Cordyceps for Athletes
Cordyceps is also known as Caterpillar fungus and an edible medicine type of species packed with nutritional benefits. Cordyceps can be found in parts of the Himalayas in China and in high mountainous areas in certain parts of the world where caterpillars of a very rare kind exist.
Cordyceps are parasitic mushrooms that reside on butterflies and moths larvae and have been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. At that time, cordyceps were reserved for emperors and noble’s use and consumption only due to its benefits, rarity, scarcity, remote habitat and tough geography.
Out of all the six varieties of mushrooms cultivated for medicinal use, Cordyceps was found to be the most common, useful and promising when it comes to health benefits. It contains vitamins E, K, B1, B2, B12, essential amino acids, proteins and a whole lot more.
Traditional Chinese medicine considered cordyceps as treatment for respiratory and pulmonary disease, liver, renal, heart disease and immune system disorders. It rejuvenates and increases energy which most athletes around the world use to reduce fatigue and improve performance and endurance in any sport or physical activity. According to a Japanese study, cordyceps extracts can dilate the aorta by 40% thereby increasing blood flow to the muscles and enhance endurance in athletes or even the elderly.
Scientific evidence suggests the following potential health benefits of cordyceps:
- Improve the body’s immune system
- Reduce fatigue
- Reverse liver fibrosis
- Kidney disorders
- Coughs, colds and flu
- Reproductive problems and sexual dysfunction
- Muscle weakness
- Heart disease and high cholesterol
- Hepatitis B
Cordyceps was also found helpful with anti ageing in a study conducted on rats.
The following benefits are:
- Antioxidant property
- Nephroprotective (protects the kidney)
- Hepatoprotective (protects the liver)
- Immunomodulatory (regulates the immune system)
- Promotes low blood sugar
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine published a study in 2010 that cordyceps supplements can improve exercise performance and contributed to overall markers of wellness in older people. It is considered an energising adaptogen that helps fight fatigue and body weakness and treats muscle pain and is really good for athletes especially swimmers and cyclists. Other studies suggest that cordyceps can improve physical abilities, stamina and endurance because it boosts the supply on the body’s ATP (one of the main sources of energy during an activity). The higher the ATP levels, the better the athletes performance will be. Athletes can stay active and energised during extended and intense workout.
Cordyceps are safe to use for most people and potential side effects can be expected when pregnant women or people with a history of autoimmune disease use this.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women must steer clear of taking cordyceps to prevent potential harm it can cause a fetus or infant. People with autoimmune disease like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis should avoid taking cordyceps as this can aggravate the symptoms and may interfere with medications. Anyone with bleeding or blood clot disorder must also avoid the use of cordyceps as this can interfere with proper blood clotting.