Globally, 10-40% of men(1) have testosterone deficiency. Low levels of the male sex hormone cause a dip in libido, fatigue, irritability, trouble concentrating, reduced lean muscle mass, increased body fat, and even depression.
A lack of testosterone can sometimes have severe and long-term health effects on the body. For example, deficient hormone levels can potentially cause weak and brittle bones, a condition known as osteoporosis. It also increases the risk of death(2) from heart disease.
The good news is that you can treat low testosterone with cordyceps mushrooms. Studies have shown that the fungus stimulates the secretion of testosterone and improves the quality and quantity of sperm. Let's delve deeper into what we know about cordyceps effect on testosterone.
Cordyceps And Testosterone: How Are They Interlinked?
Cordyceps mushrooms, a staple in traditional Chinese medicine, have been used as an herbal remedy for enhancing and restoring impairment in sexual function in humans. It was also widely used as a sexual tonic.
In modern medicine, several animal studies have explored the effects of the parasitic fungus on sexual and reproductive functions. Today, people use cordyceps for libido, with the mushroom supplements helping restore sexual desire in men and women.
However, the mushroom's benefits do not stop there when improving sexual health—more studies have shown that the mushroom can increase the most vital hormone in males—testosterone.
However, how does cordyceps boost testosterone? We will answer this question below.
Promotes Testosterone Production
An experimental study(3) on mice evaluated the effects of Cordyceps Sinensis on testosterone production. Proteins and polysaccharides extracted from the mushroom stimulated the hormone production in Leydig cells. Leydig cells are the primary source of testosterone or androgens in males.
The effects were dose-dependent, with the maximal response generated at 3 mg/ml.
Even in vivo, testosterone levels in plasma increased significantly. Researchers concluded that Cordyceps Sinensis might work as an alternative medicine for treating some reproductive problems caused by insufficient testosterone levels in human males.
Researchers studied the stimulatory effects of Cordyceps on reproductive functions in male mice in another study(4). Here, researchers determined the in vivo effects of Cordyceps Sinensis on steroidogenesis. Steroidogenesis is the biological process of steroid hormone production.
Different concentrations of the mushroom, at a dose of 0.02 and 0.2 mg/g body weight, were fed to the mice. Results illustrated that Cordyceps Sinensis significantly increased blood testosterone levels.
Read More: Learn the benefits of cordyceps Sinensis and Militaris.
Encourages Testosterone Release
In one study(5), researchers explored the effects of Cordyceps Sinensis on steroidogenesis in mouse Leydig tumor cells. They gave different concentrations of the mushroom extracts, with or without human chorionic gonadotropin. Results showed Cordyceps alone stimulated steroidogenesis, with results similar to those of the luteinizing hormones.
Researchers saw similar effects in another study(6), wherein the mushroom extract stimulated steroidogenesis in mouse cells.
More Research on Cordyceps Militaris Testosterone Effects
The extract from Cordyceps fruiting body was evaluated(7) as a natural product for ameliorating male andropause symptoms.
Researchers used the mushroom extract on rats and testicular and prostate cells in a controlled environment. Cordyceps militaris decreased the catabolism of testosterone, maintained the hormone serum levels, and inhibited the testosterone-induced enlargement of the prostate.
The fungal extract also increased the testicular cells' secretion of DHT and testosterone.
Read More: See how Lion's mane boosts testosterone production.
The link between diabetes and low testosterone is well established. In this regard, the effect of Cordyceps on sexual performance and erectile function in diabetic male rats was researched in 2020(8).
Cordyceps extract was fed to the rats for three weeks. Results showed that the mushroom exerts its aphrodisiac effect, possibly by activating testosterone production.
Just like Lion's mane helps with diabetes, cordyceps is also effective in treating diabetes-related conditions like reduced testosterone levels. This suggests that combining Lion's mane and cordyceps may produce better results for testosterone production in diabetic men.
The effects of fruiting bodies of Cordyceps militaris on testosterone production in rats were evaluated for four weeks(9). There was a significant stimulation in testosterone production, suggesting that the mushroom may be developed as complementary medicine to improve sexual hormones.
Not only the fruiting bodies but even the mycelium also is beneficial, and this next study(10) proves just that!
In yet another study on rats, the effect of Cordyceps militaris supplementation on sperm production, sperm motility, and hormones was researched.
1% and 5% of the mushroom mycelium were given for six weeks. As a result, increased serum testosterone, epididymal sperm count, and percentages of motile sperm cells were observed. These results indicate that supplementation with Cordyceps militaris improves sperm quality and quantity in rats.
Similar results(11) were also seen in subfertile boars, where supplementation with Cordyceps militaris improved sperm production. More importantly, most of the treated boars enhanced the percentages of motile sperm cells and sperm morphology. This may also partly support the role of Cordyceps in sexual enhancement.
Why Take Advantage Of The Cordyceps Testosterone Benefits?
Some of the health benefits of having high testosterone include:
1. Testosterone Improves Your Heart Health
Reduced testosterone levels increase the risk of suffering from various cardiovascular diseases.
Human and animal research have shown testosterone's importance in preventing heart damage that can result in heart inflammation and cardiovascular diseases.
A research study conducted in 2015(12) analyzed a group of 83,000 men. The research study determined that restoring the testosterone levels of these men to normal reduced their risk of stroke by 36% and the risk of heart attack by 24%.
Read More: See how Lion's mane treats high blood pressure to reduce the risk of heart disease.
2. Testosterone Controls Weight Gain
Higher testosterone levels increase exercise performance and also help with muscle building. As people build muscle mass, they tend to lose fat mass. Research studies have confirmed that building muscle mass becomes easier when serum testosterone levels increase.
In the 2015 study(13), researchers reviewed the effects of testosterone replacement therapy in males by examining various studies focused on men above 60. The goal was to observe weight gain, fat mass, and lean mass tissue as the outcome. From the 11 studies analyzed, the researchers determined that testosterone replacement therapy increased muscle mass in older men.
Increased testosterone levels have also been associated with reduced weight gain. For example, a research study conducted in 2014(14) determined that long-term testosterone therapy in males suffering from testosterone deficiency produced sustained and significant weight loss, marked by a reduction in Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference.
Read More: See how taking cordyceps pre-workout allows you to work out more and lose weight.
3. Testosterone Improves Libido And Male Reproduction
As noted earlier, one of cordyceps Sinensis mycelium's most special health benefits is its ability to boost libido. This benefit has a lot to do with the mushroom's ability to increase testosterone levels—testosterone is the primary male sex hormone.
Low testosterone levels are always the most significant cause of dwindling libido in males. Low testosterone is also known to cause erectile dysfunction, which, in turn, reduces sexual function.
What's surprising is that while we would expect the mushroom only to impact sexual health in males, the mushroom goes a step further to improve sexual function in females. In a research article published in 2016(15), the C. Sinensis supplement caused an improvement in libido and desire at 86% in women.
4. Testosterone Improves Mood
Lower testosterone levels cause lower life quality. Depression, fatigue, and irritability are some symptoms of low testosterone levels.
However, some research suggests that this may only apply to men with hypogonadism. Hypogonadism occurs when the body fails to create enough testosterone.
Men whose bodies exhibit the expected testosterone decline over time may not experience an increase in depression. For this reason, the impact of testosterone replacement therapy on mood varies.
Men with hypogonadism report improved mood, well-being, less fatigue, and irritability when they restore their testosterone levels to normal. According to research, this treatment may also be an effective antidepressant treatment.
Read More: See how Lion's mane fights depression.
5. Testosterone Builds Stronger Bones
Low testosterone is often associated with osteoporosis, a condition where people develop weak bones.
Testosterone has a significant impact on bone mineral density. As a result, men's bone density declines as they age, and testosterone levels fall. This increases the risk of bone weakness and osteoporosis.
Strong bones support your muscles and internal organs, which can help you perform better in sports. According to research, testosterone treatment increases bone density as long as the dose is high enough. Clinical trials on testosterone's effect on bone density discovered increases in spinal and hip bone density.
What Are The Symptoms Of Low Testosterone Levels?
How do you know if your testosterone levels are low? It's simple—you watch out for the following symptoms:
- You may experience moodiness
- Reduced energy
- Thinning bones
- Less body hair
- Reduced muscle mass
- Weight gain
- Reduced sex drive
- Erectile dysfunction
Why Use Cordyceps For Testosterone Instead Of Testosterone Replacement Therapy?
Research suggests that the Himalayan viagra (cordyceps) effectively boosts testosterone production. However, cordyceps is not the only route you can take to boost your testosterone levels—you can also opt for testosterone replacement therapy.
However, one thing that makes cordyceps for testosterone stand out is that it does not have as many side effects as testosterone replacement therapy. Some of the side effects of Testosterone replacement therapy include:
- Decreased testicular size
- Increased urination
- Fluid retention
- Increased acne
The good thing about using Cordyceps for testosterone is that when you take the proper dosage, you not only avoid side effects but also enjoy other benefits.
For instance, testosterone replacement therapy may not be ideal for people with breast and prostate cancer. However, cordyceps treats cancer—therefore, you can use cordyceps for testosterone production irrespective of whether you have cancer.
Cordyceps also encourage natural testosterone production. For this simple reason, it does not interfere with the body's biological mechanisms of testosterone production—the mushroom does not reduce testicular size.
Testosterone replacement therapy often discourages the testicles from naturally producing testosterone. In addition, testosterone replacement therapy increases the risk of infertility because the testicle's size reduces, and they stop producing enough sperm.
Does Cordyceps Raise Testosterone?
Several animal studies have indicated that Cordyceps mushrooms (both militaris and sinensis) play a role in increasing the levels of testosterone.
What Is Cordyceps Best For?
Cordyceps are best to help boost exercise performance, sex drive, and fatigue. The mushroom is also mainly known for its potential anti-tumor, anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory effects.
Read More:Seehow cordyceps boost energy levels for exercise performance.
Does Cordyceps Raise DHT?
Cordyceps can increase the levels of DHT based on the results of an animal study. The mushroom increased the secretion of DHT and testosterone by primary testicular cells and caused cell proliferation of testicular tissues.
Traditional healers have been using Cordyceps to improve sexual performance and fertility for millennia. Cordyceps sinensis and militaris promote testosterone production and enhance sperm quality and quantity.
Cordyceps boosts testosterone production in people with low testosterone and those with optimal levels. Compared to testosterone replacement therapy, cordyceps features minimal side effects. It has zero side effects when used in the correct dosage and by people not allergic to its bioactive compounds.
Have you used cordyceps for testosterone before? What was your experience? Did it improve your mood, sexual function, and overall health? Let us know in the comments.
- Testosterone deficiency in adults and corresponding treatment patterns across the globe, (1)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5422691/
- Low serum testosterone and mortality in older men, (2)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17911176/
- In vivo and in vitro stimulatory effects of Cordyceps sinensis on testosterone production in mouse Leydig cells, (3)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12899935/
- In vivo stimulatory effect of Cordyceps sinensis mycelium and its fractions on reproductive functions in male mouse, (4)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15207653/
- Cordyceps sinensis and its fractions stimulate MA-10 mouse Leydig tumor cell steroidogenesis, (5)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11545297/
- Regulatory mechanism of Cordyceps sinensis mycelium on mouse Leydig cell steroidogenesis, (6)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12753921/
- Cordyceps militaris Fruit Body Extract Decreases Testosterone Catabolism and Testosterone-Stimulated Prostate Hypertrophy, (7)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7824671/
- Effects of Cultured Cordycep militaris on Sexual Performance and Erectile Function in Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetic Male Rats, (8)https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2020/4198397/
- Effect of Cordyceps militaris on Testosterone Production in Sprague-Dawley Rats, (9)http://www.koreascience.or.kr/article/JAKO201115735559990.page
- Effect of Cordyceps militaris supplementation on sperm production, sperm motility and hormones in Sprague-Dawley rats, (10)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19051352/
- Improvement of sperm production in subfertile boars by Cordyceps militaris supplement, (11)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17708629/
- Study of 83,000 Veterans finds cardiovascular benefits to testosterone replacement, (12)https://www.research.va.gov/currents/0815-5.cfm
- Effects of testosterone on lean mass gain in elderly men: systematic review with meta-analysis of controlled and randomized studies, (13)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4312307/
- Testosterone and weight loss: the evidence, (14)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4154787/
- Review of Naturopathy of Medical Mushroom, Ophiocordyceps Sinensis, in Sexual Dysfunction, (15)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4791983/