Cordyceps is a fungus that grows on some caterpillars in the high mountain regions of China. Natural cordyceps are tough to get and are expensive. Most supplements are created with cordyceps and are fully grown in a laboratory.
However, much of this research is limited to animal or lab studies, so health experts currently can’t conclude their effects on people.
However, their potential health benefits are promising.
When these fungi attack their host, they replace their tissue and sprout long, slender stems that grow outside the host’s body.
The remains of the insect and fungi are hand-collected, dried and utilised in ancient Chinese drugs for hundreds of years to treat fatigue, sickness, renal disorder and low sex drive.
Supplements and products containing Cordyceps extract became more and more standard thanks to their several reputed health benefits.
Out of the four hundred species of Cordyceps discovered, two became the main focus of health research: Cordyceps Sinensis and Cordyceps militaris.
Cordyceps are thought to extend the body’s production of the molecule nucleotide (ATP), which is essential for delivering energy to the muscles.
This may improve the method your body uses oxygen, particularly during exercise.
In one study, researchers tested their effects on the capacity to exercise in 30 healthy older adults employing a stationary bike. Participants received either three grams per day of an artificial strain of Cordyceps known as CS-4 or a placebo pill for six weeks.
As the study concluded, seven per cent of VO2 max had been enhanced in participants who had taken CS-4, whereas participants given the placebo pill showed no change.
VO2 max is a measure to deduce fitness level.
In another similar study, 20 healthy older adults received either one gram of CS-4 or a placebo pill for twelve weeks.
While researchers found no modification in VO2 max in either cluster, participants given CS-4 improved different measures of exercise performance.
One study additionally tested the results of a Cordyceps-containing mushroom mix on exercise performance in younger adults.
After three weeks, the participants’ VO2 max had been enhanced as compared to a placebo.
However, the current analysis suggests Cordyceps don’t seem to improve exercise performance in trained athletes.
Older people have historically used Cordyceps to scale back fatigue and boost strength and drive.
Researchers believe their inhibitor content could justify their anti-ageing potential.
Several studies have found that Cordyceps increase antioxidants in aged mice, improving memory and sexual operation.
Antioxidants are unit molecules that fight cell injury by neutralising free radicals might otherwise contribute to unwellness and ageing.
One study found that mice that were given Cordyceps lived many months longer than mice given a placebo.
Another study found that Cordyceps extended the lives of fruit flies, supporting the assumption that they need anti-ageing edges.
However, it’s unknown if Cordyceps have these same anti-ageing benefits in humans.
Cordyceps’ potential to slow the expansion of tumours has generated interest in recent years.
Researchers believe the fungi could exert anti-tumour effects in many ways.
In test-tube studies, Cordyceps is shown to inhibit the expansion of many kinds of human cancer cells, lung, colon, skin and liver cancers, to name a few.
Studies in mice have conjointly shown that Cordyceps have anti-tumour effects on lymphoma, melanoma and lung cancer.
Cordyceps may additionally reverse the side effects related to several types of cancer therapy. One of these side effects is leukopenia.
Not to be confused with the cancer leukaemia, leukopenia is a condition in which the quantity of white blood cells (leukocytes) decreases, lowering the body’s defences and increasing the danger of infection.
One study tested the effects of Cordyceps on mice that developed leukopenia after exposure to radiation and treatment with Taxol, a typical chemotherapy drug.
Interestingly, Cordyceps reversed the leukopenia. These results recommend that fungi could facilitate in reducing complications related to some cancer treatments.
However, it’s vital to notice that these studies were performed in animals and test-tubes, not humans.
The effects of Cordyceps on leukopenia and tumour growth in humans is unknown. Therefore health specialists can’t presently conclude.
Cordyceps contain a particular sort of sugar that will facilitate the treatment of diabetes.
Diabetes is the name given to the disease during which the body either does not produce or respond to insulin, which transports the sugar into your cells for energy.
When your body does not produce enough insulin or respond well to that, sugar cannot enter the cells, and thus it stays within the blood. Over time, having an excessive amount of sugar within the blood leads to serious health issues.
Therefore, individuals with diabetes must ensure their glucose levels are within the recommended limits.
Interestingly, Cordyceps could keep glucose levels within the healthy parameters by doing the work of insulin.
In many studies involving diabetic mice, Cordyceps is shown to decrease glucose levels.
Some proof suggests that they also defend against kidney disorder, a common complication of diabetes.
In a review of 22 studies and 1746 individuals with chronic kidney disorder, the individuals who took Cordyceps supplements witnessed improved kidney function.
However, these results aren’t conclusive. The authors of the review expressed that several of the studies could not be trusted. Therefore, no conclusions can be created concerning the consequences of Cordyceps on the function of kidneys in humans with chronic kidney disease.
As analysis emerges on the consequences of Cordyceps on heart health, the advantages of the fungi have become progressively apparent.
Cordyceps have been approved in China to treat cardiac arrhythmia, a condition during which the heartbeat is simply too slow, too quick or irregular.
A study found that Cordyceps considerably reduced heart injuries in rats with a chronic kidney disorder. Injuries to the heart from chronic kidney disease are thought to extend the danger of heart failure; thus, reducing these injuries could facilitate avoid this outcome.
The researchers attributed these findings to the adenosine content of Cordyceps. Adenosine is a natural compound that has heart-protective effects.
Cordyceps may additionally have a beneficial impact on cholesterol level.
Research conducted on animals has shown that Cordyceps decrease “bad” cholesterol, also known as ‘LDL’.
LDL raises your risk of cardiovascular disease by resulting in the buildup of cholesterol in your arteries.
Similarly, Cordyceps is shown to decrease triglyceride levels in mice.
Triglycerides are a sort of fat found in your blood. High levels are joined to a more considerable risk of cardiovascular disease.
Unfortunately, there’s not enough proof to determine whether or not Cordyceps benefit heart health in humans.
Cordyceps is alleged to assist fight inflammation within the body.
Although some inflammation is beneficial, an excessive amount of results in diseases like cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Research has shown that once human cells contact Cordyceps, unique proteins that increase inflammation within the body become suppressed.
Thanks to these potential effects, researchers believe Cordyceps might function as a helpful anti-inflammatory supplement or drug.
Cordyceps are shown to cut back inflammation in the airways of mice, creating them a possible solution for asthma. However, the fungi seem to be less effective than the standard drugs prescribed as a relief for inflamed areas of the body (43Trusted Source).
Cordyceps can also have topical uses. One study found it reduced skin inflammation once applied topically in mice, further demonstrating its medicament properties.
The potential inflammation-fighting properties of Cordyceps are yet to be determined in humans.
Cordyceps is hard to find and extremely expensive, but it has multiple health benefits that make it worth it.
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