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Home Learn Learn About Cordyceps in 5 Minutes


Home Learn Learn About Cordyceps in 5 Minutes

Learn About Cordyceps in 5 Minutes

Table of contents

What is cordyceps extract?

Cordyceps is a type of fungus that has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). In addition to potentially having powerful antioxidant properties, cordyceps also contains adenosine, beta glucans, and various other beneficial compounds that may help with a wide range of conditions. Scientists believe that the substances present in cordyceps may improve your immunity, prevent cardiovascular disease, help with diabetes, and exert plenty of other impressive benefits. The cordyceps Feel uses is a 4:1 extract, which is a highly concentrated form of dried and powdered cordyceps fungi.

Is cordyceps extract water-soluble or fat-soluble?

The majority of the compounds contained in cordyceps extract are considered to be highly soluble in water, but some compounds may only be soluble in lipids.

Where can cordyceps be found naturally? Common sources of cordyceps:

The only known source of the unique combination of compounds present in cordyceps is members of the Cordyceps fungus family.

What is the recommended daily value for cordyceps extract?

Cordyceps is not considered to be an essential nutrient, so there is no official nutrient reference value (NRV) for this substance. In clinical studies, however, cordyceps extract doses between 1,000mg and 4,000mg per day have been well-tolerated.

Can you absorb enough cordyceps from food?

Cordyceps is not present in any types of food, and this fungus is not commonly added to food due to its intense and unpleasant taste. Therefore, it’s much more convenient to enjoy the benefits of cordyceps by taking it in the form of an oral supplement.

Why is cordyceps necessary for your body?

Cordyceps contains a vast array of different compounds that have been identified as potentially beneficial for human health. Chief among them is cordycepin, which appears to have widespread antioxidant benefits that affect various systems within your body. Cordyceps also contains multiple polysaccharides, which are believed to have antioxidant potential.

Furthermore, this fungus is a great source of adenosine, which is believed to speed up wound healing, prevent shingles, and potentially prevent heart conditions. In consideration of all these potential benefits, there’s no reason to leave this harmless fungus out of your diet. 

Functions of cordyceps

  • Potential immune benefits: Various lab studies have shown that cordyceps may improve immunity via this substance’s purported antioxidant effects.
  • Potential antioxidant benefits: Research suggests that the apparent antioxidant benefits of cordyceps may prevent common signs of ageing and exert neuroprotective benefits.
  • Potential diabetes benefits: Studies indicate that cordyceps may help with diabetes by reducing blood sugar levels, and this substance may also help with kidney disease, which is often comorbid with diabetes.
  • Potential cardiovascular benefits: In China, cordyceps is an approved medication for arrhythmia, a cardiovascular condition in which your heartbeat is irregular. Cordyceps may also exert further cardiovascular benefits, which researchers attribute to this substance's high adenosine content.
  • Potential exercise benefits: Clinical research suggests that cordyceps may improve both exercise performance and resistance to exercise-related fatigue.

When should you take cordyceps extract?

Each antioxidant compound affects your body differently, and the antioxidants in cordyceps appear to have impressively widespread effects while also zeroing in on particular potential benefits. The reported antioxidant potential of cordyceps seems, for instance, to be laser-focused on your immune system, which could make this fungus useful in preventing infectious disease. The antioxidants in cordyceps might also help prevent both cardiovascular disease and diabetes, which occur when oxidative stress piles up over time. All told, the potential benefits of cordyceps are so compelling that you should use this fungus even when infectious disease isn’t a major concern.

How long do you need to take cordyceps extract to start experiencing its benefits?

Since most of the beneficial substances in cordyceps, including cordycepin, are water-soluble, you may notice the effects of this fungus almost immediately.

How long does it take for your body to digest/absorb cordyceps?

Your body will absorb the water-soluble substances in cordyceps within 24-48 hours. Lipid-soluble substances in this fungus will take 2-4 days to fully absorb.

How long does cordyceps extract stay in your body after you take it?

The water-soluble substances in cordyceps will only remain in your body for around 24 hours after they are fully absorbed. Any lipid-soluble substances in this fungus, however, will remain in your body for at least 3-5 days after absorption.

Is cordyceps an antioxidant?

Many of the compounds present in cordyceps appear to have potent antioxidant properties.

Can you overdose on cordyceps? What are the effects?

There are no reported cases of cordyceps overdose. When taken in extremely large quantities, this fungus may cause issues with blood clotting or harmfully impact your immunity.

Does cordyceps extract dissolve, flush out, or build up in the body?

The water-soluble substances in cordyceps will either dissolve into your tissues or flush out of your body entirely within 2-3 days. Lipid-soluble substances present in cordyceps may build up in your fatty tissues over time as you continue ingesting this fungus as a supplement.

Can you take cordyceps during a diet?

Antioxidant compounds may help you attain and maintain a healthy weight. Cordyceps is a vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty-free substance, so it does not interfere with common dietary restrictions.

Are there synthetic forms of cordyceps?

Cordycepin is widely synthesised for research purposes. So far, however, researchers have not successfully synthesised the full spectrum of compounds present in cordyceps.

Absorption rate of synthetic cordyceps

Since both natural and synthetic cordycepin are water-soluble, it’s reasonable to assume that they may have similar absorption rates.

Why might natural forms of cordyceps be better?

Cordycepin is hardly the only beneficial compound in cordyceps, so it’s best to consume the natural form of this fungus to enjoy its full benefits.

How to take cordyceps

Cordyceps is generally dried, powdered, and consumed in supplement form.

Cordyceps trends in medicine

In 2020, cordyceps has received significant attention for its potential immune benefits. In one lab study, scientists determined that cordyceps may improve immunity by acting as a prebiotic in the digestive system, and in another study, researchers explored the properties and immune-boosting potential of a polysaccharide extracted from cordyceps. The latter study concluded that this novel cordyceps polysaccharide extract could have promise as an immunomodulatory supplement.


1. Immune Activation by a Sterile Aqueous Extract of Cordyceps Sinensis: Mechanism of Action

2. Cordyceps militaris polysaccharides can enhance the immunity and antioxidation activity in immunosuppressed mice

3. Cordyceps Sinensis: Genotoxic Potential in Human Peripheral Blood Cells and Antigenotoxic Properties Against Hydrogen Peroxide by Comet Assay

4. The Anti-Hyperglycemic Activity of the Fruiting Body of Cordyceps in Diabetic Rats Induced by Nicotinamide and Streptozotocin

5. Cordyceps Sinensis (A Traditional Chinese Medicine) for Treating Chronic Kidney Disease

6. Chapter 5 Cordyceps as an Herbal Drug

7. Cardiovascular Protection and Antioxidant Activity of the Extracts From the Mycelia of Cordyceps Sinensis Act Partially via Adenosine Receptors

8. Cordyceps militaris improves tolerance to high intensity exercise after acute and chronic supplementation

9. Cultured Cordyceps sinensis polysaccharides modulate intestinal mucosal immunity and gut microbiota in cyclophosphamide-treated mice

10. Structural characterization and immune-enhancing activity of a novel high-molecular-weight polysaccharide from Cordyceps militaris

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About the author
Katie Hipwell - Katie is an AfN Registered Nutritionist (RNutr) with a specialism in food and is Head of Nutrition at Feel. Katie has worked in the food supplement industry for 10 years. She has completed a Master's degree in Human Nutrition and an undergraduate degree in BSc Sport and Exercise Nutrition.
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