Globally, 10-40% of men(1) have a deficiency of testosterone. Low levels of the male sex hormone not only cause a dip in libido, but also causes fatigue, irritability, trouble concentrating, reduced lean muscle mass, increased body fat, and even depression.
A lack of testosterone can sometimes have serious, long-term health effects on the body. Very low levels of the hormone can potentially cause weak and brittle bones, and the condition is known as osteoporosis. Even more, it is linked to a higher risk of death(2) from heart disease.
The deficiency of testosterone can be corrected by replacement therapy. But these come with their side effects, like fueling the growth of cancer cells. So, if you want to reach out for natural ways to increase your testosterone levels, there is nothing better than the “Himalayan Viagra” or Cordyceps mushroom!
Studies have shown that the fungus stimulates the secretion of testosterone and improves the quality as well as the quantity of sperm.
Let’s delve deeper into what we know at the moment about Cordyceps for testosterone including the Cordyceps mushroom testosterone effects. We will also explore does Cordyceps raise DHT (or Dihydrotestosterone), the active form of testosterone.
Cordyceps And Testosterone: How Are They Interlinked?
Cordyceps mushrooms, a staple in traditional Chinese medicine, have been used as an herbal remedy for the enhancement and restitution of 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.
Here’s what the researchers have revealed.
Cordyceps Sinensis Testosterone Effects
1. Promotes Production Of Testosterone
In an experimental 2003 study(3) carried out on mice, the effects of Cordyceps sinensis on testosterone production was evaluated. Proteins and polysaccharides extracted from the mushroom stimulated the production of the hormone in Leydig cells, the primary source of testosterone or androgens in males.
Results showed that the fungus significantly stimulated in vitro testosterone production in the Leydig cells of the mouse. The effects were dose dependant, with the maximal response generated at 3 mg/ml.
Even in vivo, testosterone levels in plasma were significantly increased. Researchers concluded that Cordyceps sinensis may contribute as an alternative medicine for the treatment of some reproductive problems caused by insufficient testosterone levels in human males.
The stimulatory effects of the mycelium of Cordyceps on reproductive functions in male mice were studied in another study(4). Here, the in vivo effects of Cordyceps sinensis on steroidogenesis was determined, which 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 induced blood testosterone levels.
These studies show that Cordyceps significantly stimulated in vivo mouse testosterone production.
2. Encourages Testosterone Release
In a study from 2001(5), the effects of Cordyceps sinensis on steroidogenesis in mouse Leydig tumor cells were explored. Different concentrations of the mushroom extracts (containing fungal proteins and polysaccharides) were given, with or without human chorionic gonadotropin.
Results showed that even Cordyceps alone stimulated steroidogenesis and the mushroom may be used like that of luteinizing hormones.
Cordyceps Militaris Testosterone Effects
The mushroom extract was applied to rats along with testicular and prostate cells in a controlled environment. Cordyceps militaris was found to decrease the catabolism of testosterone, maintained the serum levels of the hormone, and inhibited the testosterone-induced enlargement of the prostate.
The fungal extract also increased the secretion of DHT and testosterone by the testicular cells.
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 3 weeks. Results showed that the mushroom exerts its aphrodisiac effect, possibly through activating testosterone production.
The effects of fruiting bodies of Cordyceps militaris on testosterone production in rats were evaluated for 4 weeks(9). There was a significant stimulation in testosterone production, hence suggesting that the mushroom may be developed as complementary medicine to improve sexual hormones.
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 6 weeks. 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 resulted in improvements in sperm production. More importantly, the percentages of motile sperm cells and sperm morphology were also improved significantly in most of the treated boars. This may also partly support the role of Cordyceps in sexual enhancement.
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, and sex drive as well as reduces fatigue. The mushroom is also particularly known for its potential anti-tumor, anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory effects.
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. Even modern research has illustrated the Cordyceps testosterone benefits. Both Cordyceps sinensis and militaris promote the production of testosterone and enhance sperm quality and quantity.
- 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/