A Natural Melanin Supplement?
The melanin in chaga is yet another side that science has proved about this wonderful fungi in addition to the long list of other health benefits. Although there are various foods that can act as a melanin supplement, chaga is considered one of the most powerful melanin supplements out there, as it can help protect both the skin and hair from sun damage and might even help diminish the size of age spots.
What is melanin?
Melanin is a complex compound that gives the skin, hair and the iris (colored part of the eye) their color. The amount or concentration of these color pigments determines the appearance of the skin. White people have low melanin concentration while black people have high levels. Other races have varying amounts in-between.
For healthy amounts of melanin to be produced, the body needs tyrosinase. This enzyme contains copper which is necessary for melanin production. Melanin is produced by specialized cells called melanocytes. Melanin can further be grouped into different sub-types. These include:
- Eumelanin. Mostly determines color of the hair, skin and the eyes.
- Neuromelanin. This is found in the brain. Healthy levels of this type is needed for normal neurological functions
- Pheomelanin. This type is also found in the skin and hair and is usually responsible for natural red hair.
What affects melanin production?
The production of melanin can be affected by various factors. These can be from within the body or from outside the body. Aging is a common contributing factor to poor production of these color pigments. Genetics and environmental factors such as exposure to the sun and nature of occupation also play a major role. Regardless of the melanin state in your body, chaga mushrooms can help in maintaining healthy levels of the pigments.
What has science proved about chaga mushroom effects on melanin?
Research have proved that they support healthy levels of melanin in the body. This was demonstrated in one study where it was found that the fungus synthesized high molecular weight phenolic pigments. These were matched to melanin according to their properties. Melanin from this fungus was found to have strong antioxidant properties as well as gene protection effects. Research is ongoing to find out whether these benefits can be used as the basis for developing anti-cancer medicines.
What are the benefits of having good amounts of melanin?
To many, the answer that easily comes to mind is that the skin will become healthy and evenly colored. While this is true, chaga mushroom as a melanin supplement product may have benefits that go beyond cosmesis.
- Better protection against ultraviolet rays
- Reduces the risk of skin cancer
- Supports fertility health
- Helps to prevent folate depletion. Folate is vital for fertility and fetal development.
- Supports many metabolic processes in the body.
- Helps in the prevention of serious neurological disorders. These include inborn defects of the brain and the spinal cord (neuro-tubal defects)
Nina A. Bisko and Nadezda Yu. Mitropolskaya and Natalia V. Ikonnikova
Melanin Complex from Medicinal Mushroom Inonotus obliquus Pilat (Chaga) (Aphyllophoromycetideae)}, International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms},1521-9437, 2002, 4,2,
Brenner M, Hearing VJ. The Protective Role of Melanin Against UV Damage in Human Skin. Photochemistry and photobiology. 2008;84(3):539-549. doi:10.1111/j.1751-1097.2007.00226.x.