Learn about chaga medicinal mushroom components

Chaga is one of the most unique and sought-after mushrooms in the world. Chaga has an extraordinarily high ORAC content, making it one of the most powerful tools against free radicals available. As a result of the interrelated biological processes of birch tree and fungus, the formation and accumulation of biologically active substances occurs and causes the unique therapeutic properties of Chaga.

Chaga Consumer Information

Many different components contribute to the uniqueness and efficacy of Chaga mushroom powder. You can find a mountain of basic information about Chaga on the internet, including its classification as a parasite on birch trees and descriptions of how it looks like burnt charcoal, but there is very little useful consumer information regarding how the individual components of Chaga work.


A polysaccharide is a carbohydrate. Its structure is a long chain of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen cells. Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy and essential for a variety of bodily functions. Without polysaccharides and other carbohydrates, you would always feel weak and dizzy. Carbohydrates have an undeserved bad reputation lately, incorrectly blamed for consumer weight gain. Many people jumped on the low-carb bandwagon in recent years, hoping for quick weight loss. Without the energy carbohydrates provide, many low-carb dieters abandon these unsustainable plans. All medicinal mushrooms contain polysaccharides. Scientific studies demonstrate the power of polysaccharides to balance and normalize the immune system. While research has revealed many of polysaccharide’s secrets, scientists are still working to understand how polysaccharides optimize the immune system in this way. Polysaccharides provide a variety of benefits, including:

  • Mood enhancement through increasing the levels of feel-good chemicals in the brain, leading to feelings of happiness and contentment*

  • Melting fatigue away*

  • Digestive health*

  • Efficient release of food energy through slow digestion*

  • When you look at the combined benefits of polysaccharides, you will see they are a great supplement for anyone hoping to prevent physical and environmental stress. Polysaccharides stimulate and support your existing immune system and provide other positive health effects that help you get healthy and stay healthy.*

Phytonutrients Phytochemicals

“Phyto” is the Greek word for plant. A phytonutrient then is a nutrient that comes from a plant. Also known as phytochemicals, phytonutrients are nonessential nutrients. This means the body does not require them to sustain life, but phytonutrients are important to overall health.

How Phytonutrients work

There are thousands of phytonutrients in the world, and each works in a slightly different way. Phytonutrients provide a variety of benefits, including:

  • Reduction of free radicals*

  • Enhancement of the immune system*

  • Optimized communication between cells*

  • Production of vitamin A*

Common phytonutrients: polyphenols and flavonoids polyphenols

Polyphenols, also known as secondary plant metabolites, are naturally occurring organic compounds found primarily in fruit and vegetable plants. Many whole foods are rich in polyphenols, including Chaga mushrooms, onions, apples, red grapes, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, and certain nuts. Some processed foods, such as tea, red wine, and grape juice, contain polyphenols. Scientists have performed a considerable amount of research recently regarding the effects dietary polyphenols have on human health. They have thoroughly studied the effects of polyphenols on dangerous free radicals but it is clear that polyphenols do much more than just reduce oxidative stress. For many years, scientists thought that polyphenols protected cells against oxidative damage by hunting down free radicals. Free radicals are unstable groups of atoms that try to steal electrons from nearby atoms to stabilize themselves, a process known as oxidation. Scientist thought polyphenols worked to reduce this electron theft, an action known as anti-oxidation. Subsequent research shows these early concepts to be an oversimplified view of polyphenols action. Polyphenols are essential to communications between cells. Body cells respond to specific “messenger” chemicals in the body. The hormone insulin, for example, tells muscles to take up sugar from the blood for energy. Polyphenols work as messengers to tell multiple cells to change their oxidative status, an action known as redox status, to achieve widespread protection against free radicals. The current thinking is that polyphenols interact with enzymes or bind to receptors on the surface of cells, similar to boats at a dock. The presence of polyphenols causes a change in redox status in the cells it contacts and may even trigger a series of redox reactions. In this way, polyphenols may improve cell survival. Phenolic compounds (tannins) – tanning substances are capable to partially coagulate protein, thereby forming a protective layer on the mucous membranes and the skin. This new understanding of how polyphenols work has generated quite a bit of excitement among healthcare professionals, with the greatest interest coming from those in the food and nutritional supplement industry. Consumers now eagerly await the development of polyphenol-rich products.


Chaga is high in flavonoids, the largest group of phytonutrients. Types of polyphenol, flavonoids are powerful antioxidants with immune-boosting properties. Diets rich in flavonoid-containing foods are also associated with skin protection, healthy blood sugar and blood pressure management, and brain function.

Sayan Siberian Chaga Research – Total Phenolic Score

We submitted our Siberian Chaga extract powder to Brunswick Laboratories for total phenolics (TP) testing. The results proved Chaga’s very high ORAC content. TP testing is an accurate analysis that measures the ability of Chaga powder benefits to cause a change in redox status. Using the FC method, like that used at Brunswick Laboratories, scientists report TP levels in milligrams per gram of gallic acid or mg/g. Higher total phenolics scores indicate greater availability of health benefits of chaga mushroom powder and anti-oxidizing agents in the product, while lower scores indicate weak ability to reverse oxidation.

Here is how siberian chaga extra stacks up:

Siberian Chaga extract


mg /100 gram

Acai, fruit pulp/skin, powder


mg /100 gram

Figs, raw


mg /100 gram

Blackberries, raw


mg /100 gram

Raspberries, raw


mg /100 gram

Pomegranates, raw


mg /100 gram

Blueberries, raw


mg /100 gram

Betulinic Acid

As you know chaga is a mushroom that grows on birch trees. From these birches, the mushrooms absorb betulinic acid that gives Chaga additional qualities not found in other foods or mushrooms. Betulinic acid is found in the bark of several different plant species but principally in the white birch (Betula pubescens), from which betulinic acid gets its name. Scientists have recently discovered betulinic acid’s inhibitory effect on topoisomerase, an enzyme that regulates the over-winding or unwinding of DNA. Betulinic acid also optimizes the immune balancing properties of polysaccharides. Contrary to popular belief Chaga mushroom doesn’t have a lot of betulin or betulinic acid. The concentration of betulinic acid of Chaga is low, so it offers only a supportive role in Chaga’s many benefits. Usually concentration of betulinic acid in wild harvested chaga is less than 1%.

Β-Glucans (Beta-Glucans)

β-Glucans (beta-glucans) are polysaccharides of D-glucose monomers. Scientists refer to β-glucans as the “biological response modifiers” because of the way β-glucans activate the immune system. Chaga mushrooms contain these beneficial β-glucans.

Superoxide Dismutase

Studies show that superoxide dismutase (SOD) acts to reduce oxidation and neutralize free radicals. Currently, researchers are investigating the potential of SOD as an anti-oxidation tool since scientists already know that SOD levels fall as free radical levels rise as the human body ages. Brunswick Laboratories tested our Siberian Chaga extract powder and sent back very high superoxide radical scavenging capacity (SORAC) scores. Scientists discuss SORAC scores in terms of micromole of Troxel equivalent per gram, or µmole TE/g. Higher SORAC scores indicate greater capacity to scavengem or hunt down, free radicals as compared to lower SORAC values.

Here is how our siberian chaga compares:

Siberian Chaga extract


µmole TE/g

Dried acai powder


µmole TE/g



µmole TE/g



µmole TE/g



µmole TE/g



µmole TE/g



µmole TE/g

Other Nutrients In Chaga*

In addition to organic active substances, chaga also contains a balanced set of natural minerals and trace elements. Here is the list of most important ones:


In the human body, melanin is a complex polyphenolic compound responsible for pigmentation of the skin and hair. Found in almost every organ of the body, it also supports healthy brain and nerve function, eyesight, and cell reproduction. In chaga, melanin is responsible for the mushroom’s signature dark color, signaling high levels of the pigment. Because melanin can support absorption and dissipation of up to 99.9% of UV damage that comes into contact with your skin, consuming chaga promotes slowed premature aging of the skin and enhanced DNA protection. By stimulating the growth of melanocytes, which are melanin-producing cells, chaga helps your body maintain adequate levels of this essential compound.


Potassium’s main function is to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body. This nutrient also aids normal body growth, alkaline adjustment, skin health, kidney function, protein synthesis, and detoxification. Potassium-rich chaga helps you fulfill a good portion of your recommended daily 4.7 grams.

2 responses to “Chaga Components”

  1. Rodolfo Rodriguez

    What nutrients does the black part of chaga have?

    • David Vartanian

      The nutrients in the black crust have just more concentrations. These are polyphenols, polysaccharides, beta glucans.

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