Cordyceps

Cordyceps militaris is one of the most exciting fungi in the medicinal mushroom world.

 

 

Where do Cordyceps Come From?

They were accidentally discovered around 600 A.D. in the Himalayan plateaus. A group of high-altitude shepherds witnessed their yaks transform from lazy loafs to youthful, energetic creatures after grazing on these strange orange spirals poking through the grass. Wanting to see what all the hype was about, the shepherds harvested some for themselves. After eating a few they felt young, fertile, and strong. 
Cordyceps has a long history of use in China and Tibet, but has also been used by indigenous people around the world.

 

What are the health benefits of Cordyceps?

Since this chance discovery, healers in Eastern and Traditional Chinese Medicine have been using cordyceps to treat a long list of diseases and health concerns. These include
  • increased athletic performance (enhanced stamina, energy and endurance)
  • to increase cognitive function
  • as a prebiotic for gut health
  • to reduce inflammation
  • increased sexual performance (in men and women!)
  • preventative measure for asthma and organ diseases
  • liver, kidney and lung protection
  • an anti-cancer/tumor agent
  • to protect against free radicals
  • as anti-viral support
  • to reduce anxiety
  • as a liver cleanser
  • as a collagen for your skin
We opted to start with Cordyceps militaris because we found it’s benefits profound and felt the need to share this wonder fungus with our family, friends, and community. To top it off, we found it had immediate noticeable effects.

Cordyceps increases athletic stamina

The driving force behind our love for Cordyceps militaris is that is has been proven to increase Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) production in the body. This is important because ATP is essentially the internal cellular energy grid. By increasing ATP production, more power goes into the grid (the body), and our cells begin to function at higher levels making the entirety of the body run more efficiently. 
Increased energetic efficiency improves athletic performance. In several scientific studies that evaluated stamina levels in athletes by measuring oxygen consumption and lactic acid; evidence has shown Cordyceps to aid in getting more oxygen into the cells and improve lactate threshold.  Lactate threshold is the maximal effort or intensity that an athlete can maintain for an extended period of time without increase in lactate in the blood, making it is a useful metric of athlete endurance level. Both measurements illustrate the physical boost Cordyceps has on the body. 

 

Where are the best Cordyceps grown? 

We strove to source the highest quality fungus possible. Searching far and wide, we found a supplier in China. At first, we were hesitant to source from China, but quickly realized that the country has invested the most resources into the science, cultivation and processing of this medicinal mushroom. 

  

Why do most Cordyceps come from China?

The fungus has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine since 600 AD, making China the best place to find high quality Cordyceps militaris. More specifically, we source from a farm in Lishui, Zhejiang province.
Lishui is rated as one of the top eco-friendly cities in the country. The farm is organic and kosher-certified according to EU and US law with a patent on their unique harvesting process. Through their proprietary process, their product achieves optimal nutritional content and bio-availability, with no harmful toxins. These Cordyceps have been third-party tested and shown to have a high concentration of beta-glucans and cordycepins, with no fillers, chemicals, or heavy metals. This humble farm truly does produce some of the highest quality Cordyceps in the world.  

  

What makes Cordyceps good for you at a molecular level?

Cordyceps contains beta-glucans, powerfully healing molecules, and cordycepin, a molecular structure known to support brain health!  Some of the main reasons Cordyceps militaris has been used so consistently in ancient eastern medicinal practices are the effects derived from the high levels of beta-glucans in the fungi’s cell walls, and the abundance of the unique constituent cordycepin. In modern medical practices, Cordyceps mushrooms are commonly taken orally (in conjunction with traditional treatment) for high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, HIV/AIDS, high blood pressure, cancer, male and female infertility, and to improve mood and cognitive function. 

What are Beta-Glucans?

Beta-glucans are a naturally occurring polysaccharide found in the cell walls of oats, barley, baker’s yeast, and certain fungi. They play an important role in boosting immune defenses. Host immune systems are increased by activation of the complement system, a part of the immune system that enhances macrophage and natural killer cell function. This system protects the body against illness. Numerous scientific studies have shown that fungal beta-glucans activate immune cells by binding directly to cellular receptors, turning the cells on and triggering a chain reaction leading to increased immune activity. This increases the cells’ ability to destroy infections and cancer cells.
Beta-glucans also display direct anti-carcinogenic activity. They can halt the occurrence of oncogenesis (healthy cells transforming into cancer cells) through their protective effects against genotoxic carcinogens. ⁠Outside of the impressive immune boost, beta-glucans have been shown to improve athletic stamina. They do so through regulating energy metabolism and reduction of exercise-induced oxidative stress. Meaning you can run, swim, bike, climb, and ski longer! Who doesn’t want that? ⁠
Beta-glucans are all-around amazing. They keep you healthy, and feeling supernatural while staying super natural. ⁠ 

What is Cordycepin?

Then there is cordycepin: a natural compound for your brain’s health! It is similar to a cellular nucleoside adenosine and acts like a nucleoside analogue. This inhibits Reactive Oxygen Species's (ROS) making it a potential future help for brain disorders, such as Alzheimer's. Plus, it modulates the A2AR density in the hippocampus. A lot of science words there, but all you need to know is that studies are showing that cordycepin improves memory! Even more exciting, is the research showing cordycepin's ability to disrupt RNA transcription, slowing, and even stopping the excessive replication of cells. This means cordyceps have compounds in them that slow the spread of cancer and can positively affect tumor growth in some cases. It's hard to pick one, or even a couple, of the benefits from cordyceps to highlight for our readers. Our apologies if this is a long-winded marathon of a "blurb" but, hopefully, our passion for our business and our mission is evident.

  

References
Cao ZP, Dai D, Wei PJ, et al. Effects of cordycepin on spontaneous alternation behavior and adenosine receptors expression in hippocampus. Physiol Behav. 2018;184:135-142.
 
Dong C, Guo S, Wang W, Liu X. Cordyceps industry in China. Mycology. 2015;6(2):121-129.
Qin P, Li X, Yang H, Wang ZY, Lu D. Therapeutic Potential and Biological Applications of Cordycepin and Metabolic Mechanisms in Cordycepin-Producing Fungi. Molecules. 2019;24(12)
Rossi P, Buonocore D, Altobelli E, et al. Improving Training Condition Assessment in Endurance Cyclists: Effects of Ganoderma lucidum and Ophiocordyceps sinensis Dietary Supplementation. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:979613.
Tuli HS, Sandhu SS, Sharma AK. Pharmacological and therapeutic potential of Cordyceps with special reference to Cordycepin. 3 Biotech. 2014;4(1):1-12.