Chaga mushrooms have numerous bioactive compounds and nutrients—including vitamins, minerals, polysaccharides, and beta-glucans—that offer multiple benefits. But can pregnant and breastfeeding women take Chaga?
Any woman of childbearing age will want to know whether this medicinal mushroom will be healthy for their toddler, infant, or baby inside their womb.
Below we will discuss the benefits of Chaga for breastfeeding and pregnant women. In addition, we will discuss if it is okay to take Chaga while breastfeeding and during pregnancy.
Let's get straight to it!
Chaga Mushrooms: Why Do People Drink Chaga Tea?
Chaga, or Inonotus obliquus in medicinal mushrooms, is regarded as black gold. The mushroom products—including Chaga powder—have numerous potential benefits like fighting inflammation, infection, and oxidative stress, strengthening the immune system, and lowering blood lipid and sugar levels.
Read More: See how Chaga fights diabetes by managing blood sugar levels.
Studies indicate that this mushroom that grows on birch trees has high nutritional value, which can help give pregnant women their required nourishment. On paper, this would make using Chaga during pregnancy an excellent choice. But what do we know about Chaga mushroom pregnancy safety?
Many consider Chaga pregnancy usage safe based on the mushroom's health benefits and nutritional profile. However, not much scientific research gives us evidence about Chaga tea pregnancy safe use.
Read More: Learn more about the Chaga mushroom tea taste.
Studies have not been conducted to determine whether pregnant women adding Chaga powder to their food, diet, or coffee is safe. For this reason, fertile women who are pregnant or in their lactation period (after birth) have to approach any Chaga dosage with extra care. Chaga could have some bioactive ingredients that might prove too strong for babies before and after childbirth.
Consumption of raw Chaga mushrooms is contraindicated during pregnancy. Additionally, it would help if you always talked to your doctor before starting any health supplements, including Chaga, during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
However, let's examine what we know about taking Chaga extract during pregnancy. The section below will help you determine the level of safety during late and early pregnancy.
Is Chaga Safe During Pregnancy?
The arrival of a new family member is a joyous time for many, including the mother. After giving birth, the maternal instinct kicks in, and each female is more than ready to have a glorious time with their child (or children) from childhood to adolescence until they reach maturity.
However, while the postpartum period is full of joy, with the parents celebrating their new baby, the pregnancy period is quite complicated. The pregnancy period is a daunting period with exhaustion and sleep deprivation.
Read More: See how taking Lion's mane before bed improves sleep.
The period of breastfeeding is also very challenging, and new mothers need to make sure they are taking adequate nutrition to fortify their physical health.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding are times when your health is often tested, and many women looking to boost their nutrient intake are attracted to Chaga mushrooms. But considering what you eat also gets passed on to your unborn child during pregnancy, and the baby after birth through lactation, which can be good and bad, many expecting and new mothers are unsure if Chaga can safeguard their health.
There are limited studies available that address the potential benefits of Chaga during pregnancy and breastfeeding directly. However, there are many health-boosting properties of Inonotus obliquus that can benefit pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Now, let's examine why Chaga medicinal mushrooms are a trendy all-natural supplement that may benefit pregnant and lactating women.
Inflammatory And Immune Support
The mother's immune system is in constant flux during pregnancy. During the first 12 weeks, there is a pro-inflammatory state. After that, the human immune system changes as pregnancy progresses, and later, the anti-inflammatory state prevails. Finally, the immune system switches back to a pro-inflammatory state during the final stage of pregnancy.
Beta-D-glucans found in Chaga mushrooms help balance your immune system. Taking Chaga can downregulate the immune system when it is overactive and stimulate it when you need a boost.
Ergosterol, ergosterol peroxide, and trametenolic acid isolated from Chaga mushrooms have anti-inflammatory activities(1). This may potentially help combat inflammatory states in pregnancy.
Read More: Learn how Chaga fights cancer with its anti-inflammatory capabilities.
Regulatory T cells (Tregs), a specialized form of white blood cell, promote an anti-inflammatory environment. Low levels of Tregs have been linked to miscarriage.
Inotodiol, a lanostane triterpenoid from Inonotus obliquus, promotes(2) the maturation of bone marrow-derived dendritic cells that can stimulate such T cells. It then induces the activation and proliferation of Tregs. This may potentially have beneficial effects on pregnancy losses. However, not much can be said now, as more specific research is required.
Chaga can promote a healthy life among pregnant women. The mushroom can use its ability to support the immune system to prevent inflammatory bowel disease and reduce the risk of other gut health issues that affect women during pregnancy. In addition, the mushroom will use its anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties to guarantee maximum health.
Oxidative stress contributes to many reproductive complications(3), including infertility, miscarriage, high blood pressure, fetal growth restriction, and preterm labor.
Read More: Learn how Chaga fights high blood pressure.
Chaga mushroom is renowned for their antioxidant properties(4). Chaga's ORAC value (a score that measures the antioxidant capacity) is 52,000, making it one of the highest among foods.
Protects Against Infections
More specifically, the polysaccharides(5) of Inonotus obliquus mushrooms protect against adverse pregnancy problems caused by Toxoplasmosis infection.
In a study on toxoplasma-infected pregnant mice, Chaga extracts regulated the inflammatory pathway. While this is an animal-based study, Chaga still holds promise in treating toxoplasmosis, a dreaded infection to catch during pregnancy.
In the early phases of pregnancy, hormone progesterone levels increase significantly, which can add to fatigue. Apart from that, lower levels of blood sugar and blood pressure might also sap your energy.
The polysaccharides of Chaga mushroom help convert body energy and act as a natural energy booster. Studies have shown that Chaga could help boost the concentration of AMPK(6), a molecule that is a critical part of energy pathways in the body.
Is Chaga Tea Safe During Pregnancy?
We cannot confidently say that Chaga tea and pregnancy are good. However, unless you are allergic, the tea is safe for consumption. Even for this, it is best to seek advice from your healthcare provider if you want to consume it while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Read More: See how Chaga tea supports weight loss.
If you want to consume Chaga tea during pregnancy, there are a few things to consider.
First, Chaga quality is critical. The quality of Chaga tea depends on the type of wood. Chaga grows on birch, ash, or maple tree. All of these are great, but Chaga from birch comes highly recommended.
If the tea is derived from the fungus grown over contaminated soil, it may contain a pollutant that will affect you and your baby.
Make sure the mushroom is harvested using water extraction. Some extracts are alcohol-based, which may harm your baby.
What Diseases Can You Fight With Chaga During Pregnancy?
During pregnancy, some women go through some health problems. However, an expecting mother can consume Chaga after seeking professional medical advice. Therefore, pregnant women can take advantage of the mushroom's healing properties.
Below, we will look at several issues pregnant women can solve with Chaga.
1. Chaga Prevents Gestational Diabetes
As you have probably guessed, gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that can develop in healthy women during pregnancy. According to the CDC(7), gestational diabetes affects as much as 10% of all pregnancies in the United States.
Gestational diabetes creates many risks for the unborn child, including:
- The baby may be born extremely large. For example, your child could weigh more than 9 pounds, making the delivery difficult.
- The baby may be born early, resulting in breathing problems and other complications.
- The baby may develop type 2 diabetes later in life.
The good news is that you can reduce the risk of gestational diabetes with Chaga. Chaga mushroom helps with blood sugar control.
2. Chaga Medicinal Mushrooms Prevent Gestational High Blood Pressure
This disorder develops when a woman experiences high blood pressure during pregnancy without any other cardiac or kidney issues, protein in the urine, or abnormalities. Usually, it is discovered after 20 weeks of gestation or just before delivery.
After giving birth, gestational hypertension typically subsides. However, certain pregnant women with hypertension are at an increased risk of later developing chronic hypertension.
Gestational hypertension carries many risks for both the mother and the unborn child, including:
- Gestational high blood pressure can hinder blood flow to essential organs in the mother's body, including the placenta, uterus, brain, kidneys, and liver.
- Gestational hypertension can affect the baby negatively, resulting in issues like poor fetal growth and stillbirth.
- When left untreated, gestational high blood pressure can cause dangerous seizures (eclampsia).
- In extreme cases, it could result in the death of both the parent and the child.
Chaga can help pregnant women maintain good blood pressure levels, helping them avoid gestational hypertension.
However, we recommend talking to a doctor if you suspect you already have gestational high blood pressure. Proper management of gestational hypertension may require the use of additional medications.
3. Drink Chaga Tea To Prevent Gestational Weight Gain
Many women gain weight during pregnancy. Pregnant women tend to gain between 25 and 35 pounds while carrying their baby for nine months.
According to the CDC(8), 48% of pregnant women gain more than the recommended weight. Therefore, there is a need to control weight gain during pregnancy.
While walking and other forms of exercise may help you maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy, that is not the only thing you will need to do. You will also need to improve your diet. Consuming the mushroom powder can help you keep the excess weight at bay.
Read More: Learn how to use Chaga powder.
4. Chaga Mushroom Prevents Gestational Skin Problems
Pregnancy is known to affect the skin. During pregnancy, some women will notice the following problems:
- Brown patches on their face, around the forehead, neck, and cheeks
- Dark spots on their nipples, breaks, and inner thighs
- Stretch marks
Chaga's bioactive compounds fight toxins that often harm the skin, keeping the skin healthy during and after the pregnancy.
Read More: Learn how Chaga helps with skin health.
5. Use Chaga Tea To Prevent Gestational Hair Loss
Pregnancy also comes with hair problems. Due to stress or trauma, some women may notice hair thinning and shedding. Telogen effluvium is the name of the condition that pregnant women experience.
The body may experience stress throughout the first trimester as the hormone balance drastically changes to support the developing fetus. Thirty percent or more of the hairs on your head may enter the telogen, or "resting," phase of the hair cycle due to stress. As a result, you can lose 300 hairs every day rather than the typical 100.
Luckily, the Chaga mushroom prevents hair loss. As an added advantage, the mushroom is an adaptogen, which can help women adapt to stress. By reducing stress, the mushroom can lower the risk of hair loss during pregnancy.
Who Should Not Take Chaga?
Chaga mushrooms should be avoided by those at risk of kidney stones, who have a history of bleeding disorders, and who are taking medications to lower blood sugar.
Is Chaga Safe While Breastfeeding?
There is a lack of research and scientific evidence on whether Chaga tea should be consumed when breastfeeding. Therefore, consult with your doctor if you are nursing and want to try this mushroom tea.
Do Nootropics Increase Dopamine?
Natural nootropics can raise dopamine levels safely without causing adverse or undesired side effects. Additionally, they can improve the brain's ability to use dopamine.
So, is Chaga okay while pregnant? Unfortunately, we can't say much due to limited studies of Chaga pregnancy usage. However, speaking with your doctor can give you a much better answer.
The mushroom has a lot of health benefits to offer women. In addition to supporting pregnant and breastfeeding women with the nutrients they need, Chaga also helps women avoid gestational-related health complications. The mushroom prevents gestational diabetes, weight gain, high blood pressure, skin issues, and even hair loss.
Have you used Chaga before while pregnant? How was your experience? Let us know in the comments.
- Anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities of extracts and compounds from the mushroom Inonotus obliquus, (1)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0308814613000526
- Inotodiol From Inonotus obliquus Chaga Mushroom Induces Atypical Maturation in Dendritic Cells, (2)https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2021.650841/full
- Oxidative stress in pregnancy and reproduction, (3)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5010123/
- Antioxidant effect of Inonotus obliquus, (4)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15588653/
- Inonotus obliquus polysaccharide protects against adverse pregnancy caused by Toxoplasma gondii infection through regulating Th17/Treg balance via TLR4/NF-κB pathway, (5)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0141813019370345
- AMP-activated protein kinase plays an important evolutionary conserved role in the regulation of glucose metabolism in fish skeletal muscle cells, (6)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22359576/
- Gestational Diabetes, (7)https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/gestational.html
- Weight Gain During Pregnancy, (8)https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/maternalinfanthealth/pregnancy-weight-gain.htm