Cordyceps


What is Cordyceps?

Ophiocordyceps sinensis (Cordyceps), has been described as a medicinal mushroom, has a long history in the traditional Chinese medical books as well as Tibetan medicine.

 
The Ophiocordyceps sinesis, is an entomopathogenic fungus (a fungus that grows on insects), it parasitizes larvae of `ghost moths’ specific to Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayas. The fungus germinates in the living larvae, consuming its nutrient, in the process, kills and mummifies it. It produces a stalk-like fruiting body, a few centimeters in length, dark brown and stand upright. In Tibet, it is knows as yartsa gunbu "summer grass winter bug”.  It is known in Chinese as dng chóng xià co (xIJ) translate as “winter worm, summer grass”.
 
This fungus is not cultivated commercially as yet, as currently, it is still based on extensive harvesting. So far, the success came from culturing technic, derived from specific fungal strains, extracted from the wild cordyceps.
Bio-metabolites isolated from Cordyceps

Cordyceps, especially its extract has been known to contain many biologically active compounds like Cordycepin, cordycepic acid, adenosine, exo-polysaccharides, vitamins, enzymes etc.
 

Benefits of Cordyceps

Pharmacological studies in TCM have shown that Cordyceps has a wide range of biological activities. 

  • Enhance energy, by stimulating mitochondrial  Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) generation
  • Anti-fatique, improve stamina and endurance
  • Improvement of lung respiratory system, eg for treatment of chronic bronchitis, asthma, tuberculosis
  • Improve cardiovascular effects, blood circulation & lowering blood pressure
  • Improve alertness & stay sharp

Other potential benefits
  • Anti-oxidation (Yamaguchi et al, 2000; Li et al, 2001 a, b),
  • Anti-inflammation (Kim et al, 2003)
  • Stimulate the biosynthesis of testosterone (Huang et al, 2001)
  • Immuno-potentiation (Ohmori et al, 1986, Shin et al, 2003)
Scientific Evidences

1) Scientific Studies on increase of Energy

Results : Cordyceps extract enhanced the myocardial ATP generation capacity. Studies shows it increases between 29% to 32% in ATP level. The studies ex-vivo, incubating myocardial homogenates with substrates.


Extracted from Journal

Kai Ming Siu, Duncan Mak, P.Y. Chiu, Michael Poon, Y. Du, Kam M. K., “Pharmacological basis of `Yin-nourishing’ and `Yang-invigorating’ actions of Cordyceps, a Chinese tonifying herb.Life Sciences 76 (2004) 385-395, 2 July 2004

2) Anti-fatigue Functions and Mechanism

Rotating rod, forced swimming, and forced running test were performed to detect the anti-fatigue capacity, by comparing Cordyceps Militaris given to mice.


After a week adaptation, the mice were divided into five groups randomly (𝑛 n= 20/group; equal numbers of male and female) and orally treated with double distilled (D.D.) water (serving as control group), 0.5 g/kg Rhodiola rosea extract (Pro; serving as positive group and purchased from Tongrentang, Beijing, China), and CM at doses of 0.5 g/kg, 1.0 g/kg, and 2.0 g/kg once a day for 2 weeks.

Results
  • 2.0 g/kg CM treatment improved nearly 100.2% and 115.8% residence time in female and male mice in rotating rod test .
  • In forced running test, the running times were strongly enhanced after 2-week CM administration
  • In forced swimming test, CM treatment strongly enhanced swimming time with maximum record of 3.0 min and 3.4 min in female and male mouse compared with non-treated group
Extracted from Journal

Jingjing Song, Yingwu Wang, M. Ting, G. Cai, H. Xu, H. Gua, Y. Liu, D. Wang, L. Teng, “ Studies on the Antifatigue Activities of Cordyceps militaris Fruit Body in Mouse Model”, Hindawi Publishing Corporation, evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Vol 2015, Article ID 174616.

3) Skeletal Muscles Metabolic Regulators and Transporter


Promoting the expression of skeletal muscle key metabolic regulators, AMPK, PGC-1α and PPAR-δ.
  • AMPK activity lead to higher basal glucose uptake.
  • PGC-1α is a transcriptional coactivator that activate oxidative metabolism and biogenesis of mitochondria.
  • PGC-1α drives the conversion of muscle fiber type II to type I, which is a slow twitch muscle fibres, capable of higher oxidative capacity. Therefore, leads to improve physical endurance and performance. 
Results
  • Increases the energy output generation by efficient oxidative metabolism via glycogen breakdown, glycolysis and oxidation of fatty acids.
  • Activate biogenesis of mitochondria.
  • They can use oxygen more efficiently to produce more ATP for continuous muscle contractions and are more resistant to fatigue, improve endurance and performance.
4) Cardiovascular Function

The proper functioning of cardiovascular system is one of the essential factors to prevent fatigue. Adenosine found to be important contributor to vasodilation, reduce blood viscosity, inhibit platelet aggregation, and improve blood oxygen supply capacity.
  • Promote and enhance blood circulation by vasodilation, the expansion of blood vessels when the smooth muscles of vessel wall relax.
  • The dilation of blood vessel can be induced by vasodilators in single organ or throughout the entire body. Therefore, vasodilation can be controlled to occur in areas that need blood supply increase, helping the body to keep tissues alive and function properly.
  • Helps to avoid fatigue by redistribution and increase blood flow to supply enough oxygen and nutrients to essential organs and muscles.
Results
Enhance heart contraction function, vasodilation improve supply of blood to essential organs and muscles, thus can improve physical endurance and performance. 


References

  1. Jingjing Song, Yingwu Wang, M. Ting, G. Cai, H. Xu, H. Gua, Y. Liu, D. Wang, L. Teng, “ Studies on the Antifatigue Activities of Cordyceps militaris Fruit Body in Mouse Model”, Hindawi Publishing Corporation, evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Vol 2015, Article ID 174616.
  2. Ping Geng, Ka-Chai Siu, Z. Wang, J. Wu, “Antifatigue Functions and Mechanisms of Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms”, BioMed Research International, Vol 2017, Article ID 9648496.
  3. Katie Hirsch, A. Smith-Ryan, E. Roelofs, E. Trexler, M. Mock, “Cordyceps Militaris Improves Tolerence To High Intensity Exercise After Acute and Chronic Supplementation’, J Diet Suppl.; 1-13.doi:10.1080/19390211.2016
  4. Kai Ming Siu, Duncan Mak, P.Y. Chiu, Michael Poon, Y. Du, Kam M. K., “Pharmacological basis of `Yin-nourishing’ and `Yang-invigorating’ actions of Cordyceps, a Chinese tonifying herb.Life Sciences 76 (2004) 385-395, 2 July 2004


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