This Mushroom Increases Endurance

Runners, bicyclists, soccer players and all sorts of other athletes are continually searching for ways to increase endurance. Now we find that a particular mushroom species has been shown to boost endurance in marathon runners.

Cordyceps sinensis boosts endurance
Cordyceps mushrooms boost endurance according to new research.

This is the same species that Chinese athletes who have broken world records in track and field have been reported to have been taking. In 1993, Chinese women runners broke world records in the 1,500 meters, 3,000 meters, and 10,000 meters races. The coach of the runners later said their success was partly due to their diets and Cordyceps supplementation.

Marathon runners tested for endurance

The study comes from the Sports Medicine Department at Brazil’s University Federal University in São Paulo. The researchers recruited 30 marathon runners. They tested them for three months.

They broke them into two groups in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. One group took 2,000 milligrams of Cordyceps sinensis (Ophiocordyceps sinensis) for the 12-week period. The other group took a placebo for the same period.

To test their endurance, the runners were monitored for heart rate while exercising, but not at maximum intensity. This tested their aerobic endurance capacity.

After the 12-weeks, the researchers tested the athletes again and found that the Cordyceps significantly boosted their endurance levels. The scientists concluded the results:

“Ingestion of Cordyceps sinensis lowered heart rate to the same submaximal intensity at eight weeks and improved aerobic performance at 12 weeks.”

Cordyceps boosts exercise performance for regular folks

This is not the first study to confirm that Cordyceps boosts performance in physical activity. A 2010 study from UCLA tested 20 healthy people between the age of 50 and 74 years old. They were given either 1,000 milligrams of a Cordyceps supplement called Cs-4 or a placebo three times a day for 12 weeks.

Read more:  Reishi and Cordyceps Boost Testosterone and Athletic Performance

The subjects were tested using stationary bikes with ergometers and breathing analysis. The research found that the subjects who took the Cordyceps had significant increases in their metabolic threshold and their ventilatory threshold. These were increased by 10.5% and 8.5% respectively.

To put this more plainly, the Cordyceps increased their breathing capacity and their exercise capacity in just three months.

We also published another article showing Cordyceps and Reishi boost testosterone levels as well as exercise performance.

What is Cordyceps?

Some have mistakenly called Cordyceps a parasite, but this is a truly a mushroom fungus. Yes, it is true that the fungus can be parasitic if it infects certain insects. But this can be the case with many other types of fungi.

But Cordyceps grows very similarly to most other mushrooms. These species can be cultivated on certain types of media, which might include vegetables and sweeteners. The fungus will develop mycelium just as most other mushrooms do. Then they will sprout a fruiting body as pictured in dry form in the photo in this article.

What makes Cordyceps so powerful?

A number of studies have investigated this over the years. They have found that Cordyceps species contain at least 200 plant chemicals that promote good metabolism. These include:

  • Alkaloids
  • Bioxanthracenes
  • Cyclodepsipeptides
  • Dihydrobenzofurans
  • Flavonoids
  • Nucleosides
  • Phenolics
  • Phytosterols
  • Polyketides
  • Terpenes

As a result of these and other medicinal compounds, Cordyceps sinensis and other Cordyceps species such as Cordyceps militaris has been shown to boost immunity, fight tumor growth, help clear toxins from the body, reduce pain and boost the body’s antioxidant capacity.

Read more:  Medicinal Mushrooms Prove to Fight Influenza

For these and other reasons, other research has found Cordyceps to have anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, antidiabetic, analgesic, anti-HIV, antibacterial, antimalarial and antifungal effects.

And traditional use for Cordyceps has increasingly been to supplement in cases of fatigue.


Savioli FP, et al., Effects of cordyceps sinensis supplementation during 12 weeks in amateur marathoners: A randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Herbal Medicine. Vol 34, 2022, 100570, doi:1016/j.hermed.2022.100570.

Chen S, Li Z, Krochmal R, Abrazado M, Kim W, Cooper CB. Effect of Cs-4 (Cordyceps sinensis) on exercise performance in healthy older subjects: a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2010 May;16(5):585-90. doi: 10.1089/acm.2009.0226.

Olatunji OJ, Tang J, Tola A, Auberon F, Oluwaniyi O, Ouyang Z. The genus Cordyceps: An extensive review of its traditional uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology. Fitoterapia. 2018 Sep;129:293-316. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2018.05.010.

Liu Y, Xiao K, Wang Z, Wang S, Xu F. Comparison of metabolism substances in Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris cultivated with tussah pupa based on LC-MS. J Food Biochem. 2021 Jun;45(6):e13735. doi: 10.1111/jfbc.13735.


  • Ph.D. in Natural Health Sciences, Doctorate in Integrative Health Sciences, Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner, California Naturopath. Diplomas in Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling, Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Colon Hydrotherapy, certificates in Pain Management and Case Management/Contact Tracing. Has authored more than 30 books and hundreds of periodical articles on natural medicine. Recreational activities include surfing, sailing, running, biking, swimming, SUPing, hiking. Contact: [email protected]

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