In recent years, herbs and fungi that have a long history of medicinal use across cultures have resurfaced as alternatives for wellness. Some products, like Lion’s Mane or Cordyceps, which are mushrooms commonly used in some traditional medicine, have become widely popular thanks to these trends. However, a wide range of claims are made online about these fungi, making it difficult to tell the difference between myth and fact.
To help clear things up, we’ve put together a small guide to tell you everything you need to know about cordyceps and your kidneys. We’ll cover this fungus’s effects, side effects, and how it can be used to potentially support these vital organs, so keep reading if you are interested in learning more about this powerful mushroom.
What does Cordyceps do?
Like many adaptogenic herbs, Cordyceps has played a special part in traditional medicine. This particular mushroom has been used in traditional Chinese medicine, but nowadays, science can support some of its wellness effects. This mushroom has different ways of affecting your system. It contains essential vitamins that have been proven to help your body, especially vitamins B1, B2, B12, and K.
Reviews, like this one from 2016, found that Cordyceps could help with antidiabetic and even antinephritic properties in animal studies. The review also concluded it could have anti-inflammatory properties and even help regulate certain hormones that might cause renal fibrosis. You can learn more about this ancient mushroom in the video below.
This mushroom certainly has plenty of potential. While having anti-viral and antioxidant properties, it has also shown that it can support a variety of different functions in the body. First, it might boost exercise performance thanks to the increase in the body’s production of ATP.
In one small study, researchers found that the group that was given 3 grams of Cordyceps per week greatly improved their stamina compared to the control group. Secondly, animal studies have helped to prove that Cordyceps' natural antioxidants could help aged animals improve their memory and even increase their sexual function.
And actually, in traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed to be a pretty strong aphrodisiac as well. Lastly, this mushroom is believed to have the ability to reduce swelling. Research has found that when human cells are exposed to Cordyceps, proteins that could potentially increase inflammation become suppressed.
While this might sound like an isolated subject, this is actually why people might feel like it could help with kidney inflammation. We’ll go a little more into detail about the mechanism for supporting these organs down below.
Side Effects of Cordyceps Mushrooms
While there are no reports of severe side effects of these mushrooms, there are some areas where you might want to take some extra care. Some of the known side effects known by science include nausea, diarrhea, dryness in your mouth, and even an upset stomach. It is important to consult your healthcare provider if you plan to use cordyceps to treat a specific condition.
We always recommend this, even with botanical and all-natural products, as every individual reacts differently to supplements. In very rare cases there are instances of allergic reaction to cordyceps, so it’s important to consult a doctor before attempting to treat yourself.
Cordyceps and Kidney Health
Many believe that Cordyceps has the potential to support kidney health. While this claim can be a little complicated, some scientific insights might shine a bit of light on this belief. When it comes to Cordyceps and kidney health, we can examine one particular study of 51 patients that were suffering from chronic renal failure.
With the use of 3-5g of Cordyceps per day, patients significantly improved their kidney’s immune functions and slowed the deterioration of these vital organs. However, it's important to note that the sample size of 51 patients in this study is very small. Therefore, we can’t call these results conclusive until more research is conducted to confirm that cordyceps indeed have a positive effect on the kidneys.
How does Cordyceps Help Kidneys
The good news is there is more evidence that kidney health can be supported by Cordyceps. This study from 2019 concluded that these mushrooms could show promise against chronic kidney disease by using samples with embryo kidney cells.
Without getting into complicated jargon, the mechanism of how this works is by reducing specific signaling that might lead to redox. Regulating this can prevent further deterioration of the kidney area, at least in the samples tested. Other research has also found that Cordyceps enhances kidney health. This happens through the interaction of specific steroid levels in our body, mainly 17-hydroxy-corticosteroid and 17-kesteroid.
With its powerful pharmacological activities like antioxidants and vaso-relaxant properties, this could lead to a better renal system overall by keeping it healthy. In general, oxidation can lead to several problems in our body, and the mix of powerful polyketides, flavonoids, and sterols in Cordyceps might be helpful to fight this.
How to Use Cordyceps
We recommend using mushroom supplements in different recipes. These supplements are usually used as powder supplements or even capsules. Both are pretty similar regarding absorption.
However, our recommendation for the best way to consume is through drinks, like a matcha latte, or even creating your own tonic with things you can easily get at your local supermarket. Just use your favorite drink recipe and add a spoonful of your supplement before drinking it. Some products can also be taken as tasteless capsules, which can be convenient for discreet or on-the-go doses.