Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "

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Cordyceps sinensis is not much use to young bodybuilders

Extracts of the Cordyceps sinensis mushroom don't help male weight-trainers aged 19-25. The extracts have no effect on testosterone levels, body fat, muscle mass or maximal strength. Taiwanese researchers came to this conclusion after doing experiments with sixteen young men.

If you give extracts of Cordyceps sinensis to mice, their endurance capacity increases. [J Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Jul;93(1):75-81.] If you give the same extracts to people over the age of 50, their metabolic threshold improves. But Cordyceps sinensis has no performance-enhancing effects on young endurance athletes.

In animal and cell studies, extracts of Cordyceps sinensis, like the commercially available CS4, boost testosterone production. The extracts contain adenosine analogues such as cordycepin, a compound that imitates the effect of the testosterone-booster hormone hCG.

The properties of Cordyceps sinensis are of interest to strength athletes. But if research on the effect of cordyceps on endurance athletes shows that only older endurance athletes benefit from the supplement, is the same the case for strength athletes? This may well be the case.

According to the tables below, eight weeks' supplementation with 2.4 g hot-water extract of Cordyceps sinensis daily has no effect in men aged 19-25 at least. The men who were given cordyceps [CS] performed no better than the men who were given a placebo [P]. All the subjects trained three times a week in a gym during the period of the experiment. Each session the men did bench-presses, squats, seated-rows, leg-curls, leg-extensions and triceps-extensions.

Cordyceps sinensis is not much use to young bodybuilders

Cordyceps sinensis is not much use to young bodybuilders

Ethnopharmacologists will not be surprised by the Taiwanese findings. They know that traditional healers in the Himalayas only use Cordyceps sinensis to treat diseases of aging. [J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2011 Jan; 2(1): 9-13.]

The Taiwanese also examined the subjects' blood for signs of liver and kidney damage. They found no adverse effects, and therefore conclude that Cordyceps sinensis is not dangerous for the liver or kidneys.

Biol. Sport 2011;28:107-110.

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