Cordyceps is a type of fungus that grows in different latitudes. There are 3 species in Poland, but the most popular species is the one growing in Asia - Cordyceps sinensis. It was first described in 1843, noting then that the animals fed with it had more strength and were in better health; it used to be used in traditional eastern medicine until now. Currently, the low popularity of Cordyceps may come as a surprise, because its use brings a number of medical, health and sports benefits.
Strength and stamina are one of the most important things in almost all sports, starting from marathons, through martial arts to weightlifting. The body uses energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) for each activity, it is obtained in a number of aerobic and anaerobic transformations, such as e.g. glycolysis or the Krebs cycle. One of the greatest advantages of Cordyceps in this context is the increase in ATP, thus a possible increase in the body's exercise capacity. In clinical and preclinical studies after 2000, many factors potentially influenced by Cordyceps were tested, including the effect on the amount of ATP in the body and exercise capacity. The effects that were obtained in selected studies:
– swimming efficiency was increased by as much as 200%
– increase in lung ventilation capacity, blood oxygen capacity in case of elderly people
– reduced fatigue and relatively better well-being (also in case of elderly ones)
– in combination with Rhodiola Rosea, a significant increase in anaerobic parameters in exercise was noted
– vasodilation and an increase in energy markers were observed (in simple terms: bigger energy production and enhanced transport)
- - icrease in blood flow through the liver (generating higher ATP levels)
The studies above suggest that Cordyceps may contribute to an increase in endurance and strength during a single workout, as well as increase the production and transport of ATP.
Another fact worth noting is the boost of the lactic acid threshold. This acid is produced as a byproduct of energy production in anaerobic processes. Its higher concentration causes a drop in pH, muscle pain, and a temporary reduction in "general fitness" - these symptoms are described as popular soreness. Cordyceps can build up the threshold of this acid, which results in enhanced endurance during exercise.
Cordyceps contains substances that can affect the immune system:
– growth in the production of macrophages (these are cells involved in phagocytosis; they absorb pathogens and then digest them)
– germicidal activity (Opiocordin)
– antioxidant (Hypoxanthin)
– anti-inflammatory activity (Ergosterol)
– antivirus activity, premature inhibition of the process of virus synthesis (Cordycepin)
In studies, Cordyceps has been found to regulate glucose levels in blood, and animal studies show that it causes an increase in insulin sensitivity. In the following years the results were as follows: "in a randomized trial, 95% of patients treated with C. sinensis at a dose of 3 g / day showed blood sugar regulation compared to those treated with other treatments." This means that Cordyceps may be useful in supporting the treatment of diabetes and insulin resistance, it is advisable to consult your doctor.
In 2010, the journal Cancer Immunology Immunotherapy published the results of studies showing that Cordyceps inhibited metastasis in patients with breast cancer, which increased survival. Low cordycepin levels have been found to stop the cancer cell cycle, while high levels lead to apoptosis, i.e. death of these cells (based on research on melanoma and leukemia). It is possible that Cordyceps blocks cancer cell receptors while it has been found safe for other cells.
Cordycepin included in Cordyceps regulates the production of steroid hormones. This means that the use of preparations containing Cordyceps has a positive effect on the production of testosterone. With too low its concentration in the blood, there is a risk of cardiovascular diseases and obesity, muscle strength weakens, sexual functions are disturbed, fatigue appears. Cordycepin can be helpful in leveling out testosterone levels, which prevents the abovementioned symptoms.
Research into potency and the treatment of erectile dysfunction are also developmental. Cordyceps is suspected to have antihypertensive and vasorelaxant effects in the same way as currently used drugs containing sildenafil (Viagra).
ATP, the level of which is increased by Cordyceps, in addition to its energy functions, is also a neurotransmitter. In animal and human studies, a reduction in mental fatigue, an increase in libido was found, and in the subjective assessments of the subjects, "crystal clarity in distinguishing stimuli" and "clarity of mind" were found. A study on mice showed a decrease in fatigue, which is believed to be closely related to depression.
Mushrooms are a separate kingdom of organisms, next to animals, plants and bacteria, among others. Their strength lies in the ingredients marked as "micro", ie in a small amount - but they have high potential (which can be seen on the example of poisonous mushrooms). Although not unanimous, research largely indicates that Cordyceps can cause numerous positive effects when using doses above 1g per day, which should be seen in how you feel. It can be especially useful for athletes, because it can influence strength and endurance. Ongoing research predicts that Cordyceps-based medicines will be important in the treatment of certain diseases in the future.