As consumers within our ecosystem, we depend upon sources of nutrients to fuel ourselves. Our sources of food can include plants, animals, and fungi; they all supply nutrients that our bodies depend upon. When there are gaps, or nutrients that we cannot get from foods, we often can obtain them through supplements. Our energy needs are variable, and can sometimes outpace our energy reserves.
When that happens, we usually seek quick fixes, short-term energy spikes, either with caffeine or sugar. We might reach for an energy drink or protein bar, but the energy booster that results is a short-term one. What if there was a more sustainable way to boost our energy reserves.
Clearly, the broad-ranging benefits of functional mushrooms has caught the eye of people looking for a natural way to boost their diet. As a food additive, functional mushrooms saw double-digit growth across natural supplements and the immune health category in 2020.
Cordyceps, a mushroom lauded for its energy-supporting profile, saw sales grow 43.7%. Rather than providing short-term energy spikes, studies show that cordyceps can maintain cellular-level energy reserves.
Let us take a look at what research shows.
Cordyceps For Energy Support
Cordyceps is a functional mushroom used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine to promote vitality and alleviate fatigue. It gained widespread acceptance when Chinese women runners broke a number of distance records in 1993, with their coaches attributing their success to their consumption of cordyceps. The antioxidant effects of the mushroom were suggested to enhance an athletes athletic performance.
- Essential amino acids (building blocks of protein)
- Vitamins B1, B2, B12, and K
- Carbohydrates such as monosaccharides, oligosaccharides
Its numerous bioactive compounds are subject to scientific study in vitro (cells in a culture medium), in animals, and in vivo (in a human test subject).
Improved Physical Energy
Cordyceps can help to restore energy on the cellular level. In animal studies using mice, researchers found that the cordyceps extract improved athletic performance by increasing ATP-regeneration pathways. ATP is our cells main energy-carrying molecule.
Studies of older adults who were given cordyceps supplements for 12 weeks showed a marked improvement in their respiratory and metabolic thresholds. This suggests cordyceps can support athletic performance as well as promote general health and well-being in our ageing body.
In younger adults, the time-to-exhaustion (dexterity) was increased following one week of dietary supplementation with cordyceps. Maximum oxygen consumption improved, and ventilatory threshold increased, after three weeks of supplementation. These parameters suggest cordyceps contributes to increased tolerance for intense exercise.
Cordyceps supports increased exercise endurance. In animal studies using mice, cordyceps extract extended swim endurance in mice, inhibited the production of lactic acid, and increased the glycogen stores of the liver and muscles.
These factors helped to decrease muscular fatigue in exertion. In human studies, cordyceps used over a period of two weeks led to increased time-to-exhaustion, increased ventilation threshold, and improved maximal oxygen consumption for distance runners. This study indicates that using cordyceps can enhance fatigue tolerance and increase endurance capacity in athletes.
Better Workout Recovery
After you have used up your energy while exercising, it is essential that you allow your body to repair itself. Cordyceps may also support recovery following a workout.
Its anti-inflammatory properties can help encourage healing, particularly when used regularly. In animal studies using mice, dietary supplementation of cordyceps had greater effects on endurance during physical exertion than grains alone, as well as an acceleration of fatigue recovery. Supplemented mice showed increased lactic acid disposal from their cells and stronger post-exercise metabolic parameters. This study highlights the potential of cordyceps as a functional fatigue-fighting food.
Improved Immune Function
Just like other functional mushrooms, cordyceps polysaccharide content makes it a nutrient-dense support for healthy immune function. By supporting intestinal health and modulating the immune system, cordyceps helps the body respond appropriately when challenged with infections or inflammation.
Making Cordyceps Part of Your Daily Routine
Whether you are looking to build resistance in the weight room, or just trying to keep energy up throughout your normal routine, cordyceps may be the answer. If the energy-boosting benefits of cordyceps sounds like something you need in your life, we layout a few high-quality products that will help you reach your goals. Real Mushrooms and Freshcap products contain Cordyceps militaris, and in some cases, also Cordyceps sinensis. For simple, whole-food powders suitable for mixing in smoothies or stirring into recipes, try Organic Cordyceps Mushroom Powder by reviewing the cordyceps powders we highlight on our cordyceps powder page.
Available in 50, 100, or 250 serving sizes, this option is versatile and affordable. Capsules are a popular way to add nutritional supplements to your routine. If you prefer the ease and simplicity of taking your cordyceps as a capsule, check out Cordyceps Mushroom Capsules. Just three capsules, taken once each day, provide 2000 mg of high-quality powdered mushrooms.
There are brands that make specially-curated blends combining the powers of cordyceps with other complimentary species.
This blend supports stamina and vitality, and it can be used the same as a single-species powdered cordyceps. With benefits demonstrated time and time again in studies on laboratory animals, youth, older adults, and athletes, cordyceps supports energy utilization for a number of health goals. When used regularly, antioxidants and other bioactive compounds in cordyceps support energy utilization at a cellular level and support greater endurance and faster recovery. Choosing the form of cordyceps supplements you prefer makes incorporating this superfood into your everyday health regimen easy.