Cordyceps sinensis has been helping athletes succeed since the early 90s. In 1993, the Chinese Olympic women’s running team used the medicinal mushroom to break not one but three records at the World Tour Track and Field Championship in Germany. But, Cordyceps sinensis isn’t the only medicinal Cordyceps mushroom with exceptional benefits for athletes. In recent years, scientists have discovered that Cordyceps militaris, a close relative of Cordyceps sinensis, also has a long list of promising benefits, and the benefits don’t just apply to athletes.
Cordyceps militaris also supports immune health, a healthy libido, and healthy inflammatory function, among other essential functions. It’s also cheaper and easier to grow than Cordyceps sinensis. It’s no wonder so many supplement brands and supplement manufacturers are adding Cordyceps militaris to their supplements.
In this article, you’ll learn all about Cordyceps militaris. First you’ll learn more about what it is and how it’s different from Cordyceps sinensis. Then, you’ll learn all about the powerful benefits of this medicinal mushroom backed by scientific research.
Whether you’re a supplement brand, supplement manufacturer, or interested in taking Cordyceps militaris for yourself, consider this article your complete guide.
Cordyceps sinensis vs militaris
Cordyceps militaris and Cordyceps sinensis are both species of Cordyceps which is a fungus native to high-mountain regions in china. The generic name Cordyceps is derived from the Greek word κορδύλη kordýlē, meaning “club”. Cordyceps mushrooms are, indeed, club-shaped.
Cordyceps sinensis was the first species of Cordyceps to gain popularity in the western world following the success of the Chinese Olympic women’s running team in 1993. However, Cordyceps sinensis is notoriously hard to grow, which is no surprise considering Cordyceps sinensis naturally grows inside of caterpillars. The parasitic fungus germinates in the living larva, kills and mummifies it, until a dark brown, stalk-like fruiting body emerges from the corpse and stands upright. It would be quite difficult to replicate that process. Cordyceps sinensis is not only hard to cultivate, but it’s also extremely expensive. In fact, wild Cordyceps sinensis costs over $20,000 per kilogram, making it the most expensive mushroom in the world.
Cordyceps militaris, on the other hand, is much easier to cultivate and much less expensive, making it the preferred Cordyceps mushroom for dietary supplements. Additionally, recent research suggests that Cordyceps militaris may actually provide more benefits than its famous cousin, Cordyceps sinensis. Check out some of the most important benefits of Cordyceps militaris in the next section.
Cordyceps militaris – Benefits
Scientists have only begun to study the benefits of Cordyceps militaris. So far, they’ve found evidence that Cordyceps militaris may provide the following benefits.
1. Supports ATP production → Increases Energy
ATP, also known as Adenosine Triphosphate, is the primary energy carrier in all living organisms on earth. Every cell uses ATP for energy. One of the greatest benefits of Cordyceps militaris is its ability to support ATP production and increase ATP levels.  Increased ATP means increased energy, an increased tolerance to high-intensity exercise, and an increased TTE (time to exhaustion).
2. Increases oxygen consumption → Improves physical fitness
VO2 max is used to measure the cardiorespiratory systems’ ability to transport oxygen from the air to the tissues and is a common measurement to determine fitness level. Cordyceps militaris has been found to significantly increase VO2 max after just three weeks of consistent supplementation. 
3. Provides mitochondrial protection → Anti-aging properties
Mitochondria are organelles that can be considered the power generators of cells. Their main task is to convert oxygen and nutrients into adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Overtime and due to specific internal circumstances, mitochondria can become injured and start to swell, which leads to the development of diseases associated with oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is notorious for damaging cells, proteins, and DNA, and contributing to aging.  Research indicates that Cordyceps militaris offers protection for mitochondria and, thus, exhibits strong anti-aging properties. 
4. Strengthens T-cell response → Supports immune health
T-cells play an essential role in the immune system. They are responsible for directly killing infected host cells, activating other immune cells, producing cytokines, and regulating the immune response.  Research suggests that Cordyceps militaris may help to improve T-cell responses against diseases and tumors, ultimately boosting and supporting the immune system. 
5. Anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties
Inflammation is a beneficial response to infection and tissue injury that leads to the restoration of normal tissue structure and function. A normal inflammatory response is beneficial. Chronic inflammation, however, contributes to the development of many inflammatory diseases and can even lead to cancer.  Scientists have found that Cordyceps militaris may exhibit both anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. 
6. Increases testosterone → Improves sexual and reproductive health
Cordyceps mushrooms have been used for the enhancement of sexual function for thousands of years. Recent evidence demonstrates why and how. Both Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris can increase testosterone levels, thereby improving reproductive activity and restoring impaired reproductive function. 
Many health enthusiasts, athletes, and supplement manufacturers have known about the benefits of Cordyceps sinensis since the early 90s, but Cordyceps sinensis is notoriously hard to grow and extremely expensive. It’s the most expensive mushroom in the world.
Scientists are now discovering that Cordyceps sinensis’s cousin, Cordyceps militaris, is not only easier to grow and less expensive but that it also has a long list of benefits. Some speculate that Cordyceps militaris may have even more benefits than the famous Cordyceps sinensis, making it an interesting ingredient for supplement brands, supplement manufacturers, and consumers.
Are you looking for a supplement manufacturer?
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