Cordyceps improves tolerance to high-intensity exercise

Cordyceps (Cordyceps militaris) is valued in traditional Chinese medicine as a functional food and medicinal treatment. A study published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements compared the effect of acute and chronic supplementation with cordyceps on high-intensity exercise performance.

  • A total of 28 individuals participated in the randomized, repeated measures, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.
  • The researchers obtained the participants’ maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), time to exhaustion (TTE), and ventilatory threshold (VT) during a maximal graded exercise test on a cycle ergometer. Their relative peak power output (RPP), average power output (AvgP), and percent drop (%drop) were collected using a three-minute maximal cycle test with resistance at 4.5 percent body weight.
  • The participants supplemented with either 4 grams/day mushroom blend that contained cordyceps (MR) or maltodextrin (PL) for a week. Ten participants took the supplements for another two weeks.
  • The exercise tests were separated by 48 hours and were repeated after the supplementation periods.
  • Acute supplementation did not result in any significant change in VO2max, VT, TTE, RPP, and %drop. Chronic supplementation resulted in significant changes in VO2max in the MR group, but not in those who took PL.
  • An analysis of 95 percent confidence intervals showed that both one-week and three-week supplementation resulted in improvements in both TTE and VT.

The researchers concluded that while acute supplementation resulted in improvements in tolerance to high-intensity exercise, the benefits were more pronounced when supplementation was long-term.

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Journal Reference:

Hirsch KR, Smith-Ryan AE, Roelofs EJ, Trexler ET, Mock MG. CORDYCEPS MILITARIS IMPROVES TOLERANCE TO HIGH-INTENSITY EXERCISE AFTER ACUTE AND CHRONIC SUPPLEMENTATION. Journal of Dietary Supplements. 13 July 2016;14(1):42–53. DOI: 10.1080/19390211.2016.1203386

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