5 Chaga Mushroom Benefits You Need to Know
Chaga mushrooms, or Inonotus obliquus, have long been used for their therapeutic effects. They not only protect against oxidative stress but may also reduce inflammation and blood sugar levels.
This medicinal mushroom is rich in fiber, calcium, iron, and other key nutrients. Plus, it has the ability to increase melanin levels in the body, leading to healthier skin.
Chaga mushroom benefits people with inflammatory diseases, weakened immune systems, and digestive conditions.
Clinical research shows that it may also protect the liver and balance the gut flora. Moreover, it inhibits tumor growth and may lower your risk of cancer,
Some people add chaga mushroom extract to smoothies and teas. Others prefer to use the whole mushroom or grind it into powder. You can also mix chaga and kratom into your coffee for lasting energy.
Eager to find out more? Here’s what you should know about chaga mushroom extract and its potential health benefits!
What Is Chaga Mushroom?
Chaga is an edible mushroom that grows in Alaska, Siberia, and other cold regions. It’s commonly found on chestnut, alder, oak, and beech trees. You can recognize it by its orange tissue.
Eastern Europeans have been using chaga mushrooms for centuries. Their health benefits range from a stronger immune system to cancer prevention. What makes them stand out is their high antioxidant value.
This medicinal mushroom is rich in caffeic acid, benzoic acid, and other antioxidants.
In clinical trials, it had the strongest antioxidant activity of all fungi. Due to its radical-scavenging activity, it may protect against chronic diseases and premature aging.
Chaga mushroom benefits most people, except those with kidney disease—but more on that later. Let’s take a closer look at its therapeutic properties!
1. Boost Your Nutrient Intake
Touted as one of the most nutritious foods on earth, this edible mushroom is loaded with vitamins and minerals.
It’s an excellent source of vitamin D, zinc, iron, calcium, potassium, and manganese. Plus, it contains both essential and non-essential amino acids that support optimal health.
Chaga is also of the few foods rich in melanin, the pigment that makes your eyes, skin, and hair appear darker. This compound protects the skin from UV rays, slowing the aging process.
Due to its high melanin content, this mushroom may lower your risk of skin cancer. It also shows therapeutic potential for vitiligo, a condition that causes white patches to develop on the skin.
2. Chaga Mushroom Extract Supports Immune Function
The micro- and macronutrients in chaga mushrooms can boost your body’s natural defenses. In animal studies, chaga has been shown to modulate the immune response.
Zinc, magnesium, vitamin D, and other nutrients may further enhance its immunity-boosting activity.
Magnesium, for example, fights inflammation and may induce cancer cell death. It may also improve immune function in athletes and slow down aging.
3. Fight Infections Naturally
Chaga mushrooms keep your immune system strong, which in turn may ward off infections. They not only kill harmful bacteria and fungi but may also stop them from spreading throughout the body.
In one study, an extract from chaga mushroom prevented the herpes simplex virus from replicating and entering new tissues. Other studies report that it may have similar effects on HIV, hepatitis C, and Epstein-Barr viruses.
However, note that more research is needed to confirm its antiviral properties in humans.
4. Lower Your Risk of Cancer
Nearly 40% of people will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives. The number of new cancer cases per year is expected to reach about 30 million by 2040.
While it’s not possible to eliminate the risk of cancer, there are ways to reduce your odds of getting the disease.
Small lifestyle changes, such as eating a balanced diet, may prevent tumors or keep them from spreading. Chaga mushroom can help with that.
A 2016 study reports that chaga may suppress cancer progression by improving energy metabolism.
As the researchers note, this superfood stimulates thermogenesis and prevents high blood sugar. At the same time, it increases fat burning in age-accumulated adipose tissue.
Scientists believe that chaga mushrooms may prevent cancer by improving your body’s ability to process fats. These edible mushrooms also reduce inflammation, which is a contributing factor to cancer.
Other studies report similar findings. For example, inotodiol and other compounds in chaga may protect against lung, liver, and skin cancers.
5. Chaga Mushrooms May Reduce Diabetes Risk
As mentioned above, chaga mushroom has beneficial effects on blood sugar levels. Moreover, it may improve insulin sensitivity and help you burn fat more efficiently.
These factors may result in a lower risk of diabetes and other metabolic diseases.
In one study, diabetic mice fed with polysaccharides derived from chaga mushrooms experienced a reduction in fat mass and body weight. Their fasting blood sugar levels and insulin levels improved, too.
These findings suggest that chaga may aid in diabetes prevention and treatment.
Are There Any Risks?
This edible mushroom is likely safe for healthy people. However, it may pose risks for those with kidney problems due to its high oxalate content.
If you have kidney disease or kidney stones, consult a doctor before incorporating this mushroom into your diet.
The same goes for people who take diabetes, drugs, or blood thinners as they may interact with chaga.
Learn More about Chaga Mushroom Benefits and Uses
Now that you know more about this medicinal mushroom, go ahead and try it out.
Packed with nutrients, it keeps your immune system strong and protects against oxidative stress. In the long run, it may lower your risk of diabetes, cancer, and obesity.
Ethanicals is a leading supplier of chaga mushroom extract, spirulina, astragalus, and other natural supplements. Browse our online store and take your pick!
Meanwhile, check out the rest of our blog to find more about the surprising ways chaga mushroom benefits your health.