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4 Health Benefits of Cordyceps Mushrooms by Antioxi

4 Health Benefits of Cordyceps Mushrooms

Medicinal mushrooms are gaining traction in the supplements space. They have found their way as supplements in powder and capsule forms and as a way to improve overall health and help manage health conditions in a natural way. 

One of the popular medicinal mushrooms is cordyceps. 

The cordyceps mushroom has shown to help improve immunity, boost exercise performance and help with respiratory conditions. 

What is cordyceps? What are the different types of cordyceps? What are the benefits of taking cordyceps? Read on to find out.

 

Index

  • What Is Cordyceps?
  • Types of Cordyceps
  • Health Benefits
  • How to Use
  • Side Effects and Safety
  •  

    What Is Cordyceps?

    Cordyceps Mushroom Fruiting Body by Antioxi

    The Cordyceps sinensis species is a genus of parasitic fungi that grows not on stumps or trunks of trees, but insect larvae. They reproduce by attacking their host, replacing insect tissue with its long, slender stems that grow outside the body. 

    Because of its peculiar cultivation method, Traditional Chinese Medicine often needed to hand-collect and dry actual insect larvae with cordyceps stems. 

    There are over 400 species of cordyceps, but two special species have garnered the attention of researchers for their many health benefits: Sinensis and Militaris.

     

    What Are The Two Main Types of Cordyceps?

    Cordyceps Sinensis and Cordyceps Militaris have similar chemical and nutrient compositions, which make them share a significant number of functions and health benefits. Regardless, their biggest distinguishing factor is their active compounds. 

    The fundamental distinction between Cordyceps Sinensis and Cordyceps Militaris is their concentration of adenosine and cordycepin. Studies have shown that Cordyceps Sinensis contains more adenosine than Cordyceps Militaris, but it doesn’t contain cordycepin.

    • Sinensis: It’s cultivated in high-altitude regions across India, Tibet, Nepal, and of course, China. However, because of both the parasitic nature of the mushroom and where it's harvested (from insects) keeping up with the demand became challenging when it surged in popularity + the heavy price tag meant many were unable to afford it. This type of cordyceps retails at an average price of $20,000 per kilogram!
    • Militaris: This is considered the lab-grown version of Sinensis. It is grown in a controlled environment paying close attention to quality and what’s even better, you can grow it without using actual insects. This makes it more affordable and easier to mass-produce + vegan and vegetarian friendly. This is the cordyceps type that we sell.

     

    4 Health Benefits of The Cordyceps Mushroom

    What can cordyceps do for you? Cordyceps can help boost athletic performance, manage respiratory disease, improve kidney function, and support liver function. 

    Can Boost Athletic Performance

    Taking cordyceps can improve ATP production. ATP (or adenosine triphosphate) is the body’s energy currency. The more ATP you have, the more energy you can use, which is important for tough workouts. [1]

    Having more ATP can also boost your VO2 max, or your body’s ability to efficiently use oxygen for performance. Higher VO2 max is common in endurance athletes and marathon runners, capable of continuously performing work without fatigue. 

    May Help Manage Respiratory Disease

    One of the most widely recognized utilizations of cordyceps is for respiratory health. The mushroom helps support respiratory infection treatment, improving the lungs' function and overall health. 

    Researchers report how the fungus boosts oxygen absorption in the alveoli, the part of the lungs responsible for oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange. Compounds in cordyceps also stimulate immunity, thereby protecting the lungs from a respiratory infection. [2]

    A recent report refers to how cordyceps may assist outpatients with chronic obtrusive pulmonary disorder, or COPD. The scientists likewise referenced the mushroom also helped improve patients' lung function, endurance levels, and overall quality of life. [3]

    Another study suggests taking cordyceps could help with asthma. [4]

    May Help Improve Kidney Function 

    Taking cordyceps has been shown to improve kidney function in patients with chronic renal failure and speed recovery in patients with kidney damage. In one study, the fungus lowered creatinine levels in patients with chronic kidney disease or CKD. [5]

    Can Help Improve Liver Function 

    Cordyceps has shown to be able to help restore liver function, especially in patients with Hepatitis B and those with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD. [6]

     

    How to Use The Cordyceps Mushroom?

    The recommended dose is 3-5g of cordyceps daily – for specific doses for health conditions, please refer to our health directory.

     

    What to look out for when purchasing a Cordyceps supplement 

    • Two important unique compounds in cordyceps that give the mushroom its medicinal properties are Cordycepin Adenosine.
    • The lab report should be available for you to review these active ingredients.
    • The Cordyceps extract should be Organic and tested for heavy metals and pesticides.
    • Find out more about the quality components to look out for when purchasing mushroom supplements here.

    Note that since mushrooms are a product of their environment and absorb from their surrounding environment, it's imperative that you get organic mushrooms. If your extracts aren't organic, it could result in the mushrooms containing a high level of unwanted toxins and contaminants.

     

    Side Effects and Safety

    Cordyceps is unsuitable for individuals with hormone-dependent cancers such as prostate and breast due to increased levels of oestrogen and testosterone. You should not use these mushroom extracts if you have a mushroom allergy. Caution is advised if using mushrooms along with blood thinning medication.

    The cordyceps mushroom may seem like an odd species of fungus because of where it chooses to grow, but it might just be one of the most potent ones out there. Scientists credit the fungus for its benefits for immunity, athletic performance, kidney health, liver function, and overall respiratory health. 

    References

    - Ko KM, Leung HY. Enhancement of ATP generation capacity, antioxidant activity and immunomodulatory activities by Chinese Yang and Yin tonifying herbs. Chin Med. 2007 Mar 27;2:3. doi: 10.1186/1749-8546-2-3. PMID: 17386115; PMCID: PMC1847515.

    - Chen M, Cheung FW, Chan MH, Hui PK, Ip SP, Ling YH, Che CT, Liu WK. Protective roles of Cordyceps on lung fibrosis in cellular and rat models. J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Sep 28;143(2):448-54. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.06.033. Epub 2012 Jul 13. PMID: 22796203; PMCID: PMC7125542.

    - Yu X, Mao Y, Shergis JL, Coyle ME, Wu L, Chen Y, Zhang AL, Lin L, Xue CC, Xu Y. Effectiveness and Safety of Oral Cordyceps sinensis on Stable COPD of GOLD Stages 2-3: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2019 Apr 3;2019:4903671. doi: 10.1155/2019/4903671. PMID: 31073318; PMCID: PMC6470429.

    - Zheng Y, Li L, Cai T. Cordyceps polysaccharide ameliorates airway inflammation in an ovalbumin-induced mouse model of asthma via TGF-β1/Smad signaling pathway. Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2020 May;276:103412. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2020.103412. Epub 2020 Feb 7. PMID: 32044448.

    - Sun T, Dong W, Jiang G, Yang J, Liu J, Zhao L, Ma P. Cordyceps militaris Improves Chronic Kidney Disease by Affecting TLR4/NF-κB Redox Signaling Pathway. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2019 Mar 31;2019:7850863. doi: 10.1155/2019/7850863. Erratum in: Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2020 Nov 24;2020:1981636. PMID: 31049139; PMCID: PMC6462325.

    - Choi HN, Jang YH, Kim MJ, Seo MJ, Kang BW, Jeong YK, Kim JI. Cordyceps militaris alleviates non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in ob/ob mice. Nutr Res Pract. 2014 Apr;8(2):172-6. doi: 10.4162/nrp.2014.8.2.172. Epub 2014 Mar 28. PMID: 24741401; PMCID: PMC3988506.

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