Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris) are parasitic fungi that grow in caterpillars used primarily as a tea in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat a variety of illnesses, fatigue, kidney disease, and low libido. Due to the difficulty and cost involved in harvesting cordyceps, as well as the endangered status of C. sinensis in the wild, most of the cordyceps on the market is created in labs.
Human studies of cordyceps suggest that it may increase ATP/energy production and positively effect oxygen usage resulting in decreased fatigue and improved exercise tolerance. Cordyceps also has potentiating and suppressive effects on the immune system; studies show that cordyceps increases pro-inflammatory cytokines while also increasing the activity of natural killer (NK) cells and decreasing levels of IgA, IgG, and IgE antibodies. This may make cordyceps helpful for those with antibody mediated diseases such as allergies and asthma as well as infectious diseases, but harmful for those with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Its immune modulating effects have been studied as adjunct treatment in those who have had kidney transplants, resulting in lower rates of organ rejection. In patients with chronic kidney disease, cordyceps supplementation appeared to improve renal function, resulting in decreased serum urea and creatinine. Studies show that cordyceps also increases release of testosterone and improves nitric oxide production, resulting in improved libido and sexual function. It also increases estradiol production short-term.
Side-effects of cordyceps supplementation may include increased autoimmune disease activity, reduced blood clotting, increased risk of bleeding, and hypoglycemia. Contraindications include anticoagulant and antiplatelet medications, anti-diabetes medications, amikacin, anamu, cyclophosphamide, cyclosporine, danshen, devil’s claw, gentamicin, immunosuppressants, isocarboxazid, kanamycin, linezolid, neomycin, netilmicin, paromomycin, phenelzine, prednisolone, streptomycin, tobramycin, tranylcypromine, autoimmune diseases, bleeding disorders, hypoglycemia, pregnancy and lactation, and surgery.
Standard dosage of the supplement is 1,000mg 2-3 times daily with meals.
Disclaimer: The content herein is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is not meant to diagnosis, cure, or treat any medical condition. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with questions regarding a medical condition and before starting new diets and dietary supplements. Not all diets or supplements are appropriate for all people or all health conditions.