Here is a topic that is near and dear to me. Medicinal mushrooms! Let’s get serious people, who doesn’t think that mushrooms carry some super powers? Like for real. I have posted on this subject before and raved about my mycological guru Paul Stamets, but I felt like it was time to single out one all star from the bunch that related to fitness. Cordyceps.
I have been taking medicinal mushrooms for years and I attribute my relatively cold and flu free existence to my fungal friends. Despite the all out germ warfare that I deal with on a daily basis from a 3 year old who brings home some of the most potent bio warfare from preschool, my medicinal mushroom bio shield keeps my immune system fired up.
So what’s so great about Cordyceps sinensis? This little fungus jumped on the scene in 1993 when the Chinese National track and field team shattered 9 world records. Everyone began asking what was in the water. Well it turns out it was in fact a drink that they made that was filled with Cordyceps mushroom extract. Whoa. Ok so what’s in it? Cordyceps is a fungus that grows on the larvae of the Lepidoptera Moth. Hmmm. Is that what makes it so special? Well in traditional Chinese medicine, Cordyceps has been used for centuries as a tonic that increased just about every aspect of health and vitality. “Cordyceps sinensis is believed to have many beneficial properties including: Increased exercise performance, improved fatigue and stress resistance, improved immune function, cholesterol lowering properties, anti-tumour properties, as well as anti-ageing and anti-oxidant properties.”
But in terms of athletic performance, Cordyceps has become a go-to supplement despite the fact that there have been no peer-reviewed scientific studies that have been conclusive. So here’s my take…
Cordyceps sinensis and other medicinal mushrooms are extremely high in beta-glucans, which have been shown to be useful in cancer therapies, and polysaccharides. Polysaccharides are long sugar chains with many oxygen sections within them. As these sugars are broken down, the oxygen is released on a cellular level. I don’t know about you, but I’m good with any additional source of oxygen on a cellular level. Right? There is evidence that suggests that Cordyceps can increase ATP production by up to 28%. The percentage is not important; the fact that it triggers an increase is.
If you want to dig in to more of the benefits of this medicinal mushroom, check out this link.
The bottom line in my opinion is that medicinal mushrooms are legit. They are so potent it is just something that I honestly can not imagine not using on a daily basis.