Cordyceps fungi supplementation may improve high-intensity exercise

By Adi Menayang

- Last updated on GMT

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

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Industry study suggests an increased tolerance of high-intensity training when study participants consumed the cordyceps-containing PeakO2 blend.

Twenty-eight people were recruited to participate in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the ingredient PeakO2 by Compound Solutions, funded by trademark owner Disruptive Nutrition and published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements​.

A main selling point of the ingredient is the cordyceps fungus, which the report said “has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat an assortment of conditions including fatigue, respiratory and kidney diseases, renal dysfunction, and cardiac dysfunction.”

The researchers measured looked at oxygen consumption, time to exhaustion, and ventilator threshold during maximal graded exercise tests on a cycle ergometer. They also measured relative peak power output, average power output, and percent drop of resistance using a 4.5% body weight maximal cycle test.

Aerobic and anaerobic performances

There were two goals for the study: Determining the acute effects of a Cordyceps militaris-​containing mushroom blend on aerobic performance during one-week supplementation, and to explore the ergogenic potential on anaerobic performance. In addition, the researchers looked at both acute supplementation and chronic supplementation.

The study sample included 16 men and 12 women, between the ages of 18 and 35 years. Ten of these participants (four men and six women) agreed to complete the second phase of the study to look at the effects of chronic supplementation for an additional two weeks.

After some baseline testing with some exercises, participants were randomized to take either a capsule filled with the PeakO2 mushroom blend by Compound Solutions or placebo of maltodextrin and hemp protein.

Participants were instructed to consume two 1.3 g capsules three times per day for one week to achieve a 4-gram daily dose of Cordyceps militaris. ​The 10 participants completing the second phase were given a second supply to continue their respective supplementation.


After one week of supplementation with the Cordyceps militaris-​containing blend, the researchers did not see a significantly improved performance compared to the placebo group. But participants that volunteered for the extended phase two experienced significant improvements in maximal oxygen consumption.

Participants in the chronic supplementation group also had “potential improvements in ventilator threshold and [time to exhaustion],”​ the researchers wrote.

“Although minimal benefits were observed with acute supplementation of a Cordyceps militaris-containing mushroom blend, consistent supplementation at 4 g·d−1 may benefit tolerance to high-intensity exercise, potentially eliciting performance gains through increases in training intensity and delaying fatigue,”​ they added.

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Source:​ Journal of Dietary Supplements

Published online,

Cordyceps militaris Improves Tolerance to High-Intensity Exercise After Acute and Chronic Supplementation

Authors: K. R. Hirsch, et al.

Related topics Research Botanicals Sports nutrition

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