Cordyceps mushrooms come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. Growing from the larvae of caterpillars, cordyceps are entomopathogenic fungi. Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris are the two most well-studied cordyceps species.
Health Benefits of Cordyceps Mushroom
Despite the fact that cordyceps mushrooms have long been utilized in traditional Chinese medicine, western medicine is only now becoming aware of their numerous benefits. Scientists have recently become quite interested in cordyceps mushrooms.
According to studies, clinical research reveals that these medicinal mushrooms can help you improve your workout performance and possibly fight cancer.
Cordyceps Can Improve Immune Functions
Cordyceps supplementation, like other functional mushrooms, supports the body’s healthy immune function. Its polysaccharide concentration promotes intestinal health and immune system modulation. Cordyceps, as an adaptogenic fungus, aids the body’s ability to respond effectively when faced with illness or inflammation.
Cordyceps Aids in Inflammation Prevention
Cordyceps mushrooms have long been used in traditional Chinese medicine to relieve inflammation. Despite the fact that most studies on the cordyceps fungus’ impact on immune function and inflammation are conducted on mice, the results are encouraging.
Cordyceps formed mycelia, and the fruit bodies are high in antioxidants, according to scientific investigations. The cordyceps mycelia can assist in the body’s regulation of free radicals. Anti-inflammatory activities are found in both mycelia and fruit bodies.
In a few studies, the Cordyceps militaris mushroom was found to boost cytokine production. Cytokines help to prevent disease by regulating inflammatory reactions in the body.
When human cells are exposed to Cordyceps, several proteins that cause inflammation in the body are reduced, according to a study.
Cordyceps has been demonstrated to reduce inflammation in the airways of rats, suggesting that it may be useful in the treatment of asthma. However, the fungus appears to be less effective than commonly prescribed drugs in treating inflammatory areas of the body.
Cordyceps Boosts Workout Performance
Cordyceps mushrooms have been shown to improve athletic performance in many double-blind, placebo-controlled investigations.
Researchers used a stationary bike in one study to see how it affected exercising ability in 30 healthy seniors. For six weeks, participants were given either 3 grams of a synthetic cordyceps strain called CS-4 or a placebo tablet. Participants who took CS-4 experienced a 7% increase in VO2 max at the end of the research, while those who took the placebo pill had no change. A fitness test that determines a person’s level of fitness is the VO2 Max.
Similar findings were found in a study assessing the effects of CS-4, a cordyceps extract, on healthy, older volunteers. After only 12 weeks on CS-4, individuals’ metabolic and ventilatory thresholds rose by 8.5 percent. Participants reported less muscle discomfort when compared to those who received a placebo.
The effects of cordyceps polysaccharides on fatigue were investigated further in a mouse study. The cordyceps supplemented animals had higher ATP levels and lower lactic acid levels than the control mice.
While additional research is needed, cordyceps looks to have the potential to help healthy adults exercise more effectively.
Cordyceps Aids in Cancer Prevention
The majority of investigations on the cancer-fighting abilities of the cordyceps fungus were conducted on animals or in test tubes. Despite this, cancer research suggests cordyceps may have anti-tumor properties.
In a 2015 test-tube investigation, the Cordyceps militaris fruit bodies, for example, were found to inhibit lung cancer cell multiplication. The mushroom’s inhibitory effects on hepatocarcinoma infected with hepatitis C were investigated in another investigation. Cordyceps was helpful in removing the undesirable cells.
An aqueous cordyceps extract was discovered to decrease leukemia growth by triggering apoptosis (cell death) in malignant cells in one study.
Cordyceps mycelium extract was reported to have an inhibitory impact against four malignancies, including B16 melanoma, in another investigation. Cordyceps Fungal mycelium, according to the study, has significant anti-tumor activity and could be a source of natural anti-tumor chemicals.
Cordyceps is Beneficial to Your Heart
More research on the benefits of cordyceps for heart health in humans is needed because the majority of research on the benefits of cordyceps for heart health has been conducted on mice. Regardless, animal studies demonstrate that this fungus lowers cholesterol levels.
High cholesterol is a major contributor to heart disease. Cordycepin’s effects on bad cholesterol were investigated in a 2011 study (cordycepin is one of the many bioactive compounds found in cordyceps mushrooms).
Cordyceps militaris supplementation was provided to hamsters and rats on a high-fat diet in this study. These animals exhibited much lower LDL cholesterol levels than control animals fed the same chow.
Mycelia from cultivated Cordyceps sinensis has similar cholesterol-lowering properties. In rats, cordyceps mushroom mycelia reduced LDL cholesterol while boosting HDL cholesterol levels.
Cordyceps Can Help You Improve Your Kidney Health
Cordyceps militaris’ effects on the symptoms of chronic kidney disease (CKD) were explored in a study. Cordycepin, an active component found in cordyceps, reduced TLR4 and NF-B levels, protecting against the development of CKD.
“Cordyceps militaris may show good potential in protecting against chronic kidney disease (CKD), but the molecular mechanism remains unclear,” the researchers said.
The heart and liver can be harmed by chronic renal illness. Researchers examined whether cordyceps could help people with renal disease improve the function of their organs in a 2014 study.
The experiment lasted eight weeks and was carried out on mice. Cordyceps supplementation appears to minimize liver and heart damage in rats with chronic renal illness, according to the research.
Cordyceps may help kidney transplant recipients avoid organ rejection, according to another study.
Cordyceps Has the Potential to Improve Sexual Health
In general, enhancing overall health and decreasing inflammation improves sexual health and function. Given cordyceps’ overall proclivity for increasing physical performance and reducing inflammation, it’s reasonable to predict a sexual advantage as well.
A study on castrated rats found that those given cordyceps extract had significantly improved sexual function.
Thinking of Trying Cordyceps?
Cordyceps can improve many people’s health, and is easy to include in your diet. Whether you want to take it as a tea, or ingest it in capsule form, this adaptogenic mushroom may just be the thing to optimize your mental and physical wellbeing!
For those who don’t like the taste of mushroom powders, granola brand Forij includes functional mushroom extracts in its granola products, including cordyceps, lion’s mane, and chaga mushrooms. Consuming adaptogenic mushrooms in tasty granola is a nice alternative to powders and teas.