| Food & Diet

3 Reasons To Supplement With Cordyceps

By Jayton Miller

Many people are not familiar with the benefits of cordyceps mushrooms. However, they are said to be one of the most powerful medicinal mushrooms out there because of their health giving properties. The top 3 benefits include 1) improving exercise performance, 2) supporting heart health and 3) fighting inflammation. These three things will help you live a healthier life while also making it easier to maintain your fitness goals. Let's dive in...

What Is Cordyceps?:

What Is Cordyceps

Cordyceps is a type of parasitic mushroom that grows on the larvae of insects. Many people find this mushroom interesting as it can infect its host and, after some time, pop out of its head feeding off of the host’s body. 

These remains have been collected by ancient Chinese medicine practitioners for their so called antiaging and pro vitality benefits, touted as an energy and libido booster. So what are the benefits of these strange fungi?

The Benefits Of Cordyceps:

1. Cordyceps may help support heart health

Cordyceps For Heart Health

Cordyceps has been shown to have many potential benefits, but one of the main ones it has been studied for is its potential to be beneficial to the functioning of the heart. In a study done on rats, 8 weeks of cordyceps supplementation was able to have “rescue effects” on the heart and the liver that were damaged prior to ingestion.  

Cordyceps is said to help increase AMPK, an enzyme that plays a role in cellular energy balance. In this study, by increasing the activation of AMPK, cordyceps supplementation was able to prevent hyperlipidemia in hamsters that were fed a high fat diet (and it even was said to be good for improving insulin sensitivity, something that becomes hindered on high fat diets). 

Read More: 14 Tips To Eliminate Inflammation Naturally

2. Cordyceps may help with inflammation 

Cordyceps Inflammation

Many natural substances that are found in nature have “anti-inflammatory properties,” but many of them are not as effective as they are touted to be, or have very poor research to support them. However, this study showed that cordyceps might have the right to have this benefits associated with it. During the study they injected mice with lipopolysaccharides (a toxic agent that can promote inflammation and organ damage in the body) and when administered cordyceps showed a lowering of gene expression in several inflammatory markers such as TNF-alpha and prostaglandin E2. 

This study showed that many of the anti-inflammatory action as well as the cardioprotective action of cordyceps may be due to the effects that it has on the adenosine receptors. 

It is important to note that the benefit of being anti-inflammatory agent as well as a cardioprotective agent does not have much if any substantial human studies on it, so skepticism is advised for these top two benefits. However, the last and most interesting benefit has a good amount of gold standard clinical trials on it in humans...

3. Cordyceps may help with exercise performance 

Cordyceps Improves Exercise

Cordyceps might have the ability to help athletes endure high intensity exercise a bit more. In this study, 3 weeks of supplementing with cordyceps was able to significantly increase VO2 max (which is the maximum amount of oxygen someone can use during intense/maximal exercise). 

But the effects of this mushroom has not just been shown to be effective for young athletes, as this study showed that cordyceps could also have a few benefits for elderly people as well. After taking about 3 grams of a fermented form of cordyceps, the volunteers were able to significantly increase their aerobic capacity and resistance to fatigue during exercise. 

Read More: Top 3 Benefits Of Chaga Mushrooms

How To Take Cordyceps:

Cordyceps Supplementation

Cordyceps can be taken in various forms such as liquid extracts, powders, and capsules. There is currently no known optimal dose for cordyceps, but the human trials that have been done on this mushroom have been between 1-3 grams with a 50-70% potency. 

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Conclusion:

The benefits of cordyceps are vast. It may help with heart health, inflammation, or even improve exercise performance! If you are looking to improve any of these areas of your health, then trying out cordyceps mushrooms might help you on your journey.