7 Cordyceps benefits that can improve your health
November 18, 2020
6 min read
Relationship between cordyceps and health and why it is unique
Cordyceps is a type of fungus that lives off certain living insects like caterpillars, ants, moths, beetles etc. When spores of the fungi drop on the outer shell of the insects; they penetrate the shell and nest in the insect's living bodies. The fungi then takes over the brain cells of the host body and paralyses it.
Once the fungi has done feeding on the insect's vitals, the insect dies and a fruiting body emerges from the head of the host. This fruiting body on maturing, bursts open and spores are released to land on an unsuspecting insect passing by. The cycle then repeats itself.
Cordyceps fungi thrive in the cool mountainous regions of China, Sikkim, Tibet and Bhutan. They are usually found 3800 mts above sea level. Since ancient times Chinese medicine men have been collecting the dried out husks of body shells of infected insects along with the dried out kernel of the cordyceps fruiting body. These are then ground and used in various traditional Chinese medicines.
While the cost of harvesting and using cordyceps in its natural form is extremely prohibitive, scientists have been able to cultivate mycelium, it's main ingredient in the laboratory. This makes it more affordable and can be made available to more people.
Why is cordyceps unique
Cordyceps is unique in the sense that it is used to treat a wide variety of ailments. Cordyceps is used to treat coughs, chronic bronchitis, respiratory problems, kidney disease, nighttime urination, male sexual problems, anemia, arrhythmia, high cholesterol, dizziness, liver damage, tinnitus, weight loss and narcotic addiction. It also is useful for increasing stamina and physical endurance, strengthening the immune system, promoting longer life and reducing effects of ageing. It also improves liver function in people with hepatitis B.
Some people use cordyceps as a stimulating tonic and an adaptogen to enhance stamina and reduce fatigue.
With their array of unique enzymes and structures, cordyceps have evolved in different ways to effectively denigrate their specific hosts. Through this process they have managed to organize and synthesize nutrients from the host in an organized way. Cordyceps produce chitinases and proteases that denigrate the outer shells of the insect host in preparation for the invasion. They then absorb the resulting sugars and amino acids.
Cordyceps invade the hosts in the form of spores through the lungs. When the nutrients from the host run low the fungi invades the brain and manipulates the behaviour of the insect, so that it can feed off its host till the last.
7 health benefits of cordyceps militaris.
1. It boosts performance and exercise. It increases the production of the molecule adenosine triphosphate ATP in the body which is essential for delivering energy to the muscles. This leads to an improvement in the way the body uses oxygen in the body, especially during exercise. When healthy older participants in a study were given three grams per day of a synthetic strain of cordyceps called CS4; their VO2 capacity increased by 7% as compared to the other team of participants who were given only a placebo. VO2 is a metric used to determine fitness level.even when the cordyceps supplements were given to young healthy adults, it was found that their VO2 increased by 11% compared to those who were given a placebo. But cordyceps was not shown to increase performance in trained athletes.
- Since ancient times in China, the elderly people have taken cordyceps to reduce fatigue and boost strength. The antioxidant properties in cordyceps helps to explain this effect. This oxidation process also helps to improve memory and sexual function in the elderly. Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize free radicals that contribute to disease and ageing. In studies conducted on mice it has been found that those who were given cordyceps lived several months longer; but he same has not been conclusively proved on humans.
- Percent studies have turned up evidence that cordyceps may have anti tumor properties. It has been shown to inhibit the growth of many types of human cancer cells. It has anti tumor effects on lymphoma, melanoma and lung cancer. It inhibits growth of lung, colon, skin and liver cancers. Cordyceps also reverses the side effects of cancer therapy. One of these effects is leukopenia where the number of leukocytes or white blood cells decreases in those patients who are undergoing cancer therapy. This leads to a lowering of the body’s defences and thus an increase in infection. Taking of cordyceps supplements reversed the effects of leukopenia
- Cordyceps contains a special type of sugar which may help to control type 2 diabetes.The hormone insulin is the transporter of the sugar glucose cells in our body which are the building blocks of energy. Diabetes is a disease in which the body either does not produce or respond to the hormone insulin. Thus the sugar cannot enter the cells and stays in the blood. Over time the accumulation of too much glucose in the blood results in serious health problems. Cordyceps keeps the blood sugar levels under a healthy limit by mimicking the action of insulin.
5. Cordyceps also protects against chronic kidney disease which is a common complication of diabetes. In a review of more than 22 studies it has been found that patients who took cordyceps supplements had improved kidney function.
- It is becoming increasingly apparent that the cordyceps fungi is beneficial for heart health. In China the treatment of cordyceps has been approved for the condition of arrhythmia. Arrhythmia is a condition where the heartbeat is too slow or too fast or too irregular. Also injuries to the heart are a byproduct of chronic kidney disease and addressing this injury may help to address this outcome. Cordyceps has a naturally occurring compound; adenosine, which has heart protective effects. It has a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels as it reduces the bad cholesterol LDL. It also decreases triglyceride levels, triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood, high levels of which are linked to heart disease.
- Although some inflammation is good; too much can lead to diseases like heart failure and cancer. Research has shown that when human cells are exposed to cordyceps, special proteins that increase inflammation in the body are suppressed.It reduces inflammation even when applied topically.
What is the daily quantity of intake of Cordyceps?
It is a bit tricky to measure how much Cordyceps to take daily. It is a mushroom that can be taken both short term and long term.
The daily dosage of cordyceps depends on several factors like user's age, health and other conditions. Dosage will also depend on what other medications the user is taking. As is the case in all natural products, it is important to follow the dosage indicated on the label of the product. Cordyceps is available in capsule form as well as tincture form and different dosage is indicated for each type of medication. However experts have stressed that cordyceps should be taken at a fixed time daily. This way there is no case of an overdose and following a set time prevents any adverse effects.
The recommended dosage for cordyceps tincture is 1-3 dropper fulls 1-2 times a day. For cordyceps capsules the recommended dosage is 1 capsule daily taken at the same time everyday, to keep the beneficial compounds as consistently in the body as possible.
Cordyceps militaris has been acknowledged as a powerhouse supplement and has now been acknowledged across various streams of science. This is mainly due to its ability to heal a wide variety of disorders. It promotes healthy energy, sexual drive in males and increased vigour. It is used to treat heart ailments, kidney disfunction, liver damage and has been found to reduce tumors and inflammation.