Are you exploring the amazing benefits of cordyceps for your health? Keep reading to learn which cordyceps supplement to choose!
The cordyceps mushroom is quickly taking wellness experts by storm with its health benefits! If you're interested in getting in on the game and implementing cordyceps into your wellness routine, you need to know what you're looking for.
Ready to learn how to choose the best cordyceps supplements?
Keep reading as we discuss the cordyceps mushroom, the types of cordyceps supplements to choose from, and the benefits of cordyceps for your health and well-being.
What Are Cordyceps Mushrooms?
The cordyceps mushroom (Ophiocordyceps sinensis or Cordyceps militaris) is a type of functional mushroom. Functional mushrooms like cordyceps have been used in traditional Chinese holistic practices for centuries, and the western world is now adopting the cordyceps for daily supplementation.
Functional mushrooms provide the body with nutrients and offer health benefits through their bioactive compounds. This property is what distinguishes them from other mushroom types.
The mushroom is also known as the caterpillar fungus because historically it was a parasite known to invade an insect's body (most commonly a caterpillar or moth larva) from the inside out. Eventually, the mushroom would sprout from the head of the caterpillar's dead body (pretty gross, right?). But, what was deadly to the caterpillar provided tremendous health benefits to those people wealthy enough to purchase the rare compound.
Almost all cordyceps supplements on the market currently are made from militaris, not sinensis. The militaris mushroom has a unique bright yellow-orange color, with a slender stem and cap, making it quite attractive. Cordyceps militaris can be commercially grown in farms while the Ophiocordyceps sinensis can only be wild harvested in remote regions like high up in the Himalayas. This makes Cordyceps militaris the more popular option compared to Ophiocordyceps sinensis.
As mentioned, the cordyceps mushroom has two main types used in functional supplements, Ophiocordyceps sinensis (known to grow at elevation in Tibet, China, India, Bhutan, and Nepal) and Cordyceps militaris, which can be commercially cultivated at scale and boasts much more potent health benefits for significantly cheaper since it can be cultivated.
This mushroom is one of many functional mushrooms used to make health supplements, giving people a daily dose of its health benefits. To learn more about the health benefits of cordyceps, keep reading.
How Are Cordyceps Classified?
There are two subcategories of the cordyceps generally used in functional cordyceps supplement - Ophiocordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris. Here's each type and the benefits of each.
Ophiocordyceps sinensis is rare and is currently unknown how to commercially grow on a farm. It is only found naturally in the Himalayan mountains and grows on a living substrate, the ghost moth larva. This unique growing method is why Ophiocordyceps sinensis can cost up to $20,000 per kilo.
One of the most distinctive properties of Ophiocordyceps sinensis is that it contains adenosine. Adenosine may be beneficial in supporting heart health. Ophiocordyceps sinensis contains more adenosine, whereas Cordyceps militaris contains more cordycepin. Both of these compounds are used in the natural ATP process in the body for energy levels.
May Support Physical Endurance
Ophiocordyceps sinensis, also known as the “Olympic Mushroom”, supports the body's production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is crucial in helping the body supply the muscles with oxygen. For this reason, Ophiocordyceps sinensis may be a valuable tool for athletic performance, supporting blood flow and maximizing stamina.
Adenosine is what makes Ophiocordyceps sinensis such an attractive cordyceps supplement for athletic performance. Athletes put their cardiovascular and respiratory systems under great duress to reach peak physical fitness and excel in sports. Providing the heart with supportive nutrients is essential, and some athletes have turned to Ophiocordyceps sinensis as an option to provide this support. However because of it’s hefty price tag and somewhat unsustainable harvesting techniques, Cordyceps militaris is often the obvious choice for an energy supplement.
May Encourage a Healthy Response to Occasional Stress
Ophiocordyceps sinensis has adaptogenic properties and other compounds, making it an excellent tool for managing occasional stress. Adaptogenic compounds support the body's adrenal system, which impacts sleep health, occasional stress responses, and energy levels. The Ophiocordyceps sinensis mushroom, therefore, could help you to support your body's response to occasional stress.
May Support Immune System And Organ Functions
Immunity is a hot topic in the wellness community, and consumers are looking for products to support their immune health and function, especially in the post-pandemic era. Cordyceps may support the immune system through its effect on the white blood cells, which is great news for those wanting some extra protection from “the bad guys”.
Here are some of the benefits of Cordyceps militaris. The militaris species contains higher amounts of cordycepin, whereas the Ophiocordyceps sinensis contains higher amounts of adenosine. Since Cordyceps militaris has an almost identical effect on the body, can be sustainably farmed and is a fraction of the price, Cordyceps militaris is the most popular choice for supplements for energy.
May Support Physical Performance For Exercise
Like Ophiocordyceps sinensis, the Cordyceps militaris mushroom supports athletic performance. The mushroom supports cardiovascular and respiratory health, which leads to increased stamina and a boost in physical performance during exercise.
May Help Improve Mood
The Cordyceps militaris mushroom may help to stabilize mood and emotion by supporting the regulation of hormones with its adaptogenic compounds.
How Can You Use Cordyceps Mushrooms?
It is possible but rare to find fresh cordyceps mushrooms to buy and cook. It’s important not to cook them too long, because they will become rubbery. They have a somewhat sweet, nutty taste similar to chestnut mushrooms.
The easier and much more convenient way to ensure you get a daily dose of cordyceps is by introducing a cordyceps supplement into your diet. Functional mushrooms like cordyceps are used in wellness supplements, sometimes blended with other mushroom types, to give consumers a daily dose of mushrooms and enhance their well-being. Functional mushroom supplements can be quickly implemented into your routine, as they are sold in many different forms.
Enjoy cordyceps powder in a shake, smoothie, or oatmeal. Simply mix the cordyceps extract into your recipe and enjoy. A cordyceps powder is the best cordyceps supplement for those who like to get creative in the kitchen.
A tincture is a liquid form of mushroom extract that you can easily add to your favorite drinks or meals or place drops under your tongue. A tincture is the best cordyceps supplement for those who are on the go.
A great way to get your daily dose of cordyceps mushrooms is cordyceps capsules. Keep your capsules on your nightstand, car, or bag. Who said mushroom supplements needed to be complicated?
If you don't like capsules but want a quick and fun way to get your daily mushroom supplement, you can opt for mushroom gummies. They contain extracts of functional mushrooms to support your health while offering a yummy treat to enjoy daily!
The best cordyceps supplement for you will be the one you'll find easiest to incorporate into your daily routines and habits. Taking cordyceps supplements could help you to notice a difference in your general health, with supported energy, immunity, and endurance. Just be sure to opt for 100% fruiting body supplements vs. those containing mycelium, as the fruiting bodies will have higher amounts of real mushrooms and a higher concentration of 1,3 1,6 beta-glucans and other beneficial compounds. Cordyceps militaris mushrooms has 52 times more cordycepin, 7 times more adenosine, up to 400 times more 1,3 1,6 beta glucans, and up to 13 times more amino acids, and 2 times more pentostatin compared to cordyceps mycelium on grain.
Benefits Of Cordyceps Supplements
Now that you know about the different types of cordyceps and mushroom supplements you can buy, let's discuss what you might notice when implementing supplements into your daily routine.
May Increase Cardiovascular Performance: Energy And Stamina
The cordyceps mushroom is well-known as a tool for athletes that may support their performance and encourage endurance. The mushroom provides compounds that could support cardiovascular and respiratory health - and may even help to support the body's respiratory health. If you take a cordyceps supplement, you might notice the improved performance when you work out or play sports.
May Support Mood And Brain Health
Adaptogenic mushrooms, like cordyceps mushrooms, are well-known for helping to support the body's mood regulation processes. Adaptogens could help the body to 'adapt' to occasional stressors and support the healthy function of the adrenal system. So, a cordyceps supplement may be like a relaxing warm bath, helping you to find stillness and contentment in a world filled with stressful events.
Additionally, the cordyceps offer antioxidant support that may support the body's antioxidative processes. Since oxidative processes in the body can affect the brain and cognitive function, your brain fog may seem less murky when taking a cordyceps supplement.
May Support Kidney, Adrenal, And Thyroid Health
Traditional Chinese holistic practices used the cordyceps mushroom as a kidney “tonic”. A cordyceps mushroom supplement may support your adrenal system and support against adrenal burnout. It's essential to take the time to provide your body with nourishment!
Supports Immune Health
In the post-pandemic era, investing in immune supporting nutrients is more important than ever, providing your immune system with the fuel it needs to defend your body from any “bad guys”. We see many people adopting supplements like organic cordyceps militaris mushrooms in their daily routine to better their health and support their immune systems.
The 1,3 1,6 beta glucan compounds in cordyceps mushrooms extract may also be beneficial to your gut health. These beneficial compounds support the gut, helping to balance your gut flora and promoting a healthy amount of good bacteria. By fortifying your gut health, you can ensure that your body is equipped to support your body's overall processes.
May Support Cholesterol Levels And Heart Health
The cordyceps support cholesterol in already healthy levels and also supports heart health.
By implementing a cordyceps supplement in your daily routines, you could ensure your body is equipped with the tools it needs to support cardiovascular function. The cardiovascular system is at the core of physical health, and providing support to this system will improve your general well-being.
Cordyceps Supplement Doses
If you're thinking of introducing cordyceps mushroom supplements into your diet, there are some things you should know. Firstly, if you are allergic to mushrooms, you should avoid taking a mushroom extract or supplement, as this could cause an adverse reaction. Other than allergic reactions, cordyceps should be completely safe to take daily, but always check with your primary care first. If you have questions or concerns, you should consult your doctor before consuming cordyceps, just as you would with any addition to your healthcare regimen.
There is no 'correct dose' for cordyceps, but because there are many different types of cordyceps supplements (cordyceps capsules, cordyceps powders, cordyceps tinctures, cordyceps gummies) it’s always best to follow the dosing guidelines on the package.
You should also note that when choosing cordyceps supplement companies, you should look for certified USDA organic mushroom extracts using only 100% fruiting bodies, not the mycelium on grain. Mycelium on grain extracts contains more grain and filler, and you won't have as many beneficial compounds as with supplements made with only fruiting bodies. Even companies that say they are full spectrum and have both the cordyceps mycelium and the fruiting bodies have significantly lower levels of beneficial compounds and will be a waste of money.
The Bottom Line
Not all cordyceps supplements will disclose whether they use Ophiocordyceps sinensis or Cordyceps militaris. Because Ophiocordyceps sinensis is so rare, it is generally safe to assume that the supplement contains militaris. Some companies produce Ophiocordyceps sinensis mycelium in a bioreactor so make sure the label says 100% fruiting bodies or else it could be something else.
If you're interested in learning about mushroom extracts and their benefits, why not check out our resources here at Mushroom Revival. We're passionate about the incredible gifts nature offers!