Cordyceps belongs to the genus of ascomycete fungi which consists of about six hundred species. It grows abundantly across the world, and many of the species grow in Asia.
It’s a kind of parasitic fungi that grows on insects’ larvae.
Like many other mushrooms, cordyceps have also been used in Chinese traditional medicine for years. It’s known to relieve many health ailments.
Since it has many medicinal properties, cordyceps has become very popular, and many brands have started making supplements over the years.
You can therefore find many products in the market. However, it will be a good idea if you know about the health benefits of cordyceps before buying any supplements.
What Does Cordyceps Contain?
Cordyceps are made up of several substances, including vitamins and minerals. The following are said to be present in the fungi.
- Vitamins E, K, B1, B2, and B12
- Minerals: Potassium, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese and zinc
Health Benefits Of Cordyceps Mushrooms
Let’s find out how cordyceps affect and benefit your body.
It may enhance physical performance
People who exercise intensely and whose jobs require being physically active need plenty of energy supply. Else, it can hinder their performance.
To have continuous energy flow, your body needs adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
However, many people suffer from its deficiency, and so they lack sufficient energy.
As per some initial studies, cordyceps may help your body produce more ATP and increase energy flow and supply more oxygen, especially while working out intensively.
In another study, some healthy adults who took part in an experiment used CS-4 (a synthetic strain of cordyceps) for 12 weeks showed improvements in several aspects of physical performance.
But the same results have not been noticed in trained athletes.
It may improve heart health
Cordyceps may have a positive impact on the heart, as can be seen from new research done in recent times.
Though the research was conducted on injured rats, the outcome showed significant changes. Rats suffering from chronic kidney ailment were given cordyceps supplements, which lowered their heart issues caused by the disease.
Research on animals also indicates that cordyceps may help reduce LDL or bad cholesterol levels. The research has also shown that the fungi may decrease triglyceride levels. It’s a kind of fat that can cause heart diseases if your body has high levels.
Though more human studies are required to know the benefits in humans, in China, cordyceps is used to treat arrhythmia. It’s a condition that makes the heartbeat irregular.
It may help reduce inflammation
The body needs a certain level of inflammation but can be dangerous if it goes beyond the required quota.
Studies indicate that cordyceps may suppress some proteins responsible for increasing inflammation. So, cordyceps may serve as an anti-inflammatory drug.
When mice with inflamed airways were given cordyceps, they showed improvements. However, it didn’t help reduce inflammation in other body parts.
Cordyceps may also help reduce inflammation on the skin with topical application, as can be seen from the results conducted on mice.
It may help balance type 2 diabetes
Diabetes is a killer disease that wrecks the lives of millions of people. The disease makes blood sugar levels go up when your body cannot produce or respond well to insulin.
If patients do not keep their sugar levels in check, it can cause many problems. It is therefore vital to make sure that your blood sugar stays balanced.
A study on mice showed that blood sugar levels reduced after being administered cordyceps for some time.
Diabetes can also prompt kidney ailments. A study also showed that people’s kidney functions improved when they took cordyceps.
It may increase antioxidants
Antioxidants help protect the body from free radicals that lead to faster aging.
Cordyceps may also increase antioxidants which can be seen from the study in mice. It can fight cell damage. The study also showed the mice who took cordyceps lived longer than those who took a placebo.
The study also showed that the sexual drive increased in mice who took cordyceps. At the same time, it also increased their brain functions.
But the study has been done only on animals, and so nothing is conclusive.
It may reduce fatigue
Many people feel fatigued due to a number of reasons. Taking Cordyceps may also reduce fatigue. Since a long time ago, older adults have been using cordyceps to lower fatigue, and many continue to do so.
It may boost strength
Earlier, you learned that cordyceps might increase ATP production and thereby lead to smooth energy flow.
When you have a continuous energy supply, you will also have strength flowing through. If your work involves a lot of physical activity or if you exercise extensively, you will need plenty of strength. Hence, taking cordyceps can be helpful.
It may improve sex drive
Studies with mice showed that cordyceps increased their sex drive. Though not many studies have been done on humans, people have been using cordyceps to boost their libido.
It may prevent tumor growth
Animal research has also shown that cordyceps may inhibit the growth of tumors and cancer cells.
It also reduced leukopenia, a condition where white blood cells decrease due to cancer treatment like radiation and chemotherapy.
But since the research was done only on mice and in a test tube, not much can be said.
More facts will come to light only when experts research extensively.
What do you learn from the above?
While not much research has been done on humans, it isn’t easy to come to a conclusion. But animal studies show a promise, and so it’s a positive sign.
You can, however, take natural and top-quality supplements after seeking advice from your doctor.
Cordyceps is a safe ingredient, but like anything else, it can cause problems if you take a lot. It’s therefore essential to consult your doctor before using the supplement and follow the dosage.
If you intend to use cordyceps supplement without consulting a doctor, check and follow the dosage on the label. It will keep you safe and offer positive results in the long run.
The studies on animals have shown positive results till now. However, it may take a while to know about the extent of its effects on humans.
But people have been using cordyceps mushrooms for a long time, and many supplements are available. So, you can take a good quality product. If you follow the doctor’s advice and recommended dosage, you will see positive results.(1)
More research will likely indicate that cordyceps mushrooms are beneficial for the body in many more ways.