Cordyceps For Weight Loss: A Natural Tool For Weight Loss

Last Updated on January 12, 2024

One of the most significant issues related to public health in the modern world is the obesity epidemic. Over the past three decades, obesity rates have been rising steadily on a global scale. More people live with obesity than underweight people in almost every region today, and if current trends continue, 1 billion adults, or 12% of the world’s population, may be living with obesity by 2025.

Eating habits certainly have a significant impact on weight loss. In addition to a balanced diet and regular physical activity, certain natural supplements may aid in weight loss.

This is where Cordyceps, a possible all-natural weight-loss aid, comes in. Cordyceps are functional mushrooms that have been utilized for centuries for various health advantages, but they are now garnering attention for their ability to help maintain a healthy weight. The primary explanation for the connection between Cordyceps and weight loss is the mushroom’s capacity to increase energy and endurance, which can improve physical performance and potentially increase caloric burn.

Additionally, some studies indicate that Cordyceps may affect lipid profiles and metabolism, helping the body use fat for energy more effectively. Furthermore, studies have demonstrated that by altering the gut flora, cordycepin, an essential bioactive component of Cordyceps, may help prevent weight gain.

This post navigates how Cordyceps could help you lose weight and better explore how they could do it.

cordyceps for weight loss

Unveiling The Science Behind Cordyceps For Weight Loss

Cordyceps, or the caterpillar fungus, has long been revered in traditional Asian medicine, mainly traditional Chinese medicine, as a powerful medicinal tool and a natural superfood. These fungi, particularly the Cordyceps militaris species, are said to have numerous health advantages, including helping people lose weight, according to traditional Chinese medicine. The effectiveness of Cordyceps is suggested by the fact that, even after thousands of years of use, traditional Chinese medicine still praises the fungi.

Cordyceps have a proven weight loss potential that goes beyond anecdotal evidence, and numerous modern research have examined the benefits of Cordyceps for weight loss.

There are various reasons why Cordyceps are beneficial for weight loss. Their possible impact on fat deposition is one crucial consideration. Supplementing with Cordyceps as an extract or powder may affect how the body metabolizes fat. This effect may decrease the body’s fat reserves, facilitating weight loss.

Furthermore, various compounds found in Cordyceps species, including Cordyceps militaris and sinensis, may impact the body’s metabolic rate. Increased metabolic rate can help with weight loss because it increases the body’s efficiency in burning calories. Because of these advantages, Cordyceps are frequently included in natural weight-management supplements.

Here are the studies that have explored the mechanism of Cordyceps weight loss benefits.

Cordyceps may aid in weight loss

According to a 2018 study, cordycepin causes weight loss in obese rats fed a high-fat diet by regulating their gut microbiota. A growing body of research indicates that alteration of the gut microbiota contributes to obesity. This study confirmed that cordycepin decreases body weight gain and fat accumulation around the kidneys and epididymis in rats given a high-fat diet. When rats are fed a high-fat diet, cordycepin alters the proportion of intestinal bacteria. According to the study’s findings, cordycepin can lower body weight, and the microbiome changes it causes appear to be one of its mechanisms for reducing obesity.

Cordyceps may alter gut microbiota for weight loss

The pathogenesis of obesity is attributed to inherent inflammation, which is primarily mediated by the dysbiotic gut microbiota. Researchers from the People’s Republic of China found in a 2022 study that cordyceps modulates enterococcus cecorum abundance and bile acid metabolism, improving obesity and related inflammation.

In mice fed a high-fat diet (HFD), the water extract of Cordyceps reduces inflammation linked to disturbances in glucose and lipid metabolism. Cordyceps demonstrated the regulation of bile acid metabolism in the gut by reducing Enterococcus cecorum. This microbe produces bile salt hydrolase, as revealed by gene sequencing and microbiomic analysis.

Cordyceps may prevent obesity related complications

The health benefits of indigestible polysaccharides have been attributed to improved gut microbes and nutrient-dense metabolites.  In a study published in 2022, the polysaccharides from Cordyceps militaris were shown to reduce obesity in mice given a high-fat diet by altering their gut microbiota and metabolites.

According to the findings, the administration of polysaccharides derived from Cordyceps militaris to mice fed a high-fat diet resulted in a reduction of body weight and fat accumulation.  Notably, altered gut microbes and metabolites were linked to preventing obesity by CMP. These results imply that Cordyceps militaris polysaccharides could be used as a prospective prebiotic agent to modify particular gut microbes and associated metabolites, which are essential in preventing diseases associated with obesity.

Cordyceps  has anti-obesity effects

In a 2022 study, the anti-obesity effects of Cordyceps militaris and its possible pathways were examined. It is possible that Cordyceps militaris can control obesity brought on by menopause because it has been shown to prevent metabolic syndromes, such as obesity, and to support the reproductive hormone system. The study looked into the mechanisms underlying menopausal obesity and the effectiveness of extracting Cordyceps militaris.

Rats were given the extract from Cordyceps militaris, and measurements were made of their body weight, weight in the liver and uterus, and cholesterol levels. Techniques were used to forecast the mushroom extract’s anti-obesity mechanisms.

The extract from cordyceps reduced triglyceride levels and inhibited weight gain, fat accumulation, and liver enlargement. These findings imply that an extract from Cordyceps militaris has anti-obesity properties at menopause. The mushroom contains compounds that may control pathways linked to menopause and obesity.

Benefits Of Cordyceps Mushroom

Despite being used for a long time in traditional Asian medicine, Cordyceps is still relatively unknown in modern science. Though more than 400 species of Cordyceps have been identified to date, Western researchers have focused primarily on Cordyceps militaris and sinensis.

Current scientific studies have demonstrated the numerous health advantages of Cordyceps militaris and Cordyceps sinensis, including:

Anti-aging Properties

One of the primary attributes of Cordyceps that contribute to their anti-aging properties is their antioxidant capacity, which has been demonstrated in many research. According to studies, Cordyceps boosts antioxidant levels in animals, which enhances memory and other cognitive functions like creativity and learning capacity.

May Boost Physical Performance

The most popular benefit of Cordyceps mushrooms is improved physical performance. This is because Cordyceps enhances the cellular production of ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, which is necessary for providing energy to the muscles.

This, therefore, enhances the body’s utilization of oxygen, particularly during physical activity. In fact, there is evidence indicating that supplementing with Cordyceps may raise VO2 max, which is a measure of an individual’s aerobic capacity. It is the maximum or optimal rate at which the heart, lungs, and muscles can use oxygen during exercise.

Regulates Blood Sugar

Studies on diabetic mice have shown that Cordyceps can reduce blood sugar levels. Based on available data, these medicinal mushrooms may prove to be a beneficial treatment option for type 2 diabetes. This is because Cordyceps mimic how insulin functions, seemingly maintaining blood sugar levels within a healthy range.

Potential Anti-tumor Effects

Test tube research has provided evidence that Cordyceps may aid in slowing the growth of tumors and may prevent the growth of various cancer cell types, including those found in the liver, lung, colon, and skin. Additional animal research showed that Cordyceps possesses anti-tumor properties against lung cancer, melanoma, and lymphoma. Additionally, there is evidence that Cordyceps may be able to reverse leukopenia brought on by specific cancer treatments.

Benefits For Heart Health

Because of their high adenosine content, studies indicate that Cordyceps may have cardioprotective qualities. Research has demonstrated that the mushroom can decrease heart injury in rats with chronic kidney disease and lower the risk of cardiac failure.

Furthermore, research on animals suggests that Cordyceps may lower the risk of heart disease by regulating triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels.

Helps Lower Blood Pressure

Cordycepin, which is produced by cordyceps, helps in controlling blood pressure. Cordycepin enhances blood vessel dilatation and heart contractility.

As a result, your heart has less strain to pump blood throughout your body, improving blood flow. The heart stays in optimal health because it doesn’t have to work too hard.

In addition, the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties of Cordyceps mushrooms help lower blood pressure.

Potentially Lower Inflammation

Due to its ability to inhibit specific proteins that increase inflammation, some researchers think that Cordyceps may have anti-inflammatory properties. Furthermore, research on animals has demonstrated that Cordyceps may decrease airway inflammation. Additional studies indicate that it may also have anti-inflammatory properties when applied topically.

Boost Your Libido

Cordyceps mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine to boost libido and enhance sexual function. Cordyceps, a natural aphrodisiac that increases blood flow to the penile area, helps in erection. Cordyceps is effective in treating erectile dysfunction.

Strengthens The Immune System

Your body can fend off illnesses by strengthening its immune system with Cordyceps mushrooms. According to studies, Cordyceps have beneficial effects on innate and adaptive immunity. Furthermore, research has shown that the Cordyceps mushroom modulates the immune system in the gut.

Supplements containing Cordyceps are easily found, but buying a premium supplement made of mushrooms from a reliable supplier is crucial. It’s critical now more than ever to understand what constitutes a high-quality supplement and how to select the best one, given the increasing number of mushroom supplements available on the market.  Doing this can ensure you get the full benefit of all the bioactive compounds in the mushroom.

Here are some pointers to help you select the best Cordyceps mushroom supplement:

Look for Products Made With Fruiting Bodies Of The Mushroom

What distinguishes the fruiting body of the Cordyceps mushroom from its mycelium, then? A mushroom’s stem, caps, and gills collectively refer to the fruiting body, while the mycelium houses the roots of the mushroom.

Studies have indicated that the most advantageous and active compounds in functional mushrooms are concentrated in the fungus’ fruiting body.

Select A Supplement Form That Works For Your Lifestyle

Supplements containing Cordyceps mushrooms are available in several forms, such as tinctures, capsules, gummies, and powders. Although this has less to do with quality and more with personal preference, it’s still something to consider before purchasing. Think about which will be a convenient and enjoyable addition to your daily routine.

If you frequently drink protein shakes or smoothies, a mushroom powder or tincture could be an easy and quick way to get your recommended daily intake of supplements. Complementary ingredients like collagen powder or other superfoods are simple to add to this. If you don’t mind the earthy flavor, many powdered options are easy to add to coffee. Of course, you can always use capsules if you’d rather keep things simple and flavorless.

Extraction Process

Cordyceps mushrooms contain water-soluble compounds (like beta-glucans). Therefore, it’s worth checking if a supplement you’re considering uses a water extraction process. By doing this, you can be sure you’re receiving all the active ingredients. Selecting supplements made from water-extracted mushrooms also increases the chance that the vital antioxidants found in mushrooms will remain intact.

Reputation, Third-Party Testing, And Transparency

With Cordyceps mushrooms, as with any supplement, it’s important to buy from a reliable company that is open about giving plenty of information about the products it sells. A manufacturer that is transparent offers information about their sources and the process from beginning to end.

Another sign of a high-quality supplement is a seal from a third party, such as the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), which attests to the supplement’s compliance with stringent purity requirements.  Additionally, it is wise to choose supplements that have undergone independent testing for potency and purity as well as to ensure that impurities like mold, pesticides, and heavy metals are absent.

Certifications

Understanding the origin of mushrooms can help guarantee their quality and lower the possibility of contamination. Selecting a Cordyceps supplement that fulfills the requirements for specific certifications may be a sign of superior quality. To ensure the mushrooms are grown in a healthy environment without adding certain chemicals, such as pesticides, you can search for products labeled “USDA Organic” or “Non-GMO.”

This indicates that they were grown organically, free from pollutants or toxins, and without the use of hazardous pesticides. Compared to non-organic mushrooms, they have a significantly higher concentration of nutrients and minerals.

No Additives Or Fillers

Some Cordyceps supplements might contain binders, fillers, and other additives. Experts advise against selecting products with unnecessary additives or unwanted ingredients because they may aggravate allergies or upset the digestive system.

Furthermore, remember that certain supplements made from mushrooms may be grown on grains or other substrates that may be problematic for those with allergies. Take caution when eating any mushrooms grown in a substrate (a mixture of soil and grains that promotes indoor fungal growth) if you have a gluten allergy.

FAQs About Cordyceps For Weight Loss

What Are The Side Effects Of Using Cordyceps For Weight Loss?

Since traditional Chinese medicine has long used these functional mushrooms, it is assumed that they are safe for consumption even though there aren’t enough studies to determine whether taking supplements of Cordyceps is safe for humans. Some users may experience a variety of side effects, such as dry mouth, nausea, and stomach discomfort if they take excessive amounts. Apart from these side effects, many experts, practitioners of alternative or complementary medicine, and even governments regard Cordyceps as generally safe.

How Much Cordyceps Should You Take For Weight Loss?

Since there has been so little official research done on the use of Cordyceps in humans, more specialized studies are still needed to determine the best dosage of the mushroom for each purpose, including weight loss. One to three grams per day is the typical dosage used in human research. This dosage appears to be associated with no adverse effects and may offer the health benefits associated with Cordyceps mushroom.

How Do You Incorporate Cordyceps Into Your Weight Loss Routine?

Although whole Cordyceps fruit bodies are also available, cordyceps extract is typically available in the form of capsules or powder. Since Cordyceps powder is so simple to mix and has a nearly undetectable taste, you can take it by diluting it in liquid and adding it to your morning coffee or almost any other food or drink. If you would instead consume Cordyceps fruit bodies in tea form, you can use six to eight fruit bodies per 200–250 milliliters of water.

Does Cordyceps Help Lose Weight Immediately?

The effects of Cordyceps, like those of many other natural supplements, usually take time to be apparent, and this duration can vary depending on the person, the particular health goal, the dosage, and other variables.  It could take several months for some people to experience noticeable effects, while it might happen for others in a matter of weeks. Regular, consistent use over an extended time is usually required to reap the full benefits of Cordyceps.

What Time Of The Day Should I Take Cordyceps?

Because Cordyceps can naturally increase energy and stamina, many people prefer taking it in the morning. It is widely accepted that Cordyceps can enhance oxygen utilization and support respiratory function, which may benefit daily vitality and physical performance.

Conclusion

An ancient component of traditional Asian medicine, Cordyceps is well known for its possible advantages in managing weight. Cordyceps’ effects on body fat and fat deposition have been identified by scientific research, which has also linked it to weight loss. In addition, the mushroom may prevent obesity-related complications.

References

1. World Heart Federation. Obesity.

2. Experimental and therapeutic medicine. Anti-obesity effect in high-fat-diet-induced obese C57BL/6 mice: Study of a novel extract from mulberry ( Morus alba) leaves fermented with Cordyceps militaris.

3. Food research international (Ottawa, Ont.). Polysaccharides from Cordyceps militaris prevent obesity in association with modulating gut microbiota and metabolites in high-fat diet-fed mice.

4. Lipids in health and disease. Cordycepin reduces weight through regulating gut microbiota in high-fat diet-induced obese rats.5. The American journal of Chinese medicine. Cordyceps Improves Obesity and its Related Inflammation via Modulation of Enterococcus cecorum Abundance and Bile Acid Metabolism.

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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