Nutricosmetic sector has mush room for fungi-based topical formulations, study thinks

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags: Chemistry

The potential of a mushroom extract goes beyond its nutraceutical properties as a Portuguese study now identifies its nutricosmetic potential as a topical formulation ingredient for the skin.

The extract Ganoderma lucidum, ​a species of medicinal mushroom from East Asia,is revered for its bioactive compound profile and is already used in dietary supplements for oral administration particularly in the Far East.

The team, from the Centro de Investigação de Montanha (CIMO) (Mountain Research Centre) based at the Polytechnic Institute of Bragança, Portugal, think the presence of bioactive molecules such as phenolic compounds, terpenes, and especially triterpenes is responsible for relevant bioactivity to the skin.

This includes control of hyperpigmentation, suppressing skin inflammatory diseases and preventing skin photo aging.

Fans in the Far East

“The cosmeceutical formulations [in this study] maintain the bioactivities exhibited by the extract,” ​said the team, led by Dr Isabel Ferreira, coordinator professor at Polytechnic Institute and director of CIMO.

“This achievement is quite interesting regarding the concern in reducing the presence of synthetic ingredients, and its gradual replacement by natural counterparts.”

“This work demonstrates that extracts of G. lucidum have interesting biological properties that can be exploited in the design of cosmeceutical formulations either as tyrosinase inhibitors, anti-inflammatory agents or as preservatives to prolong the shelf life of the formulated product.”

Formulating nutraceutical products from G​. lucidum​ is a growing industry especially in the Far East, where the extract is cultivated or collected from the wild and consumed as a tea or in alcoholic beverages.

This product can come ready made in capsule form, rich in triterpenes and β-glucans, which could provide protection against oxidative stress and support the immune system.

G​. lucidum​ has also found an audience in the commercial cosmeceutical market. Here, manufacturers formulate the extracts either alone or in combination with other natural ingredients.

Examples include Body Repair Lotion (G​. lucidum​ extract and medicinal plant), Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Face Mask (G​. lucidum​, C​. sinensis​ and medicinal plants) and Menard Embellir Refresh Massage cream (G​. lucidum​ and G​. sinense​).

These products are used to manage hyperpigmentation, improve skin appearance and delay the signs of ageing. They are also used to protect skin against the sun’s harmful UV radiation. 

Study details

In the study, G lucidum extracts were assessed for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antityrosinase, antimicrobial and cytotoxic effects.

Additional trials also looked at their phenolic acids, polysaccharides and triterpenoid content.

The extract was also tested as a cosmeceutical ingredient with 50 mg of extract added per gram of base cream.

To test for antioxidant and antityrosinase activity the cosmeceutical formulation was dissolved in an aqueous solution of the organic solvent Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) (50%) at 50 milligrams per millilitre (mg/mL.)

Antimicrobial activity was assessed using a 5% DMSO solution at at 100 mg/mL.

Findings revealed G. lucidum​ to be a rich source of macronutrients as well as terpenoids, specially triterpenoids, and polysaccharides.

In the extracts, ganoderic acids C2, A and H were the most abundant triterpenic acids and protocatechuic, p-hydroxibenzoic and syringic acids the identified phenolics.

The developed cosmeceutical formulation preserved the extract bioactivities at a pH of 4.6, which is considered appropriate for the cosmeceutical's design.

“Behind the important nutritional/bioactive composition of G. lucidum, a potential towards its valorisation in the field of cosmeceuticals is foreseeable, as deduced from the bioactivities of its ethanolic extract and preservation in the tested formulation”,​ stated the study.

Despite this promise, the team recommended further work, citing reports claiming that terpenes such as monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes have the potential to enhance penetration across the skin by decreasing skin barrier resistance​.

“Hence, conducting skin permeation studies using in vitro skin models, the use of nanotechnology techniques as bioactive compound delivery systems and evaluating the stability of the formulations will further confirm the potential of G. lucidum extracts as topical ingredients.”

Source: Food and Chemical Toxicology

Published online ahead of print:

The potential of Ganoderma lucidum extracts as bioactive ingredients in topical formulations, beyond its nutritional benefits​”

Authors: Oludemi Taofiq, Sandrina Heleno, Ricardo Calhelha, Maria José Alves, Lillian Barros, Ana González-Paramás, Maria Barreiro, Isabel Ferreira

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