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One of the most discussed potential benefits of Cordyceps is enhanced exercise performance.
Cordyceps hit the headlines in 1993 during the Beijing Olympic games when several Chinese runners smashed various world records and attributed their success to eating Cordyceps mushrooms.
Results of a human clinical trial (1) published late 2019 in the American Journal of Sports Science show that supplementation with Cordycepsmilitaris had a significant impact on markers of aerobic fitness in young healthy adults. A supplement that improves oxygen consumption, time to fatigue, blood lactate levels, or exercise HR, taken individually would be reason for encouragement in that it takes significant training time to change these variables independent of supplementation.
In another study, 20 elderly (aged 50-75) adults were given Cordyceps Cs-4 or placebo capsules daily for 12 weeks, resulting in improved exercise performance. (2)
A similar study in 30 adults given placebo or Cs-4 while using a stationary bike reported a 7% improvement in VO2 max, a common measure of cardiovascular fitness. (3)
One possible explanation for this is that cordyceps may enhance the body’s production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – the key energy molecule. (6) Given these effects, it’s not surprising that an increasing number of sports supplements are using cordyceps as an ingredient.
- The Effects of Cordyceps Militaris-Containing Mushroom Blend Supplementation After Seven and Twenty-Eight Days
- Exercise Performance in Healthy Older Subjects: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial
- Randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial and assessment of fermentation product of Cordyceps sinensis (Cs-4) in enhancing aerobic capacity and respiratory function of the healthy elderly volunteers
- Cordyceps sinensis promotes exercise endurance capacity of rats by activating skeletal muscle metabolic regulators
- Effects of polysaccharides from Cordyceps sinensis mycelium on physical fatigue
- CordyMax Cs-4 improves steady-state bioenergy status in mouse liver
News sources: Nutritionaloutlook.com, Healing-Mushrooms.net