Does Cordyceps Increase Testosterone? - HONE
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Does Cordyceps Increase Testosterone?

  • 11 min read

Does Cordyceps Increase Testosterone? - HONE

Does Cordyceps Increase Testosterone?

Cordyceps mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for hundreds of years for their extraordinary health benefits. Recent studies seem to confirm what the Chinese have known all along: cordyceps may boost testosterone levels.

The ability of Cordyceps to increase testosterone could be a game changer for millions of men who struggle with low levels of testosterone and associated symptoms such as reduced sex drive, erectile dysfunction, and a decrease in muscle mass. 

Article jumplinks:

What is testosterone?

What causes low testosterone?

Does cordyceps increase testosterone levels?

What are cordyceps mushrooms?

Let’s take a closer look at the science behind cordyceps mushrooms and their potential as a testosterone booster. 

Why is Testosterone Important?

Testosterone is an androgen steroid hormone important for sperm production (spermatogenesis) and sexual function in men. Testosterone is produced primarily in the testicles. Testosterone levels in healthy men are usually highest in the morning and gradually decrease throughout the day.

Here’s why testosterone is important in men:

  • Development of sex organs and genitalia
  • Building muscle mass and strength
  • Maintaining healthy bone density
  • Maintaining optimal levels of red blood cells
  • Sexual and reproductive function
  • Overall sense of well-being

While testosterone is typically associated with men, women also have this hormone in lower amounts. In females, testosterone helps to maintain bone density and muscle mass, and influences sexual drive.

Normal levels of testosterone in men are between 300 and 1,000 nanograms per deciliter (10–35 nanomoles per liter). 

The hypothalamus and pituitary gland play a major role in regulating the amount of testosterone the testicles produce and release. The pituitary gland regulates growth, metabolism, and reproduction. In men, this gland also aids in the production of sperm. The pituitary gland makes luteinizing hormone (LH) when the hypothalamus releases gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). LH binds to testosterone-releasing Leydig cell receptors and activates testosterone production.

Any problem with your hypothalamus, pituitary gland, or testicles may lead to low testosterone levels (male hypogonadism). 

Causes of Low Testosterone Levels

Testosterone deficiency syndrome (male hypogonadism) is a condition that describes low levels of testosterone. According to the American Urology Associationlevels below 300 ng/dL qualify as a testosterone deficiency. Some of the most common symptoms of low testosterone are:

  1. Weight gain
  2. Decrease in sex drive
  3. Loss of pubic and armpit hair
  4. Thinning bones
  5. Reduced muscle mass
  6. Shrinking testicles
  7. Low or zero sperm count
  8. Loss of energy
  9. Difficulties with concentration
  10. Depression 

By the age of 30, amounts of testosterone begin to naturally drop for many men. As men get older, the functions of their hypothalamic-pituitary and Leydig cells often deteriorate, which causes their testosterone and sperm levels to decline. Some external factors may also contribute to male hypogonadism.

  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Testicular infections and injuries
  • Genetic disorders
  • Cancer treatments
  • Medications such as opiates and corticosteroids

Let’s take a look at the two main causes of testosterone deficiency syndrome.

Causes of Low Testosterone Levels

Primary Hypogonadism

Primary hypogonadism, also called testicular disorder, happens when your testicles can't produce enough testosterone. 

When testosterone is low, the pituitary gland produces more follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which regulates the normal functioning of the male reproductive system, and luteinizing hormone. In healthy men, high levels of FSH and LH would normally tell your testicles to boost testosterone and sperm production. If the testicles are damaged, they cannot respond to FSH and LH properly and make too little or no testosterone and sperm. 

Primary hypogonadism can result from:

  • Testicle removal or injury
  • Inflammation of one or both testicles (orchitis)
  • Bacterial or viral infections, which often lead to orchitis
  • Chemo or radiation therapy to the testicles
  • Testicular tumors
  • Anabolic steroid use

Secondary Hypogonadism

Secondary hypogonadism involves a dysfunction of the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland. Here, levels of LH and FSH are extremely low, which causes decreased sperm and testosterone synthesis. 

Certain acquired conditions can lead to secondary hypogonadism, such as:

  • Deficiency of the pituitary hormones (hypopituitarism)
  • Iron overload: too much iron in the pituitary gland (hemochromatosis)
  • Brain or head injury
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Kidney failure
  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Obesity
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Certain medications like androgen biosynthesis inhibitors for prostate cancer

study published in theAsian Journal of Andrologyassociates low levels of testosterone with obesity. It claims that overweight or obese men are 30% more likely to develop testosterone deficiency. The American Diabetes Association says that men with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to develop male hypogonadism compared to those without diabetes.  

Can Low Testosterone be Treated?

Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is a common way to treat testosterone deficiency. It involves testosterone drugs such as injections, gels, patches, or pellets to restore normal levels of the hormone in the body. 

However, this and other types of testosterone deficiency treatments often come with a wide range of side effects. Chronic TRT use may increase the risk of prostate cancer, stroke, or blood clots. Testosterone replacement therapy can also cause:

  • Body acne
  • Breast enlargement
  • Shrinked testicles
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Changes in mood or appetite

Many men are seeking natural and safe alternatives to boost their levels of testosterone and sperm. Cordyceps mushrooms have been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years to increase testosterone levels, promote male reproductive health, and boost sexual function. 

Keep reading to find out why cordyceps is called the Himalayan Viagra.

How Does Cordyceps Increase Testosterone?

A  unctional study shows that cordyceps can increase testosterone synthesis in mouse Leydig cells, in vivo and in vitro, and that it can treat some of the reproductive problems caused by testosterone deficiency in male humans. 

Chinese researchers looked into the effects of Cordyceps militaris on the reproductive development of young mice. They discovered that the extracellular polysaccharides found in cordyceps mushrooms significantly increased the animals’ ability to produce testosterone. The results of the research suggest that cordyceps can be used as a harmless, natural way to improve male reproductive health.

Consuming Cordyceps militaris has been linked to improved sexual function overall.The American Journal of Chinese Medicine reported on the ability of cordyceps to boost sperm production and mobility in animal models. In one animal studyrats were given a supplement made from cordyceps mycelium. After a six-week treatment, the rats’ sperm motility increased. Motile sperm cells are particularly important for fertility and healthy reproductive function. 

Can Cordyceps Increase DHT Levels?

Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) is a testosterone-derived hormone that is extremely important for male reproductive health. During fetal development, DHT is responsible for developing male genitalia. In puberty, its job is to grow facial and body hair. DHT is also responsible for maintaining muscle mass, bone density, sex drive, sexual performance, and erectile function in adult males. 

2020 animal study suggests that cordyceps can raise DHT levels in male rats. The chemicals isolated from Cordyceps militaris had a positive effect on sexual performance and erectile function in rats in the study. Cordyceps prevented prostate enlargement without lowering DHT or testosterone levels. In fact, cordyceps enhanced the action of primary testicular cells and helped them increase DHT and testosterone. 

Research on cordyceps and DHT levels is limited to animal studies. More research is required to confirm these findings and evaluate the effects of cordyceps on DHT in humans.

Cordyceps Lowers Inflammation

Remember how orchitis, the inflammation of one or both testicles, can cause primary hypogonadism? This condition is often the result of a bacterial infection (a sexually transmitted infection) or even the mumps. 

Cordyceps mushrooms have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. One of the main compounds in cordyceps, cordycepin, seems to be particularly effective in reducing inflammation in the body. Cordycepin is a naturally occurring nucleoside in Cordyceps militaris and Cordyceps sinensis. One study demonstrated how cordycepin-rich ethanol extracts can block inflammatory mechanisms in conditions like arthritis and hepatitis. 

A group of  esearchers found that cordycepin can reduce testicular damage caused by inflammation in aged Sprague-Dawley rats. Cordycepin has shown great therapeutic potential in treating inflammatory-associated male sexual dysfunction. 

Cordyceps Lowers Inflammation

Effects of Cordyceps on Diabetes

We’ve already mentioned how men with type 2 diabetes are exposed to a greater risk of testosterone deficiency. Let’s see now how cordyceps can fix that. 

Cordyceps mushrooms have an anti-diabetic effect. Scientific evidence points to the ability of cordyceps to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol, or low-density lipoprotein, also known as “bad” cholesterol. Its main mechanism for fighting diabetes relies on regulating blood sugar levels. In a study conducted on diabetic Sprague-Dawley rats, cordyceps helped the animals use insulin more efficiently, which led to lower sugar levels in the blood. Cordyceps also seems to help the body absorb more sugar from food. 

What are Cordyceps Mushrooms?

Cordyceps mushrooms are a type of adaptogenic mushroom. Cordyceps militaris and Cordyceps sinensis are the two most common species in a fungus genus with more than 600 species. 

Most of them are endoparasitoids. They feed on insect larvae and live as parasites on moths and caterpillars, which they eventually kill. Their fruiting bodies are orange-red and resemble elongated clubs or caterpillars, which is why they are often referred to as “caterpillar fungus.”

Cordyceps contains bioactive substances that have a wide range of therapeutic and medicinal benefits. 

Benefits of Cordyceps 

Cordyceps seems to benefit our entire body. Here are some of the many benefits Cordyceps militaris seems to provide:

Reduce blood
sugar levels

Promote heart health

Improve kidney function

Prevent oxidative damage

Promote the 

respiratory system

Increase your energy levels

Boost the immune

Help you sleep better

Boost athletic performance

Help your digestive 

tract health

Reduce anxiety and depression

Aid skin health

How to Consume Cordyceps Mushrooms

You can take cordyceps in capsules, extracts, and powders. Our favorite way to consume this magical mushroom is with our cordyceps teawhich also contains matcha. The amazing benefits of cordyceps mushrooms are enhanced by the distinct flavors of matcha tea. You can enjoy this perfect blend every day. 

If you’re taking cordyceps mushrooms for the first time, start with a low amount (1–3 grams) and gradually increase the dosage. 

Because of their energy-boosting properties, we suggest you take cordyceps in the morning or early afternoon. Avoid consuming cordyceps products before bedtime. 

Mushroom Matcha Tea Compostable Packets

Cordyceps and Testosterone FAQ

Can mushrooms like cordyceps and turkey tail treat cancer?

Research shows that particular mushroom species, such as Cordyceps militaris and turkey tail, may have beneficial effects against cancer cells.

According toresearch, cordyceps and turkey tail contain bioactive chemicals that can boost the immune system and help the body fight cancer cells, particularly prostatic cells. Turkey tail mushrooms contain the PSP polysaccharide, which seems to have powerful antitumor and antioxidant activities. 

What are the effects of Cordyceps sinensis on testosterone production?

Cordyceps sinensis has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries due to its stimulatory effects on testosterone. There is evidence for the beneficial effects of C. sinensis on male fertility, sexual performance, and erectile function. 

The stimulatory effects of cordyceps on testosterone production make it a promising natural supplement for men looking to boost testosterone, improve sperm production, improve sperm motility, and improve fertility. 

Is cordyceps an antioxidant?

Cordyceps mushrooms are well-known for their potent antioxidant properties. Bioactive compounds from the mushrooms, like cordycepin and polysaccharides, produce antioxidant activities that help reduce oxidative damage. Cordyceps militaris supplementation has protective effects against conditions caused by free radicals. Free radicals are highly reactive and unstable molecules that cause oxidation in our cells and tissues. The main role of antioxidants is to stabilize the harmful effects of free radicals. 

Does aqueous extract of cordyceps inhibit cell proliferation?

Cordyceps sinensis mycelium has been found to have a wide range of medicinal benefits, including antitumor and immunomodulatory properties. According to a studythe aqueous extract of cordyceps seems to inhibit cancer cell proliferation in people diagnosed with leukemia. 

Cordyceps aqueous extract has been shown to promote cell steroidogenesis in mouse Leydig cells. One study discovered an important link between cordyceps, cell steroidogenesis, and apoptosis (cell death) in tumor cells. 

Steroidogenesis is a biosynthetic process that turns cholesterol into steroids. Cell steroidogenesis is particularly important for women because it helps keep the reproductive tissues healthy and regulate ovarian function and ovulation. 

Aqueous extracts of Cordyceps sinensis have also been linked to enhanced immune function and protection against infections and intracellular pathogens. 

How does cordyceps make you feel?

Cordyceps has the ability to increase energy, so it can help you feel energized and active. Cordyceps contains adenosine, cordycepin, and beta-glucans, which help maintain optimal energy levels. They work together to help the body use oxygen more efficiently and to enhance circulation, which can improve both physical and mental energy levels.

Cordyceps also has mood-enhancing properties. It can help alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. The presence of cordycepin, which has been shown in animal studies to have anti-anxiety and antidepressant characteristics, is one possible reason for this effect.

Does cordyceps increase muscle mass?

Cordyceps mushroom powder or supplements have been shown to improve exercise performance and muscle mass. These effects could be attributed to the ability of cordyceps mushrooms to raise testosterone levels and other steroid hormones in the body, which aid in muscle growth and improve exercise performance. 

Does cordyceps increase sperm count?

Cordyceps supplements are a great way to increase sperm count and raise testosterone levels in men. Ananimal study suggests that cordyceps supplements may increase male fertility by boosting sperm motility. In the study, one group of boars was fed a standard meal, while the other was on a diet enhanced by Cordyceps militaris mycelium. The results showed that cordyceps mushrooms increased sperm count and production considerably by the end of the second month. 

The effects of Cordyceps militaris supplementation on sperm count clearly show that these extraordinary mushrooms may be a natural and effective way to increase sperm count and improve male fertility. 

Are medicinal mushrooms safe to consume?

Medicinal mushrooms are a safe and natural way to improve your overall health, boost your exercise performance, reduce blood sugar, and regulate hormones. Adaptogenic and medicinal mushrooms both fall under the umbrella term "functional mushrooms.” The best-known and most researched types of functional mushrooms are lion’s mane, reishi mushrooms, Cordyceps militaris, and Cordyceps sinensis.

Before including any type of medicinal mushroom in your everyday regime, you should consult with your healthcare provider.

Is prostate hypertrophy dangerous?

Excessive testosterone levels can have a negative impact on men’s health, but they don’t represent a serious threat. Testosterone-stimulated prostate hypertrophy is a condition in which the prostate gland expands abnormally as a result of increasing testosterone levels.  

Studies indicate that cordyceps boosts testosterone without causing prostate enlargement. Cordycepin has been shown to promote testosterone synthesis while blocking catabolism and testosterone-induced prostate hypertrophy. 

What is Cordyceps militaris mycelium?

Cordyceps mycelium is a network of fungal threads of the Cordyceps militaris species. The mycelium represents the vegetative body of the fungus, a root-like structure that the fruiting body of cordyceps will sprout from. 

Cordyceps mycelium has protective effects against oxidative damage, cancer cells, and neurodegenerative diseases. It is also a safe natural supplement to raise testosterone levels and promote sperm production. 


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