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Is Cordyceps Dangerous? 5 Facts + 1 Myth

| Leestijd 7 Minuten

Did someone tell you that Cordyceps is dangerous and that it can transform people into zombies? It’s high time to bust this myth and uncover the truth about Cordyceps. Far from being a deadly fungus, Cordyceps boasts a plethora of potential health advantages, five of which we’ll explore below.

Myth: Cordyceps is dangerous and turns you into a zombie

one might wonder if Cordyceps is dangerous when looking at this image

Let’s address the myth head-on: “Cordyceps turns you into a zombie.” Well, that’s simply not true, at least not when it comes to the Cordyceps mushroom used in supplements. But where does this myth originate?

The culprit behind the misconception: Ophiocordyceps

You may have heard tales of Cordyceps infecting insects like ants and butterflies, seemingly controlling them like zombies.

Here’s the reality: it’s actually a close relative of Cordyceps, Ophiocordyceps, that poses a danger. Ophiocordyceps infects insects with its spores, leading to their demise and the growth of a fruiting body from the insect’s lifeless form. The situation gets even more bizarre with ants, which are somehow compelled to climb to high points before succumbing to the fungus, thus aiding its spread.

As for people being turned into zombies by Cordyceps? Only on TV

In the popular drama series “The Last of Us,” people transform into zombies following Cordyceps infection. It’s possible that this portrayal has contributed to the myth. But rest assured, it’s nothing more than science fiction.

Interestingly, Ophiocordyceps was once classified as one of the 750 species of Cordyceps until 2007 when its distinct characteristics led to its reclassification into its own category.

To further reassure you: MushPeak only sells supplements based on Cordyceps militaris. This is a safe and organic strain with no scary side effects. So no zombies here, just healthy and natural benefits!

5 Possible benefits of Cordyceps militaris

cordyceps mushrooms before turning into supplements

Most Cordyceps supplements you can buy online or in shops are made from Cordyceps militaris, the non-hazardous species. This is the species that is easiest to grow and suitable for commercial use.

Cordyceps is known for its energy-boosting properties and can have several health benefits:

1. Cordyceps can boost your immune function

Cordyceps contains polysaccharides, peptides and nucleosides that can boost immune function. Polysaccharides, such as beta-glucans, can boost the activity of immune cells such as macrophages and natural killer (NK) cells, improving your body’s ability to fight off pathogens (1).

2. Cordyceps can increase your energy

Cordyceps contains adenosine, a nucleoside involved in energy production in our cells. By promoting the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the main energy carrier in our body, Cordyceps can increase stamina and boost our energy levels (2).

3. Cordyceps can support respiratory function

Cordyceps also contains cordycepin, a nucleoside that has bronchodilator properties. This means it can help dilate the airways and facilitate breathing (3). In herbal medicine, Cordyceps is used to treat respiratory conditions such as asthma and bronchitis.

4. Cordyceps can regulate blood sugar levels

The polysaccharides in Cordyceps can promote glucose uptake into cells and improve insulin sensitivity. In addition, cordycepin can affect the activity of enzymes involved in glucose metabolism. This may help stabilise blood sugar levels (4).

5. Cordyceps may support cardiovascular health

The adenosine and polysaccharides in Cordyceps may be beneficial for the heart and blood vessels (5). For instance, adenosine can help lower cholesterol levels and improve blood circulation. The polysaccharides also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which may also be beneficial for the heart and blood vessels.

Safety and reliability of Cordyceps supplements

cordyceps supplements safety

Not all Cordyceps supplements are alike. Cordyceps isn’t dangerous, but there is a huge difference in quality between different brands.

To make sure you get the best quality at home, pay attention to the following points:

  • Cordyceps supplements should be organic. Organic Cordyceps is grown without the use of synthetic chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides and fertilisers. This minimises the risk of contaminants and residues of harmful substances.
  • Based on high-quality fruiting bodies. High-quality fruiting bodies are carefully grown and harvested under controlled conditions. This reduces the risk of contaminants.
  • Tested by third-party external laboratories. Check that the Cordyceps supplement has been tested for contaminants such as heavy metals, pesticides, and microbial contamination. At MushPeak, you can see the lab results on the product pages, so you can be sure what you’re getting.

What to do if you have an allergic reaction

Allergic reactions to Cordyceps are very rare. Of course, if you are allergic or sensitive to fungi, a reaction may occur. While you won’t turn into a zombie, for people with allergies, Cordyceps can be dangerous. That goes for anything.

Other factors may also be at play; sometimes certain medicines interact with supplements. So if you are taking any medication, always check with your doctor whether you can combine it with supplements.

An allergic reaction can range from mild to severe. If you experience symptoms such as skin rashes, shortness of breath or nausea, it is advisable to contact your doctor and stop taking the supplements.

Buy your premium-quality organic Cordyceps supplements now

Want to make sure you buy the best Cordyceps supplements? Then choose MushPeak’s mushroom supplements. Every batch of supplements is tested by external third-party laboratories without exception. Naturally organic. Tested. And premium quality.

Discover our mushrooms!

Read more about Cordyceps

Disclaimer

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.

References

  1. 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
  2. Hirsch K., Smith-Ryan A., Roelofs E., Trexler E., & Mock M. (2017). Cordyceps militaris Improves Tolerance to High-Intensity Exercise After Acute and Chronic Supplementation. Journal of Dietary Supplements, (14)1, 42-53. 10.1080/19390211.2016.1203386
  3. Mengli Chen, Florence W.K. Cheung, Ming Hung Chan, Pak Kwan Hui, Siu-Po Ip, Yick Hin Ling, Chun-Tao Che, & Wing Keung Liu (2012). Protective roles of Cordyceps on lung fibrosis in cellular and rat models,
    Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 143(2):448-454. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2012.06.033
  4. Li Ma, Song Zhang, & Mei Du. (2015). Cordycepin from Cordyceps militaris prevents hyperglycemia in alloxan-induced diabetic mice. Nutrition Research, 35(5):431-439. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nutres.2015.04.011
  5. Xiaoqian Yang, Ping Lin, Jin Wang, Na Liu, Fan Yin, Nuo Shen, & Shoudong Guo. (2021). Purification, characterization and anti-atherosclerotic effects of the polysaccharides from the fruiting body of Cordyceps militaris. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 181: 890-904. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2021.04.083
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