The Benefits of Cordyceps For Health That We Should All Know. In addition, cordyceps is a genus of parasitic fungi that grows on insect larvae. When these fungi attack their host, they replace their tissue and generate long, thin stems that grow outside the body of the host.
The remains of the insect and fungi were collected by hand, dried and used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries to treat fatigue, kidney disease and low sexual desire.
Supplements and products containing Cordyceps extract have become increasingly popular because of their many supposed health benefits.
Of the more than 400 species of Cordyceps discovered, two have become the focus of health research: Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris.
However, much of this research is limited to animal or laboratory studies, so health experts are currently unable to draw conclusions about their effects on people.
However, its potential health benefits are promising. So, see The 6 Benefits of Cordyceps For Health:
1. Increases Exercise Performance:
Cordyceps are believed to increase the body’s production of the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) molecule, which is essential to provide energy to muscles.
This can improve the way your body uses oxygen, especially during exercise.
In one study, the researchers tested their effects on exercise capacity in 30 healthy elderly people using a stationary bike. Participants received 3 grams per day of a synthetic cordyceps variety called CS-4 or a placebo pill for six weeks.
At the end of the study, VO2 max increased by 7% in participants who had taken CS-4, while participants who received the placebo pill did not present changes.
VO2 max is a measure used to determine the level of fitness. In a similar study, 20 healthy elderly subjects received 1 gram of CS-4 or placebo for 12 weeks.
Although the researchers found no change in VO2 max in any of the groups, participants who received CS-4 improved other measures of exercise performance.
One study also tested the effects of a mushroom blend containing Cordyceps on exercise performance in young adults.
After three weeks, participants’ VO2max increased by 11% compared to placebo.
However, current research suggests they are not effective in improving exercise performance in trained athletes.
2. It has Anti-Aging Properties:
The elderly have traditionally used Cordyceps to reduce fatigue and increase strength and sexual desire. Researchers believe that its antioxidant content may explain its antiaging potential.
Several studies have found that it boosts antioxidants in elderly mice, helping to improve memory and sexual function.
Antioxidants are molecules that fight cell damage by neutralizing free radicals, which can contribute to disease and aging.
One study found that mice who took Cordyceps lived several months longer than mice given placebo.
Another study found that this fungus has prolonged the life of fruit flies, further reinforcing the belief that they have antiaging benefits.
However, it is not known whether Cordyceps has these same anti-aging benefits in humans.
3. Possesses Potential Anti-Tumor Effects:
The potential of Cordyceps to slow tumor growth has generated significant interest in recent years.
Researchers believe that fungi can exert anti-tumor effects in a number of ways.
In test tube studies, Cordyceps has been shown to inhibit the growth of many types of human cancer cells, including lung , colon , skin and liver cancer.
Studies in mice have also shown that it has antitumor effects on lymphoma, melanoma and lung cancer.
It can also reverse the side effects associated with many forms of cancer therapy. One of these side effects is leukopenia.
Not to be confused with oncologic leukemia , leukopenia is a condition in which the number of leukocytes decreases, decreasing the body’s defenses and increasing the risk of infection.
One study tested the effects of Cordyceps in mice that developed leukopenia after radiation and treatments with Taxol, a common chemotherapy drug.
Interestingly, this fungus reversed leucopenia. These results suggest that fungi may help reduce the complications associated with some cancer treatments.
However, it is important to note that these studies were performed on animals and test tubes, not on humans.
The effects of Cordyceps on leukopenia and tumor growth in humans are unknown, so health experts can not draw conclusions today.
4. Can Help Manage Type 2 Diabetes:
The Cordyceps contain a special type of sugar that can help treat diabetes .
Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or respond to the hormone insulin, which normally transports glucose from sugar to the cells for energy.
When your body does not produce enough insulin or responds well to it, glucose can not get into the cells, so it stays in the blood. Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause serious health problems.
Therefore, it is important for people with diabetes to make sure their blood sugar levels are well controlled.
Interestingly, this fungus can keep blood sugar levels within a healthy range, mimicking the action of insulin.
In several studies in diabetic rats, they have been shown to lower blood sugar levels.
Some evidence suggests that they may also protect against kidney disease , a common complication of diabetes .
In a review of 22 studies, including 1,746 people with chronic kidney disease, those taking Cordyceps supplements showed improvement in renal function.
However, these results are inconclusive. The review authors stated that many of the studies were of poor quality. Therefore, no conclusion can be made about the effects of fungus on renal function in humans with chronic kidney disease.
5. Beneficial For The Heart:
As research on the effects of Cordyceps on heart health appears , the benefits of fungi are becoming increasingly apparent.
In fact, fungi are approved in China for the treatment of arrhythmia , a condition in which the heart rate is very slow, too fast or irregular.
One study found that Cordyceps significantly reduced heart damage in rats with chronic kidney disease. Heart lesions caused by chronic kidney disease are believed to increase the risk of heart failure, so reducing these lesions may help prevent this outcome.
The researchers attributed these results to the adenosine content of these fungi. Adenosine is a natural compound that has protective effects of the heart.
Cordyceps can also have a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels. Research on animals has shown that it lowers LDL cholesterol. LDL can increase the risk of heart disease, leading to the accumulation of cholesterol in the arteries.
Likewise, this fungus has been shown to decrease triglyceride levels in mice. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood. High levels are linked to an increased risk of heart disease.
Unfortunately, there is insufficient evidence to determine whether Cordyceps benefit heart health in humans.
6. Helping to Fight Inflammation:
Cordyceps is said to help fight inflammation in the body. Although some inflammation is good, a lot can lead to diseases such as heart disease and cancer.
Research has shown that when human cells are exposed to Cordyceps , special proteins that increase inflammation in the body are suppressed.
Thanks to these potential effects, researchers believe that Cordyceps can serve as a useful supplement or anti-inflammatory drug.
In fact, Cordyceps has been shown to reduce inflammation in the airways of mice, making them a potential therapy for asthma . However, fungi seem to be less effective than the commonly prescribed medications to relieve inflamed areas of the body.
Cordyceps may also have topical uses. One study found that it reduces inflammation of the skin when applied topically to mice, further demonstrating its anti-inflammatory properties.
Potential anti-inflammatory properties of Cordyceps have yet to be observed in humans.
Taking Cordyceps Supplements:
Cordyceps sinensis is difficult to harvest and is priced at over $ 9,000 per pound. For this reason, most of its supplements contain a synthetically developed version called Cordyceps CS-4.
To ensure you buy high quality Cordyceps supplements , look for brands that have the US Pharmacopeia (USP) or NSF International (NSF) seal.
These are third party organizations that ensure that the supplements contain the ingredients listed on the label, without impurities.
Due to limited research in humans, there is no consensus on dosages. The dosage commonly used in research with humans is 1,000 to 3,000 mg per day. This interval is not associated with side effects and has been shown to have certain health benefits.
Side Effects and Safety:
No studies have yet examined the safety of Cordyceps in humans. However, a long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine suggests that they are non-toxic.
In fact, the Chinese government has approved the Cordyceps CS-4 for use in hospitals and recognizes it as a safe and natural medicine.
Cordyceps are well known in traditional Chinese medicine and have been used for centuries to treat many health ailments.
Although fungi are promising in many areas, there is little research on its effects on humans. So more research is needed before experts can make any recommendations.
Animal and laboratory studies suggest that Cordyceps has the potential to improve heart health and combat inflammation, cancer , diabetes, and aging. However, many of these studies are of poor quality and the results can not be extended to humans.
However, there have been human studies on the effects of Cordyceps on exercise performance. Fungi were found to potentially increase the use of energy and oxygen during exercise.
Currently, there is no consensus on the dosage that people should take to reap their potential health benefits, or to what extent it is safe.
If you choose to take supplements, make sure they have been tested by a third party organization for purity and quality.
Only time will tell if the health benefits of Cordyceps observed in animal and laboratory studies apply to humans.