and estrogen were elevated, the prostrate grew. What they failed to inform others clearly on was that in later trails, when only testosterone and only estrogen were elevated, testosterone didn’t enlarge the prostrate, estrogen did. Instead, they blame it on testosterone?

Further examining the study that claims Reishi as an anti-androgen; amongst the other anti-androgens in the group, medications and herbs that are known to lower prolactin were present. And it’s like the anti-prolactin effects of the group study that had the most beneficial effect on the prostrate, not Reishi’s suspect anti-DHT effect.

Lastly, the so-called anti-DHT effects of Reishi were said to be caused by the alcohol based triterpenes. 

So first, we must take studies will a grain of salt, and compare them with physiology.

In Conclusion

In summary, does Reishi lower DHT? 

It's possible, but it's also more likely that the "benefical effects" of this studies findings are still misunderstood - blaming DHT for prostate issues, when in fact, they are largely caused by estrogen/prolactin. And the accompanying herbs in the study had anti-prolactin effects that were almost ignored.

Also, given the great lack of additional research, the evidence is too scarce to form any strong conclusions.

If Reishi does lower DHT, it will not do so to any significant degree to be concerning. Again, supposedly only the triterpenes had this effect anyway, which are only present in alcohol extractions. So taking a full spectrum, hot water extract would have you avoid that effect or even a dual-extraction would likely mitigate this effect.

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