5 Health Benefits of
Over the past decade, there has been a steady pace of new natural product introductions focused on boosting a person’s immune system and increasing cognition, and one product ingredient that is gaining a lot of attention are the various types of fungi/mushrooms being added into health and wellness products.
Now, we are not talking about the kind of mushrooms referred to as “magic mushrooms” of 1960’s and 70’s “Hippie” lore. Magic mushrooms contain a substance called psilocybin that is hallucinogenic when consumed, meaning, it can make people who consume these mushrooms hallucinate.
In this blog, I am talking about functional mushrooms that hold enormous promise as alternative or adjunct therapies with the potential to address mild to serious conditions and symptoms. One of these mushrooms is called Cordyceps Sinensis, and in case you are wondering whether consuming cordyceps or other types of mushrooms is healthy for you and a potential medicine, there are hundreds maybe thousands of medical studies you can find on the National Institute of Health’s Library of Medicine website on cordyceps alone, and here is just one study.
Cordyceps has been used in Chinese medicine for millennia. Cordyceps like to grow in warm and humid high-altitude climates in Asian countries like China, Tibet, and Thailand. They grow on the larvae of insects, but don’t let that gross you out! They resemble mid-sized orange caterpillars that have 4 pairs of “feet” (little bumps) and a head and tail.
The numerous medical studies and research done on cordyceps have uncovered a versatile mushroom whose compounds may help to support the healthy functioning of several bodily processes. While there are several more benefits to including chaga in your daily routine, below are 5 reasons to consider adding it to your health regiment line up.
May Improve Athletic/Exercise Performance:
Cordyceps may help with physical performance and oxygen flow by increasing body production of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate,) vital for delivering energy to our muscles.
There are several studies that show cordyceps increase VO2 and oxygen intake in younger athletes, even in healthy senior citizens! VO2 max refers to the amount of oxygen available to your body during periods of intense exercise. For athletes at all levels, this means more stamina during exercise or sports activities, and for those who are looking to improve overall performance, cordyceps are showing a lot of potential.
May Possess Anti-Aging Properties:
Researchers believe the powerful antioxidant properties of cordyceps may play a role in the anti-aging activities of cordyceps. Antioxidants help to combat cellular damage by neutralizing free radicals. Free radicals are unstable atoms that can damage cells, causing sickness, disease, and aging.
May Help to Reduce Risk of Heart Disease:
Heart disease, also referred to as cardiovascular disease, is a general term that typically refers to many types of heart problems associated with damaged, blocked or narrowed blood vessels.
Some compounds found in cordyceps have been shown to possess the potential to reduce LDL cholesterol in animal models by helping to reduce the oxidization of cholesterol in the body. Large amounts of oxidized cholesterol is related to clogged and hardened arteries, so this is one manner in which cordyceps may help to reduce the risk of heart disease. Cordyceps contain special proteins that have been shown to reduce inflammation and high adenosine level in cordyceps decrease triglycerides and LDL cholesterol.
Potential Cancer Fighting Agents:
Cordyceps contain triterpenoids which are antiretroviral, antimalaria, anti-inflammatory and anticancer compounds. Triterpenoids are known to help stimulate the production of white blood cells, which is the first line of defense when the immune system starts to fight a virus, bacteria etc… Also, the high antioxidant value of chaga may also slow the progression of certain cancers. One study showed that chaga extract facilitated autophagy in breast cancer cells. Autophagy is a process where a cell disposes of its “junk” parts and repurposes the useful parts to be used as new cell parts.