Chaga Mushrooms vs. AHCC®
Chaga Mushrooms vs. AHCC®
Medicinal mushrooms are widely considered one of the most credible and scientifically supported of all available supplements in the US market. In the Asian market, medicinal mushrooms are more highly revered and widely considered on a cultural basis to possess valuable medicinal properties. People take medicinal mushrooms for a variety of reasons. However, many people may simply lump a bunch of very different and unique types of medicinal mushrooms under one single umbrella. It is not appropriate to broadly categorize all medicinal mushrooms as having the same qualities and characteristics because this simply does not reflect biological reality. While research on the effects on humans of many mushroom types is still needed to determine the veracity of specific medicinal claims, anecdotal evidence and consumer behavior resoundingly say that people like something about these mushrooms! And they keep coming back and buying more!
All the material out there on nutritional supplements, including medicinal mushrooms, can be very confusing, and some of it can be downright dishonest. This article has been compiled to help you sort through what is nonsense and what is not. It is important to remember that it is inappropriate to take any form of medicinal mushrooms without consulting your physician. You should also never consider it as a direct treatment for a disease but should make it somewhat similar to how you take daily vitamins. Always take it with food before a meal for maximum absorption!
What Are Chaga Mushrooms?
Chaga Mushrooms are native to Northern latitudes of the Eurasian continent, primarily in Russia and other areas of Northern Europe. They can also be found in Canada in Alaska. They are found in the bark of birch trees in cold northern climates. For at least hundreds of years, these have been a source of nutrition and have been used for their perceived medicinal benefits and healing properties. The mushrooms are not like typical mushrooms in appearance. They look more like a truffle and have been described as looking like a piece of burned charcoal. These mushrooms have been used in both Chinese and Russian culture. Chaga mushrooms are an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Chaga mushrooms are black on the outside but break them apart, and they reveal a soft center that is the color of a pumpkin. Chaga is thought to boost immunity and overall health. It can be ground into a powder and be consumed, or it can be steeped in tea. Today many people may take the powdered form directly in capsules in an attempt to get a direct benefit.
What health benefits are Chaga Mushrooms though to have? We’re here to parse some of the facts from fiction. The bottom line when you’re dealing with any supplement, which medicinal mushrooms like Chaga fall under the category of, consumers have to be very careful. This is because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the contents of supplements or the claims made about their effects, medicinal or otherwise. Therefore, as a consumer seeking to get supplemental nutrition in this market, you must operate in an informed or intelligent way; if you do not, you risk getting fleeced or getting inaccurate or even unsafe products. So, a basic rule is that you should never take any supplement with the expectation of it solving a medical issue, or curing a disease or ailment. Supplements are exactly what they sound like, and they are nutritional supplements meant to give us vital nutrition that may be difficult or expensive to get from our everyday diet. You should, at all times, consult a physician before starting a supplement. Supplements are not a prescription medication. However, they may interact with or inhibit the effectiveness of certain prescription medications. That is why it is vital, regardless of any other advice you may receive when investigating this topic, that you do not treat supplements as medication. Whether it be medicinal mushrooms or any other type of supplement, you need to rely on prescription medications and the advice of a physician to treat and prevent illness. That being said the below are some of the health benefits Chaga is thought to possess.
- May Boost Immune System and Reduce Inflammation*- Inflammation is a major part of the body’s immune response that can offer one of the primary mechanisms of defense against foreign pathogens. However, the continued duration of inflammation past a certain point can begin to have counterproductive and adverse effects on the body. Animal testing indicates that Chaga extract can boost immunity by promoting the proliferation of cytokines. These unique proteins regulate the immune system; Chaga also stimulates whites blood cells.*
- May Lower Blood Sugar*- Several research projects have indicated the potential of Chaga to reduce blood sucrose levels.* Therefore, it may be helpful in preventative approaches to diabetes. Evidence of this property in humans is sparse, however, and much more data is needed before Chaga could be recommended as a treatment for patients with diabetes, although they have every prerogative to integrate it into their health and wellness routine. A study in mice suggested reduced insulin resistance in mice who took Chaga extract.
- May Lower Cholesterol*- Chaga has excellent potential in lowering harmful cholesterol levels and thus reducing the risk of heart disease. One study found that Chaga reduced the levels of LDL cholesterol. In the same survey, which was not in humans, it was also found to increase positive, or HDL cholesterol. Researchers hypothesize that antioxidants are again the culprit for this significant potential health benefit. However, like most supplements, there is not enough medical research using human research to conclusively state what the medicinal benefits of Chaga may be for human beings. Further research should illuminate the subject more thoroughly.
Any supplement, including Chaga mushrooms, are not without risks and potential side effects. Even though you are going into your research on Chaga mushrooms with the best of intentions, you still need to proceed with caution. Chaga has a high potential to interact with several medications. Chaga could pose a risk for people on insulin. It could also prevent blood-thinning medications from adequately working. This could be a severe consequence, so be positive to consult your physician before taking Chaga, if you haven’t already. Chaga helps the immune system, and since the immune system is a balancing act, if it supports it too much, it could cause adverse effects. Thus people with any autoimmune conditions should consult a physician before taking Chaga as well.
While Chaga is a type of mushroom, AHCC® is a proprietary compound that was specifically developed to concentrate the nutrients present in several species of fungi. Part of the innovative process that led to the creation of this highly potent nutritional supplement is that the process of its' manufacture allows for lower molecular weight and thus easier absorption* by the body. This process was considered quite revolutionary when it was patented by a Japanese Doctor and a company that he was in partnership with. This supplement is particularly high in Alpha-Glucans, whereas most medicinal mushrooms are high in beta-glucans.
AHCC® mushrooms have become one of the most sought after and heavily researches supplements on the market. The supplement is thought to provide several health benefits. This indicates a potential antiviral property. This compound has been shown to have several perceived health benefits:
- Maintains optimal natural killer cell activity*
- Increases number and activity of dendritic cells*
- Promotes T-cell and macrophage activity*
- May enhance cytokine production*
If you’re looking for a vendor that only bases their ingredients and claims on human trials, which is a rare find in the world of supplements, then try Quality of Life. They are one of the top vendors of AHCC® in the world.