The lockdown has had all of us tearing our hair out, but for some, this stressful period of time can come with some devestating consequences to our appearance. Hair loss, is one of the symptoms of a stressful lifestyle, but it often comes about due to androgenic alopecia otherwise known as male pattern baldness, which can just as unfortunately be down to genetics (thanks dad!). Inevitably, this can affect the confidence of a man which ultimately leads to stress which only accelerates the hair loss even further.
It has long been understood that hairloss is a fact of life, just like taxes. And that when the inevitable does come, you’re better off either getting a buzz cut, a wig or a hair transplant. But this is not the case, as much research in this field has revealed that certain medical ailments and dietary supplements can help prevent further hair loss and even help regenerate hair growth. And whats more, it appears that medicinal mushrooms are able to prevent hair loss, particularly the Reishi Mushroom a study revealed.
The study which investigated the anti-androgenic effects of 19 different medicinal mushrooms found that reishi was the strongest inhibiter of the enzyme 5a-reductase, which converts testosterone into the potentially harmful DHT, reducing it by almost 80% in total.
Where can I get Reishi?
Reishi grows on hardwoods such as Oak trees in warm climates, so unfortunately it is unlikely you’re going to be able find any in the UK. The Good news is that you are able to purchase Organic Reishi Supplements from SuperShroom! You can also get your hands on some other mushrooms that are also proven in the study to inhibit DHT from supermarkets such as Oyster Mushrooms and Shiitake or alternaively through purchasing mushroom supplements for the species such as Lions Mane that are incredibly rare, but also illegal to pick in the UK.
How does it work?
To better understand this, we spoke to Dr Michael May who explained:
“One of the most significant underlying factors behind this type of hair loss is Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) which is an androgen (sex hormone) that contributes to the development of male sex characteristics, like body hair , deep voice, sperm production (and others) during puberty”
“If you’re male and your father experiences male pattern balding, it maybe likely that you will show a similar balding pattern as you age. There if you’re inclined to male pattern baldness through genetics, the follicle-shrinking effect of DHT tends to be higher. To make it more complicated, different people have different susceptibility to the effects of DHT on the scalp; this is dependant on their variations of their androgen receptors, AR Gene. These are proteins, which binds hormones like testosterone and DHT. This binding activity results in normal hormonal processes like body hair growth. If you have variations in the AR Gene, then this can increase the androgen receptivity of your scalp follicles, and possibly affecting hair growth.
Hair goes through different hair growth cycles and at the end of the cycle, enters a resting phase. If you have high levels of androgens, including DHT, these can change your hair growth cycle by shortening it or it can shrink your hair follicles. The result of this is thinner hair maybe more brittle and majorly the loss of hair. There are many treatments that can slow the onset of male pattern baldness by specifically targeting DHT, some in higher chemical forms, and some in natural forms”
In this study, it was found that all 19 mushrooms strongly inhibited DHT through reducing the levels of 5-alpha reductase which converts testosterone into the potentially potent DHT as seen below: