Reishi raises testosterone levels
Men who take an extract of the reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) every day may increase their testosterone levels. This is suggested by an animal study that Hammad Ahmed and Muhammad Aslam from the University of Ziauddin have published in Clinical Phytoscience.
The researchers gave two groups of male rats a large dose of an extract of reishi [GLE] for 40 days. The extract is on the market as ReishiMax GLp, a product of the American company Pharmanex. [livepharmanex.com]
If the rats had been adult humans, they would have taken around 1500-1800 milligrams of extract per day. That will amount to approximately 3-4 capsules. You can read here how to calculate the human equivalent of dosages used in animal studies.
One control group received water, another control group sildenafil, the active substance in Viagra.
On several occasions during the 40-day period, the researchers placed sexually primed females in the cage of the test animals. If the test animals had received reishi extract, they were sexually more active. For example, they climbed the females more often.
The lowest dose of reishi was the most effect. It is therefore possible that the optimum dosage is even lower than the lowest dosage that the researchers tested.
When the 40-day period was over, the researchers measured the rat's testosterone concentration in the blood. That was higher in the test animals that had received reishi extract.
The researchers suspect that the increased concentration of testosterone causes the pro-sexual effect of reishi. They also think that the increased testosterone level is the work of steroid-like substances in reishi - such as ganoderic acid [structural formula above].
"In allopathic medicine, there are various drugs which can increase the sexual craving in both male and female, although these drugs have numerous harmful effects", write Ahmed and Aslam. "Phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors, like tadalafil (Cialis) and sildenafil (Viagra) are the most commonly used aphrodisiac agents, but these drugs cause dizziness, headache, visual disturbance, pulse irregularities, dyspepsia, priapism, diarrhoea and flushing."
"Ganoderma lucidum extract may be a new promising aphrodisiac agent, which can be used to promote the sexual performance of many troubled men."
For the cowboys among us
Reishi may have an adverse effect in (too) high doses. Reishi inhibits the conversion of testosterone to DHT. In addition, there are substances in reishi that interact with the androgen receptor in vitro. In vivo these compounds may inhibit interaction of endogenous androgens with their receptor. [Chem Biodivers. 2009 Feb;6(2):231-43.]
Clinical Phytoscience (2018) 4:26.
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