Cordyceps—an Energy Booster Fit for an Emperor and an Athlete
By Dr. Melissa Carr, Dr. TCM
August 15th, 2016
"The sky is not my limit...I am."― T.F. Hodge
Did you know that 1 in 3 adults and 4 in 5 adolescents don’t meet minimum exercise requirements? By now, most of you know that in order to live a healthy lifestyle and help avoid chronic illness you need to get proper sleep, release stress, eat healthy—and last, but not least—exercise regularly. Exercise not only increases your energy levels and boosts overall fitness, but also helps prevent unhealthy weight gain and improve your mood.
Athletes know all too well the importance of properly taking care of their bodies to meet optimal fitness levels. That is precisely why a large majority of athletes use nutritional supplements as part of their training routine to enhance their performance.
Winning with cordyceps
The need to build up physical performance and knock out the competition is nothing new. Throughout history, competitors have been using all kinds of performance enhancing concoctions, from the Ancient Greeks to modern day athletes. In 1993, for example, the Chinese women distance runners smashed several world records at the 7th National Games. Some thought they must have been using illegal performance enhancing drugs, but they tested clean. It was an herb—a type of fungus—called cordyceps that played a vital role in their outstanding performances.
Used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Cordyceps sinensis is a type of fungus that grows in the high plateaus of Nepal and Tibet. Once available only for the Emperor's highest court and Chinese nobility, cordyceps has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for centuries, due to its remarkable medicinal properties—from boosting the immune system and preventing and treating cancer to improving kidney and lung function and enhancing athletic performance.
Improve energy, endurance, exercise
Cordyceps is believed to improve stamina and athletic performance, as well as help to reduce muscle soreness and promote muscle growth. In one study, mice given cordyceps for 3 weeks were found to have enhanced endurance and resistance to fatigue, able to swim for longer periods of time in comparison to mice that were not given the herb. The study found an improvement in the ability of the heart to pump blood and the lungs to take in oxygen. Another study, showed that athletes given cordyceps had improved lactate clearance over those who were given a placebo. If you’re an athlete—or wannabe athlete—this is exciting because that means a faster recovery time, greater endurance, and improved high intensity training and performance. One further study, this one on healthy "elderly" (aged 50-75)—the study calls them elderly, but I wouldn’t put 50-somethings in the elderly category!—subjects evaluated exercise performance when they were given either cordyceps supplements or a placebo. It was a small study of only 20 subjects, but results were promising. There were no reported adverse effects, and an improvement in aerobic performance was noted in those taking cordyceps versus those taking the placebo.
This benefits of this fantastic fungus may also be due in part to its antioxidant qualities or its role as an adaptogen, helping your body to deal with cell damage and external and internal stressors. Regardless of exactly how it works, thankfully you no longer need to be ruler of a country to get it. Weekend warriors and seasoned athletes alike can experience greater aerobic and anaerobic exercise capability, less fatigue, and better recovery. Mitsuwa Super Cordyceps is an easy-to-take high quality cordyceps in convenient individual foil packets.
Dr. Melissa Carr is a registered Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine with a B.Sc. in Kinesiology. In practice since 2001, Dr. Carr has a passion for sharing health information. She has been a nutrition instructor and a health consultant, lecturer, and writer for 24 Hours Vancouver newspaper, Fraser Health Authority, UBC, and the David Suzuki Foundation, amongst others.