Cordyceps For Hormone Balance: What You Need To Know

Last Updated on January 12, 2024

Hormones are chemicals released by the endocrine system. Blood flow connects this intricate network of glands to every area of the body. The pituitary gland and the hypothalamus work in meticulous unison to facilitate the endocrine system, which is responsible for numerous vital bodily processes.

Eighty percent of women experience hormonal imbalance, according to statistics. Unaware that they have these imbalances, some women live with them. Thus, a growing body of research and scientific interest supports the use of natural compounds to balance hormones.

Cordyceps mushroom, which is used in traditional Chinese medicine, is well-known for boosting energy and reducing fatigue. It is also said to have pro-vitality and anti-aging effects. However, studies suggest the potential role of the mushroom in hormonal regulation in men and women.

This post explores the potential of Cordyceps mushrooms for supporting hormonal balance. The results so far are encouraging, but more study is required to comprehend their mechanisms and effectiveness completely.

cordyceps for hormone balance

Exploring The Data That Supports Cordyceps For Hormone Balance

The scientific community is becoming more and more intrigued by the Cordyceps mushroom’s potential for addressing hormone balance. Research is exploring their roles in balancing thyroid hormones, synthesizing and maintaining testosterone, and increasing estrogen levels.

The polysaccharides in Cordyceps called beta-glucans, which are well-known for boosting immunity, also balance the immune system, which may indirectly impact hormonal health. Similarly, the antioxidant qualities of phenolic compounds aid in the fight against oxidative stress, which in turn can affect hormonal disorders.

Here are some of the data that supports Cordyceps for hormonal balance.

Cordyceps may help balance thyroid hormones

Autoimmune thyroiditis occurs when your body makes antibodies that attack the cells in the thyroid as if they were viruses and bacteria. This autoimmune disorder can cause hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid.

In a 2021 study, researchers investigated the therapeutic effect of Cordyceps sinensis-derived fungus on autoimmune thyroiditis. The fungus, Isaria felina, was found to alleviate autoimmune thyroiditis in mice.

The mice orally received low-dose or high-dose Isaria felina once a day for four weeks. Blood levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), cytokine proteins and thyroid antibodies were measured. Histopathological changes in the thyroid tissue of mice were assessed.

Results demonstrated that treatment with high-dose Isaria felina resulted in significant reductions in white cell counts, circulating thyroid antibody and TSH, and alleviated histopathological abnormalities.

Cordyceps helps synthesize testosterone

A 2022 study evaluated the effects of Cordyceps militaris fermentation products on the reproductive development of male juvenile mice.  Mice were divided into four experimental groups, each fed Cordyceps products for 28 days, while mice in the control group were fed a regular diet. Testicular structure, basic body parameters, sex hormone concentrations and sperm parameters were analyzed.

Compared to the control group, mice who received the mushroom showed significantly increased sperm concentration ratios of motile sperm and significantly promoted the ability of juvenile mice to synthesize testosterone. In conclusion, Cordyceps militaris products, especially the extracellular polysaccharides, exhibit strong androgen-like activities that can promote testosterone synthesis.

Cordyceps enhances hormone levels

A 2016 study looked at the protective effect of Cordyceps militaris extract against reproductive damage, wherein its effects on hormone levels were also evaluated. Rats were given bisphenol A to induce reproductive damage, followed by treatment with Cordyceps militaris. By the end of the fourth week, hormone levels, sperm parameters, and biopsy changes were examined.

Cordyceps militaris mushroom enhanced the blood levels of the Luteinizing hormone (LH) and testosterone, in addition to improvements in sperm count and motility. These results suggest that the mushroom could be used as a potential natural substance for enhancing hormone levels.

Cordyceps helps maintain testosterone levels

The androgens dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and testosterone are essential for various systemic functions in mature men. Alteration of these hormones results in hypogonadism and the enlargement of the prostate, termed benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH).

In a 2020 study, the extract from Cordyceps militaris fruit body was evaluated as a natural product for ameliorating symptoms of male andropause. The mushroom was applied to rats and cultured prostate and testicular cells to explore its effects on hypogonadism, BPH, and prostate cells. The blood concentrations of androgens were determined.

Researchers found that Cordyceps maintained the blood levels of testosterone and DHT. The mushroom also inhibited testosterone-induced prostate enlargement. In addition, the parasitic fungi also increased the secretion of testosterone and DHT. This data suggests that Cordyceps could improve the features of both hypogonadism and BPH in males.

Cordyceps may increase estrogen levels

A 2014 research evaluated the effects of phytoestrogens or estrogen-like compounds from Cordyceps sinensis on rats with estrogen deficiency-induced osteoporosis. The rats were orally given isoflavones obtained from Cordyceps sinensis, following which blood levels of the female hormone estradiol were measured in addition to other parameters.

Results showed that there were improvements in osteoporosis in rats, which were attributable mainly to increased estradiol levels. The biopsy examination showed that dietary Cordyceps can prevent bone loss caused by estrogen deficiency. Researchers concluded that Cordyceps sinensis has significant estrogenic effects.

Benefits Of Cordyceps Mushroom

Because of its general ability to promote health, Cordyceps may also have indirect benefits for hormonal health. For example:

Stress Reduction: Cordyceps can help manage stress, which may indirectly affect hormone balance. Prolonged stress disturbs hormonal balance, especially cortisol levels. This can affect other hormones.

Adrenal Support: Cordyceps is thought to aid in the function of the adrenal glands, which are essential for the synthesis and control of hormones.

Vitality and energy: Given that fatigue and low energy are occasionally associated with hormonal imbalances, Cordyceps may indirectly impact hormonal health by increasing energy levels and decreasing fatigue.

In addition to assisting with hormone balance, Cordyceps mushroom has several positive health effects, including:

Boosts oxygen consumption.

Research indicates that Cordyceps mushrooms enhance blood oxygen availability and promote healthy respiratory and cardiac functions.

Improves endurance.

According to a recent study, increasing the amount of oxygen available to working muscles can improve overall endurance and recovery by significantly increasing Max VO2, time to exertion, and other sports performance parameters. These performance outcomes showed the impact of increasing adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis in the mitochondria. ATP is the “cellular currency” or fuel that gives the body’s cells energy.

Promotes recovery after exercise.

According to other research, mushrooms can improve blood flow to the liver and skeletal muscles that are not in use. This can help with lactate clearance and enable athletes to work out at a higher intensity without becoming fatigued.

 Typically, Cordyceps is available in tablets, capsules, tinctures, or powder form. While powdered Cordyceps can be mixed into protein shakes and smoothies, dried whole cordyceps are frequently used to make tinctures and extracts. The supplement form that most closely matches your lifestyle may be your best option.

It’s critical to keep in mind that dietary supplements are unregulated. Unlike medications, supplements do not go through extensive testing.

However, you can ensure higher quality and safety by noting these points while buying Cordyceps products.

Fruiting bodies

The fruiting bodies of Cordyceps mushrooms generate the most potent products. Since most mycelium-based products are ground down along with their substrate, most final products comprise grain, sawdust, or another filler and very little mycelium or mushroom.

Certified organic

Growing Cordyceps mushrooms organically involves cultivating them as close to nature as possible without using pesticides, herbicides, or other harmful chemicals. The organic certification attests to the stringent testing and inspections that occur from the farm to the packaging, as well as the complete traceability of the entire process. For added peace of mind, ensure the Cordyceps mushroom supplements you’re taking come from organically certified suppliers.

Extraction method

To reap their benefits, it is essential to extract the Cordyceps mushroom’s beneficial compounds correctly. Because beta-glucans are polar molecules, they must be extracted with water. Since lipid-based molecules are non-polar, ethanol must be used to extract them. The mushroom supplement must be dual-extracted using both ethanol and water to integrate these incredibly healthful qualities into your system. Double extraction is crucial when creating any medicinal mushroom product—including tinctures and powders.

Understanding mushroom labels 

It is critical to understand how to read the labels of dietary supplements. Before making any purchases of mushrooms, you must exercise caution and knowledge.  Verify that the mushroom is mentioned in the Cordyceps supplement before any fillers or inferior ingredients.

Transparency is critical; if the label omits information about the part of the mushroom being used or the beta-glucan percentage, those details are probably missing.

Always conduct your own research and speak with a qualified healthcare provider before consuming any ingredients you are unsure of.

Third-party lab tests

Transparency is lacking in the functional mushroom sector. Even big businesses make it difficult to view their laboratory results. Businesses using their facilities or manufacturers for testing is one of the main problems. There may be bias and inaccurate readings with this. Select a product that is tested by a third-party lab that is unaffiliated or unrelated to the manufacturer.

FAQs About Cordyceps For Hormonal Balance

What Are The Cordyceps Benefits For Females?

Women can benefit from cordyceps in several ways, such as rebalancing sex hormones, assisting with menopause, supporting PMS symptoms, boosting fertility, and improving libido. Because of the adaptogen qualities of the mushroom, progesterone, estrogen, and cortisol may function more optimally. Additionally, because of its phytoestrogen qualities, it provides estrogen balance, further promoting women’s hormonal health.

What Is The Best Way to Take Cordyceps For Hormonal Support?

You can use raw or fresh Cordyceps, but you may have difficulty finding whole fruiting bodies. Make sure to use heat to break down the outer layer of chitin, and then cook or steep it in food.  The more common method of consuming Cordyceps is through supplements, either powders, tinctures, or capsule forms of mushroom extracts.

Can You Take Cordyceps With Other Medications?

Despite the many health advantages of Cordyceps mushrooms, not everyone should take them as they may interact with certain medications. They could, for example, interfere with blood thinners or have an effect on blood sugar levels, which is crucial for people with diabetes or those undergoing anticoagulant therapy. Before beginning any new supplement, always consult your doctor, especially if you have underlying medical conditions or are on medication. 

Does Cordyceps Increase Testosterone?

Although human research on Cordyceps mushrooms is limited, the mushrooms appear to have the potential to enhance sexual function in rodents and mice. According to an animal study, cultures of Cordyceps mushrooms may increase testosterone and enhance sex drive, erection, and testicular function.

What Is The Best Time To Take Cordyceps For Hormonal Balance?

Because Cordyceps mushrooms give your body nutrition and structural support, when you take them, it is less important than how often you take them. Regular use of cordyceps is necessary to reap its benefits, so ensuring your body gets the support it needs requires taking a daily dose.

Conclusion

Although Cordyceps is well known for enhancing energy, it is also thought to have a hormone-balancing effect. They help the adrenal glands work better and fight fatigue, which is frequently a sign of hormonal imbalances. Furthermore, studies have indicated that the mushroom may balance testosterone levels and enhance estrogen levels.

Consult a professional before using Cordyceps mushrooms or supplements to balance hormones. Your body’s hormones are essential for controlling a myriad of physiological functions. Consequently, implementing a new hormonal health regimen without consulting a professional may have unanticipated repercussions.

References

1. Northwell Health. 11 unexpected signs of hormonal imbalance.

2. Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy. Cordyceps sinensis-derived fungus Isaria felina ameliorates experimental autoimmune thyroiditis in mice.

3. Scientific reports. Effects of Cordyceps militaris fermentation products on reproductive development in juvenile male mice.

4. Systems biology in reproductive medicine. Protective effect of Cordyceps militaris extract against bisphenol A induced reproductive damage.

5. Nutrients. Cordyceps militaris Fruit Body Extract Decreases Testosterone Catabolism and Testosterone-Stimulated Prostate Hypertrophy.

6. BMC complementary and alternative medicine. The effects of Cordyceps sinensis phytoestrogen on estrogen deficiency-induced osteoporosis in ovariectomized rats.

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.

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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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