Natural Performance Enhancers: Spotlight On Cordyceps Mushroom

These days, every man and his dog will try to sell you natural performance enhancers. But they’re not all created equal. Whether you’re looking to boost performance on the running track, footy field or in the bedroom – allow us to introduce you to the humble Cordyceps mushroom.

Cordyceps mushrooms benefits

A real quiet achiever, Cordyceps bursts out of the brains of insects and spiders. But don’t let that frighten you. Cordyceps is loved by professional and novice athletes alike for its potential to boost energy, endurance, ATP, VO2 max and recovery.  

And interestingly, Cordyceps has been used in ancient Chinese and Tibetan medicine for over 2000 years. In fact, Chinese emperors believed so whole-heartedly in the powers of Cordyceps that they forbade the fungus from anyone who didn’t belong to the noble class.

So, what is so damn good about the Cordyceps mushroom that drove ancient Chinese emperors to keep it all to themselves?

They knew a thing or two, that’s for sure.

But let’s take a step back.

What is a Performance Enhancer, Anyway?

A performance enhancer refers to any substance that gives you a mental or physical edge. They’re sometimes called Ergogenic Aids - but let’s keep it simple and call them performance enhancers, shall we?

Some are safe. Some are deemed unsafe. And some have been the centre of debate in competitive sport for decades. This is due to claims that some performance enhancers give athletes an unfair advantage (not to mention harmful side effects).

But on that point, not all performance enhancing supplements come with a health warning or sports violation.

Some can be as simple as a nutritious diet or your morning coffee. And Cordyceps mushroom is believed to be a natural, above-board way to boost your performance.

A photo of the back of a woman, she's lifting a barbell in a gym and looking mighty strong

So what powers are lurking in these zombifying mushrooms? Let’s jump in (and if you’re interested in learning more about the whole “growing out of the brains of insects” thing – browse this article on Cordyceps).

Benefits Of Cordyceps For Athletic Performance

Cordyceps first gained worldwide attention when a group of Chinese female runners broke world records in the 1500m, 3000m and 10 000m events. Naturally, the people had questions.

A birds eye view of an athletic track, the runners are in a V shape

And turns out, the runners were on a strict diet regime that included the Cordyceps mushroom.

It was a little early in the piece to know whether their results were directly due to Cordyceps (because there were also questions over what else they were taking). But it sparked an influx of fascinating studies on Cordyceps, nonetheless.

Here’s what they found.

Cordyceps Can Boost VO2 Max

VO2 max refers to how much oxygen your body can use during exercise. The higher your VO2, the more energy you can create. And it’s a good judge of your athletic performance in aerobic activities. So, let’s look at the science. 

In a 2004 Cordyceps study, 30 healthy older adults took 3 grams of Cordyceps per day to measure their exercise capacity. At the end of the 6 weeks, VO2 max increased by 7% in the group that took Cordyceps – and there was no sign of change in the placebo group.

A later study on 28 individuals investigated the effects of Cordyceps on high-intensity exercise. After three weeks, the results revealed that VO2 max significantly improved (by 10.9%). Excitingly, the study concluded that Cordyceps may improve tolerance to high-intensity exercise.

A photo of the back of a woman, she's standing on a cliff-top with her hands on her hips. She looks like she has just been working out.

But ok, how does it do it? To answer that we’ll look at ATP.

Cordyceps Can Increase Production of ATP

ATP stands for Adenosine Triphosphate, and it’s the energy carrying molecule that’s found in all living things (so yea, a pretty important molecule). And Cordyceps is believed to increase the body’s production of ATP. This has a direct link with how your body uses oxygen (ahem, VO2).

A mice study found that the mice who were given Cordyceps displayed increased levels of ATP, as well as a delay in fatigue during swimming and running tests. Human studies are still unfolding, but we encourage you to skip the wait and find out for yourself.

Cordyceps Can Boost Bedroom Performance               

A mushroom that grows out of the head of insects will revitalise your sex life? It all sounds a little far-fetched, right? Well, perhaps wrong.

A couple lying in crisp white bed sheets, the photo is a close up of there feet dangling out the end

Turns out, Cordyceps may regulate the production of testosterone (which in turn, can boost sex drive in males and females). But that’s not all! Cordyceps also increases blood flow, which can have positive effects for men downstairs (think: longer-lasting). Research is a bit limited in this area. But feel free to conduct anecdotal evidence from your own home studies.

But That’s Not All Cordyceps Is Good For

While Cordyceps is revered for boosting athletic performance, it’s got some other cool tricks. It can give you a kick of antioxidants, reduce inflammation, boost immunity, manage type 2 diabetes, improve heart health and protect against cancer. We explored some of these benefits in an earlier article: Cordyceps Mushroom Benefits.

And better yet, the Cordyceps mushroom has very few recorded side-effects.

So could this be the safe and effective performance enhancer your body’s been begging for?

cordyceps mushroom liquid extracts

If you’re ready to try Cordyceps for yourself, at Natura Mushrooms we have a Cordyceps Powder and Cordyceps Dual Liquid Extract. And thankfully, there’s now a way to grow Cordyceps that doesn’t involve the harming of insects (it’s grown on rice and not bugs). Discover the difference today.