Are you someone who struggles with diabetes? If so, you're not alone. Nearly 30 million Americans are living with diabetes. While there is no one-size-fits-all cure for this chronic condition, there may be some help in the form of Chaga mushrooms.
But how is Chaga good for diabetes? And what is the link between Chaga and diabetes?
This article will explore the potential benefits of Chaga mushrooms for diabetes. We will dig deep into what the science says and give you an insight into how it helps maintain blood sugar levels.
What Makes Chaga Mushroom Stand Out For Diabetes?
High blood sugar is often challenging to manage, given our food choices and fast-paced lifestyle. Deciding which food to eat and which to avoid is one enormous struggle, and only those who live with diabetes can understand.
Mushrooms— including Chaga and Lion's Mane—are great if you have diabetes. Edible fungi are low in calories, carbs, and sugar, making them the perfect food if you struggle to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Apart from their nutritious taste, some medicinal mushrooms have anti-diabetic properties too. And we are going to explore one right here!
Chaga mushrooms, the king of medicinal fungi, have been used for centuries in Asia and countries like Siberia for their medicinal properties(1), such as boosting immunity and improving overall health.
Chaga grows primarily on the bark of birch trees in cold climates and is not too pleasing to the eye. But although it's typically referred to as a mushroom, Chaga is a sclerotium—a hardened mass of fungal mycelium.
Read More: Learn how to identify Chaga mushrooms.
The mushroom is now gaining popularity in the western world for its many health benefits. From food supplements to mushroom-infused beverages, Chaga is flying off the shelves.
The good thing about using Chaga for diabetes is its benefits go beyond regulating high blood sugar levels to treat related problems.
For example, research shows that diabetes can increase the risk of high blood pressure. According to a research study conducted in 2018(2), high blood pressure is twice as common in people who have diabetes compared to people who do not have diabetes.
While people use Chaga for blood pressure, using Chaga to improve diabetes suggests that the risk of high blood pressure may reduce.
According to research information and evidence, diabetes increases cancer risk. Research data shows that(3) diabetic men are 19% more likely to develop cancer than healthy men, while diabetic women are 27% more likely to develop cancer than healthy women.
While people can use Chaga supplements for cancer cells, using Chaga for diabetes management reduces the risk of suffering from cancer.
Diabetes And Chaga Mushroom Benefits
Several animal studies have looked into the relationship between Chaga mushrooms and diabetes. Let's look at what we know and how it may help.
1. Lower Blood Sugar Levels
The polysaccharides in Inonotus obliquus have anti-diabetic activity. These polysaccharides regulate high blood sugar, restoring it to its normal level.
The relationship between Type 2 diabetes and Chaga mushroom consumption has been a subject of this research published in 2017(4). It investigated the role of I. obliquus polysaccharides (IOPS) in animals with type 2 diabetes. The research study concluded that the ingredients in Chaga mushrooms could fight insulin resistance and help control blood sugar levels.
In this study, mice were given oral Chaga mushroom doses (900mg/kg body weight). The Chaga mushroom dosage significantly reduced fasting blood glucose levels and lowered insulin resistance.
Researchers investigated the relationship between Chaga mushroom and Type 2 Diabetes in another study(5) from 2017. After four weeks of using Chaga mushroom on mice, there was a reduction in body weight, fasting blood glucose, and insulin levels.
In yet another experimental study(6), researchers gave diabetic mice extracts of Inonotus obliquus broth in a dose of 500 and 1000 mg/kg body weight.
There was a mild hypoglycemic effect, but the higher dose could restore blood glucose levels to normal. Results of the study also showed an increase in stored glucose content in the liver.
Another research study found Chaga's beta-glucans, triterpenoids, and polyphenols effective in controlling blood glucose and insulin resistance. Researchers concluded the effects of a dosage of 500mg/kg of mushroom were similar to that of the anti-diabetic drug metformin(7).
2. Chaga Mushrooms Fights Inflammation
Chaga mushroom has anti-inflammatory properties thanks to its high antioxidants. Animal studies(8) have shown that the Chaga supplement can block the production of harmful cytokines, the proteins that cause inflammation.
Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are linked with(9) inflammation. Diabetic people can use the anti-inflammatory properties of Chaga to prevent and control the disease.
Read More: See how Chaga fights psoriasis, another disease caused by inflammation.
3. Lowers Cholesterol
The American Heart Association (AHA) states that diabetes increases the bad cholesterol (LDL) and decreases the good cholesterol (HDL), raising your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
Studies(10) have shown(11) that the Chaga mushroom reduces the bad cholesterol and increases the good cholesterol. This reduces your risk of cardiovascular diseases and increases your ability to control your blood sugar levels.
4. Protects The Kidney
The prevalence of diabetic nephropathy and end-stage kidney diseases is increasing and eventually will be an unavoidable health burden(12) in people with uncontrolled blood sugar levels. Kidney damage is also associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality risk.
A 2016 study examined the renal protective effects(13) of the polysaccharides in Chaga mushrooms. The animals in the study were given extracts of Inonotus obliquus for eight weeks. Results demonstrated that there were fewer signs of kidney damage related to diabetes when compared to those who did not receive the mushroom.
Helping with diabetes management, taking Chaga makes cells receptive to blood sugar. This keeps the excess glucose from going into the kidney and causing damage, lowering the risk of kidney damage.
5. Regulates The Immune System
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, which means an overactive immune system mistakenly identifies its cells as foreign and attacks them. This destroys the pancreas and decreases the production of insulin.
Inonotus obliquus has modulates the immune system(14). The mushrooms can help temper immune responses when causing harm, reducing the risk of pancreas damage and diabetes.
Do Chaga Mushrooms Have Side Effects?
While Chaga mushrooms have many health benefits, you should seek advice from a healthcare professional before using the mushroom. When using Chaga, however, you will need to be extra-careful if:
Use Diabetes Medication
Most people with diabetes use other medications to regulate their blood sugar levels. Consuming Chaga mushrooms is like adding a new compound that will further lower the blood glucose level.
Diabetes medication—or insulin injections—combined with the medicinal mushroom Inonotus Obliquus could lower the blood sugar below healthy levels, increasing your risk of hypoglycemia.
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar levels, increases your risk of suffering from unconsciousness and often makes you unable to function normally. Hypoglycemia can lead to a coma if not treated immediately, and in the worst-case scenario, it can cause death. Therefore, when using Chaga for diabetes, ensure the dosage won't cause deficient blood sugar levels.
Use Blood Thinners
Some people do take blood thinners to prevent blood clotting. Chaga mushrooms also have a blood-thinning effect.
Combining the blood thinners with Chaga could create problems with your clotting—this can lead to a bleeding disorder in the case of injury.
To avoid excessive bleeding, however, you need to use a dosage that won't cause extreme impacts on your blood clotting.
Diabetes is a significant issue in modern society. Sedentary jobs, inadequate nutrition, and lifestyle pressures further worsen the risk.
Health supplements containing Chaga lower blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, decrease cholesterol, regulate the immune system, and protect the kidney. Chaga also reduces the risk of developing diabetes.
Have you tried incorporating Chaga into your diet? Let us know how they've worked for you in the comments below!
- Chemical and medicobiological properties of chaga (review), (1)https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11094-006-0194-4
- Diabetes, Hypertension, and Cardiovascular Disease: Clinical Insights and Vascular Mechanisms, (2)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5953551/
- Cancer and diabetes: The connection is in your DNA, (3)https://www.cancercenter.com/community/blog/2021/05/diabetes-cancer
- Anti-diabetic effects of Inonotus obliquus polysaccharides in streptozotocin-induced type 2 diabetic mice and potential mechanism via PI3K-Akt signal pathway, (4)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28954386/
- Anti-diabetic effects of Inonotus obliquus polysaccharides-chromium (III) complex in type 2 diabetic mice and its sub-acute toxicity evaluation in normal mice, (5)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28087233/
- Antihyperglycemic and antilipidperoxidative effects of dry matter of culture broth of Inonotus obliquus in submerged culture on normal and alloxan diabetes mice. (6)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18434051/
- Effect of Inonotus obliquus (Fr.) Pilat extract on the regulation of glycolipid metabolism via PI3K/Akt and AMPK/ACC pathways in mice (7)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378874121001902
- Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Inonotus obliquus in Colitis Induced by Dextran Sodium Sulfate, (8)https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2010/943516/
- The Role of Inflammation in Diabetes: Current Concepts and Future Perspectives, (9)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6523054/
- Antihyperglycemic and antilipidperoxidative effects of dry matter of culture broth of Inonotus obliquus in submerged culture on normal and alloxan diabetes mice, (10)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18434051/
- Anti-diabetic effects of Inonotus obliquus polysaccharides in streptozotocin-induced type 2 diabetic mice and potential mechanism via PI3K-Akt signal pathway, (11)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28954386/
- Pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy, (12)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4014960/
- Renal Protective Effects of Low Molecular Weight of Inonotus obliquus Polysaccharide (LIOP) on HFD/STZ-Induced Nephropathy in Mice, (13)https://www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/17/9/1535
- Immunomodulatory Activity of the Water Extract from Medicinal Mushroom Inonotus obliquus, (14)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3774877/