Cordyceps For Blood Pressure: Can The Mushroom Improve Blood Pressure?

Last Updated on January 12, 2024

Hypertension, or elevated blood pressure, is a global public health concern. Over one billion people worldwide, or over 30% of the adult population, deal with hypertension. Males are predicted to have a higher prevalence of hypertension than females globally by 2040.

Although there are many allopathic treatments available for hypertension, natural alternatives such as medicinal mushrooms have demonstrated remarkable efficacy.

Medicinal mushrooms, such as cordyceps, have long been recognized as “functional foods, ” providing a wealth of bioactive compounds. These have been investigated as preventative measures to lower blood pressure and promote general health.

Cordyceps’ potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties are thought to help prevent or treat high blood pressure. Many of these beneficial effects have been linked to cordycepin, a bioactive substance. This has a molecular makeup akin to adenosine, a substance known to lower blood pressure.

Researchers have looked into using the Himalayan mushrooms as a dietary supplement to control hypertension. The article delves deeply into the research on Cordyceps mushrooms’ ability to lower blood pressure.

cordyceps for blood pressure

What Does The Research Say About Cordyceps For Blood Pressure?

Inhibiting the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) is one of the most significant therapeutic approaches for the treatment of hypertension. Cordyceps militaris and Cordyceps sinensis have drawn much attention due to their biological significance and the potential for supplementing anti-hypertensive therapy.

Here are some science-backed evidence of the benefits of Cordyceps mushroom for elevated blood pressure.

Cordyceps may lower blood pressure

A 2016 study evaluated the therapeutic efficacy of Cordyceps sinensis polysaccharide on hypertensive rats. CSP1, obtained from Cordyceps polysaccharides, has anti-hypertensive effects by dilating the blood vessels, decreasing the levels of hormones that increase blood pressure, and lowering inflammatory mediators. These results suggest that Cordyceps polysaccharides have a high potential to be an effective anti-hypertensive.

Cordyceps acts as an ACE inhibitor

Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are medicines that help relax the veins and arteries to lower blood pressure. Inhibiting the angiotensin-converting enzyme is one of the most vital therapeutic approaches for treating hypertension.

A 2022 study found that Cordyceps militaris mushroom inhibited the enzyme through molecular interaction between the mushroom compound cordycepin and ACE C-domain. An alcoholic extract of the fruiting body of Cordyceps militaris, which had a considerably higher level of cordycepin, was obtained.

An in vitro kinetic analysis was carried out to evaluate how much of the mushroom extract inhibited ACE. Researchers concluded that these results point to cordycepin’s potential as an ACE inhibitor and the possibility of Cordyceps militaris extract acting as a natural ACE inhibitor.

Cordyceps improves survival in hypertensives

In a 2017 study from Japan, researchers found that Cordyceps militaris improved the survival of hypertensive rats. Cordycepin significantly improved the survival rates of rats from a mere 3 months. This could be due to the minimization of the effect of stroke, a dreaded complication of elevated blood pressure.

 Microscopically, cells in the brain, heart, kidney (glomerular podocytes and renal epithelial cells), and liver improved.

Health Benefits Of Cordyceps

Traditional Chinese medicine has long utilized Cordyceps to treat low energy, weariness, and increased libido and sex drive in the elderly population. Lately, the mushroom has been revered for additional health benefits, such as the following:

Potentially Lower Inflammation

The fungus’s main water-soluble constituents, polysaccharides, are believed to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Furthermore, cordycepin controls specific inflammatory pathways, indicating that it may offer protection against chronic inflammatory conditions. Additionally, cordycepin may strengthen immunity and stop viral RNA replication, shielding the body from viral infections.

Potential to enhance athletic performance

Supplements containing Cordyceps are popular among athletes. The fungus is thought to enhance blood flow, boost oxygen uptake, and act as an antioxidant to improve sports performance.

Could Be Good for Heart Health

Cordyceps may benefit heart health by lowering blood lipid (fat) levels and managing arrhythmia (an irregular heartbeat).

Could Aid in Diabetes Management

According to research on animals, Cordyceps extract may lower blood sugar by enhancing glucose metabolism or the body’s ability to absorb sugar from food. It might also aid in preventing diabetic nerve damage.

May boost testosterone levels

According to research on animals, Cordyceps may increase libido by lowering oxidative stress and boosting testosterone production.

Anti-Aging Properties

The body’s imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals, or oxidative stress, is a significant factor in aging. Cordycepin and polysaccharides are two of the compounds in Cordyceps that are believed to have strong antioxidant qualities.

Anti-tumor Effects

Compounds in Cordyceps may help treat cancer, according to new research. Specifically, research conducted in test tubes has demonstrated that Cordyceps inhibits leukemia and cancerous cells found in the colon, breast, lung, bladder, liver, and prostate. Additionally, Cordyceps might strengthen the immune system’s defenses against cancer.

Could Aid in Mood Improvement

Because of its adaptogenic properties, Cordyceps mushroom supports hormone regulation, which may help to stabilize mood and emotion.

Could Support Exercise Performance

Cordyceps mushroom enhances sports performance. The mushroom promotes respiratory and cardiovascular health, which improves physical performance during exercise and increases stamina.

Not all Cordyceps mushroom supplements are created equal, and the actual benefits of the mushroom can only be obtained from a high-quality supplement. Choosing Cordyceps supplements that are high-quality, potent, and effective can be challenging, given the abundance of options on the market. Here are three things to consider before purchasing a supplement containing Cordyceps.

1. Read and look for three quality markers on the label.

Supplements containing mushrooms should have low levels of alpha-glucan, high levels of polysaccharides, and high levels of beta-glucans (1-3, 1-6). The beneficial polysaccharides known as 1-3, 1-6 beta-glucans are found in Cordyceps mushrooms and are essential in the fight against infections, illnesses, and inappropriate growths. However, because starch and alpha-glucans share a similar chemical makeup, alpha-glucans may just be a starch filler and offer no medical benefits. Nevertheless, a lot of brands of Cordyceps supplements on the market have low polysaccharide content and don’t reveal the amounts of alpha-glucan and beta-glucan (1-3, 1-6).

Therefore, you should always look for supplements containing high levels of polysaccharides, low levels of alpha-glucans, and high levels of beta-glucans (mainly 1-3, 1-6 beta-glucans).

2. Extracts of Cordyceps is not equal to powdered Cordyceps

The human digestive system cannot break down chitin, which is present in the cell walls of mushrooms. Processing is necessary to break down the chitin in the mushroom to extract the biologically active compounds. Cordyceps powder may contain contaminants with a maximum of 0.5% to 3% polysaccharide content. On the other hand, Cordyceps extract is pure, concentrated, and may contain over 50% polysaccharides. It is, therefore, always advised to select the extract form rather than the powder form.

3. Ensure That the Mushrooms You Are Receiving Are 100% Real

To get the most health benefits, ensure the Cordyceps supplement is composed of 100% real mushrooms and not just starch. Select an organically certified cordyceps supplement for even more potency—organic cordyceps have a lot more potency than wild cordyceps.

Buying a supplement from a reputable brand that conducts independent testing is the best way to ensure you get a high-quality product free of potentially dangerous ingredients. To ensure supplement safety, some supplement manufacturers have an agreement with outside labs to test the purity and potency of their goods (third-party testing). Buy supplements from companies that have been certified by USP, UL, and NSF International whenever possible.

FAQs About Cordyceps For High Blood Pressure

What Are The Risks Of Consuming Cordyceps To Lower Blood Pressure?

Taken as recommended, cordyceps is not likely to be harmful. A few individuals have mentioned mild to moderate adverse effects, such as bloating, dry mouth, headache, nausea, diarrhea, and allergic reactions. Lastly, if you have a mushroom allergy, this could have a negative effect.

Does Cordyceps Raise Blood Pressure?

There is no evidence to suggest that Cordyceps may raise blood pressure. Instead, early research using animals and test tubes suggests that cordyceps could help reduce hypertension. Like adenosine, cordycepin can relax blood vessels, enhance blood flow, and reduce hypertension.

How Much Cordyceps Should I Consume For High Blood Pressure?

There is no officially recommended dosage of Cordyceps for regulating blood pressure. However, most experts recommend 1,000–3,000 mg of Cordyceps supplement daily. Adhere to the dosage guidelines and instructions on the product label, as exceeding the recommended amount may increase the likelihood of adverse reactions.

Who Should Not Take Cordyceps?

Because there is insufficient information on the potential side effects of Cordyceps supplements, children, pregnant women, or nursing mothers should avoid it. If you are taking medication for diabetes, cancer, a bleeding disorder, or any of these conditions, proceed with caution when taking Cordyceps. Consult your doctor if you’re considering taking Cordyceps supplements to ensure they’re safe for you and won’t interact with any other medications you may be taking.

Is Cordyceps A Blood Thinner?

Cordyceps can act as a blood thinner and might increase your risk of bruising or heavy bleeding. Likewise, it could interact with blood thinners. So be cautious if you’re taking blood thinners such as anti-platelets or anti-coagulants.

Conclusion

Cordyceps mushrooms have several health benefits, including the ability to lower blood pressure. Cordycepin in the mushroom is similar to the molecule adenosine, which helps decrease blood pressure levels. Furthermore, the mushroom also has ACE inhibitory activity, a mechanism many anti-hypertensive medications utilize.

References

1. Pan American Heath Organization/WHO Americas. World Hypertension Day 2020.

2. International journal of biological macromolecules. Therapeutic efficacy of a polysaccharide isolated from Cordyceps sinensis on hypertensive rats.

3. Life (Basel, Switzerland). Cordyceps militaris Inhibited Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme through Molecular Interaction between Cordycepin and ACE C-Domain.

4. Heliyon. Cordyceps militaris improves the survival of Dahl salt-sensitive hypertensive rats possibly via influences of mitochondria and autophagy functions.

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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