Ganoderma lucidum, better known as reishi, is one of the very top herbs in Chinese medicine. It has earned the reputation as the mushroom of immortality and is well known for its healthful effects across a broad spectrum of areas.
Yet, some men are steering clear of it for one reason…that it might by anti-androgenic. This is because it lowers DHT via 5-alpha reductase enzyme inhibition.
Upon hearing about this, I had to dive deeper into the research. This article gives a summation of what is out there.
Research on Reishi and 5alpha Reductase Inhibition
Reishi was measured, along with 18 other medicinal and edible mushrooms including lion’s mane, shiitake, white button, oyster, maitake and others. This was to investigate possible properties in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and prostate cancer.
In castrated rats it was shown to significantly inhibit the testosterone-induced growth of the ventral prostate. This was done both with methanol and ethanol extracts, which functioned virtually the same. In this study they stated:
“These results suggest that the suppression effect of prostatic growth by Ganoderma lucidum might come in part from its ability to act as an inhibitor of 5alpha-reductase.”
Much research was later done to find what constituents in reishi specifically were responsible for this action.
The components that appear to exert this action are thought to be in the triterpenoid fraction, most specifically ganoderols B and F. This is important in that this is pulled out more in alcohol (ethanol) extractions than water extractions.
While significant, it is weak 5alpha-reductase inhibitory activity and binding to androgen receptors. Ganoderol B also showed an ability to down-regulate androgen receptor activity and prostate specific antigen (PSA).
Based on this research, a human study was launched. A total of 88 men with lower urinary tract symptoms were split into a reishi extract (6 mg once per day) group and those taking a placebo for twelve weeks of treatment. In the end the reishi group was found to have improved the men’s International Prostate Symptom Score, without any significant side effects. This was done without altering testosterone levels.
Thus, if you’re a man with prostate issues, the benefits of reishi mushrooms may very well be something worth investigating further.
Also important is that reishi appears to down-regulate estrogen receptors as well. As discussed in our prostate article, while DHT is blamed for prostate issues, estrogen plays a big role in this as well.
What About Men Who Want More DHT?
So here’s why I’m not concerned with using reishi despite wanted to keep my DHT levels optimal.
With this research, it’s looking at the very complicated reishi through a very narrow lens. That’s how science works. And it can teach us important things, but must always be brought back into a bigger picture.
Taking reishi isn’t going to cut your DHT by 80% like it did in the rat cells above.
I am not interesting in using a single “active” constituent of reishi, instead I want the “intelligence” of the whole mushroom. And I don’t really consider reishi a “hormonal” herb. In any case its effects are far less than some of the other herbs we have in this realm.
Now, there may be a few people that are very sensitive to DHT inhibition that might want to avoid reishi for this reason. If that’s the case, according to the above chart you likely want to avoid just about all mushrooms. As always we recommend experimenting and finding what works for you personally.
Even so, you could get a purely water extracted form which isn’t going to pull these triterpenes to the same degree, thus you could get many of the immune system benefits for instance but without this. Of course, those triterpenes also have many other positive effects, such as their nootropic action.
(Currently we carry a dual-extraction reishi, both water and alcohol. Let us know in the comments if you’d like us to make available a purely water extracted reishi too.)
Lastly, if you decide reishi isn’t right for you there are plenty of other herbs that do not have this effect.
Hope that helps to shed some light on this action.
- Fujita, R., Liu, J., & Shimizu, K. et al. (2005). Anti-androgenic activities of Ganoderma lucidum. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 102(1), 107-112.
- Liu, J., Shimizu, K., & Konishi, F. et al. (2007). Anti-androgenic activities of the triterpenoids fraction of Ganoderma lucidum. Food Chemistry, 100(4), 1691-1696.
- Liu, J., Kurashiki, K., & Noda, K. et al. (2009). Anti-Androgen Effects of Extracts and Compounds from Ganoderma lucidum. C&B Chemistry & Biodiversity, 6(2), 231-243.
- Noguchi, M., Kakuma, T., & Tomiyasu, K. et al. (2008). Randomized clinical trial of an ethanol extract of Ganoderma lucidum in men with lower urinary tract symptoms. Asian Journal of Andrology, 10(5), 777-785.
- Jiang, J., Slivova, V., & Sliva, D. (2006). Ganoderma lucidum inhibits proliferation of human breast cancer cells by down-regulation of estrogen receptor and NF-κB signaling. Int J Oncol International Journal of Oncology.
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Check your grammar on the article and link all scientific evidence for the findings listed.
Seems to me you are trying to sell a product with more or less your opinions and not evidence from reputable sources.
I have done much research on this subject and as much as most of what you state in the article may be fact it is also reputed.
Do better on your next article.
William Burns, PhD
Logan Christopher says
I do link to all the references cited here. See that sources at the end of the article? I pull from five different studies…but these are reputable to you?
And I clearly state my rational for the opinion (rat cell studies) for my opinion. Still, I welcome your rebuttal. Where’s your research?
Please , write a disclaimer with the product :
It lowers Testosterone / it may lower testosterone .
Logan Christopher says
You’re clearly not understanding this article. Reishi, nor other mushrooms lower testosterone. They do appear to have some 5-alpha reductase activity which is the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT. If this is fact limited, then testosterone would end up being higher as it’s not converted into DHT.
You state Lion’s Mane is also in the list of anti-androgenic mushrooms, but it’s not. The “hericium’ mushroom mentioned in that list is an entirely different species with it’s own properties.
Logan Christopher says
My understanding was that many different species of hericium are used interchangeably.
Thanks for letting me know these effects of Reishi, was very helpful to me.
Logan Christopher says
Weak compared to drugs that block that action. The research in this is still young and mixed. Examine said for example:
“Increases in testosterone have been reported in mice, and are synergistic with 5α-reductase inhibitors (including finasteride). After oral ingestion of 6mg ethanolic extract in older men, however, no significant effects were seen on circulating testosterone.”
They also mention that these effects are dose dependent. Since you mentioned you’re finding these symptoms yourself you may want to either reduce dose or stop taking reishi altogether. Plenty of other great herbs, including mushrooms are available.
Note that this study did not look at chaga (Inonotus obliquus), cordyceps (Cordyceps militaris) or lion’s mane (Hericium erinaceus, although it did look at another in the Hericium group)
“While significant, it is weak 5alpha-reductase inhibitory activity and binding to androgen receptors”
According to examine.com, this is not accurate. It said that it was string inhibitor and that it actually blocked the receptor so even if you took something to boost dht it wouldn’t matter.
Troubling, because this of course dosent correlate to the tcm perspective. And it seems it may be causing dht low symptoms in me.
Please continue to look into this. Thanks!
So are u saying one have to be carefull with reishi i don”t want anything to interfer with my testosteronei
Mikayla Gibson says
If you carefully read the article, it states that Reishi is not going to threaten DHT levels like in the rat case study – If you are sensitive to DHT inhibition, you may want to avoid this (and probably all mushrooms) but of course, everyone is different and a trial and error method is usually a good idea to ascertain what is right for you.
So do not let fear hold you back. Our purpose is to delve into and deliver any and all research and information to you. Logan could not resist writing about this topic once he caught wind of it.
Knowledge is power, no?
Please offer a more substantiative comment other than Trolling !!!!!!
What aspect of my Post do you have a problem and we can debate
online or offline ???!!!
If you are a site Administrator you have my Contact.
Otherwise you’re DON OUIXOTE Tilting at Windmills.
Honey Get Me TRUTH CALKINS, DAVID WOLFE, George Lamoureux and RON TEEGUARDEN ON THE Phone.
We got some Pseudo Science at “Krytonite Herbs” Throwing Shade on REISHI.
C’mon Guys, Really !!!!!!
First and Foremost Chinese Herbs are Rarely used Single they are
used in Combination with other Herbs.
Although Reishi is a Tonic Herb meaning a SUPERIOR HERB amongst the three (3) Categories of Chinese Herbs; Reishi is SAFE to Drink everyday with No Problems in Moderation.
THE PROBLEM many Patrons of your website and the general populace are not knowledgable in Daoist Tonic Herbalism or TCM Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Self Medication without Profound Knowlege and Hands on Experience
is THE ENEMY !!!
The Research you QUOTE is Akin to Articles on the Internet that Emphatically State Carrigenan causes Cancer.
Where does Carrigenan come from SEA MOSS or IRISH MOSS et el
If you consume SEA MOSS as a Whole Food Sea Vegetable RAW or Cooked
you have ZERO, NADA, NOTHING, ZILCH to worry about in reference to
The Same Pseudo Science Emphatically State RAW FOODIST have Low Testosterone because they DO NOT EAT Foods that Contain Cholesterol.
I’m 100% RAW at 60 yrs of Age I have the SEX DRIVE of ROCCO SIFFREDI.
Whenever you Isolate a Constituent of an Herb or Plant Matter there
is potential for possible problems.
One Must Study Herbalism and Respect the Power of the Efficacy
of Natural Medicine.
If the BODY is SICK one doesn’t consume Tonic Herbs the patient
if not knowledgeable min the use of Herbalism should consult a License
Practitioner of TCM, Traditional Chinese Medicine.
If a Person is knowledgeable concerning Herbs is aware a Sick Body
if Treated with Chinese Herbs must Consume a Combination of General
Herbs or Inferior Herbs the 2nd and 3rd Category of Chinese Herbology.
As an Herbalist and Practitioner of Daoist Tonic Herbalism in the Fall and Winter Months I consume Whole Herbs:
October thru Feb-March Immunity Building
1. Changbai Mountain “Reishi” 10 grams
2. “Astragalus” 10 grams
3. “Gynostemma” 10 grams
I soak these Herbs 1 hr in a 1 liter Pyrex Pot then boil 45 mins to
I make three batches of this tea.
Each batch you Extract Constituients you didn’t get in the other batch.
When finished i have a 1 Gallon Batch of Immunity SUPER TONIC HERB POWERHOUSE.
I’ve been doing this a long time; I’ve never been Sick with FLU or Cold.
One Cup a day last me and my Sweatheart one week.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention I buy 10 lb Bags of GOJI BERRIES
and Snack on them or add 9 grams to the above Recipe.
March thru September I use a combination of JING Building Herbs.
Yin and Yang.
1. He Sho Wu 10 grams
2. Wu We Zi 9 grams
3. Gou Gui Zi 9 grams
4. Du Zhong 9 grams
Three months after using the above Combination of Tonic Herbs
I switch to a more YANG Formula incorporating Yin Yang Ho
or Ba Ji Li The Quentissential Yang Herbs For ALPHA MALE JING.
I also use the Most Potent Tongkat Ali Extract in the World Manufactured in Indonesia where I purchase by the KILO.
“I Can Only Point the Way Grasshopper
You Must Walk the Path Yourself”.
Corporate Identity Consultant
Raw Foodist, Daoist Tonic Herbalist, Anti Aging, Longevity Expert,
Super Foods, Super Nutraceuticals
Medicine Man, Shaman, Witch Doctor, Sage
Did you even read the whole article because based on your response it don’t sound like you did? Sounds like you need to tone down on cultivating that qi a bit my good sir.