Fri, May 28, 21

Cordyceps Mushrooms: What Is It And What Are The Benefits?

* Verified by a US-based board-certified doctor.

When most people think of mushrooms, they think of portabello mushrooms, cremini mushrooms, or button mushrooms, as these are the varieties most often sold in grocery stores. 

However, there are over 14,000 species of mushrooms. While most mushrooms are completely safe to eat, around 70 to 80 varieties of mushrooms are poisonous. 

While button, portobello, and cremini mushrooms may be the most popular, there are other mushroom species that offer significant health benefits. One such species is cordyceps. 

What are cordyceps mushrooms? What benefits do they offer? Read on to learn about cordyceps mushrooms. 

Related: Yerba Mate: What is It and What Are the Benefits? 

What are Cordyceps Mushrooms? 

Mushrooms growing in the field 

 

Cordyceps mushrooms are a fungus native to the mountainous regions of China. Cordyceps mushrooms also grow in Nepal, Thailand, Bhutan, Korea, and Vietnam.  They live on certain caterpillar species, although most supplement varieties are made from cordyceps grown in laboratories. 

In addition to growing on caterpillars, cordyceps also grow on the larvae of other insects. When cordyceps attack their host, they replace the host’s tissue and sprout slender, long stems that grow outside the body of the host. 

Scientists have discovered over 400 species of cordyceps mushrooms, although there is likely more out there. However, while there are many species of cordyceps mushrooms, they are very rare, and therefore, very expensive. 

A kilogram of cordyceps mushrooms can cost you well over $20,000. However, if you buy cordyceps mushrooms in supplement form, it won’t cost nearly as much. 

Related: Citicoline: What is It and What Are the Benefits?

Benefits of Cordyceps Mushrooms 

 

Mushrooms in the forest 

So why should you add cordyceps mushrooms to your diet? Here are some of the primary advantages of cordyceps mushrooms:

Improve Athletic Performance 

One of the biggest benefits of cordyceps mushrooms is that they can help improve your athletic performance. 

When you consume cordyceps mushrooms, they increase the production of ADP molecules. These molecules play an essential role in delivering energy to the muscles. This could improve the way your body uses oxygen, especially when exercising

One study tested the effects of cordyceps mushrooms on 30 healthy adults. They had the adults use stationary bikes and take 3 grams per day of a synthetic strain of cordyceps. They also had a control group take a placebo for six weeks. 

The study found that participants who took the cordyceps supplements experienced a 7% average increase in their VO2 max (a measurement that determines your fitness level). Those who had the placebo experienced no change at all. 

Anti-Tumor Effects

Cordyceps mushrooms also have anti-tumor effects, as they can inhibit the growth of many types of cancer cells, including colon, lung, skin, and liver cells.

Cordyceps can also help reverse the side effects of many cancer therapies, such as leukopenia therapy. 

Anti-Aging Effects

It seems like everyone is in constant search of a magical elixir that will make their skin smooth and wrinkle-free forever. 

While it’s unlikely that any such magical elixir exists, cordyceps may help improve the overall appearance of your skin. This is because the antioxidants in cordyceps have anti-aging potential. Antioxidants help fight off free radicals in your body, which are chemicals that lead to aging and disease. 

Improves Heart Health 

Heart disease is the number one killer in the US and globally. 

Cordyceps show a lot of promise when it comes to potentially improving your heart health. In fact, China recently approved cordyceps as a treatment for arrhythmia, a heart condition that causes your heart to beat too fast, slow, or irregularly. 

Cordyceps can also improve your cholesterol levels, which can lead to better heart health. 

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Helps Manage Diabetes

woman checking her blood pressure

 

One in ten Americans have diabetes, and 1 in 3 Americans are pre-diabetic. Diabetes can lead to many health complications, including:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Eye damage
  • Nerve damage
  • Foot damage
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Skin conditions
  • Hearing impairment

Cordyceps can help patients suffering from diabetes by helping them maintain their blood sugar levels. It does this by mimicking the action of insulin. Some evidence also suggests that cordyceps can help people who suffer from chronic kidney disease, a common complication related to diabetes. 

Reduce Inflammation 

Inflammation occurs when your body’s immune system responds to an irritant. The irritant could be a germ, or a foreign object, such as a cut on your finger. 

Inflammation may also be the result of chemicals or radiation. While some inflammation is good because it helps heal your body, too much inflammation can have detrimental side effects. 

For example, too much inflammation can lead to heart disease and certain types of cancer. Research shows that when human cells come in contact with cordyceps, proteins that increase inflammation become suppressed. 

One study found that cordyceps helped reduce inflammation in the airways of mice. Cordyceps can also be used topically to treat inflammation. If you suffer from acne, eczema, or other skin-related issues, cordyceps may be able to help. 

Possible Side Effects 

So, are there any downsides to ingesting cordyceps mushrooms?

While more research is needed, scientists consider cordyceps to be safe for short-term use. However, some people experience minor side effects, such as nausea, diarrhea, stomach aches, or dry mouth

Also, if you’re allergic to mold or yeast, you may also be allergic to cordyceps. People on diabetes medications may also need to avoid these mushrooms, as consuming them may cause their blood sugar levels to drop too far. 

Related: Is it Possible to Have Too Much Dopamine? 

Cordyceps Mushrooms: Conclusion 

As you can see, cordyceps mushrooms offer many benefits. However, as we mentioned earlier, the biggest downside to cordyceps mushrooms is their cost. 

For this reason, many people turn to synthetic supplements instead of natural-grown mushrooms. However, there are also other mushroom species you can turn to for improving your overall health. 

If you’re looking to use cordyceps mushrooms to improve your health, check out Magic Mind! 

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