Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis), a fungus found on Tibetan caterpillars (giving it the nickname "caterpillar fungus"), is a medicinal mushroom with a long history of use in Chinese medicine. Legend has it that Chinese yak herders discovered the potential use of cordyceps when they noticed the animals that consumed the fungus while grazing suddenly had more energy than usual. Since then, the mushroom has been cultivated for medicinal use, and has even been used by Olympic athletes to improve performance. Here are five ways cordyceps can ratchet up your health, energy levels, workouts, and more:
1. It Boosts Endurance
Cordyceps can effectively boost endurance, in part by increasing blood flow. Research suggests that supplementing with cordyceps may not only allow you to work out longer, but also boosts overall vigor. Studies show cordyceps may lower heart rate as well, allowing you to train harder and for longer periods.
2. It Improves Oxygen Uptake
In the 1992 Olympics, Chinese athletes attributed their wins to cordyceps. Researchers believe that the mushroom's ability to increase oxygen delivery to cells improves energy. In one clinical trial, seniors were randomized to take a daily dose of either supplemental cordyceps or a placebo. The participants were screened as they exercised on a special stationary bike that measured oxygen uptake and aerobic fitness. After six weeks, those subjects taking cordyceps had significantly better cardiorespiratory fitness than those who were taking a placebo.
3. It Reduces Fatigue
Cordyceps has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to treat low energy and fatigue. One reason-it is packed with potent antioxidants that help maximize stamina. Cordyceps is also said to provide a boost of energy similar to caffeine, but without the jitters that can come with a cup of coffee.
4. It Boosts ATP Levels
Cordyceps increases your body's ability to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), according to research from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. ATP is a fuel source used by cells in the body when performing intense, explosive-type movements such as jumps and sprints.
5. It May Increase Testosterone Levels
Men have greater levels of testosterone naturally, but it's essential for muscle growth in both men and women. Some animal studies suggest cordyceps boosts testosterone levels by stimulating the Leydig cells in the testicles. More research is needed to determine if women may benefit from taking cordyceps to boost testosterone.
DOSAGE: Take 2-3 grams of cordyceps with meals; you should see results within 2 months.
Did You Know?
Cordyceps has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, stress-reducing, and immune-boosting properties.
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