Cordyceps mushroom and man running

Unlocking Endurance: The Power of Cordyceps in Sports Performance

Unlocking Endurance: The Power of Cordyceps in Sports Performance

Endurance sports demand not only physical prowess but also the ability to push limits and overcome fatigue. Athletes are constantly searching for natural supplements that can enhance their performance without compromising their health. One such natural marvel gaining attention is Cordyceps, a unique fungus that has been a staple in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Recent studies have shed light on the potential benefits of Cordyceps for endurance sports, making it a promising addition to an athlete's regimen.

Aerobic Capacity Boost

In a groundbreaking study conducted by Xiao et al., the effects of Cordyceps supplementation on aerobic capacity were investigated. Over a 6-week period, adults experienced a significant increase in aerobic capacity. This finding suggests that Cordyceps may play a vital role in enhancing the body's ability to utilize oxygen during exercise, a key factor in endurance sports performance (1).

Insulin Sensitivity Improvement

Beyond its impact on aerobic capacity, Cordyceps has shown promise in improving insulin sensitivity. In a study involving rats, a mere 10 days of supplementation resulted in enhanced insulin sensitivity. This is crucial for athletes as improved insulin sensitivity can contribute to better glucose utilization and energy metabolism, ultimately supporting sustained performance (1).

Traditional Wisdom Meets Modern Science

Cordyceps sinensis has a rich history in traditional Chinese medicine, where it has been used for health preservation and fatigue reduction. This traditional wisdom is now finding validation in scientific studies, making Cordyceps a compelling option for athletes seeking a natural performance enhancer (2).

Maximal Oxygen Consumption and Ventilatory Threshold

Athletes aiming to reach their peak performance levels often focus on maximizing oxygen consumption (VO2max) and ventilatory threshold (VT). Cordyceps is believed to contribute to improvements in these areas, providing athletes with the edge they need during high-intensity workouts. The fungus achieves this by enhancing oxygen utilization and blood flow, ultimately aiding in lactate clearance (4).

Optimal Dosage and Duration

Studies consistently suggest that the benefits of Cordyceps are more pronounced with higher dosages (>3g/day) and longer-term interventions (5-6 weeks). This underscores the importance of consistency and patience when incorporating Cordyceps into an endurance athlete's routine. The cumulative effects over time seem to be the key to unlocking its full potential (5).

Key Takeaways 

Cordyceps is emerging as a natural powerhouse for endurance sports, with its ability to enhance aerobic capacity, improve insulin sensitivity, and optimize key performance indicators like VO2max and VT. As athletes strive for excellence, the inclusion of Cordyceps in their training and supplementation strategy may prove to be a game-changer. However, it's crucial to consult with healthcare professionals and consider individual needs before incorporating any new supplement into one's regimen. With the right approach, Cordyceps could be the secret weapon that helps athletes go the extra mile in their pursuit of endurance excellence.


  1. XIAO, Y.X., Z. HUANG, AND G. CHEN. Increased aerobic capacity in healthy elderly humans given a fermentation product of cordyceps Cs-4. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 31:S174. 1999.
  2. Bao TT. Further study of pharmacological functions on Jin Shui Bao. J Admin Trad Chinese Med. 1995;5(suppl6)
  3. Yi X, Xi-zhen H, Jia-shi Z. Randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial and assessment of fermentation product of Cordyceps sinensis (Cs-4) in enhancing aerobic capacity and respiratory function of the healthy elderly volunteers. Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine. 2004;10(3):187–192.
  4. Adams RP, Welch HG. Oxygen uptake, acid-base status, and performance with varied inspired oxygen fractions. Journal of Applied Physiology. 1980;49(5):863–868.
  5. Hirsch KR, Smith-Ryan AE, Roelofs EJ, Trexler ET, Mock MG. Cordyceps militaris Improves Tolerance to High-Intensity Exercise After Acute and Chronic Supplementation. J Diet Suppl. 2017 Jan 2;14(1):42-53. doi: 10.1080/19390211.2016.1203386. Epub 2016 Jul 13. PMID: 27408987; PMCID: PMC5236007.

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