Chaga Mushroom and Rheumatoid Arthritis | Does it Help?

Chaga Mushroom and Rheumatoid Arthritis | Does it Help?

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is only one of the many diseases caused by an intricate, malfunctioning immune system. Due to any number of factors, which cannot always be determined for every case, the immune system begins to see cells inside of the human body as enemies or foreign invaders. Out of confusion, the body itself begins producing antibodies to specific tissues in order to destroy them.

The result: pain, inflammation, flare-ups, and, of course, diminished quality of life. This is what makes RA an autoimmune disease, “auto” means “self,” meaning that it is an immune disease that causes your body to attack itself. With rheumatoid arthritis, in particular, the body makes antibodies that begin attacking the tissues of different joints, specifically, the synovial membranes and the fluids within those joints.

The result is pain and inflammation in one or more joints throughout the body. Common joints that one may develop rheumatoid arthritis, also called RA for short, include the wrist, hands, feet, and lower spine. It is also not unusual to get this type of arthritis in one knee or one shoulder. The result, sufferers with RA face brief bouts of reduced mobility with this specific joint, commonly called “flashes,” followed by periods of minor pain and discomfort.

Despite this, it is difficult to predict when a flare-up is going to happen, and they can restrict someones quality of life. For instance, someone who has affected wrists and hands might be unable to open a can or a jar, type, write, or perform other tasks. Those with afflicted knees or feet, however, may find it difficult to walk or move in some periods.

Chaga Mushroom and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Chaga is another solid immunity enhancer, and is right amongst the best immunity boosters like  Reishi. Together, chaga and reishi are an undefeated immunity-booster. Like reishi, and even Maitake, chaga contains potent antioxidants that protect cells from damage from free radicals, which is documented in studies like this one, including harmful inflammation caused by autoimmune diseases such as RA.

Does Chaga Help With Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Chaga has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body that is associated with arthritis. Although more studies are needed to confirm the direct benefits of using chaga for rheumatoid arthritis, If you’d like to try chaga for RA, please do so with the supervision of your doctor, especially if you’re already taking any prescription medications. But chaga is mostly harmless, so worst case scenario is it may not work for you specifically for your RA symptoms, but you will experience the many other benefits of this incredible mushroom.

What Causes Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Although rheumatoid arthritis clearly has an immune underlying cause, why the immune system goes off-kilter in the first place is not known. The studies so far today do provide some insights as to how immune dysfunction can evolve, then produce autoimmunity to joints throughout the body.

Genetics

Unlike diseases like cancer, diabetes, or heart disease, which are most prevalent, autoimmune conditions such as RA may have a fraction of their causes that are entirely genetic, thus impossible to control, while those diseases described above may have been the result of a combination of genes and lifestyle choices. People who possess specific genetic markers appear to have five times more chances to develop autoimmune problems such as RA over the course of a lifetime. So relatives of people who are affected by RA, like parents or children, are far more likely to get it, too.

Hormones

There has also been an intense link between RA and hormones. Studies consider the link worth considering in the causes of RA, in large part because people who are affected by RA are generally women. According to the Arthritis Foundation, approximately 70% of those diagnosed are women, which may imply there is some relationship between RA and the female hormones estrogen or progesterone. However, studies about this specific cause are not yet clear.

Environmental Causes

While genes, gender, and hormones might be setting the stage, studies have also shown that environmental factors can be a real fuel in the fires that trigger auto-immune problems – and ultimately, RA. Emotional stress or trauma, for instance, could be a reason. Many people who have RA report their symptoms starting at a time when they were experiencing high levels of stress, distress, or trauma, or even when they developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Dietary Causes, Like Gluten Intolerance

As yet another environmental influence, dietary decisions and gut health may also play a role in how it develops. Research and observations by clinicians also indicate that gluten in the diet can make RA worse, or contribute to it.

Because gluten building blocks have similar molecular structures with those in many other tissues of the body, the immune system can become confused and attack the joints and other organs by accident. This process is called molecular mimicry.

And the research supports that connection to gluten, too. A 2010 study, along with another from 2015, found that the same antigens attacking gluten inside the body also attack synovial tissues in joints. So, there may be a possible way to lower your chances of developing RA via your diet, just cutting back on gluten and avoiding foods with inflammation in them whenever possible.

About the author

Bruce Wilson

I've studied Mycology and Forest Pathology and love creating content to help other learn more about my passion. Follow along as I continue to explore the amazing world of functional fungi!

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