As consumers in our ecosystems, we depend on sources of nutrition for energy. Sources may include plants, animals, and fungi; these all provide the nutrients on which our bodies depend. When there are gaps or nutrients we cannot get from food, we can often obtain them from supplements.

Our energy needs are variable and may sometimes exceed our energy reserves. When this occurs, we often look for a quick fix, a short-term boost from caffeine or sugar. We may reach for an energy drink or a protein bar, but the resulting energy assist is short-lived. What if there was a more sustainable way to increase your energy reserves?

It is clear that the wide-ranging benefits of functional mushrooms have caught the attention of those looking for a natural way to supplement their diet. As a nutritional supplement, functional mushrooms saw double-digit growth in the natural supplement and immune-health categories in 2020. Cordyceps, a fungus revered for its energy-supporting profile, rose in sales by 43.7%. Rather than providing a short-term burst of energy, studies suggest cordyceps may support energy reserves at the cellular level. Let’s look at what the research shows. 

How Cordyceps Supports Energy (and More)

Cordyceps is a functional mushroom that has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries for vitality and relief from fatigue. It gained wider recognition in 1993 when Chinese female runners broke several distance records and their coach attributed their success to the ingestion of cordyceps. It was suggested that the antioxidant effects of the fungus improved the athletes’ exercise capacity.

As a nutritious, functional food, cordyceps contains: 

  • Essential amino acids (building blocks of protein)
  • Vitamins B1, B2, B12, and K
  • Carbohydrates such as monosaccharides, oligosaccharides 
  • Polysaccharides
  • Proteins
  • Sterols
  • Nucleosides 

Its many bioactive compounds have been the subject of scientific research in vitro (cells in culture medium), in animals, and in vivo (in human subjects). The results of these studies suggest cordyceps supports the following:

Physical Energy

Cordyceps may help to replenish energy at the cellular level. In animal research with mice, researchers found that a cordyceps extract enhanced exercise performance by upregulating the ATP regeneration pathway. ATP is the primary energy-carrying molecule in our cells.

Research with older adults supplemented with cordyceps for 12 weeks revealed significant improvement in ventilatory and metabolic thresholds. This suggests that cordyceps may support exercise performance and contribute to overall health and wellness as we age.

Oxygen Uptake

In young adults, time-to-exhaustion (endurance) was extended after one week of cordyceps supplementation. Maximum oxygen consumption improved and the ventilatory threshold increased after three weeks of supplementation. These parameters indicate that cordyceps promoted an increased tolerance to high-intensity exercise.

The body works harder to extract oxygen from the air at high altitudes. In vitro studies with human lung cells demonstrate the potential for cordyceps to provide benefits in conditions of low oxygen.


Cordyceps supports increased exercise endurance. In animal research with mice, an extract of cordyceps extended the swimming endurance time of mice, inhibited the production of lactic acid, and increased the storage of liver and muscle glycogen. These factors help reduce muscle fatigue during exercise.

In human studies, cordyceps use for two weeks resulted in increased time to exhaustion, increased ventilatory threshold, and improved maximum oxygen capacity in long-distance runners. This research indicates that cordyceps use may improve tolerance to fatigue and increase endurance in athletes.

Post-workout Recovery

After energy is expended during exercise, it is necessary for your body to recover. Cordyceps can also support your post-workout recovery.

In animal studies with mice, cordyceps supplementation had a greater impact than cereal alone on exercise endurance and accelerated recovery from fatigue. The supplemented mice showed increased elimination of lactic acid from their cells and stronger metabolic parameters after exercise. This research highlights the potential of cordyceps as a fatigue-fighting functional food.

Immune Function

Just like other functional mushrooms, the polysaccharide content of cordyceps makes it a nutritional supplement that supports healthy immune functioning. By supporting gut health and modulating the immune system, cordyceps helps the body to react appropriately when challenged by infection.

Making Cordyceps Part of Your Daily Routine

Whether you are looking for endurance at the gym or simply trying to sustain your energy through a typical day, cordyceps can support your goals. If the energy-promoting benefits of cordyceps sound like something you need in your life, Om Mushrooms has several quality products to help you achieve your goals.

Om products contain Cordyceps militaris and in some cases, Cordyceps sinensis, as well. For simple, whole food powder that is suitable for mixing into smoothies or stirring into recipes, try Cordyceps Organic Mushroom Powder. Available in 50, 100, or 250 serving sizes, this option is versatile and cost-effective. 

Capsules are a popular way to add nutritional supplements to your daily routine. If you prefer the ease and simplicity of swallowing cordyceps in capsule form, try Om Cordyceps Mushroom Capsules. Just three capsules once each day supplies 2000mg of high-quality mushroom powder. 

Om Mushrooms also makes specially curated blends that combine the power of cordyceps with other complementary species. To get the benefits of cordyceps along with added support from lion’s mane and reishi plus B vitamins and natural botanicals, throw Energy+ Lemon Lime Mushroom Drink Mix in your gym bag. These single-serving drink stick packets turn a 12oz bottle of water into a refreshing and energizing thirst quencher.

Another multi-mushroom blend powered by two species of cordyceps along with lion’s mane and reishi is Fit Blend Organic Mushroom Powder. This blend supports endurance and vitality and can be used in the same ways as the single-species cordyceps powder. 

With benefits demonstrated repeatedly through research with lab animals, young adults, older adults, and athletes, cordyceps supports energy usage for a range of wellness goals. With regular use, the antioxidants and other bioactive compounds in cordyceps support energy use at the cellular level and promote greater endurance and quicker recovery. Selecting your preferred form of cordyceps supplement will make it easier to incorporate this superfood into your daily wellness routine.


These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Functional mushroom products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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