Cordyceps mushrooms are well known in Traditional Chinese Medicine. They have been used for centuries to improve exercise performance and treat many health ailments.
Most human studies on the effects of Cordyceps’ medicinal mushrooms have been focussed on exercise performance, where this muscly mushroom has been found to potentially boost energy and oxygen use during exercise. Cordyceps mushrooms are thought to increase the body’s production of the molecule Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), which is essential for delivering energy to the muscles.
Research Study 1- Researchers tested the effects of cordyceps on the exercise capacity of 30 healthy older adults, using a stationary bike. Participants received either 3 grams per day of a synthetic strain of Cordyceps mushroom called CS-4, or a placebo pill for six weeks. By the end of the study, VO2 max* had increased by 7% in participants who had taken CS-4. In contrast, participants given the placebo pill showed no change.
*VO2 max refers to the maximum amount of oxygen you can utilize during exercise.
Study 2- Twenty healthy, older adults received either 1 gram of CS-4 or a placebo pill for 12 weeks. While researchers found no change in VO2 max in either group, participants given CS-4 improved other measures of exercise performance.
Study 3– Researchers tested the effects of Cordyceps mushroom on exercise performance in younger adults. After three weeks, the participants' VO2 max had increased by 11%, compared to a placebo.
There’s no doubt this super shroom punches well above its weight, showing promise in many areas. Only time will tell if the full extent of the health benefits of Cordyceps mushroom observed in animal and laboratory studies apply to humans. Until then, you can feel confident to embrace your inner Olympian and use Cordyceps medicinal mushroom to help you go for gold.