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3 World Records And A Mushroom

3 World Records And A Mushroom

Cordyceps are growing in popularity lately due to their performance enhancing nature. Studies have shown the fungus improves cardio performance, e...

Cordyceps are growing in popularity lately due to their performance enhancing nature. Studies have shown the fungus improves cardio performance, exercise resistance, respiratory function, and circulation. Which is why you are seeing professional athletes start to supplement with strains of cordyceps.

Although this fungus has been used in ancient Chinese medicine you have may just started seeing it at the grocery store. You may have also heard of the fungus from the game "The Last Of Us", where cordyceps are responsible for creating a zombie outbreak due to that strain’s parasitic nature. But the good news is there are over 300 different strains of cordyceps and video games aren't real.

Chinese and Tibetan ancient medicine have used the mushroom for curing headaches, diarrhea, and even liver disease. While those claims are a bit hard to prove, the physical performance benefits have been tested and proven to deliver results anyone can benefit from.

In 1993 there were three runners that broke records in the 3,000m, 5,000m, and 10,000m and they all had one thing in common. The athletes were taking a form of cordyceps supplements.

The records were set at the Chinese National Games where Wang Junxia set two of the records. The 10,000m record was bettered by 42 seconds and remained the record until 2016. Before this, Wang also set the marathon record for women just a few months prior.

The record holder in the 1,500m from that year was sixteen years old Qu Yunxia who was also supplementing with the wild mushroom.

The coach of the athletes attests this to the power of the traditional Chinese medicine stress-reducing tonic that included cordyceps that the athletes drank. Recent athletes from China have been using cordyceps as well but it turns out they were also using another performance enhancer that didn't grow naturally. 

Because when cheating isn't enough, cordyceps is.

Although we wish breaking world records was as easy as taking a mushroom supplement it is not, sadly. So it is important to look into the benefits of the mushroom and not solely validate the claims because of their use by the Olympic athletes. When doing so it is apparent that these mushrooms on their outright own have noticeable improvements that anyone who is into physical performance can benefit from.  But the benefits aren’t only for the elite side of the spectrum. Anyone who is wanting to burn fat from their after work cardio workout can experience improved results from the mushroom.


The Data

A study that took already athletic individuals saw an improvement in their VO2 max while first taking the supplement of the edible mushroom as well as improvements with sustained supplementation. A VO2 max test is monitored cardio exercises that measure the maximum amount of oxygen an individual can use. The results showed 95% of the group had an increase in VO2 max, indicating that the mushroom supports aerobic capacity and resistance fatigue.

Cordyceps Militaris, another strain of cordyceps that is cultured on oats typically, was supplemented and tested on experienced cyclists. The group saw a 17% increase in their performance while taking the controlled drug.

While of course tests on mice are not always clear translators to optimal human performance this guarantees the test subjects aren't in jeopardy of getting their world titles stripped from an outside substance. Scientists ran mice through a forced swim test and supplemented the subjects with select doses of the mushroom. The mice's fatigue biomarkers were measured during the study. This included muscle glycogen, lactic acid, and urea nitrogen. The study concluded that the controlled group with a higher dose showed C. Militaris had exceptional anti-fatigue effects.

This fungus also has the nickname "Himalayan Viagra" because of its anti-aging effect. A study, showed in castrated rats, that an extract of cordyceps can improve sexual function, the benefits are bit weird to type out so I will allow you to click the link if you are interested. The same extract in the study even shows there are anti-aging neuro benefits from the mushroom. It showed when ingested there was a lower level of monoamine oxidase activity which is a benefit to brain activity and function.

The circulation benefits that yield a lower blood pressure has been attributed to the compound in the mushroom referred to as cordycepin. Cordycepin works to relax blood vessels which improves circulation and it even improves the production of cellular energy (ATP). Allowing for improved blood flow and energy for the body.

The respiratory benefits were tested in individuals by the Department of Respiratory Medicine of the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine. The test took 120 individuals with preexisting cases of moderate to severe cases of chronic asthma and gave one group standard asthma medication like standard prescription inhalers. The other group was given 3 doses of Cordyceps Sinensis throughout the day. Multiple respiratory function tests were given throughout the day over a 3-month span. The cordyceps group showed improvements in forced expiratory, forced vital capacity, and peak expiratory flow. The improvements were much greater than the inhaler given group. The cordyceps group's blood was drawn for immunity results, which also showed great improvement. It was also shown that the Cordyceps group experienced more symptom-free days than the controlled inhaler group. 


How Is This Done?

With the fungus growing in high elevated areas there is an interesting synergy with the benefits of the mushroom. Similar to an elevation training protocol you see in elite athletes. The mushroom grows in the high mountains of Tibet, China, and neighboring areas. Growing comfortably at 10,000ft in grassy meadows where it is cultivated by Tibetan Yak herders and have been for many years.

Most research is on cordyceps Militaris rather than Cordyceps Sinensis (the foraged strain), is due to the high price point and rarity of the Sinensis strain. Research also shows that Militaris produces more active compounds than Sinensis. Which can be helpful when deciding between a cordyceps supplement.

Whether you are trail running on the weekends or just jumping rope in the gym, any workout that raises your heart rate can benefit from cordyceps. With its exercise and respiratory benefits, the mushroom makes out to be an essential physical performance supplement. But if you are trying to break 3 world records, cordyceps and a little something else is needed.


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