Mushrooms provide a mix of healthy nutrients and vitamins, such as niacin, copper, riboflavin, and selenium. The texture and savory flavor of mushrooms also make excellent substitutes for meat. Varieties of functional mushrooms, such as cordyceps, lion’s mane, reishi, and chaga, will be present in products such as, teas, coffees, smoothies, and bottled water, as part of a growing trend previously noted. Here Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD, HealthLine.com, reflects on science backed benefits of cordyceps:
“Cordyceps is a genus of parasitic fungi that grows on the larvae of insects.
When these fungi attack their host, they replace its tissue and sprout long, slender stems that grow outside the host’s body.
The remains of the insect and fungi have been hand-collected, dried and used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries to treat fatigue, sickness, kidney disease and low sex drive.
Supplements and products containing Cordyceps extract have become increasingly popular due to their many purported health benefits.
Of the more than 400 species of Cordyceps discovered, two have become the focus of health research: Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris.
However, much of this research is limited to animal or lab studies, so health experts currently can’t draw conclusions about their effects on people.
However, their potential health benefits are promising.
This article highlights 6 potential benefits of Cordyceps, based on science.
May Boost Exercise Performance
Cordyceps are thought to increase the body’s production of the molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is essential for delivering energy to the muscles.
In one study, researchers tested their effects on exercise capacity in 30 healthy older adults using a stationary bike. Participants received either 3 grams per day of a synthetic strain of Cordyceps called CS-4 or a placebo pill for six weeks.
By the end of the study, VO2 max had increased by 7% in participants who had taken CS-4, while participants given the placebo pill showed no change (3).
VO2 max is a measurement used to determine fitness level (4Trusted Source).
In a similar study, 20 healthy older adults received either 1 gram of CS-4 or a placebo pill for 12 weeks (5Trusted Source).
While researchers found no change in VO2 max in either group, participants given CS-4 improved other measures of exercise performance.
One study also tested the effects of a Cordyceps-containing mushroom blend on exercise performance in younger adults (6Trusted Source).
After three weeks, participants’ VO2 max had increased by 11%, compared to a placebo.
The elderly have traditionally used Cordyceps to reduce fatigue and boost strength and sex drive.
Researchers believe their antioxidant content may explain their anti-aging potential (9Trusted Source).
One study found that mice that given Cordyceps lived several months longer than mice given a placebo (16).
Another study found that Cordyceps extended the lives of fruit flies, further supporting the belief that they have anti-aging benefits (17Trusted Source).
However, it’s unknown if Cordyceps have these same anti-aging benefits in humans.
May Help Manage Type 2 Diabetes
Cordyceps contain a special type of sugar that may help treat diabetes.
Diabetes is a disease in which the body either does not produce or respond to the hormone insulin, which normally transports the sugar glucose into your cells for energy.
When your body does not produce enough insulin or respond well to it, glucose cannot enter the cells, so it stays in the blood. Over time, having too much glucose in the blood can cause serious health problems.
Therefore, it’s important for people with diabetes to make sure their blood sugar levels are well controlled.
Interestingly, Cordyceps may keep blood sugar levels within a healthy range by mimicking the action of insulin.
Some evidence suggests that they may also protect against kidney disease, a common complication of diabetes.
In a review of 22 studies including 1,746 people with chronic kidney disease, those who took Cordyceps supplements experienced improved kidney function (31Trusted Source).
However, these results aren’t conclusive. The authors of the review stated that many of the studies were low quality. Therefore, no conclusions could be made about the effects of Cordyceps on kidney function in humans with chronic kidney disease.”
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Read More … Article Source: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cordyceps-benefits#section4
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