Cordyceps has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries and is believed to have various health benefits, including boosting energy levels and reducing fatigue. In recent years, scientific studies have been conducted to investigate the anti-fatigue properties of Cordyceps. In this article, we will explore the findings of one such study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2015.
The study was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involving 40 healthy individuals aged 50-75 years. The participants were randomly divided into two groups: a Cordyceps group and a placebo group. The Cordyceps group received a daily dose of 333 mg of Cordyceps sinensis extract for 12 weeks, while the placebo group received a daily dose of starch. The primary outcome measure was the change in fatigue levels, which was assessed using the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) and the Multidimensional Fatigue Inventory (MFI).
The results of the study showed that the Cordyceps group had a significant improvement in fatigue levels compared to the placebo group. The VAS score decreased significantly in the Cordyceps group compared to the placebo group at 4, 8, and 12 weeks. The MFI score also showed a significant improvement in the Cordyceps group compared to the placebo group at 12 weeks.
In addition, the study found that the Cordyceps group had a significant increase in maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max) compared to the placebo group. VO2 max is a measure of aerobic capacity, which is the maximum amount of oxygen that an individual can utilize during exercise.
This suggests that Cordyceps may improve physical endurance and reduce fatigue during exercise. The study also investigated the potential mechanisms of Cordyceps' anti-fatigue activity. It was found that Cordyceps may improve energy metabolism by increasing the levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and creatine phosphate (CP) in the liver and muscle tissues. ATP is a molecule that provides energy to cells, while CP helps replenish ATP levels during intense exercise. By increasing ATP and CP levels, Cordyceps may enhance energy production and reduce fatigue. Furthermore, Cordyceps was found to increase the levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) in the liver and muscle tissues. SOD and GPx are antioxidant enzymes that protect cells from oxidative stress, which can lead to fatigue and exhaustion. By increasing SOD and GPx levels, Cordyceps may improve antioxidant defense and reduce fatigue.
The findings of this study suggest that Cordyceps may have anti-fatigue properties and can improve energy metabolism and antioxidant defense. Cordyceps may be particularly beneficial for individuals who experience fatigue during exercise or daily activities. The results of this study also provide a scientific basis for the traditional use of Cordyceps in Chinese medicine for improving energy and reducing fatigue. However, further research is needed to confirm these findings and to investigate the optimal dosage and duration of Cordyceps supplementation for anti-fatigue purposes.