Fermented Cordyceps mycelium may ease dry eye issues: RCT

By Stephen Daniells contact

- Last updated on GMT

According to the National Eye Institute, dry eyes occur when we don’t make enough tears to keep the corneas wet, or when those tears don’t work as they should, and may affect up to 50% of individuals over 50 years old worldwide.   Image © fizkes / Getty Images
According to the National Eye Institute, dry eyes occur when we don’t make enough tears to keep the corneas wet, or when those tears don’t work as they should, and may affect up to 50% of individuals over 50 years old worldwide. Image © fizkes / Getty Images

Related tags: mycelium, mushrooms, Cordyceps, dry eye syndrome, Eye health

Freeze-dried powder of the mycelium of Cordyceps cicadae, a traditional Chinese medicinal fungus, may improve tear quality and help manage dry eyes, suggests a study from Taiwan.

Data published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms​ indicated that oral supplementation with the C. cicadae​ mycelium improved tear film breakup time (TBUT), a standard diagnostic measure for dry eye.

On the other hand, no improvements in tear volume were reported by researchers from Chung Shan Medical University and Grape King Bio Ltd.

“Although significant increase of tear volume was not observed, the increased TBUT suggests mitigation of dry eye through improvement of tear quality,” ​they wrote. “Therefore, C. cicadae mycelium supplementation may be used for dry eye alleviation as a novel therapeutic intervention.”

‘Shroom boom

As noted by Dr Mark Tallon, Managing Partner Legal Foods​, in an article for NutraIngredients, recent analysis puts the global function mushroom category at $24.9bn, with a CAGR of 9.5% expected to reach $47.2bn by 2028 (Grand View Research, 2022).

“This growth can be put down to a few key categories that have continued to develop of the back of COVID and more recently the increasing stress due to inflation and other income pressures such as fuel / energy costs. These include immune health, stress, and sleep,” ​stated Dr Tallon.

When discussing the category it is important to distinguish between a mushroom (the ‘fruiting body’) and mycelium (the ‘vegetative body’). Commercial suppliers offer dried mushrooms, mycelium-on-grain products, and mushroom extracts.

The new study used freeze-dried fermented C. cicadaemycelium​ powder.

Study details

Seventy health people with dry eyes were recruited to participate in the randomized, double-blind clinical pilot study. The participants were randomly assigned to receive either the freeze-dried C. cicadae​ mycelium powder sachets or placebo sachets for 90 days.

Results of the tear film breakup time (TBUT) tests showed significant improvements, while tear osmolarity significantly decrease, in parallel with a decrease in tear electrolytes such as sodium (Na+) and chloride (Cl-) ions.

The result support data from an earlier study in mice and represents one of the first studies into the potential eye health benefits of fermented C. cicadae​ mycelium to manage dry eyes.

Source: International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms
2022, Volume 24, Issue 12, pp. 57-67, doi: 10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.2022045307
“Efficacy of​ Cordyceps cicadae (Ascomycota) Mycelium Supplementation for Amelioration of Dry Eye Symptoms: A Randomized, Double-Blind Clinical Pilot Study”
Authors: H-H. Chang et al.

Related topics: Research

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