Cordyceps is a type of fungus known for many centuries in traditional Chinese medicine for its refreshing and adaptive properties. Traditionally, it has been used to treat many conditions such as infections, fatigue, decreased male libido as well as to stimulate the immune system. In recent years Cordyceps seems to stand out for its benefits in athletes of aerobic and endurance sports.
What is Cordyceps?
It is a kind of fungus that parasites and grows on insects and arthropods. There are various species (Cordyceps sinensis, Cordyceps militaris, Cordyceps ophioglossoides, Cordyceps capita, etc.), which are collected from high altitude areas and cultivated in the laboratory.
Which athletes can benefit from cordyceps?
People who participate in aerobic and endurance sports seem to benefit more, in comparison with those who participate in anaerobic activities (weightlifting, sprinting, etc.). Climbers and hikers, as well as those who take part in endurance sports, such as running, swimming and cycling, seem to have the greatest benefits, regarding stamina and athletic performance.
Cordyceps and athletic performance
According to scientific studies, taking Cordyceps before exercise can provide many benefits to athletes. The effects of Cordyceps are due to its high content in polysaccharides, adenosine, cordycepin and cordycepic acid.
Athletes are characterized by increased oxidative stress, therefore they need antioxidant protection. The Cordyceps extract has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. According to research, it neutralizes the harmful effects of free radicals, protecting cells from their harmful effects, while shielding the immune system.
The fungal extract has an adaptive action. It contributes to the oxygenation of the body by adapting the respiratory system to the requirements of exercise.
Energy and endurance
Cordyceps significantly improves energy levels and reduces fatigue, especially in aerobic endurance sports. In particular, according to studies, taking cordyceps helps to increase ATP production in the liver, the main energy currency of the cells, as well as to improve glucose metabolism. The result is to stimulate the body, increase strength and delay muscle exhaustion. In addition, it helps in faster recovery of muscles post-workout.
Cordyceps supplements and dose
It is given pre-workout at doses of 1-1.5g. daily, along with a meal. In dietary supplements, it is available in tablet or powder form, as a mono-ingredient or in combination with other nutrients, such as Rhodiola, Ginseng, Reishi mushroom, wheatgrass, ginger, Maca and probiotics.
Contraindications of Cordyceps
People with autoimmune diseases or people who take anticoagulants should not take supplements with cordyceps.