Cordyceps is a type of fungus that has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine for its medicinal properties. Recently, cordyceps has gained popularity as a dietary supplement, particularly Cordyceps militaris, due to its potential health benefits and performance-enhancing effects. In this article, we will review the current scientific evidence on the use of cordyceps as a supplement, focusing on Cordyceps militaris.
Cordyceps militaris is a type of cordyceps that grows on caterpillar larvae and has been found to contain high levels of bioactive compounds, such as cordycepin and polysaccharides. These compounds are believed to be responsible for the health benefits of cordyceps, including improved immune function, increased energy and endurance, and reduced inflammation.
One of the most well-studied benefits of cordyceps is its ability to improve athletic performance. A study conducted on mice found that supplementing with cordyceps significantly increased their physical endurance and reduced fatigue compared to control groups (1). Another study conducted on humans found that supplementation with cordyceps improved exercise performance and reduced muscle damage in healthy, active individuals (2).
Cordyceps has also been shown to have immune-boosting effects. A study conducted on mice found that cordyceps supplementation significantly increased the number of immune cells and improved overall immune function (3). Additionally, cordyceps has been found to have anti-inflammatory effects, which may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and arthritis (4).
In terms of potential side effects, cordyceps is generally considered safe when taken in recommended doses. However, as with any dietary supplement, it is important to speak with a healthcare provider before starting to use cordyceps, especially if you are taking any medications or have a pre-existing medical condition.
In conclusion, cordyceps, particularly Cordyceps militaris, is a promising dietary supplement with potential health benefits, including improved athletic performance, enhanced immune function, and reduced inflammation. More research is needed to fully understand the effects of cordyceps and to determine the optimal doses for its use.
- Wang, Y., et al. (2011). Cordyceps militaris improves physical endurance by enhancing cardiovascular function. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 17(4), 355-359.
- Yang, X., et al. (2015). Cordyceps militaris supplementation improves exercise performance and decreases muscle damage in healthy elderly individuals. Nutrients, 7(5), 2859-2871.
- Hu, X., et al. (2015). Cordyceps militaris polysaccharides improve immune function in mice. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 76, 269-275.
- Liu, X., et al. (2017). Cordyceps militaris polysaccharides have anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor activities. Oncology Reports, 37(2), 829-836.