Meet the Ingredient: Cordyceps

 Written by Chris Claussen, Co-Founder, Chief Innovation Officer


About the Author: Chris has over 20 years of experience in product and business development. For the past five years he has focused exclusively on innovative product development in the functional foods and functional mushrooms space. Chris brings experience exploring, experimenting, and conducting extensive research on the relationship between functional foods/ mushrooms and metabolic, brain, and mental health.​


Nestled in mountainous regions above 3800 feet, Cordyceps militaris, a mushroom with deep roots in traditional Chinese medicine, has emerged as a powerhouse of health and wellness. Its historical use has found validation in contemporary science, revealing a spectrum of benefits that go beyond anecdotal claims.

The Athletic Edge:

Cordyceps catapulted into the limelight during the 1990s when Chinese Olympic runners achieved unprecedented feats. Speculations about cordyceps being their secret weapon prompted rigorous scientific investigation. Double-blind trials substantiated its impact, demonstrating a significant enhancement in oxygen uptake efficiency critical for cellular energy production. Simply put, more oxygen means superior endurance and reduced fatigue during physical activities (1).

Further research uncovered profound benefits, showcasing cordyceps as a potential game-changer. In aging mice, it reversed exercise decline, restoring them to youthful fitness levels. Human trials echoed these findings, indicating that cordyceps protects muscles from oxidative damage, accelerates recovery, and elevates exercise performance across multiple metrics (2, 3, 4). For those engaged in endurance sports or seeking to surpass their workout plateaus, cordyceps offers a natural and effective boost.

Cognitive Enhancement:

Beyond physical benefits, cordyceps are great for the brain. Bioactive compounds in cordyceps nourish neurons, stimulate dendrite growth, and elevate key neurotransmitters associated with cognitive health. Human trials with adults aged 50-80 demonstrated notable nootropic benefits, including enhanced memory, sharpened focus, and faster processing speed (5, 6). A 12-week study revealed significant cognitive improvements in the cordyceps group compared to a placebo, leading researchers to affirm its potent nootropic and anti-aging activities.

Key Cordyceps Benefits: 

  • Boosts cellular energy production
  • Elevates physical endurance
  • Accelerates post-workout recovery
  • Protects muscle tissue from oxidative damage
  • Hones mental stamina and memory retention
  • Heightens focus, processing speed and clarity 

Cordyceps stands as a versatile ally in optimizing human performance, offering a myriad of benefits that span both physical and cognitive realms. Our Sunbeam supplement leverages the power of cordyceps, which researchers declare to have "potent nootropic and anti-aging activities." Add cordyceps to your daily wellness regimen and see what these mushrooms can do for your mind and body!

  1. Zhu et al. 1998 Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine
  2. Bhattacharya et al. 2022 Frontiers in Physiology
  3. Das et al. 2010 Journal of Cancer Research
  4. Hirsch et al. 1998 Medicine and Science in Sports Exercise
  5. Zhao et al. 2019 Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy
  6. Moon et al. 2022 Phytotherapy Research




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