Cordyceps is one of the most popular mushroom supplements for athletes. Why? Because this wonderful fungus can possibly help improve your stamina. In this blog post, we discuss the main health benefits of Cordyceps and take a look at the findings from scientific studies.
What is Cordyceps?
Cordyceps is a functional mushroom that has been used for centuries in China (traditional Chinese medicine), Nepal, and Tibet to increase energy. Cordyceps has also gained popularity in the Western world as a supplement among sportsmen, athletes, and individuals seeking to enhance their energy and performance.
There are approximately 750 different species of Cordyceps, including Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris. MushPeak’s Cordyceps mushroom supplements exclusively contain Cordyceps militaris, which is relatively easier to grow than other species. In fact, other Cordyceps species require hosts (insects) to grow.
Cordyceps and ants: Is Cordyceps dangerous?
Some people know Cordyceps as a “zombie fungus,” a term we’ll explain shortly – but rest assured, people absolutely do not become zombies from it.
Have you ever watched Cordyceps grow from ants? If not, check out this video. Or have you ever watched the series The Last of Us? Then you know that Cordyceps infects insects (ants, moths, butterflies) with its spores.
While The Last of Us features people turning into zombies, this is pure science fiction. It’s based on what happens in nature where one of the 750 identified Cordyceps species, Ophiocordyceps, infects insects with its spores. The fungus kills and mummifies the insect, and from its dead body eventually grows a fruiting body – ready to infect even more insects.
An interesting process occurs, especially in ants. Researchers do not yet fully understand how, but after infection, the fungus “forces” the ant to climb to a high location, such as a leaf or branch, where the fungus can grow and spread.
While Ophiocordyceps is also used in herbal medicine, including to treat erectile dysfunction, we do not sell this species. The Cordyceps supplements from MushPeak consist exclusively of safe and organic Cordyceps militaris.
10 Health benefits of Cordyceps
A tremendous amount of research has been conducted in recent years on the health benefits of Cordyceps. Scientists are working to substantiate the potential benefits through in vitro and in vivo research.
While these studies yield interesting results, as is common in nutrition, ongoing research is crucial to truly support and comprehend these health benefits.
Here are 10 potential health benefits of Cordyceps militaris:
1. Cordyceps for more endurance
Results from this study reveal a significant improvement in oxygen use among the 28 participants after three weeks of taking Cordyceps militaris supplements. The study also indicates an extension in the duration of physical exertion. However, it was a short-term study, so extreme results were not apparent (1).
Researchers, however, express optimism for more robust results with chronic supplementation.
“Although minimal benefits were observed with acute supplementation of a mushroom mixture containing Cordyceps militaris, consistent supplementation […] may be beneficial for tolerance during intense exercise, potentially yielding performance gains through increases in exercise intensity and postponement of fatigue.”
2. Cordyceps for respiratory problems
Cordyceps may improve oxygen uptake in the body by potentially dilating the airways, which is one of the reasons Cordyceps can enhance physical performance. It may also be beneficial in respiratory problems, although more research is needed to confirm this result.
3. Possible enhancement of the immune response
This review study discusses various research on the workings of Cordyceps militaris on the body’s immune response. According to some studies, Cordyceps promotes the immune response, although results vary among studies (2).
“[…] we suspect that the different immunomodulatory effects of C. militaris extracts obtained using different solvents may be associated with the polarity of the final product.”
4. Cordyceps as antioxidants and anti-aging
Cordyceps militaris contains bioactive compounds, such as polysaccharides and cordycepin, which can act as antioxidants. This means they can neutralise free radicals and reduce cell damage. This can slow down the aging process and contribute to health.
5. Potentially increases libido
In traditional Chinese medicine, Cordyceps is used to provide more energy, reduce fatigue, and stimulate libido. That’s why the mushroom is also known as the “Viagra of the Himalayas.” Cordycepin may possibly help reduce fatigue, according to scientists (3).
6. Health benefits of Cordyceps for blood sugar levels
Some studies suggest that Cordyceps militaris can help regulate blood sugar levels, which can be beneficial for people with diabetes or pre-diabetes. However, these studies were conducted on mice, so more research is needed to understand the relationship between Cordyceps and blood sugar levels in humans.
7. Cordyceps militaris for healthy kidneys
Results from this study indicate that the extracellular polysaccharides of Cordyceps militaris can reduce and prevent liver and kidney toxicity in mice through the modulation of gut microbiota (4).
8. Possible anti-inflammatory properties
Cordyceps militaris may have anti-inflammatory benefits, potentially helping to reduce inflammation in the body and lower the risk of chronic diseases related to inflammation.
9. Cordyceps possibly lowers cholesterol
There is evidence that Cordyceps militaris may help lower levels of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and increase levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol), which may be beneficial for cardiovascular health.
10. Cordyceps mushroom can reduce stress
Cordyceps militaris is sometimes used to help modulate the body’s response to stress, which can help reduce and prevent disease.
The importance of top quality in Cordyceps supplements
Now that we have briefly covered the benefits of Cordyceps, let’s also discuss a few important aspects of mushroom supplements in general.
When turning to supplements, it is crucial to prioritize top quality. Why? Because mushrooms are nature’s absorbers, soaking up various substances from their environment, including harmful ones. Naturally, you wouldn’t want those in your body.
At MushPeak, our mushrooms are cultivated under strictly controlled conditions, ensuring they are completely organic. Yet, there are additional reasons to opt for only top-quality products:
- Varied efficacy: The effectiveness of Cordyceps supplements can vary depending on the product’s quality. MushPeak’s supplements boast a high concentration of active compounds responsible for health benefits. Low-quality supplements often fail to deliver comparable results.
- Strict production and quality control: Our supplements undergo rigorous production and quality control, ensuring consistency in composition and effects.
- Avoiding side effects: Every batch of our mushroom supplements is thoroughly tested for safety and quality. Low-quality supplements may lead to unexpected reactions or side effects due to possible contaminants.
- Optimal absorption: MushPeak employs the best production methods to enhance the absorption of active ingredients.
Experience the benefits of Cordyceps for yourself
Try our organic Cordyceps mushroom supplements and discover their impact on your health, performance, and endurance. Choose top quality with MushPeak!
Supplements should not be used as a replacement for a diverse diet, a healthy lifestyle, or as a treatment for any medical condition. Keep this product out of the reach of children. If you are ill, pregnant, or in doubt, always consult with your healthcare provider. The information provided on this website is intended for general informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. While traditional Chinese medicine has a history spanning thousands of years and has been tested on numerous individuals, MushPeak does not make claims indicating the proven medicinal properties of herbs or mushrooms, in accordance with current EU legislation. Detailed information about mushrooms is available from publicly accessible sources on the Internet. Please feel free to contact us with any questions.
- Hirsch K. R., Smith-Ryan A. E., Roelofs E. J., Trexler E. T., & Mock M. G. (2017). Cordyceps militaris Improves Tolerance to High-Intensity Exercise After Acute and Chronic Supplementation. Journal of dietary supplements, 14(1), 42-53. https://doi.org/10.1080/19390211.2016.1203386
- Lee C.T., Huang K.S., Shaw J.F., Chen J.R., Kuo W.S., Shen G., Grumezescu A.M., Holban A.M., Wang Y.T., Wang J.S., Hsiang Y.P., Lin Y.M., Hsu H.H., & Yang C.H. (2020). Trends in the Immunomodulatory Effects of Cordyceps militaris: Total Extracts, Polysaccharides and Cordycepin. Front. Pharmacol, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2020.575704
- Chai X., Pan M., Wang J., Feng M., Wang Y., Zhang Q., & Sun Y. (2022). Cordycepin exhibits anti-fatigue effect via activating TIGAR/SIRT1/PGC-1α signaling pathway. Biochemical and biophysical research communications, 637, 127-135. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2022.11.010
- Song Q. & Zhu Z. (2020). Using Cordyceps militaris extracellular polysaccharides to prevent Pb2+-induced liver and kidney toxicity by activating Nrf2 signals and modulating gut microbiota. Food & Function, 11, 9226-9239. https://doi.org/10.1039/D0FO01608J