How Cordyceps Affect Exercise, Stamina, and Performance

I’ve loved mushrooms since I was a little kiddo.

Foraging for mushrooms with my mother and brother.
Studying nutrition and chemistry in college to learn more about the science of ‘shrooms.
Winning a college innovation contest by discovering a new type of mushroom in Finland.

But then during marathon training, I decided to give cordyceps a try. And of course, I started with 8⨉ the suggested amount.

Man did I fly! And with that I was 100% hooked. It was cordyceps that really started my journey to become fungi’s #1 fan and top spokesperson.

Cordyceps for Exercise

So why are cordyceps so good for exercise?

Cordyceps + Blood Oxygen

Cordyceps are used in traditional Chinese medicine to increase the production of red blood cells, as well as to fight fatigue. We now know that cordyceps help to deliver oxygen to your cells. (source)

Cordyceps + ATP

ATP is your body’s main energy supply and is required for all cellular processes. It’s basically your batteries. Cordyceps can increase the ATP levels in your body, and thereby may increase your energy. (source)

Cordyceps + Exercise

By supporting oxygen delivery and energy production, cordyceps help to support athletic performance. As a bonus, cordyceps have been studied for their strong antioxidant properties. (source)

Preliminary research on the mycelium of cordyceps sinensis and cordyceps militaris suggests they help:

  • Increase resistance to muscle fatigue (source) (source)
  • Improve cardiovascular response (source)
  • Improve VO2Max (source)

Consistent chronic supplementation is key. (source).

Cordyceps for Exercise Performance

Should I have Cordyceps before or after a workout?

Either or both!

  • Before: Cordyceps supports energy and stamina so it’s a great addition to your pre-workout routine.
  • After: Cordyceps is also an adaptogen, so it helps your body to adapt to any extra stress your workout are adding to your day. In this way it can help support recovery.

We make it easy for you by offering:

Cordyceps for Runners

Cordyceps By the Numbers

Before Written History: Cordyceps was first discovered by yak herds in the Himalayas. After eating cordyceps their animals became significantly more frolicky and frisky.

AD 620: First known record of cordyceps, China

1993: The women’s track team from China breaks world records the National Games in Beijing.

9: world records broken by Chinese track team, credited to cordyceps

10: wild cordyceps a day gathered by the average Himalayan harvester

4: times its weight in silver was once the cost of cordyceps

$20,000-50,000 USD: for a pound of wild cordyceps today

680: discovered varieties of cordyceps throughout the world

Are Cordyceps Vegan?

Many people have watched a nature documentary about “zombie fungus.” It’s true that in the wild, cordyceps grow out of the mummified carcass of insect larvae, usually caterpillars. 🐛 Harvesting these wild cordyceps is extremely challenging and prohibitively expensive. They’ll run you about $20,000 for a pound.

Almost all cordyceps you’ll buy in North America is vegan. At Four Sigmatic, we use the extracted fruiting bodies of cordyceps militaris in Mushroom Coffee, Mushroom Hot Cacao and Cordyceps Elixir. It’s as potent as the wild variety (source) and definitely suitable for vegans.

In the 10 Mushroom Blend and Adaptogen Blend we use the mycelium extract of cordyceps sinensis. This is also suitable for vegans.

Cordyceps for Strength

What’s in a name?

Cordyceps comes from the Greek words kordyle and ceps meaning club and head. Militaris got its name from its growth pattern resembling little toy soldiers. Sinensis means from China.

So now the secret is out: cordyceps is my secret ingredient for performing athletically. Of course, cordyceps aren’t the only nutrition powerhouse in an athlete’s diet. But they can be a fantastic addition to it.

If you want to learn more about cordyceps, be sure to sign up for our Mushroom Academy!


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