Cordyceps is a genus of fungi that includes over 400 unique species. These species are parasitic which means they require a host in order to gain nutrients and survive. This natural mushroom supplement that has been linked to improved immune function, blood glucose management, and optimal recovery for athletes. Cordyceps comes in a variety of forms, such as powders, liquids, capsules, and stacks with other mushrooms.
History of Cordyceps Mushroom
At high altitudes in Tibet and China, Cordyceps thrives within the frigid grassy mountains. It generally grows on caterpillars, leaching nutrients for its host. Today, it’s often cultivated on dead logs to keep up with the high demand. Although popular today, the Cordyceps mushrooms has a vast history.
The Chinese culture has used this mushroom for over a thousand years based on their traditional medicine system. It was such a rare find, that only the Emperor and his court members had access to it. They often took this mushroom in order to promote longevity and boost overall health.
Approximately two decades ago in Tibet, yak herders saw that their animals experienced increased energy levels after feeding on this mushroom. The word spread and Cordyceps was first introduced to the Western world around the 18th century. During this time a Jesuit priest from France brought back some of this mushroom after visiting the Chinese Emperor.
Benefits of Cordyceps Mushroom
Cordyceps Mushroom is taken for a wide range of conditions, combating fatigue, stress, respiratory ailments, and low libido. Cordyceps contains sterols, amino acids, peptides nucleosides, fatty acids, and polysaccharides. These are what’s believed to promote healing properties and offer medicinal uses.
Researchers are still investigating whether or not this supplement offers more specific benefits and functions. Humans trials have been limited, mainly focusing on lab and animal testing. Within both lab and animal studies, Cordyceps Mushroom has been shown to reduce tumors, while providing antioxidant, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. Some of the key benefits found included:
- Inhibited tumor cell growth
- Reduced the size of tumors
- Promoted tumor cell death
- Improved tolerance to radiation treatment and chemotherapy, reducing overall damage
- Increased antioxidant effects
- Reduced premature again
Benefiting Athletes and Bodybuilders with Cordyceps Mushroom
Cordyceps mushrooms are often used to enhance athletic performance by boosting stamina, exercise output, and recovery. In 1993, Cordyceps was used by the women’s track team at the Chinese National Games. By consuming drinks that include Cordyceps extract, the women went on to break a number of world records. The most incredible part was that the women were training by running a marathon every day. The Cordyceps allowed them to train using an unheard schedule, based on rapid recovery.
Ability to Increase ATP Levels
ATP is the go-to energy source for athletes, allowing them to fuel explosive activities. One of the active ingredients in Cordyceps is adenosine, a crucial component of ATP. In one 2007 study, Cordyceps was shown to boost ATP production. These findings were reported, suggesting this supplement for elderly individuals who are looking to remain active. For those who are already active, it can help extend training time and enhance growth based on muscle stimulation.
Increase Testosterone Levels
When trying to build muscle mass, it’s essential that you have balanced levels of testosterone. When studied, Cordyceps was shown to boost T cells by stimulating the body’s Leydig cells. In fact, throughout ancient Chinese history, Cordyceps was used to treat sexual dysfunction and a lack of energy. Today, it’s common within the bodybuilding community. By improving testosterone levels, you’re able to increase muscle mass.
Enhancing Cardiovascular Function
Cordyceps is also being investigated for its positive effect on cardiovascular health, however, there have not been any human trials that have displayed the impact of this supplement on our cardiovascular system. Once again, within animal and lab studies, Cordyceps was shown to:
- Lower blood pressure
- Relax blood vessel lining, boosting overall circulation
- Stabilize heart rate
Further research has revealed that when taking Cordyceps, you’re able to relax smooth muscle tissue, improving blood flow. In turn, this improves blood pressure and supports more positive heart health. Besides cardiovascular benefits, Cordyceps has also been linked to positive kidney and liver health, an improved respiratory system, and a stronger immune system overall.
Potential Side Effects of Cordyceps Mushroom
When taking any new supplement, it’s essential that you focus on both the positive and negative effects. When taking this supplement short-term, it is believed to be rather safe. With that being said, there are some precautions that should be taken in order to enhance safety levels.
If you are pregnant or nursing, please avoid use. There’s simply not enough research in order to say for certain if this supplement is ideal during this critical time. If you suffer from an auto-immune disease, such as MS, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis, please speak to your doctor before your first dose. Cordyceps mushroom can cause your immune system to become more active. The same is true for those who suffer from a bleeding disorder, as this supplement may increase your risk of bleeding.