Cordyceps for ADHD: Natural support for Concentration and Focus

Last Updated on January 12, 2024

Millions of people worldwide have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is characterized by impulsivity, hyperactivity, anxiety, fatigue, and trouble focusing. It is estimated that 2.5% – 6.7% of adults and 5% – 7.2% of youths globally are affected by this neurodevelopmental disorder.

Even though medications can help control the symptoms of ADHD, a lot of people are looking for natural alternatives to conventional care. Research into the use of Cordyceps mushrooms as a treatment for ADHD symptoms looks promising.

Cordyceps, a functional mushroom, has long been utilized in Tibetan and Chinese medicine. It is well known for enhancing energy and strengthening the immune system.

By synthesizing ATP (a source of cellular energy), Cordyceps helps you feel more energized. This enhances your ability to utilize oxygen and increase your endurance in sports. This is especially helpful for people with ADHD, who may have low energy. 

The mushroom is also a fantastic option for anyone with ADHD trying to manage stress and anxiety because it also has adaptogenic properties.

The post explores the advantages of Cordyceps mushrooms for ADHD and the supporting data.

cordyceps for ADHD

Exploring The Science Behind Cordyceps For ADHD

It has been discovered that the active compounds in Cordyceps, such as beta-glucans and triterpenes, have neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and cognitive-enhancing properties. People with ADHD may particularly benefit from these properties.

Cordyceps improves memory and learning

ADHD has been linked to learning and memory difficulties. Researchers evaluated the effects of Cordyceps polypeptide in mice with learning and memory impairment induced by injection of the drug scopolamine.

Mouse behavior and blood levels of compounds and enzymes such as superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, malondialdehyde (MDA) content, endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) activities, Na+-k+-ATPase acetylcholinesterase AChE and the glutamate (Glu) and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and contents in mouse brain tissues were measured.

In the study, 120 mice of eight weeks of age were given the appropriate amount of dried and powdered fruiting body of Cordyceps militaris. The mice were randomly divided into six groups based on the treatments. Tests for cognitive assessment, such as the Morris water maze test, were carried out.

The findings of the study suggest that polypeptides from Cordyceps may enhance memory and learning in the mice by scavenging oxygen-derived free radicals, protecting the nervous system, and preventing oxidative damage. The ability of Cordyceps mushroom polypeptide to improve and prevent learning and memory impairment in mice was confirmed.

Cordyceps can boost energy levels

ADHD is caused by a dopamine imbalance in the brain, which can lead to exhaustion and low energy levels. Cordycpes’ energy-boosting abilities were tested in a 2016 study involving twenty-eight individuals. In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled research, participants were given 1 to 3 weeks of Cordyceps supplementation. During a maximal graded exercise test, maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max), time to exhaustion (TTE), and other parameters were measured.

After 3 weeks of supplementation with the mushroom, significant improvements in Vo2max were observed. Researchers concluded that while short-term supplementation with Cordyceps militaris may improve tolerance to high-intensity exercise, consistent and chronic supplementation may elicit more significant benefits. This could improve energy levels in ADHD.

Cordyceps has antifatigue properties

A 2015 study evaluated the antifatigue activities of fruit body extract of Cordyceps in mice.  The two-week administration of Cordyceps militaris significantly delayed fatigue, which was confirmed via several tests like forced swimming tests, rotating rod tests, and forced running tests.

Compared to the mouse that did not receive the mushroom extract, administration of Cordyceps increased ATP levels. Adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, is the molecule that provides energy at a cellular level. In addition, the mushroom increased antioxidative enzyme activity and reduced the levels of lactic dehydrogenase, lactic acid, malondialdehyde, and reactive oxygen species.

Adults with ADHD lead anxious lives. While these two are separate conditions, for many people, they occur together. Cordyceps militaris is traditionally used as a complementary therapy to treat anxiety because of its anti-inflammatory properties.

Cordyceps can reduce anxiety

A review article from 2020 analyzed the immunomodulatory effects of Cordyceps militaris extract, cordycepin and polysaccharides. Researchers found that cordycepin can reduce anxiety by up-reregulating the expression of proteins in the brain, which is negatively correlated with episodes of anxious behavior.

Benefits Of Cordyceps Mushroom

Cordyceps mushroom, the unsung hero of natural wellness, can increase dopamine levels naturally, increase physical stamina, and reduce stress. Although research indicates that the parasitic mushroom has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor properties, Cordyceps is generally promoted as an energy enhancer.

The mushroom seems to have potential health benefits for the kidney, liver, immune system, and lungs in addition to lowering cholesterol. Cordyceps is an adaptogen—a substance that aids the body in “adapting” to stress.

The mushroom touts many health benefits, such as:

Anti-inflammatory properties: The antioxidant properties of Cordyceps mushrooms help reduce inflammation. According to studies, the compounds found in mushrooms help the body’s antioxidant system, which is essential for preventing cell damage caused by free radicals. These free radicals frequently target blood vessels, pancreatic and cardiac cells, among other tissues.

May help control blood sugar: Cordyceps has been demonstrated to decrease inflammation, regulate blood sugar, and enhance health. Cordyceps has anti-inflammatory qualities, making it a valuable dietary addition for preventing Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This is because inflammation and increased insulin resistance in the body are related.

Insulin is a hormone that brings blood glucose levels down and maintains them within a safe range. Chronic hyperglycemia and Type 2 diabetes are frequently the results of your cells’ decreased ability to respond to insulin.

Elevated blood glucose levels have been linked to bodily tissue damage, including blood vessels and kidneys, which are essential components of the cardiovascular system. A compromised blood supply often leads to heart disease.

Support for the immune system: Cordyceps contains several bioactive substances that have immunostimulatory activity, which alters the body’s immune response. Improving your immune response can help your body fend off illnesses and maintain your well-being.

Benefits for cancer prevention: Methanol extract from Cordyceps sinensis has been shown in at least one study to exhibit cytotoxicity on cancer cell lines, which means it can both kill and stop the spread of cancer cells.

According to a different study, Cordyceps sinensis extract has the potential to be used as an adjuvant chemotherapeutic agent and to inhibit the growth of tumors. Adjuvant chemotherapy is an augmentation therapy that is frequently used in addition to primary therapy to maximize the effectiveness of treatment.

Enhances endurance: Cordyceps has been used to improve weakness and exhaustion. Athletes have also reported the endurance-enhancing benefits of Cordyceps. 

In general, Cordyceps mushrooms are safe to take as long as you stick to the recommended dosage. As with any supplement, you should consult your doctor before beginning a new regimen, especially if you also take other medications.

Furthermore, it should be noted that the quality and purity of supplements made from Cordyceps mushrooms vary widely. Look for high-quality products whose purity and potency have been verified independently.

Some essential features to consider when selecting the best Cordyceps mushroom supplement for ADHD are as follows. Before making a purchase, take into account the following factors:

Supplement form: Supplements containing Cordyceps mushrooms are available in several forms, such as tinctures, powders, and capsules. While powders can be added to foods like smoothies, capsules are more convenient and easier to take. Tinctures can be mixed into beverages, as they are liquid extracts. Consider which is the easiest form that you can incorporate into your daily routine.

Quality: Look for supplements containing Cordyceps mushrooms that are made from premium, organic mushrooms containing the whole fruiting bodies. Additionally, some products might have certification from independent agencies like the USDA or NSF, which can offer an extra layer of quality assurance.

Dosage: It’s crucial to abide by the dosage guidelines listed on the supplement label or recommended by your healthcare provider. Read the label carefully, as dosages can differ based on the product. Speaking with a medical expert before beginning a new supplement regimen may also be beneficial.

Price: The price of Cordyceps mushroom supplements varies based on the brand, dosage, and form. Although choosing a less expensive product could be alluring, it’s crucial to put quality and efficacy ahead of price.

In conclusion, consider the supplement form, dosage, quality, and cost when selecting a Cordyceps mushroom supplement for ADHD. You can choose a product that best suits your needs and make an informed decision by considering these factors.

FAQs About Cordyceps For ADHD

How Can I Control My ADHD Without Medication?

Alongside medications, ADHD can be effectively managed in various ways. These include developing sound sleeping practices, addressing dietary deficiencies, exercising regularly, and picking up new task-related skills. Individual differences may exist in what works, so it might be helpful for people to try each new strategy at a time.

What Are The Benefits Of Cordyceps For ADHD?

According to studies, children with ADHD who took Cordyceps every day for eight weeks showed noticeably better attention and impulse control than those in a placebo group. According to additional research, Cordyceps may positively benefit the behavior and brain function of people with ADHD.

What Are Some Natural Supplements Apart From Cordyceps That Can Help With ADHD Symptoms?

Many natural supplements have the potential to reduce ADHD symptoms. Iron, magnesium, zinc, and omega-3 fatty acids are a few of the most popular. Furthermore, studies have shown the potential benefits of herbal supplements such as Rhodiola rosea, Ginkgo biloba, and Bacopa monnieri.

What Is The Recommended Dosage Of Cordyceps For ADHD Management?

Generally, 500–1000 mg of Cordyceps per day is the recommended dosage for managing ADHD. It is critical to note that the ideal dosage can change based on the person’s age, weight, and general state of health. Speaking with a medical or holistic practitioner before beginning a new supplement regimen is advisable.

Can You Use Cordyceps Instead Of Adderall For ADHD Management?

Although Cordyceps may be able to reduce symptoms associated with ADHD, it functions differently from Adderall. Amphetamine is a stimulant found in the prescription drug Adderall that helps with focus and attention. It is crucial to remember that Cordyceps supplements are not meant to replace prescription drugs, and people should always speak with a healthcare provider before changing their medication regimen.

Does Cordyceps Help You Focus?

Not only can Cordyceps improve physical performance, but its energy-boosting properties also aid in maintaining mental alertness and focus. Cordyceps directly stimulate the adrenal glands and central nervous system to promote a consistent release of energy.

Conclusion

Cordyceps can help with focus and energy levels, two things that people with ADHD frequently struggle with. Additionally, it has anti-fatigue properties, which makes it beneficial for people who experience the fatigue that is frequently linked to ADHD. Furthermore, the parasitic mushroom improves learning and memory difficulties associated with ADHD.

References

1. Missouri medicine. ADHD Diagnostic Trends: Increased Recognition or Overdiagnosis?

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9616454/

3. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM. Improvement of Learning and Memory Induced by Cordyceps Polypeptide Treatment and the Underlying Mechanism.

4. Journal of dietary supplements. Cordyceps militaris improves tolerance to high intensity exercise after acute and chronic supplementation.

5. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM. Studies on the Antifatigue Activities of Cordyceps militaris Fruit Body Extract in Mouse Model.

6. Frontiers in Pharmacology. Trends in the Immunomodulatory Effects of Cordyceps militaris: Total Extracts, Polysaccharides and Cordycepin.

7. Frontiers in Pharmacology. Cordyceps spp.: A Review on Its Immune-Stimulatory and Other Biological Potentials.

8. Integrative cancer therapies.Polysaccharide of Cordyceps sinensis enhances cisplatin cytotoxicity in non-small cell lung cancer H157 cell line.

Author

  • Dr. Sony Sherpa has a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from the Guangzhou Medical University and has been studying medicinal mushrooms for more than 7 years. Her knowledge of medicinal mushrooms is backed by a master's degree in Holistic Medicine and contributes to many health articles around the health benefits of medicinal mushrooms.

World Mushroom Society is a collective of fungi enthusiasts and health advocates, sharing information, research, studies, and identifying top producers of high quality medicinal mushroom supplements.

DISCLAIMER

DISCLAIMER
The information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information found here is not meant as a substitute for, or alternative to, information from your doctor for ongoing medical treatment you currently receive. If unsure, please consult with your doctor before using medicinal mushrooms. Any content related to cancer should not be considered as prescriptive medical advice and should not be a substitute for any cancer treatment, unless advised by your doctor first. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by TGA and FDA-approved research. If you are pregnant or on prescription drugs that thin the blood, consult with your medical professional before using medicinal mushrooms.
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