The Nootropic Benefits of Cordyceps

The Nootropic Benefits of Cordyceps

Over the past few years, several different types of mushrooms have become popular in the nootropics community. Cordyceps is one of the most-popular mushrooms being used and is said to have a number of nootropic benefits.

It’s been used for centuries in traditional medicine and has a long track record of safe, effective use. In this post, we’re going to look at the benefits of cordyceps, the optimal dosage, potential negative effects, and the best places to buy. But first, let’s take a look at what cordyceps is.

What Is Cordyceps?

Cordyceps is a type of mushroom that has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. It has been used to treat a variety of specific ailments and as a general healing agent. While science is still catching up with tradition, some of the studies that have been done on cordyceps have been promising.

This fascinating fungus grows abundantly in warm, humid climates and there are more than 400 different species of cordyceps. It is known by many names, including: 

  • Cordyceps Sinensis
  • Cordyceps Militaris
  • Caterpillar Fungus
  • Cetepiller Mushroom
  • Summer Grass Winter Worm
  • Totsu Kasa
  • Yarchakunbu
  • Aweto

The most commonly used and well-researched types of cordyceps is cordyceps militaris. It is sold as an extract in supplement form and has been shown to have several nootropic properties. Cordyceps militaris contains cordycepin (aka 3′-deoxyadenosine), a substance that has interested researchers for its ability to reduce the symptoms of depression, improve sleep and memory, and for several other potential benefits.

One study found that cordycepin was able to reverse depressive behaviors in mice who had been exposed to chronic unpredictable mild stress. Another study using mice found cordycepin to have a rapid antidepressant effect. This study found that cordycepin had an antidepressant effect that was stronger and came on faster than the prototypical tricyclic antidepressant, imipramine.

Cordyceps mushrooms

In addition to its ability to reduce the symptoms of depression, animal studies have shown that cordyceps can also improve sleep and memory. A 2013 study done on rats showed that cordycepin increased non-rapid-eye-movement (nREM) sleep and reduced sleep-wake cycles. Another study done on rats showed that cordyceps militaris was able to reverse chemically-induced memory impairment.

As you can see, there have been a number of studies that support the idea that cordyceps has nootropic properties. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these studies have been conducted on mice and rats. While using animal models can be great for learning about different substances, the conclusions drawn from animal research don’t always translate to humans.

That being said, the studies done on animals certainly support what has been reported by cordyceps users for decades. Researchers conduct ongoing animal and human studies on cordyceps, expanding our understanding of its effects. In the past 4 years since the article’s initial publication, 864 scientific papers about cordyceps have been published. While none of them looked specifically at using cordyceps as a nootropic, many of them have reported brain-boosting effects. Now let’s take a look at some of the nootropic benefits that people have been reporting from taking supplemental cordyceps.

Cordyceps Nootropic Benefits

The Nootropic Benefits of Cordyceps 1

One of the benefits of cordyceps that makes it so popular as a nootropic is its ability to improve mood. Just as the animal studies mentioned above suggest, many users report a strong and rapid antidepressant effect from taking cordyceps. Some users say that it does more for their mood than prescription antidepressants.

Another reason why nootropic users love cordyceps is for its ability to improve sleep. People on Reddit and other message boards report having the best sleep of their lives after taking cordyceps. Users report falling asleep faster, staying asleep longer, and waking up feeling refreshed.

A non-nootropic benefit of cordyceps that some people have noticed is an increase in physical endurance. Some users report that they can run and do other types of cardio for longer periods of time than usual. Unlike most of cordyceps’ nootropic effects, this benefit has been studied in both animals and humans.

A 2017 study showed that cordyceps increased the amount of time that mice were able to swim. Another study done on humans a year earlier also showed promising results. Researchers randomly assigned twenty-eight participants to receive either cordyceps or a placebo. After one week, none of the participants showed improvement in any of the researchers’ measurements. However, after three weeks, the participants in the cordyceps groups showed improvement in several areas related to endurance.

As you can see, just like another nootropic mushroom, lion’s mane, cordyceps seems to have a wide variety of potential benefits. A 2014 paper reviewing the literature on cordyceps’ benefits reported it to have anti-tumor, anti-fatigue, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, anti-diabetic, and anti-aging effects – to name a few.

Benefits of cordyceps:

  • Improved mood
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Increased energy
  • Better sleep
  • Reduced inflammation
  • Anti-cancer
  • Improved immune system

Cordyceps Dosage

The Nootropic Benefits of Cordyceps 2

Human trials have used cordyceps dosages ranging from 1,000 milligrams (mg) to 3,000 mg. Usually, people take it once a day in the morning or twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. Some users have reported that they have trouble falling asleep when taking cordyceps at night.

The full benefits of cordyceps may take several weeks to notice. It’s probably a good idea to start with a dosage at the low end of the range above (1,000 mg/day). If after a couple weeks you don’t notice anything, consider increasing the dosage.

You can take cordyceps with or without food. Taking it on an empty stomach may increase absorption but may also cause mild nausea.

Cordyceps Negative Effects

Negative effects clipboard icon

Most people seem to tolerate cordyceps quite well with few, if any negative effects. When they do occur, they are usually mild and go away after you stop taking cordyceps. Reported negative effects include nausea, trouble sleeping, anxiety, and tiredness.

These negative effects seem to be uncommon but can occur. Changing the way you take cordyceps may mitigate some or all of these effects. If you experience nausea while taking cordyceps on an empty stomach, try taking it with a small snack. If you experience trouble sleeping, try only taking cordyceps in the morning. 

When starting or stopping any drug, supplement, exercise program, or behavioral routine, it’s always a good idea to consult a licensed medical professional. If you’re currently taking any prescription medications, it can be especially important to talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet or supplement regimen. 

Also read our blog on Astaxanthin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *