There are so many beauty products available these days that it can be hard to sort through the good and the bad.
But if you’re looking for anti-aging products, chaga mushrooms should definitely be one of your top choices.
Chaga mushrooms have been used as an alternative treatment in eastern European countries for centuries, where they have been believed to help with joint pain, low energy levels, and various skin conditions. They are rich in antioxidants which may help slow down the aging process and protect against damage from ultraviolet radiation.
Now, thanks to new studies which we will dive into in this article, chaga is becoming increasingly popular for its anti-aging effects and its overall beauty-boosting benefits.
Let's dive into why and how chaga mushrooms are used for their potential anti-aging benefits.
First, some of the basics:
What are chaga mushrooms?
If you were to look at a chaga mushroom or see it in the wild, you’ll most likely come across it growing on birch trees, typically in colder climates like Russia, Canada, and Northern European countries.
And if you do happen to see it, you’ll probably think, “why is there charcoal growing out of that tree?” Because chaga directly resembles a lump of charcoal.
And while this may not be what you’d assume to be an elixir for anti-aging and beauty, believe us, the real beauty of chaga lies on the inside.
Chaga is made up of beneficial polysaccharides that are responsible for its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties, while its higher levels of vitamin d and copper are thought to do wonders for skin, hair, and nails.
We’ll break down exactly why they can act as a fabulous supplement for your self-care regimen.
Why do we age?
Simply put, as we age, our cells gradually become less efficient at repairing damage and producing energy. This leads to the formation of wrinkles, age spots, and other signs of aging.
The reality is that aging is a part of life, but we can do things to slow down this process.
The earlier you start in life, the better.
Chaga, especially, can help protect cells from damage and may promote cell degeneration thanks to its high antioxidant profile. Plus, they contain compounds that have been shown to boost collagen production and fight inflammation. In other words, chaga mushrooms could help you keep your youthful glow for longer!
But with so many beauty supplements out there, why would chaga reign supreme?
The problem with current beauty supplements
When we think about our beauty, we think about how we look on the outside, right? Of course, because it’s what we see. And how do we try to tackle the visible signs of aging? Well, unless we are blessed with great genetics (really, congrats to those that are! We envy you!), we turn to topicals, or in some cases, even injections, fillers, and surgeries.
We buy these cosmetics and other products to help “hide” the signs of aging.
And don’t get us wrong, these expensive products work for a little while. It’s ok to admit it, we’ve all used them and they do seem to be a fix…or at least a bandaid…
Because then, the allure begins to wear off. These topicals don’t work like they once did.
Often, we even see our old trouble spots start to come back, and there’s a reason for this. Topical solutions primarily work on the outer layer of the skin.
Very few of these products tackle the root causes of aging which are the processes happening on the inside, and we all know that’s directly affected by what we put in our body.
So, before you go looking for some new cream you’ve heard about, think about what you’re putting in your body before you think about what to put on it. After all, we really don’t want to play a vicious cycle of a quick patch and then the condition comes back or worsens, right?
We want a long-term improvement that is here to stay!
4 ways to slow down the anti-aging process
You’ve heard these before so we won't take up too much time on this. There are four key ways to slow down the aging process. These include:
- Regular exercise
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Drink more water
- Limit alcohol intake
Alright, now that we’ve got it out of the way, let us be clear that EVERYONE knows that there are diet and exercise changes that we can make to help slow down the aging process.
Of course, doing some more cardio, eating better, and drinking less all can help the cause, but isn’t that easier said than done?
And how many people (raise your hand as you’re reading this) say, “well, I do watch what I eat. I do exercise. I drink water and try to limit my alcohol intake, but I STILL notice signs of aging and nothing seems to work.”
You ARE NOT alone.
The reason is that EVEN if you’re eating healthy and exercising regularly, the reality is that more than just a healthy diet and exercise may be needed to address the signs of aging.
Heck, have you been stressed lately? Maybe for the past few years, we’ve all had a considerable amount of stress. When stress is involved, we need to take other precautions to help us fight the dreaded aging process.
Which is why chaga could be the solution with a beauty-from-within approach, rather than constantly focusing on short-term solutions meant to temporarily fix the outer layer of our skin, without tackling what’s on the inside.
How chaga can help with anti-aging
The primary reason chaga can help with anti-aging comes down to something called oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is when your body is “out of balance” when it comes to free radicals and antioxidants. Our body creates free radicals and then naturally produces antioxidants to help counter them.
Let's quickly review these terms in more detail:
|What is a free radical?||What is an antioxidant?|
|A free radical is an unstable atom that can damage cells and cause illness and aging.||Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidation, a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals and chain reactions that may damage the cells of organisms.|
Simply put: free radicals cause aging and antioxidants can help counter that process.
When there are far more free radicals and our bodies can’t produce enough antioxidants, those are high times of oxidative stress.
When this happens, it can lead to damaged cells and even some more severe health conditions.
That's where chaga mushrooms come in.
Chaga (inonotus obliquus) was studied for its ability to prevent oxidative stress in mice and in vivo and found that it “can prevent the aging process by attenuating oxidative stress in a model of stress-induced premature senescence.”
The study looked at a few key components that had to do with oxidative stress and aging. The sun (UV radiation) is one of the most prominent reasons for the aging process to speed up. It can create dark spots, wrinkles, and pretty drastic skin issues.
The study found that chaga “suppressed UV-induced skin changes.”
We also know that our collagen production may greatly impact the appearance of our hair, skin, and nails…3 trigger points for anyone concerned with aging. The study stated that chaga “increased collagen synthesis” which is another check mark on its potential as an anti-aging, beauty-boosting supplement.
The main assumption for these benefits is because of the high antioxidant properties of chaga, but its anti-aging potential doesn’t stop there.
Chaga is rich in polysaccharides (beta-glucans). Fungal beta-glucans have some extensive research for their anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation in the body can lower the defense of our skin. When we have an abundance of inflammation, our collagen amount decreases as well as the elasticity of our skin, meaning we are more prone to age spots, wrinkles, and the dreaded “saggy skin” we all associate with aging. It was reported that, “numerous studies have demonstrated that polysaccharides extracted from mushrooms exhibited beneficial therapeutic properties, including immunostimulation, anti-infection, antitumor, wound-healing, and other therapeutic aspects.”
See, the benefits of chaga may go much further than what we see. It’s more than just trying to help solve the issues of brittle nails, thinning hair, and aging skin. When we focus on what we’re putting into our bodies, we simultaneously can address what we see on the outside.
However, while research has been done, it’s important to understand that we’re still in the early stages of understanding the full beauty-boosting and anti-aging potential of chaga.
While it has been used for thousands of years, it has become more adopted recently as research has continued and consumers are looking for better, natural remedies to help fight the aging process.
How to take chaga for anti-aging benefits
Up until the past few years, one of the primary ways that people incorporated chaga into their routine was to take it as a tea. This is still a viable option, however, because of demand, there are now other forms of commercial products available to you!
- Powdered extract
- Tinctures (liquid extract)
Chaga powdered extract
Extract of chaga mushrooms is the ideal form of supplement. The top products have typically gone through a dual extraction of hot water and alcohol. This allows the beneficial compounds, like polysaccharides and terpenes, to be made bioavailable to us. Without that extraction, our bodies cannot break down the tough cell walls of mushrooms, like chaga, and reap all the benefits. Of course, from a nutritional standpoint, eating raw chaga mushrooms is still good for you, but as a supplement, look for ones that are offering an extract.
Powder will likely come in a bag or tin and a small ½ teaspoon or so will often deliver your daily needs. You can easily add this to coffee or another drink of your choosing!
Capsules contain powder extract of chaga. They are best for those that want the benefits, but don’t like the taste. They are a fine option, but again, make sure you’re buying an extract!
These are liquid extracts that will come in a glass vial. You take a dropper full and can place it directly in your mouth or add it to a drink! Not everyone agrees with the taste of tinctures, but they are a potent product that has been shown to be highly effective. More companies are offering products that remove the alcohol component to create a sweeter taste, without affecting the quality.
For those that like tinctures, but don’t love the bitter taste, this may be for you.
We put together a complete guide to chaga tinctures, including the top products.
These seem to be all the rage across the vitamin space in the past couple years. While gummies can be a tasty way to get a daily dose of chaga, understand that you’ll have to eat quite a few to get the same amount of extract as you would with a tincture or powdered extract/capsule. Plus, the added sugar may not be worth it to you, but to each their own!
Chaga tea is one of the more popular ways to consume chaga. That's because its earthy flavor is appealing to many. But chaga tea has been used medicinally for more than 2,000 years. That's right! With a long history, many of those looking for traditonal medicine turn to making chaga tea.
There are several ways to make chaga tea at home. Check out our complete guide to making chaga tea for more details.
How much chaga should I take for anti-aging?
If you’re eating chaga raw, you’d likely want to be consuming 3-5 grams on a daily basis, but extracts make it much easier for preparing, consuming, and digesting chaga.
Extracts of chaga are more potent, and a dose of around 1000mg (1g) which is typically the equivalent to 1 full dropper of a tincture, or ½ teaspoon of powdered extract, or 2 capsules of chaga extract.
Check the nutritional facts of your product to understand the recommended dosage and change accordingly based on how you’re feeling.
For example, one cup of chaga tea a day may be enough for you to see anti-aging benefits.
Does chaga have side effects?
Chaga and medicinal mushrooms in general are raved about for their safety. However, as with any supplement, there is a small chance you could notice some side effects.
- Upset stomach
- Allergic reactions
While mild and will likely stop if you discontinue use, it’s always important to monitor the way you’re feeling before and after you start taking any new supplement.
It’s also important to discuss any new supplementation with chaga with your doctor/physician, especially if you are pregnant/breastfeeding, or taking other medications.
You’ll want to be aware of any interactions chaga may have with other medication, which could lead to other side effects.
Check out this article for a more a more comprehensive look at chaga's potential side effects.
How does chaga compare to other mushrooms for anti-aging benefits?
Chaga isn't the only medicinal mushroom that comes packed with anti-aging benefits. In fact, reishi mushroom is another adaptogenic mushroom with powerful antioxidant and polysaccharides.
And if you're looking for a bit more energy to pair with your anti-aging routine, you might try a supplement that includes cordyceps as well.
Tips for taking chaga for anti-aging benefits
When it comes to supplementing with chaga, we want to be very clear that nothing is an “instant fix” when it comes to introducing a new supplement into your body. The best things take time. Taking chaga for a day isn’t going to do anything for you in the long run.
We believe that having a routine will have the biggest impact on your anti-aging journey. So, be consistent! If you decide to take chaga for anti-aging, commit to at least 60 days and monitor how you’re feeling. Do you have more energy? Is your skin looking like it has a little more glow? Are your nails feeling stronger?
You won’t notice this immediately, but continued use will be the best way to understand how chaga works for you!
Best chaga products for anti-aging
We have vetted a few of the leading medicinal mushroom companies that you can order from. There are a lot of companies out there, but these are ones that we trust and know deliver a pure and potent chaga extract.
The products listed below have passed our rigorous research requirments including mushroom sourcing, extraction process, product transparency, pricing, and more.
For chaga powdered extract and capsules check out:
For chaga liquid extract (tinctures) check out:
Final thoughts on chaga and anti-aging
We are firm believers in the power of medicinal mushrooms. Chaga, alone, is one of our favorites for slowing down the signs of aging, but even more importantly, a beneficial supplement for overall wellness. This form of natural remedy is only growing in demand and we hope for continued research and development into these and other conditions that chaga may help treat!
If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org! We’re here to help :)