Chaga mushrooms have proven health benefits, but some of our customers are concerned about the oxalate content in these fungi.
We’ve looked into the latest research on oxalates in chaga mushrooms and the side effects they can produce. Here’s what you should know about chaga and oxalates and how to take chaga safely:
What Are Chaga Mushrooms?
The chaga mushroom (Inonotus obliquus) is an edible mushroom that grows on birch trees. This adaptogenic mushroom prefers cooler climates, which is why it mostly grows in the northern parts of Asia, Europe, and North America.
Chaga mushrooms have been a staple in holistic medicine for centuries. They are among the healthiest mushrooms you can consume, and certain regions of Siberia are known for using these fungi to treat anything from skin issues to cancer.
Chaga Mushroom Health Benefits
Chaga mushrooms provide an array of health benefits. For one, Inonotus obliquus appears to aid in diabetes management, due to its ability to lower blood sugar levels. This adaptogenic mushroom reduces inflammation, can alleviate symptoms of various autoimmune diseases, fight cancer, and promote healthy hair and skin.
Some of the health benefits of chaga mushrooms include:
- immunomodulatory effects
- oxidative stress relief
- weight loss and weight management
- anti-cancer properties (through apoptosis of cancer cells)
- potential to aid in the treatment of autoimmune illnesses
- blood sugar level management
Taking chaga is not linked to any health concerns, and research suggests that chaga is generally safe for most people.
However, if you are allergic to fungi, yeast, or mold, be cautious when taking chaga for the first time. Just like with other fungi, allergies are the most common side effects of chaga, so always start with a small dosage and contact your doctor if you notice any allergy symptoms.
There is no evidence that chaga may be unsafe for pregnant or breastfeeding people. However, many people choose to avoid chaga, as well as other adaptogenic mushrooms, while pregnant and breastfeeding.
Chaga and Oxalates
The levels of oxalate in chaga can be around 14/100 grams, making these fungi a high oxalate food. However, unless you consume more than the recommended daily dosage of chaga (around 2000mg per day), you won’t exceed the safe daily limit of oxalate consumption.
Is Chaga High in Oxalates?
Yes, research into chaga mushrooms and oxalates determined that chaga is a high oxalate food, with 14.2g of oxalates per 100g. A 2018 case report examined the development of end stage renal disease after long-term ingestion of chaga mushrooms.
This case report concerns a 49-year-old Korean man with end stage renal failure. Calcium oxalate crystals were found in the man’s kidneys and it is suspected that his daily chaga consumption contributed to this health concern.
Though it was not confirmed that the high oxalate contents were a result of Inonotus obliquus consumption, you should err on the safe side and stick to low doses of chaga and other high oxalate foods, especially if you’re prone to kidney disease.
Chaga and Kidney Disease
Another case report, published in 2020, looked into chaga mushroom-induced oxalate nephropathy (kidney disease caused by oxalates).
A 72-year-old Japanese woman with liver cancer was treated for acute oxalate nephropathy after taking chaga mushroom powder for 6 months to aid in the treatment of her liver cancer.
The renal biopsy results showed high oxalate crystal content in her kidneys. Again, it was not confirmed that the high oxalate levels were linked to chaga consumption, as there is no way to know the exact soluble and insoluble oxalic acid contents of the supplement she was taking.
Symptoms of Hyperoxaluria
Hyperoxaluria is the medical term for high oxalate levels in the kidneys and urine. The clinical manifestations of this illness are similar to those of kidney stones. Symptoms you should look out for include:
- pain in the lower back or the side of the body
- pain when urinating
- inability to urinate
- blood in urine
- fever and chills
- cloudy urine
- feeling the need to urinate more frequently
What Is a Safe Chaga Dosage?
The optimal chaga dosage to get the benefits of this fungus without risking high oxalate consumption is up to 2000 mg (about one tablespoon) of mushroom powder.
A serving of Forij granola contains 250 mg of hyperconcentrated chaga extract, which has an equivalent chaga dosage of 2000 mg of chaga mushroom powder.
One serving is enough for you to reap the benefits of chaga for your skin, your immune system, and boost your overall health.
Buy Premium Chaga Mushroom Granola
If you’re interested in taking chaga and reaping the benefits of this fungus, give our delicious mushroom granola a try.
Forij granola contains a chaga extract made from the entire fungus. And, in addition to getting your daily dose of chaga, you’ll also get the benefits of cordyceps mushrooms and lion’s mane mushrooms.
Our mushroom granola is gluten-free, vegan, and made of high-quality, organic ingredients. What more could you ask for in a delicious bowl of cereal?
FAQ on Chaga and Oxalates
How much chaga extract is in Forij granola?
Forij granola uses a high-quality chaga extract made from whole medicinal mushrooms. Our dual extraction method extracts both water-soluble beta-glucans as well as alcohol-soluble triterpenes. Our decoction process breaks down indigestible chitin cell walls of the mushroom to get much more of these compounds out than ordinary processes do.
One serving of our granola provides 250 mg of hyperconcentrated chaga mushroom extract, which is eight times more concentrated than a regular chaga supplement. Therefore, you get as much chaga potency as you would if you were taking a 2000 mg mushroom powder, all in one bowl of granola.
What are the two sides of chaga?
The term ‘two sides of chaga’ refers to the overharvesting of chaga as a result of its rise in popularity. Wild chaga grows on birch trees, but it can only infect, and therefore grow, on one birch tree out of every 20,000.
Due to how difficult it is for chaga to grow and how in-demand it has become, foragers are overharvesting it, which could lead to this species going extinct. If you don’t want to contribute to overharvesting, make sure to buy chaga products from a company that sources its mushrooms ethically (such as Forij).
What are the chaga mushroom cancer benefits?
Chaga provides an array of benefits for cancer patients and is considered to be among the best medicinal mushrooms for cancer.
A 2010 human and animal study looked at the antitumor activity of Inonotus obliquus in human and animal cells. Results show that this medicinal mushroom has the potential to inhibit cancer growth in animal and human cancer cells and causes cancer cell apoptosis.
Further research on the exact effects of chaga on cancer is certainly warranted to understand the underlying mechanisms of this fungus.
Who should not drink chaga tea?
For generally healthy individuals, it’s completely safe to consume chaga supplements, including a chaga mushroom drink in the form of tea or coffee. However, people with bleeding disorders should be cautious, as these medicinal mushrooms slow down blood clotting, which could lead to excess bleeding if you get hurt.
Although there is no research to suggest chaga tea could be unsafe for pregnant or breastfeeding people, many choose to avoid chaga tea during pregnancy, as well as other adaptogenic and herbal teas.
Do mushroom supplements cause kidney stones?
There is a lack of research on what, if any, mushroom supplements can cause kidney stones. However, the centuries of use prove that high-quality mushroom supplements are completely safe to consume in moderation. So long as you follow the recommended dosages, mushroom supplements shouldn’t cause kidney issues.
What foods neutralize oxalates?
Foods high in calcium neutralize oxalates. Therefore, it’s smart to pair oxalate-rich foods with calcium-rich foods, such as bone broth, salmon, dairy, shellfish, and eggs. Combine Forij granola with milk or a calcium-rich milk alternative for the same effect!
How do you flush oxalates out of your body?
There are three ways to flush oxalates out of your body. You can let them flush out on their own, drink plenty of water to speed up the process, or consume high-calcium foods to neutralize the oxalates.
Does lion’s mane have oxalates?
No, lion’s mane mushrooms don’t have a high oxalate concentration. A 2014 study examined the presence of oxalate and mineral content in select edible mushrooms, including lion’s mane.
Results show that Hericium erinaceus has very low to moderate oxalate levels. Still, if you’re concerned about oxalate levels in this mushroom, stick with recommended doses of lion’s mane.
What happens if you drink chaga every day?
There are no health threats or health risks to eating or drinking chaga every day, so long as you stick with a low dosage (up to 2000 mg). If you’re looking for an easy way to get your daily dose of Inonotus obliquus, consider chaga granola as a tasty alternative to drinking this fungus.
Is chaga good for the thyroid?
Yes, chaga is good for the thyroid. Chaga helps reduce thyroid antibodies, activate immune pathways, and increase the cell response of immune cells. These mechanisms are behind the benefits chaga provides for inflammation reduction.
What are the most popular chaga products?
Thanks to the immense popularity of Inonotus obliquus, there are multiple ways to take chaga nowadays. Some of the most popular chaga products include:
While chaga mushroom powder may be the easiest to get, it’s hard to find a high-quality one that will provide all the benefits of chaga you’re looking for. Instead, go with our medicinal mushroom granola, which contains a premium chaga extract, in addition to lion’s mane and cordyceps mushroom extracts.
This article was written strictly for informational purposes and is not intended to inform about medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment of any kind. The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For additional information on chaga mushrooms and their medicinal properties, talk to your doctor.