6 Benefits of Cordyceps militaris

Cordyceps militaris have been used in traditional Chinese medicine since ancient times. As a result, the benefits of cordyceps have been known for many years. Back in the 1990s, Cordyceps shot to worldwide attention when the record-breaking Chinese Olympic team claimed achievements were as a result of supplementing with cordyceps.

This orange fungus grows on insect larvae, and it’s considered parasitic because it replaces the tissue of its host and grows from its body. Sounds lovely, we know! 

Thankfully, our Cordyceps militaris come in capsule form and are grown on rice bran instead of insects, so you won’t be chomping down on any insect larvae! And if you can get past its macabre origin story, research suggests that this fungus has some pretty powerful benefits. There are other organic supplements such as shilajit by himalaya, lions mane mushroom and liquid chlorophyll drops, which help to enhance health and pursue a healthy lifestyle.

Potential Benefits of Cordyceps militaris

1. May improve physical fitness and performance

Firstly, Adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, is the molecule used to transfer energy around the body, whilst VO2 max essentially measures how efficiently this process works.[1]  As a result of a higher VO2 max, the better your cardiorespiratory capacity, stamina, endurance, and overall physical fitness becomes.

Furthermore, one human study and multiple animal studies suggest that Cordyceps militaris can:

 

  • Significantly improve VO2 max.[2] 
  • Improve tolerance to high-intensity exercise.[2] 
  • Extend time to exhaustion and boost endurance.[2]
  • Reduce exercise-induced fatigue.[3][4][5]
  • Improve physical performance.[4]
  • Decrease levels of free radicals and lactic acid.[3][5]
  • Increase ATP levels and antioxidant activity.[5]
  • Support exercise recovery.[6]
  • Reduce exercise-induced DNA damage.[6]
female running in Feel Supreme vest

Cordyceps have been shown to improve stamina and VO2 Max

2. May help to slow the ageing process

While studies are needed to confirm the same benefits in humans, Cordyceps militaris has shown promising anti-ageing potential in animal studies, possibly due to its high antioxidant content.[7][8]

Antioxidants promote good health by neutralising free radicals,[9] . Free radicals are the chemicals which would otherwise cause cellular damage, and consequently speed up the ageing process, and contribute to disease.[10][11]

3. May improve sexual health and performance

In Chinese medicine, Cordyceps militaris is commonly used to boost libido and fertility. They may be onto something, with animal studies suggesting that the mushroom can increase testosterone levels,[12][13] along with the quantity, quality and motility of sperm.[13][14]

4. May help to manage type 2 diabetes

Several animal studies have shown that Cordyceps militaris mimics the action of insulin to stabilise blood sugar and restore proper insulin signalling,[15][16][17]  . This may help to prevent or manage type 2 diabetes, whilst  other studies show a reduction in diabetic symptoms like excessive thirst and urination.[15][16]

5. May support heart health

Triglycerides and cholesterol are types of lipids, or fats, found in the blood. High levels of triglycerides and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, while high levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol have a protective effect. 

Multiple animal studies have shown that Cordyceps militaris has a balancing effect on the lipid levels in the blood, reducing triglycerides and LDL, while increasing HDL.[16][17][18][19][20] This could prevent fatty deposits in the arteries and lead to improved heart health and longevity. 

Researchers aren’t quite sure why this happens, and more studies are needed to see if the results transfer to humans, but the current theory is that Cordyceps militaris stimulates key enzymes responsible for lipid metabolism.[20]

6. May reduce inflammation

Excessive inflammation is thought to be linked to a huge number of chronic illnesses, including heart disease, chronic pain disorders, autoimmune diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes and cancer. 

Multiple in vitro (test tube) and animal studies have shown that Cordyceps militaris may have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, largely thanks to its ability to reduce levels of inflammatory proteins.[21][22][23][24][25]

It has shown particular promise as a treatment for respiratory[18][26] and digestive inflammation,[27] and also as a topical treatment for skin inflammation.[28] 

Cordyceps militaris by Feel Supreme

Much of the research shows that the key benefits of Cordyceps militaris come from the fruiting body of the fungus. In a nutshell, that means that the most potent, effective plant-based supplements in the UK – like ours – are made with the full fruit body. Each capsule contains 500mg of 10:1 Cordyceps militaris extract, which I equivalent to a dose of 5000mg (5g) per day. Our Cordyceps militaris are grown organically too, so you can be confident you’re only buying the best.

 

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Cordyceps supplement

Cordyceps supplment by Feel Supreme

References

1 Maximal oxygen uptake as a parametric measure of cardiorespiratory capacity.

Hawkins MN, Raven PB, et al., Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 2007. 

2 Cordyceps militaris improves tolerance to high intensity exercise after acute and chronic supplementation

Hirsch KR, Smith-Ryan AE, et al., Journal of Dietary Supplements, 2017. 

3 Effect of Polysaccharide from Cordyceps militaris (Ascomycetes) on Physical Fatigue Induced by Forced Swimming.

Xu YF, International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms, 2016. 

4 Effects of Cordyceps Militaris Extract and Amino Acids on Exercise-induced Fatigue in Mice

Qin Y, Li Z, Journal of Neijiang Normal University, 2011. 

5 Studies on the Antifatigue Activities of Cordyceps militaris Fruit Body Extract in Mouse Model

Song J, Wang Y, et al., Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2015. 

6 Effect of Cordyceps Militaris L on DNA Damage of Lymphocyte in Blood of Mice After Exhaustive Exercise

Li L, Liu S, et al., Journal of Shenyang Sports University, 2010. 

7 Protective effects on mitochondria and anti-aging activity of polysaccharides from cultivated fruiting bodies of Cordyceps militaris.

Li XT, Li HC, American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 2010. 

References

8 Polysaccharides from the Medicinal Mushroom Cordyceps taii Show Antioxidant and Immunoenhancing Activities in a D-Galactose-Induced Aging Mouse Model.

Xiao JH, Xiao DM, et al., Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012. 

9 Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health

Lobo V, Patil A, et al., Pharmacognitive Review, 2010. 

10 Role of free radical in atherosclerosis, diabetes and dyslipidaemia: larger-than-life.

Singh R, Devi S, Gollen R, Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Review, 2015. 

11 Lipid peroxidation regulates podocyte migration and cytoskeletal structure through redox sensitive RhoA signaling.

Kruger C, Burke SJ, et al., Redox Biology, 2018. 

12 Anticarcinogenic effect and hormonal effect of Cordyceps militaris Link.

Liu J, Yang S, et al., China Journal of Chinese Materia Medica, 1997. 

13 Effect of Cordyceps Militaris Supplementation on Sperm Production, Sperm Motility and Hormones in Sprague-Dawley Rats

Chang Y, Jeng KC, et al., The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 2008. 

References

14 Improvement of Sperm Production in Subfertile Boars by Cordyceps militaris Supplement

Lin WH, Tsai MT, et al., The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 2008.

15 The anti-hyperglycemic activity of the fruiting body of Cordyceps in diabetic rats induced by nicotinamide and streptozotocin.

Lo HC, Tu ST, et al., Life Sciences, 2004. 

16 Antidiabetic and Antinephritic Activities of Aqueous Extract of Cordyceps militaris Fruit Body in Diet-Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Sprague Dawley Rats.

Liu C, Song J, et al., Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2016. 

17 Hypoglycemic Activity through a Novel Combination of Fruiting Body and Mycelia of Cordyceps militaris in High-Fat Diet-Induced Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Mice

Yu SH, Chen SYT, et al., Journal of Diabetes Research, 2015. 

18 Chapter 5: Cordyceps as an Herbal Drug

Lin BG, Li SP, Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects (2nd edition), 2011. 

19 Cordycepin prevents hyperlipidemia in hamsters fed a high-fat diet via activation of AMP-activated protein kinase.

Guo P, Kai Q, et al., Journal of Pharmacological Science, 2010. 

20 Lipid-lowering effect of cordycepin (3′-deoxyadenosine) from Cordyceps militaris on hyperlipidemic hamsters and rats.

Gao K, Lian ZQ, et al., Yao Xue Xue Bao, 2011. 

21 Constituents isolated from Cordyceps militaris suppress enhanced inflammatory mediator’s production and human cancer cell proliferation

Rao YK, Fang SH, et al., Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2010. 

References

22 Anti-inflammatory Cerebrosides from Cultivated Cordyceps militaris

Chiu CP, Liu SC, et al., Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2016. 

23 Anti-Inflammatory Properties of the Medicinal Mushroom Cordyceps militaris Might Be Related to Its Linear (1→3)-β-D-Glucan

Smiderle FR, Baggio CH, et al., PLoS One, 2014. 

24 The Anti-inflammatory Effects of Water Extract from Cordyceps militaris in Murine Macrophage

Jo WS, Choi YJ, et al., Mycobiology, 2010. 

25 Cordyceps militaris fruit body extract ameliorates membranous glomerulonephritis by attenuating oxidative stress and renal inflammation via the NF-κB pathway

Song J, Wang Y, et al., Food and Function, 2016. 

26 Effects of the immunomodulatory agent Cordyceps militaris on airway inflammation in a mouse asthma model.

Hsu CH, Sun HL, et al., Pediatrics and Neonatology, 2008. 

27 Cordyceps militaris extract suppresses dextran sodium sulfate-induced acute colitis in mice and production of inflammatory mediators from macrophages and mast cells

Han EU, Oh JY, et al., Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2011.

28 Anti-inflammatory and related pharmacological activities of cultured mycelia and fruiting bodies of Cordyceps militaris.

Won SY, Park EH, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2005.