Cordyceps Sinensis Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning

Cordyceps Sinensis Mushroom Health Benefits, Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Dosage, and Warning

What are the Benefits of Cordyceps Sinensis?

  • Enhances exercise performance
  • Has anti-aging properties
  • May be anti-tumour
  • Helps control diabetes
  • Has good benefits for the heart
  • Is anti-inflammatory

Cordyceps mushroom, particularly Cordyceps sinensis, is a type of parasitic fungi that can be found on insects’ larvae. The remains of these fungi and insects containing them have been traditionally used in Chinese medicine for many centuries. Now, there are already products and supplements that contain cordyceps extract.

If you are wondering what the purported health benefits of Cordyceps sinensis mushroom are, check out the following.

One of the benefits attributed to Cordyceps mushroom is improved exercise performance in younger and older adults.

Cordyceps are known to enhance the body’s production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule that is necessary for supplying the muscles with energy. This results in an improved way of how the body utilises oxygen, especially during training. (1)

One study tested the effects of Cordyceps mushroom on exercise capacity involving thirty adults who used a stationary bike. The participants were given either a placebo pill or 3 grams of Cordyceps synthetic strain (CS-4) daily for a span of six weeks. In the end, the VO2 max in the participants who took CS-4 has increased by 7%. On the other hand, those who took the placebo pill had no change. (1)

Another study also observed the effects of Cordyceps on younger adults’ exercise performance. After three weeks, there was an 11% increase in the participants’ VO2 max, compared to those who take a placebo.

Cordyceps Sinensis mushroom has anti-aging properties too. Traditionally, this mushroom has been used to increase sex drive and strength and decrease fatigue. These benefits are linked to the antioxidant content of the mushroom. (1)

There are several studies that supported the effectiveness of Cordyceps in increasing antioxidants in aging mice and improving sexual function and memory. (1, 2, 3)

In addition, there are animal and test-tube studies suggesting that Cordyceps could have the potential to cure cancer and the side effects of cancer treatments. According to researchers, this fungus has anti-tumour effects.

Test-tube studies showed that Cordyceps has the ability to prevent the growth of different kinds of human cancer cells, such as liver, skin, colon, and lung cancers. (1, 2, 3, 4)

Mice studies also showed how this fungus can affect melanoma, lymphoma, and lung cancer. (1, 2, 3)

Animal research also suggested that Cordyceps could be a potential diabetes treatment. Several studies showed that it could reduce blood sugar levels. (1, 2, 3)

There is also some evidence suggesting that Cordyceps fungi may fight off kidney disease, which is one of the usual complications of diabetes. A review of 22 studies that involved 1,746 respondents with chronic kidney disease revealed that those who had Cordyceps supplements had enhanced kidney function. (1)

Cordyceps sinensis may also benefit the heart. In China, it is an approved treatment for arrhythmia, a condition that is characterised by irregular, too fast, or too slow heartbeat. (1)

This mushroom may also decrease the “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. It may also have the potential to reduce triglyceride levels. (1, 2, 3)

In addition, Cordyceps mushroom is said to be anti-inflammatory. Based on research, the exposure of the human cells to Cordyceps could lead to the suppression of the special proteins that can increase the risk of inflammation. For this reason, Cordyceps may be effective as an anti-inflammatory drug or supplement. (1, 2, 3)

These science-based health benefits of Cordyceps sinensis mushroom are no doubt promising. However, most of them lack human research yet. Therefore, it should not be taken as a treatment for any condition without your doctor’s advice.

What is Cordyceps Sinensis Mushroom?

Cordyceps sinensis, also called caterpillar fungus, is a traditional remedy or tonic that is used by the Chinese because of its various health benefits.

The mushroom’s spores grow in the body of caterpillars. As they infect the host, they take over the caterpillar’s central nervous system. The caterpillar is later filled by the spores with filaments or hyphae. When the caterpillar dies, the endoparasitoid fungus releases a fruiting body that also produces spores, which are later on spread to other caterpillars.

There are over 400 species of Cordyceps discovered, but the two that are mostly focused by research are Cordyceps militaris and Cordyceps sinensis.

How Does Cordyceps Mushroom Work?

Cordyceps mushrooms may increase immunity by stimulating certain chemicals and cells in the immune system. It may also fight off cancer cells and reduce tumour size, especially with skin and lung cancers.

How Do I Take Cordyceps Mushroom?

The common dosage for Cordyceps that is used in human research is between 1,000 and 3,000 mg daily. No side effects have been associated with the range, and some health benefits have been seen with it.

However, the right dosage for Cordyceps mushroom supplements depends largely on different factors. More research-based information is needed to come up with the official dosage for Cordyceps supplementation.

Can I Take Cordyceps with Vitamins or Medicines?

There are several interactions linked to Cordyceps usage. Be sure to be careful with some combinations.

Cordyceps is known to interact with Cyclophosphamide (Neosar, Cytoxan), which is known to decrease the immune system. Since Cordyceps can increase the immune system, taking it with this drug might decrease its effectiveness.

In connection with this, beware of taking Cordyceps supplementation with other medications that can decrease the immune system. Some of the known immunosuppressants are sirolimus (Rapamune), daclizumab (Zenapax), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids), azathioprine (Imuran), and others.

Prednisolone also interacts with Cordyceps mushroom. Like the mentioned immunosuppressants, it reduces the immune system too. Therefore, it must not be taken together, or this drug will not take effect.

For more information on Cordyceps interactions, especially if you are currently under some medications, please ask a healthcare professional.

Is Cordyceps Sinensis Safe?

There is still a lack of research regarding the safety of Cordyceps sinensis in humans. Nevertheless, based on its history of being a traditional Chinese medicine, it is suggested to be nontoxic.