Are Cordyceps Good for You

Three dried cordyceps mushrooms sit on top of a one hundred dollar bill.

Relativity is implicit in many contexts of life since, many times, what is good for some, can be bad for others. Cordyceps provides a vivid example of this since, while for some insects, cordyceps can literally mean death, for people, the qualities of these fungi can be just the opposite. In fact, traditional Chinese medicine has been using cordyceps as a natural therapeutic remedy to deal with different conditions due to the medicinal potential that cordyceps might bring to some people.

If you are looking to understand a little better what exactly cordyceps are, how they work in our health, and if they can really be good for you, keep reading, and you will find all the answers you need about these wonderful functional mushrooms. Let’s start by going over some basics about cordyceps.

How cordyceps works?

Understanding what cordyceps are is essential before asking how they work. Cordyceps is a type of parasitic fungus that grows naturally on the larvae of some insects and replaces their tissue by sprouting long, thin stems that grow out of the host’s body. The remains of the insect and fungus are then collected, dried, and used to treat various medical conditions. Traditional Chinese medicine has used this type of mushroom for centuries. Now, supplements containing cordyceps are becoming increasingly popular in the West due to the potential health benefits they may provide.

That said, we must emphasize that the mechanism of action of cordyceps is quite complex since it works in different ways in various body systems. One of the mechanisms of action that cordyceps have is that they increase the production of ATP or adenosine triphosphate in the body, a vital molecule to deliver energy to the muscles. ATP is also important for heart health. Cordyceps also demonstrate antioxidant capacity by protecting cells from free radicals and may inhibit the growth of various types of cancer cells. These functional mushrooms also appear to exhibit anti-inflammatory effects and mimic insulin action, keeping blood sugar levels in a healthy range.

Are cordyceps safe to eat?

Currently, there are no specific studies looking at the safety of cordyceps in humans. But, a long tradition of cordyceps use in traditional Chinese medicine suggests that this type of fungus is not toxic or dangerous for human consumption. In fact, the Chinese government has approved the use of Cordyceps CS-4 in hospitals to treat certain conditions and recognizes it as a natural and safe drug. Although cordyceps consumption is generally safe, user reports suggest it may cause nausea, upset stomach, or dry mouth in some people. There also appears to be a contraindication to taking cordyceps for people suffering from bleeding disorders, diabetes, and cancer. Pregnant or lactating women, as well as children, are also advised to avoid taking cordyceps. In any case, if you consider incorporating cordyceps as a supplement to your diet, it is best to consult your doctor to determine if taking them is safe for you.

Are cordyceps psychedelic?

Short answer, no. Although cordyceps carry a range of potential health benefits, they do not cause any kind of psychedelic or hallucinogenic effects as they do not contain psilocybin or any other psychoactive compounds.

Why are cordyceps good for you?

As we already mentioned, people have been using cordyceps for centuries due to the possible health benefits it could bring. One of the main reasons taking cordyceps might be good for you is that these functional mushrooms appear to have the ability to enhance immunity. This is because cordyceps activate chemicals and specific cells of the immune system, even going so far as to fight some types of cancer cells and help reduce the size of tumors.

Another reason is that there is evidence suggesting that cordyceps might improve how the body uses oxygen. In fact, one of the reasons people often start taking cordyceps is because of the mushroom’s possible ability to enhance energy levels. This increase in energy can be both physical and mental. This makes some people wonder if cordyceps could boost cognitive functions, just as some wonder if CBD gummies help with focus. The truth is that the antioxidant qualities of cordyceps could promote mental acuity and memory, also helping to improve focus, similar to how some of the best strains for focus and creativity do. There is also evidence to suggest that cordyceps might help improve sexual function, likely due to its antioxidant and anti-aging qualities.

Taking cordyceps may also be good for some people with type 2 diabetes as these mushrooms contain a particular type of sugar that may help treat diabetes in some cases. There is evidence to suggest that cordyceps help lower high blood sugar levels.

Taking cordyceps may also benefit people with chronic kidney disease, as evidence suggests that these functional mushrooms may improve kidney function. This also indicates that cordyceps could be helpful for heart health as there appears to be a direct relationship between chronic kidney disease and heart injuries that can lead to heart failure. Therefore, reducing this type of injury also reduces the risk of heart failure. Additionally, China approves the use of cordyceps in your country to treat cardiac arrhythmia, a condition in which the heart beats in irregular rhythms. Taking cordyceps may also be good for people with high cholesterol levels as there is evidence to suggest that cordyceps may lower LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood.

Finally, there is also evidence that cordyceps could be effective as an anti-inflammatory agent since when exposing human cells to cordyceps, there is a reduction of certain specific proteins that increase inflammation. These anti-inflammatory qualities could help reduce inflammation in the airways or even some skin inflammation when used topically.

Can you take cordyceps every day?

Yes. In fact, to enjoy the potential benefits that cordyceps could bring to health, it is recommended to take cordyceps supplements daily for at least a couple of weeks to start noticing any changes. This is because the natural compounds in cordyceps take time to build up and begin to exert their effects. Nonetheless, currently, existing evidence only studies the impact of consuming cordyceps daily for up to a year at a time. We need more research examining the effects of long-term cordyceps use in humans in order to determine the safety of long-term cordyceps use.

How to consume cordyceps

In Asia, where this type of functional mushroom is native, people often collect the fruiting bodies of cordyceps and then dry them to use them therapeutically in the form of tea or add them to foods or drinks to enjoy the potential benefits that they could toast. In the West, cordyceps fruiting bodies can be somewhat challenging to obtain and, if found, can be considerably expensive since they are generally imported from the mountainous areas of Asia. Most of the cordyceps commercialized in America are cultivated in laboratories in the form of mycelium.

We can usually find cordyceps supplements in powder form, which can be easily added to any type of food or drink to obtain these mushrooms’ benefits. There still needs to be more studies to determine the ideal universal dose of cordyceps. However, most existing studies agree that a sufficient quantity to start noticing the effects of cordyceps is 3 g to 6 g in adults.

We can also find this same cordyceps powder contained and previously dosed in capsules. The capsules present a convenient option to consume the cordyceps since it is easier to determine the doses you will consume each time. Cordyceps capsules usually come in doses of 400 mg to 600 mg, and experts recommend taking 2 to 3 tablets daily to enjoy the benefits of cordyceps.

The popularization of cordyceps in the West has also led many manufacturers to develop edible products such as cordyceps gummies or functional mushroom blends that contain cordyceps in their formulas. Some of these gummies may even contain CBD depending on the purpose of use for which they are formulated. It is also possible to find cordyceps extract in the form of a tincture with different concentration percentages.

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