Oxidative Stress – What is it?

Oxidative stress plays a major role in the overall health of the body. What is oxidative stress? It’s defined as being an imbalance in the body – the balance between free radical production and the body’s natural defense (using antioxidants to counteract free radicals) is thrown off, leading to a number of diseases and issues, usually through inflammation of organs, bodily tissues or joints.

Inflammatory bowel disease, also known as IBD, is an overall term used to indicate various points of inflammation throughout the digestive tract. It can include:

Depending on the number and severity of symptoms, you could experience inflammatory bowel disease chronically, or go through periods of time where symptoms flare up or go into remission.

What causes inflammatory bowel disease? Most doctors once agreed that only diet and stress levels were to blame, but now they suspect that while they can exacerbate symptoms, they aren’t really a sole cause. Instead, health care experts say that inflammatory bowel disease could be caused by an immune system response gone wrong – essentially there is a virus or irritant in the system and, while the immune system tries to battle against that virus, it also turns on the digestive system, too.

Chaga and Digestive Issues

Chaga has been studied in a variety of settings, mostly for its positive effect on oxidative stress and immune-boosting properties, both of which offer promising solutions to those who suffer from digestive issues.

One such study[1] was done to determine how Chaga could affect those who experienced inflammatory bowel disease. In the study, hydrogen peroxide was used in-vitro on cells to create the environment of oxidative stress. The cells were taken from 40 volunteers – 20 of whom had inflammatory bowel disease and 20 considered to be free of any digestive issues. Throughout the duration of the study, cells were given various doses of hydrogen peroxide, in addition to varying doses of Chaga extract. In cells that were given Chaga, a 54.9 percent reduction of oxidative damage was noted, with only a 34.9 percent reduction noted in the control group.

The conclusion of the study was that Chaga extract reduced the overall oxidative stress found in cells with those who had inflammatory bowel disease, as well as those who were healthy. While more studies need to be done, this study highlighted that Chaga extract could be a useful and powerful supplement to reduce overall levels of oxidative stress in the digestive system.


[1] Najafzadeh, M., P. D. Reynolds, A. Baumgartner, D. Jerwood, and D. Anderson. "Chaga mushroom extract inhibits oxidative DNA damage in lymphocytes of patients with inflammatory bowel disease." BioFactors (Oxford, England). Accessed October 06, 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18997282.