Cordyceps Militaris

Background

Cordyceps militaris is a parasitic fungus which is a valuable source of many phytonutrients (plant chemicals). Cordyceps is a parasitic fungus and is a very popular supplement in the fitness industry due to its effects on pre-workout and athletic performance. There may be more than 400 different species of Cordyceps and some of them have been used in traditional medicine systems for thousands of years, particularly in Tibet, China and Japan. Both Cordyceps sinesis and Coryceps militaris have the same bioactive compounds, but Cordyceps militaris possesses higher amounts. Cordyceps militaris infects other insects and arthropods, especially caterpillars, and uses the body to host its growth and development.
Among the Cordyceps species, Cordyceps militaris is considered to be the oldest source of some beneficial chemical constituents. It is beneficial to act as pro-sexual, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant/anti-aging, anti-tumour/anti-cancer/anti-leukemic, anti-diabetic, anti-HIV, anti-fatigue, neuroprotective, as well as liver-protective.[1]

Benefits

Cordyceps militaris is a parasite on moth caterpillar larvae and used broadly as a stimulant and an adaptogen in East Asia traditionally. This mushroom is associated with many health benefits. It is effective to improve longevity, endurance, and human health and as an alternative medicine to ameliorate diseases including stroke, sore throat, tuberculosis, epilepsy, and cancer. Many active compounds such as mannitol, ergosterol, polysaccharides, and cordycepin have been identified from Cordyceps militaris, and studies with these compounds showed diverse pharmacological activities with antiviral, antioxidative, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antiplatelet aggregation, and anticancer effects.[2]
The common health benefits of Cordyceps militaris include:

  • Improves cognitive function [3]
  • Acts as an antioxidant [4]
  • Helps control blood sugar [5]
  • Protects liver [6]
  • Improves kidney health [7]
  • Improves heart health [8]
  • Reduces oxidative stress [9]
  • Decreases triglycerides and LDL cholesterol [10]
  • Improves immune efficacy [11]
  • Increases sexual health [12]
  • Helps people fight cancer [13]
  • Improves kidney health [14]
  • Loosens phlegm helping with bronchitis, asthma and other breathing conditions [15]
  • Improves tolerance of chemotherapy and radiation [16]
  • Induces vasodilation, thereby improving circulation [17]
  • Helps with diabetes [18]
  • Enhances athletic performance [19]
  • Can improve the learning and memory [20]
  • Improves sperm quality and quantity [21]

Cordyceps militaris is also known as immunomodulatory, anti-cancer and antioxidant agent having influence on entire immune system with several benefits for human health and well-being. Compared with Cordyceps sinensis it is considered as significant source of energy, strength and moreover longevity.

How it works

Cordyceps militaris has been shown to yield greater amounts of active constituents, which may lead to more pronounced performance benefits. Benefits to aerobic performance with cordyceps supplementation may be attributed to enhanced blood flow and oxygen utilization, by increasing vasodilation and metabolic efficiency. Enhanced oxygen delivery and utilization may increase exercise tolerance, raising the anaerobic threshold and delaying the onset of fatigue.[23]
Many active compounds such as mannitol, ergosterol, polysaccharides, and cordycepin have been identified from Cordyceps militaris, and studies with these compounds showed diverse pharmacological activities with antiviral, antioxidative, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antiplatelet aggregation, and anticancer effects. Cordycepin is an adenosine analogue, which is readily phosphorylated to its mono-, di-, and triphosphate intracellularly.[22] Again, Adenosine in Cordyceps militaris combines with phosphates to produce molecules for energy production, such as AMP (adenosine monophosphate) and ATP (adenosine triphosphate).

As a natural exercise mimetic, cordyceps is thought to improve performance by increasing blood flow, enhancing oxygen utilization, and acting as an antioxidant

Considerations

Cordyceps are the mushrooms which are generally well tolerated by humans. But, they may come with some temporary and mild side effects such as diarrhea, dry mouth and upset stomach. If you are breastfeeding, pregnant, new moms, surgery patients, diabetic patients, you should not take this supplement with Cordyceps militaris. This supplement may also interact with some prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications, especially ones which are meant to target the immune system, liver, or kidneys. Always keep in mind that your physician can help you greatly in selecting supplement.

Recommendations

The appropriate dose of cordyceps militaris depends on several factors like the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. It’s also true that at this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for cordyceps militaris. However, some experiences show that 500 – 1000 mg per day can be an ideal dose of the supplement. You should follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your physician or other healthcare provider before using.

Sources