Cordyceps Mushroom for Athletic Performance and Endurance

Cordyceps Mushroom for Athletic Performance and Endurance

Cordyceps. Have you heard of it? Likely you have if you’re a fan of Chinese Medicine or watched The Last of Us on HBO. In this show, spores from a fungi called cordyceps turn humans into zombies. In real life, it does the exact opposite because it gives you energy! This is why it is such a popular ingredient in many coffee replacements. It gives stable energy without the harsh crash of caffeine. This is also why it is the perfect supplement for athletes and anyone who wants to up their fitness routine. Here we will talk about how cordyceps mushroom enhances athletic performance and endurance. We’ll also give you a few fun ways to incorporate it into your routine!

What is Cordyceps Mushroom 

Cordyceps Mushrooms

Cordyceps is not like other mushrooms. It is a family of fungi that parasitizes insects and arthropods, earning itself the name zombie fungi. Now you can see why The Last of Us chose this mushroom to be the antagonist for their video game and series. Though there are many different species of cordyceps, two are used medicinally; Ophiocordyceps sinenses and Cordyceps militaris. Ophiocordyceps sinensis is  used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It grows in the high altitudes of China, Nepal, Tibet, and India. Cordyceps militaris can be found in North America and Europe. This type of cordyceps is more sustainable to harvest since it is also saprophytic, meaning it can grow on decaying plant matter rather than strictly relying on an insect host. Though they grow in different regions of the world, their health benefits are practically identical.

A Natural Energy Booster for Athletes

In traditional medicine, cordyceps was primarily used for energy, altitude sickness and vitality. Today, this mushroom is still being used for the same purposes.

As more research comes out, we see that cordyceps is especially beneficial for enhancing athletic performance, specifically, boosting energy. Oftentimes people reach for sugar energy drinks or pre-workout powders that contain harmful chemicals and artificial sweeteners before their workout. Though it will give you an  instant energy boost, it comes with other side effects like a crash later in the day. With cordyceps, you get sustained energy without the crash and it’s 100% natural, it’s a mushroom!

Energy Booster for Athletes

Its Other Benefits for Athletic Performance

Aside from increased energy, here are some ways in which cordyceps may benefit athletic performance:

  1. Increased oxygen uptake: Cordyceps has been shown to improve the body's ability to utilize oxygen during exercise. 
  2. Reduced fatigue: Cordyceps has adaptogenic properties, which means it helps the body adapt to physical stress. Studies have shown it boosts energy levels, reduces fatigue, and improves overall vitality.
  3. Improved lung function: Cordyceps has a long history of use for respiratory conditions. This can be particularly beneficial for athletes involved in aerobic activities, as improved lung capacity and oxygen utilization can enhance endurance.
  4. Increased ATP production: ATP is what gives your cells energy to carry out their basic functions.
  5. Increases immune function: Cordyceps has immunomodulatory effects which makes you less susceptible to illness, and in turn, less likely to skip training sessions.

Now let’s explore the mechanisms behind all these benefits.

The Science Behind Cordyceps Mushroom and its Impact on Athletic Performance

One of the primary ways cordyceps may enhance athletic performance is by improving the body's ability to utilize oxygen during exercise. Studies have shown that cordyceps supplementation can increase the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the primary energy source for muscle contractions. By increasing ATP production, cordyceps may enhance endurance and stamina, allowing athletes to perform at a higher intensity for a longer duration.

Cordyceps also has the ability to increase lung capacity and increase the delivery of oxygen to muscles. It stimulates the production of erythropoietin (EPO), a hormone that promotes the production of red blood cells. More red blood cells mean better oxygen-carrying capacity in the blood, leading to improved aerobic performance and endurance.

There are also the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of cordyceps. Intense exercise can induce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, leading to muscle damage and delayed recovery. Cordyceps contains bioactive compounds, such as polysaccharides and cordycepin, which have demonstrated anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Lastly, cordyceps enhances immune function. Rigorous training can sometimes suppress the immune system, making athletes more susceptible to infections and illnesses. Cordyceps has been shown to have immunomodulatory effects, helping to regulate the immune system and enhance immune function. By maintaining a strong immune system, cordyceps may help athletes prevent training interruptions due to illness.

How to Incorporate Cordyceps Mushroom into Your Athletic Routine

Our favorite way to incorporate cordyceps into our routine is by adding our Cordyceps Mushroom Extract Powder into coffee. If you want cordyceps to be your caffeine replacement, you can always add it to decaf coffee, tea or smoothies. You can also take it as a tincture if you prefer not having to mix it into any food or beverage. Our mushrooms are all USDA Organic and 100% fruiting body (meaning no filler product). Even if you don’t buy from us, make sure any mushroom supplements you buy are third-party lab tested, and preferably from fruiting bodies, as opposed to myceliated grain which many companies use to cut costs. 

ncorporate Cordyceps Mushroom into Your Athletic Routine

Potential Side Effects and Precautions When Consuming Cordyceps

There are generally no side effects associated with cordyceps, but some contraindications to be aware of. Cordyceps may interact with certain medications, including anticoagulants (blood thinners) and immunosuppressants. If you are taking any prescription medications, it's best to consult with your healthcare provider before adding cordyceps to your routine. Also consult your provider if you have an autoimmune condition. Cordyceps may stimulate the immune system, which could potentially exacerbate autoimmune conditions like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. 

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

Overall cordyceps is the perfect addition to any athlete’s (or non-athlete’s) routine. Even if you aren’t training for a marathon, cordyceps will give you sustained energy throughout the day so you won’t have to reach for that 3pm coffee. It is also great for keeping your immune system strong and increasing your overall health and vitality.

Mālama mushrooms makes it easy for you to get these health benefits into your daily life. Shop our Cordyceps Line and use the code MALAMABLOG to get 15% off your order!

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