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The Ultimate Guide to Cordyceps

Article at a Glance:

  • Cordyceps have a long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine for various ailments.
  • Today, many people use Cordyceps to help support athletic performance, endurance, energy, healthy aging, heart health, and normal blood sugar regulation.
  • For a convenient and tasty way to add Cordyceps to your routine, try our Cordyceps mushroom gummies.

Cordyceps has a long history of use in ancient medicinal practices, and current research supports its benefits. Let's explore the world of Cordyceps, how it can support your health, and the best way to incorporate Cordyceps into your lifestyle.

What is Cordyceps?

Cordyceps is a functional mushroom that offers several health benefits. They have an interesting story, as Cordyceps grow on the larvae of insects. When they attack their host insect, they grow long stems that replace its tissue and even affect the insect's behavior. To use Cordyceps as a supplemental product, they must be collected along with the insect remains and dried.

There are actually over 400 species of Cordyceps, but Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris are the two that have been studied the most.

What Does Cordyceps Do?

For centuries, Cordyceps has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for things like fatigue, low libido, kidney health, and general illnesses. 

Like other functional mushrooms, Cordyceps is known as an adaptogen. This means it helps support your body’s natural response to stressors from the inside out.

The entire Cordyceps plant offers benefits. The mycelium, the branch-like root structure of the fungi, and the fruiting bodies of Cordyceps each have varying amounts of nutrients and bioactive compounds responsible for many benefits the mushroom offers.

For example, the fruiting bodies are high in Ergothioneine. This compound accumulates at high levels within the body from your diet but significantly declines with age and the onset of health conditions.[1] They also contain high calcium levels and the amino acid GABA, which may help support mood.[2]

Mycelium is high in zinc, vitamin B3, and Lovastatin, which offers heart health benefits. Both parts of the Cordyceps plant are rich in magnesium, sulfur, and Cordycepin, which may have antiviral properties.[3][4] 

    What Are The Benefits of Cordyceps?

    Supports Endurance and Exercise Performance

    Your body produces adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, to deliver energy to your muscles. When ATP is readily available, this may help improve how your body utilizes oxygen, enhancing your ability to perform well during exercise. Some research suggests that Cordyceps can help boost how much ATP your body produces.

    Other studies have found that a Cordyceps-containing mushroom blend can effectively increase VO2 max — a measurement of oxygen usage and fitness ability — among healthy adults. It may even improve tolerance to high-intensity exercise, especially when taken regularly over extended periods.[5][6]

    Furthermore, Cordyceps may help improve oxygen uptake and aerobic capacity, helping fight off fatigue during physical activities.[7]

    Supports Healthy Blood Sugar Regulation

    Many struggle to maintain their blood sugar levels within a normal range without medication or healthy lifestyle habits. But when blood sugar is not well-controlled, it can lead to other health problems with which Cordyceps may help.

    One 2014 Cochrane review of 22 studies, including nearly 1800 people, found that Cordyceps supplements helped support normal kidney health.[8]

    Other animal studies have observed the ability of Cordyceps to lower blood sugar levels. Some researchers think this is because it can act similarly to insulin in the body and help support healthy blood sugar.[9][10]

    Supports Heart Health

    Having a healthy heart is key to supporting an active lifestyle. Interestingly, Cordyceps is an approved option in China for helping support a healthy heartbeat.[11]

    Additionally, research has found Cordyceps to be helpful in other areas of heart health. For instance, it may help support normal LDL "bad" cholesterol and triglycerides.[12][13]

    Some researchers think the heart health-related benefits of Cordyceps have to do with its adenosine content. Adenosine is a naturally occurring compound that helps relax and dilate blood vessels and supports healthy circulation.[14] 

    Supports Healthy Aging

    As we get older, we all experience natural changes in our health and vitality. Cordyceps is a popular supplement among older adults for age-related challenges like lower energy, libido, and strength.

    The antioxidant-rich characteristics of Cordyceps may explain why they seem to help in these areas. Antioxidants help neutralize free radicals and prevent them from causing oxidative damage to our cells, which can be particularly problematic with age.[15]

    Some animal studies have shown success in the ability of Cordyceps to help support healthy longevity as well as normal sexual function and even memory.[16][17][18]

    The Bottom Line on Cordyceps

    Functional mushrooms have been around for a long time but are growing in popularity in modern culture. Cordyceps continue to be studied for their ability to support our health as we age, ranging from our energy and endurance to our heart and metabolic wellness. Experiencing all that Cordyceps offers can be as easy as adding a regular supplement to your day.

    Cordyceps Mushroom Gummies

    If you’re curious how to incorporate Cordyceps mushrooms into your health routine, one of the easiest ways is with our gummies.

    Fungies® Cordyceps Mushroom Gummies come in a tasty mango and pineapple flavor, each containing the equivalent of 500mg of Cordyceps mushroom.

    Designed to help support your energy and response to stress, as well as healthy immune function and athletic performance, these can easily be part of your morning or evening routine. 

    References

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    2. Jędrejko KJ, Lazur J, Muszyńska B. Foods. 2021;10(11):2634. Published 2021 Oct 30. doi:10.3390/foods10112634
    3. Lin SY, Chen YK, Yu HT, et al. Int J Med Mushrooms. 2013;15(3):315-323. doi:10.1615/intjmedmushr.v15.i3.80
    4. Verma AK. J Biomol Struct Dyn. 2022;40(8):3745-3752. doi:10.1080/07391102.2020.1850352
    5. Chen S, Li Z, Krochmal R, Abrazado M, Kim W, Cooper CB. J Altern Complement Med. 2010;16(5):585-590. doi:10.1089/acm.2009.0226
    6. Hirsch KR, Smith-Ryan AE, Roelofs EJ, Trexler ET, Mock MG. J Diet Suppl. 2017;14(1):42-53. doi:10.1080/19390211.2016.1203386
    7. Yi, X., Xi-zhen, H. & Jia-shi, Z. Chin. Integr. Med. 10, 187–192 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF0283640
    8. Zhang HW, Lin ZX, Tung YS, et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014;(12):CD008353. Published 2014 Dec 18. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD008353.pub2
    9. Lo HC, Tu ST, Lin KC, Lin SC. Life Sci. 2004;74(23):2897-2908. doi:10.1016/j.lfs.2003.11.003
    10. Yu SH, Chen SY, Li WS, et al. J Diabetes Res. 2015;2015:723190. doi:10.1155/2015/723190
    11. Lin B, Li S. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 5. Available from: (Link)
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    15. Vasiljevic JD, Zivkovic LP, Cabarkapa AM, Bajic VP, Djelic NJ, Spremo-Potparevic BM. Altern Ther Health Med. 2016;22 Suppl 2:24-31.
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    18. Ta N, Barger JL, Zhang Y, Ferguson SB, Wu Z, Prolla TA, Bartlett M, Zhu JS. 2011;25(S1):599.1.