Inonotus obliquus Supplement Benefits, Dosage, & Side Effects


Commonly known as chaga mushroom, Inonotus obliquus has been found to offer several potential health benefits, according to scientific studies:

Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant Properties

Chaga mushroom extracts have demonstrated potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities, which may help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body.[1][2] These properties are attributed to the presence of bioactive compounds like polysaccharides, triterpenoids, and polyphenols.

Anticancer Effects

Several studies have reported that chaga mushroom extracts and compounds exhibit anticancer effects against various types of cancer cells, including lung, ovarian, and hepatic carcinoma cells.[2][4] The anticancer mechanisms involve inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death) and inhibiting proliferation of cancer cells.

Hypoglycemic and Anti-diabetic Effects

Chaga mushroom polysaccharides have been shown to possess hypoglycemic (blood sugar-lowering) and anti-diabetic effects in animal studies.[2][3] One study reported a 31% decrease in blood sugar levels in diabetic mice treated with chaga polysaccharides.[5]

Hypolipidemic Effects

Some research suggests that chaga mushroom extracts may help lower cholesterol levels, including "bad" LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while increasing "good" HDL cholesterol levels.[2][5] This could potentially reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Hepatoprotective and Renoprotective Effects

Chaga mushroom extracts have demonstrated protective effects against liver and kidney damage induced by various toxicants and diseases in animal studies.[2][3]

While these potential health benefits are promising, it's important to note that most of the studies have been conducted in vitro (in test tubes) or on animal models. More human clinical trials are needed to confirm the safety and efficacy of chaga mushroom supplements for various health conditions.

Recommended Dosages for Inonotus obliquus (chaga mushroom) supplements

  • For beginners: Start with 500 mg of chaga powder per day.[2]
  • For intermediate users: After a week or two, increase to 1000 mg per day.[2]
  • For experienced users/maintenance: 1500 mg per day is considered a good maintenance dose.[2]
  • Maximum therapeutic dose: 2000 mg (2 grams) of chaga powder per day.[2][4][5]

Key Points on Chaga Dosage

A high-quality chaga supplement should have around 20% beta-glucan content. So a 2000 mg dose would provide 400 mg of immune-boosting beta-glucans.[2]

Health Canada suggests limiting raw chaga intake to 3.6 grams per day as a maximum.[2]

For specific purposes like cancer treatment or skin health, lower doses around 250-500 mg per day are recommended initially, gradually increasing to 2000 mg if needed.[4][5]

In an animal study on cancer, a dosage of 6 mg per kg body weight per day was used, which translates to around 360 mg per day for a 60 kg human.[4][5]

The consensus from multiple sources is that a daily dose of around 2000 mg (1 tablespoon) of chaga mushroom powder is considered optimal for therapeutic benefits, while starting with lower doses (500-1000 mg) and gradually increasing is advisable, especially for beginners.[2][4][5]

Potential Side Effects of Chaga Mushroom

High Oxalate Content

Chaga mushroom contains high levels of soluble oxalates, which can increase the risk of kidney stones and kidney disease, especially in those prone to these conditions or with existing kidney problems.[1]

  • 100g of dried chaga powder steeped for 30 mins can contain around 800mg of soluble oxalates, similar to eating 1/2 cup of spinach.[1]
  • Even a single tea bag (2g chaga) steeped this way can contain around 16mg of soluble oxalates.[1]
  • Those with osteoporosis, kidney stones, or on a low oxalate diet should avoid or consult a doctor before using chaga supplements.[1]

Potential Drug Interactions

The search results recommend consulting a doctor before taking chaga if you:[1]

  • Have diabetes or take diabetes medication
  • Have a blood clotting disorder or take blood pressure medication
  • Have an upcoming surgery
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding

Low Toxicity at Recommended Doses

Multiple studies cited in the search results indicate that chaga polysaccharides and extracts exhibit low toxicity at typical supplemental doses:[2][4]

  • One study found no significant toxicity in cells exposed to 20-160 μg/mL of chaga polysaccharides.[2]
  • Another study using 1500 mg/kg dosage in mice found no obvious toxic effects on serum profiles or organ tissues.[2]

While chaga appears relatively safe at standard supplemental doses, the high oxalate content and potential drug interactions are important considerations, especially for those with certain medical conditions.[1][2][4]