Several factors may be draining your energy without you even knowing it. Sure, we all have days when we are draggy. Too many doughnuts, a stressful day at work, or an occasional sleepless night can take a toll on our bodies. But if you're constantly feeling drained, it's time to recharge and rejuvenate.
A quick fix, a short-term boost of energy is short-lived. But what if we told you there are sustainable ways to increase your energy levels that do not involve sugar, caffeine, energy drink, or a protein bar? What if you learned that you could use healthier supplements that carry both the ability to boost your energy and health in one go?
To fix the energy dip you are currently experiencing, you can take advantage of the health benefits of cordyceps products!
Research has shown that medicinal mushrooms like Cordyceps may help to replenish energy at the cellular level. The Cordyceps energy support catapulted the fungus to fame many years ago.
So, how does cordyceps give you energy? The mushrooms are thought to increase the production of energy molecules that can drive our bodies. So, rather than providing our bodies with a short-term burst of energy, it helps support energy reserves.
Below we will uncover the benefits of Cordyceps for energy and see if the mushroom is a stimulant or not. We will also answer some of your frequently asked questions!
What Do We Know About Cordyceps Mushroom For Energy?
Cordyceps is available in two different subspecies: cordyceps Sinensis and cordyceps Militaris.
Cordyceps Sinensis is a wild mushroom species in the Himalayan region's higher altitude. It is a parasitic fungus that colonizes the larvae of moths until their inner body is filled with mycelium.
Today, however, due to advancements in science, we no longer have to go hunting for cordyceps in the Himalayas whenever we need to boost our immune system, enrich our nutrition, or use it as a treatment option for various health conditions. Instead, Cordyceps Militaris is a mushroom cultivated commercially via indoor labs and is readily available and more affordable.
This functional mushroom has been traditionally used in Chinese medicine as a tonic. It is known to have several health benefits, including support for energy and endurance. In addition, the fungus is packed with bioactive ingredients that go beyond helping with various treatments to aid with energy regulation. This is one of the reasons people use a cordyceps supplement pre-workout.
Cordyceps is a nutritious food packed with essential amino acids, proteins, carbohydrates (including monosaccharides, oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides), sterols, and a host of multivitamins (B1, B2, B12, and K, to name a few!). When people take an ideal Cordyceps dosage—whether using capsules, powder, or other types of this caterpillar mushroom—they enjoy the health benefits these ingredients provide.
The traditional Chinese medicine cordyceps mushroom caught the world's attention back in 1993. The Olympics female running team broke several records that caused much curiosity. They were suspected of using performance-enhancing steroids. However, the drug test reflected zero steroids, leaving everyone puzzled.
Their coach revealed to the waiting media that the team had been taking doses of "cordyceps" at his request after each training session. This brought Cordyceps Sinensis and Militaris to the forefront of alternative medicine, especially in generating power during workouts.
Even today, Cordyceps mushrooms are very popular among athletes as it aids in overcoming their general weakness and enhancing their performance. The fungus also acts as a tonic for physical stamina and endurance.
Cordyceps Sinensis increases the availability of a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the body, a primary energy-carrying molecule in our cells. Cordyceps mushrooms also play an essential role in supplying oxygen to the muscles, which then use this oxygen to produce energy.
Now let's look at what the science says about Cordyceps' ability to enhance energy. Below, we will take a deeper look at the specific energy benefits people gain when using cordyceps supplements to boost their energy.
Enhancing Physical Energy
Research has been used to analyze the effect of cordyceps supplements on physical energy. One such study was conducted more than a decade ago in 2010, while the other was completed in 2020. Below, we will review these studies to understand how cordyceps supplementation boosts our energy levels.
The 2010 Study
The effect of Cordyceps Sinensis on exercise performance in healthy older adults was evaluated in this study from 2010(1). Twenty people aged 50 to 75 years were given either the mushroom (in the form of dietary supplements) or a placebo capsule thrice daily for 12 weeks.
Based on the results of various physical examinations and laboratory tests, researchers suggested that Cordyceps improves exercise performance and may also contribute to wellness in healthy older people. The study also helped people discover the cordyceps mushrooms healthy impacts on older people.
The 2020 Study
The beneficial effect of Cordyceps Militaris on exercise performance was assessed in a study from 2020(2). This study used an animal (mouse) to test the impact of cordyceps supplementation on energy levels. In the study, the alcohol extract of the mushroom containing 2.33 mg/g of cordycepin (the key bioactive compound in cordyceps) was given to the mouse.
The grip strength test was evaluated for 12 weeks. In addition, biochemical analysis for lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), blood urea nitrogen (BUN), and creatine was also performed. These are biomarkers for elucidating the mechanism of improving exercise performance.
Results of the study demonstrated that administration of Cordyceps extracts enhances exercise performance by upregulating the ATP generation pathway. The conclusions drawn from the study suggest that the ancient Chinese herbal medicine (cordyceps extract) can be used to boost athletic performance during heavy workouts.
In another animal-based study(3), the impact of polysaccharides from Cordyceps on fatigue was researched based on a swimming endurance experiment. Cordyceps was administered for 21 days, and several parameters like body weight, tissue oxygen levels, blood lactic acid, and urea nitrogen were determined.
Results showed that polysaccharides from Cordyceps extended mice's swimming endurance time, increased liver and muscle glycogen storage, and inhibited the production of lactic acid. These factors help reduce muscle fatigue during exercise.
The results suggested that polysaccharides from Cordyceps had significant anti-fatigue effects on mice. From the results, it is easy to conclude that a cordyceps supplement will also increase muscle oxygen intake, which will support energy during heavy exercises. Below, we will take a deeper look at how these parasitic fungi enhance oxygen intake.
Enhances Oxygen Uptake
A study on young adults(4) examined the improvement in tolerance to high-intensity exercise after short- and long-term supplementation with Cordyceps Militaris. In this 2016 study, 28 people were given the mushroom.
The increased time to exhaustion (endurance) was extended after a week's usage. Likewise, an increase in the ventilatory threshold and improvements in maximum oxygen consumption were observed after three weeks of supplementation.
Researchers concluded that acute supplementation with a Cordyceps militaris may improve tolerance to high-intensity exercise. However, more significant benefits may be elicited with consistent chronic supplementation.
Improves Post-Workout Recovery
In this mouse-based(5) study, supplementation with Cordyceps had a more significant impact on exercise endurance and accelerated recovery from fatigue than cereal alone.
In addition, the mushroom-supplemented mice showed more robust metabolic parameters and increased elimination of lactic acid from their cells after exercise. This could mean that Cordyceps has the potential to be used as a fatigue-fighting functional food.
How Other Health Benefits of Cordyceps Impact Your Energy
Above, we have looked at how Cordyceps impacts your energy levels directly. However, what if we told you that this is not all that Cordyceps can do for you?
Suppose you know how much cordyceps to take for maximum health benefits of the mushroom. In that case, you can boost your energy levels by reducing the risk of disease or managing infection and diseases that often impact our energy negatively.
Let us look at how other health benefits of Cordyceps can offer you a significant improvement in your energy levels:
Cordyceps Boosts Testosterone Levels in Men
Human and animal research has shown that testosterone is one of the most vital hormones for males. The absence of this hormone often leaves men without enough energy. Conversely, when you have high testosterone levels, it benefits both mental and physical energy levels.
The body enjoys:
- Stronger bones
- Improved mood
- Muscle growth
- Better fat distribution
- Increased strength
- Higher libido
Knowing this, it is no surprise why a reduced testosterone level in men above the age of 40 often leads to reduced energy. Reduced energy due to low testosterone levels tends to show up in a variety of ways, including:
- Reduced endurance
- Reduced physical performance
- Cognitive dysfunction
- Reduced motivation
Research has confirmed that a boost in testosterone also increases energy levels in men. For example, a research study conducted in 2019(6) confirmed that men taking prescription testosterone reported increased energy levels.
If you are experiencing low energy levels due to decreased testosterone levels, then you are in luck. Cordyceps helps men boost their testosterone levels—research studies have confirmed this.
A research study performed in 2017(7) determined that cordyceps enhance male reproduction by increasing testosterone production. Yet another research study last updated in 2022(8), determined that adding the mycelium of cordyceps at a rate of 1% to 5% in the diet of lab rats increased their levels of circulating testosterone after six weeks of supplementation.
By taking the fruiting body of cordyceps, the active ingredients in this fungus used in traditional Chinese medicine should help you enjoy optimum energy levels.
The Traditional Chinese Medicine Fights Diabetes
Diabetes is a condition that has a significant impact on energy levels. Diabetes primarily affects how the body utilizes glucose for energy. Since glucose is the primary compound that provides power in the body, unregulated glucose uptake often leaves diabetic people without enough energy.
Low energy levels in diabetic people are caused by hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia.
It takes longer for energy to go from the blood to the cells in your muscles and other tissues when there is too much sugar in the blood (hyperglycemia). As a result, you feel worn out. Severe hyperglycemia can put you in a diabetic coma if untreated.
The other factor is hypoglycemia, or having blood glucose levels that are too low or below normal. Since blood glucose's main purpose is to give cells energy, excessive insulin accumulation may deprive the blood of the glucose it needs to carry to the cells. Not only can low blood sugar cause exhaustion, but it can also cause confusion, seizures, and other serious health issues.
Luckily for people with diabetes, taking Cordyceps can help—just like Lion's mane helps with diabetes management, cordyceps is also very effective.
Several research studies have confirmed the anti-diabetic effects of cordyceps. For example, a research study published in 2014(9) showed that the mushroom could help the human body maintain the right blood sugar levels—the mushroom can support people with diabetes, helping them avoid high blood glucose levels.
Another research study published in 2022(10) showed that the mushroom improves insulin resistance, helping people with diabetes respond better to insulin therapy.
Since Lion's mane and cordyceps positively impact diabetes, combining the two mushrooms could create even better results for diabetic people. However, when using mushrooms, you must be aware of cordyceps dangers.
Combining cordyceps with your anti-diabetic medicines can create a situation where your blood sugar levels fall below the normal range—you may end up in a coma due to hypoglycemia. To avoid a case of hypoglycemia, we would recommend talking to a doctor before taking Cordyceps for diabetes. The doctor should help you determine the best dosage for you.
Cordyceps Mushrooms Fight Cancer
While most people may not know this, cancer negatively affects energy levels. In most cases, cancer patients end up exhausted—often a result of the tumor itself or the treatment.
While modern cancer treatment aims to damage and kill cancer cells, it may damage healthy cells. This often results in fatigue as the body works to repair the damaged cells.
However, people with cancer can benefit from the cordyceps effects on the disease—cordyceps helps with cancer treatment. Several research studies have shown that the mushroom benefits various tumors, including liver, skin, lung, and colon cancer.
For example, a research study conducted in 2015(11) demonstrated Cordyceps' ability to reduce the growth of lung cancer cells. Another research study(12) in the same year showed the benefits of cordyceps on colon cancer cells—the mushroom was shown to induce cellular arrest and mitochondrial apoptosis in the cancer cells.
The mushroom helps tackle the side effects of modern cancer treatment options and simultaneously induces cancer cell death without harming healthy cells. This can reduce fatigue and raise energy levels in cancer patients.
Cordyceps Militaris Fights Inflammation
Inflammation is one of the leading reasons why some people are always exhausted. For example, a research study conducted in 2018(13) showed that inflammation is why some people experience persistent fatigue. In addition, a study conducted one year earlier(14), in 2017, also showed that inflammation is a leading cause of human fatigue.
In addition to the beneficial effects of cordyceps on the lungs, the mushroom is also known to fight inflammation. According to studies, specific proteins that cause the body to inflame are repressed when cordyceps are present in human cells.
For example, a research article published in the National Library of Medicine(15) confirmed that the mushroom can be used as a medication for treating inflammation due to the effects of cordycepin on proteins responsible for inflammation.
The fact that cordyceps has been shown to have the ability to fight inflammation indicates that it can be effective in boosting energy levels in people with inflammatory conditions.
Cordyceps Sinensis Promotes Deep Sleep
Lack of enough sleep is known to cause fatigue. The physiological condition known as weariness is caused by either not getting enough sleep or interference with the sleep-wake cycle.
For example, that could happen with shift work or traveling to a different time zone. In addition, impaired hand-eye coordination caused by being awake for 24 hours is comparable to having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.1.
While most people would love to enjoy enough sleep every night, insomnia often leaves them unable to enjoy the right amount of sleep. This problem, however, can be solved by taking Cordyceps before bed.
A research study conducted in 2013(16) showed that cordycepin—one of the bioactive ingredients in cordyceps—increased Non-rapid eye movement sleep in rats. A research study conducted in 2021(17) determined that cordyceps can be used to treat sleep problems (insomnia) in people with depression symptoms.
These studies suggest that cordyceps can help you sleep better. Due to the supplemental anti fatigue effects of enjoying better sleep, the dietary supplement will improve your energy levels.
Is Cordyceps A Stimulant?
Cordyceps is often touted as a natural energy booster that can act as a mild stimulant. However, if you are worried about losing sleep if you take cordyceps at night, you shouldn't be. The mushroom promotes better sleep.
What Does Cordyceps Do For You?
Cordyceps has many beneficial effects on the body, including its ability to fight inflammation, cancer, and heart diseases.
Why Do Cordyceps Give You Energy?
Cordyceps can enhance the production of energy molecules called ATP at cellular levels, giving you energy.
What Is The Best Time Of Day To Take Cordyceps?
As Cordyceps boost energy and can act as a performance enhancer, it is best to take it in the morning, particularly before working out.
Whether you are trying to sustain a long day at work or looking for endurance at the gym, Cordyceps can help you achieve that. If the energy-promoting benefits of the mushroom sound like something you need in your life, try using Cordyceps for energy!
The mushroom is available in various forms. You can grab a cordyceps powder, take a cordyceps capsule, or use its tincture. There are no limitations when using this mushroom to boost your energy levels.
Have you used cordyceps for energy before? We would love to hear about your experience. Leave a comment sharing this experience.
- Effect of Cs-4® (Cordyceps sinensis) on Exercise Performance in Healthy Older Subjects: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial, (1)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3110835/
- Beneficial Effect of Cordyceps militaris on Exercise Performance via Promoting Cellular Energy Production, (2)https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/12298093.2020.1831135
- Impact of polysaccharides from Cordyceps on anti-fatigue in mice, (3)https://academicjournals.org/journal/SRE/article-abstract/DF58A9C19382
- Cordyceps militaris Improves Tolerance to High-Intensity Exercise After Acute and Chronic Supplementation, (4)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27408987/
- Evaluation of anti-fatigue property of the extruded product of cereal grains mixed with Cordyceps militaris on mice, (5)https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-017-0171-1
- Sex, Energy, Well-Being and Low Testosterone: An Exploratory Survey of U.S. Men’s Experiences on Prescription Testosterone, (6)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6765788/
- Functional study of Cordyceps sinensis and cordycepin in male reproduction: A review, (7)https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S102194981630182X
- Cordyceps, (8)https://examine.com/supplements/cordyceps/research/
- Studies on the Antidiabetic Activities of Cordyceps militaris Extract in Diet-Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Sprague-Dawley Rats, (9)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3967809/
- Cordyceps inhibits ceramide biosynthesis and improves insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis, (10)https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-11219-3
- Cordyceps militaris (L.) Link Fruiting Body Reduces the Growth of a Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Cell Line by Increasing Cellular Levels of p53 and p21, (11)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26263965/
- Anti-cancer effect of Cordyceps militaris in human colorectal carcinoma RKO cells via cell cycle arrest and mitochondrial apoptosis, (12)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26141646/
- The High Costs of Low-Grade Inflammation: Persistent Fatigue as a Consequence of Reduced Cellular-Energy Availability and Non-adaptive Energy Expenditure, (13)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5932180/
- Role of Inflammation in Human Fatigue: Relevance of Multidimensional Assessments and Potential Neuronal Mechanisms, (14)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5247454/
- Anti-inflammatory effects of Cordyceps mycelium (Paecilomyces hepiali, CBG-CS-2) in Raw264.7 murine macrophages, (15)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3655593/
- Cordycepin Increases Nonrapid Eye Movement Sleep via Adenosine Receptors in Rats, (16)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3655593/
- Efficacy and Safety of Cordyceps militaris as an Adjuvant to Duloxetine in the Treatment of Insomnia in Patients With Depression: A 6-Week Double- Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial, (17)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8632006/