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Over the past few years, Cordyceps supplements have made their way from the recesses of your Chinese medicine doctor’s cabinets to the mainstream. And they’re only getting more popular as more people experience the benefits firsthand. As different Cordyceps pills and powders show up on your grocery store shelves, it begs the question:
What are the different types of Cordyceps and which one is best for you? Let’s find out.
In this article you’ll learn:
- The different types of Cordyceps
- The benefits of Cordyceps sinensis
- The difference between the two strains of Cordyceps sinensis
- The benefits of Cordyceps militaris
- Which type of Cordyceps you should choose for your goals
There are two main types of Cordyceps supplement: Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris. Cordyceps sinensis is broken down even further into two strains: the CS-2 and CS-4 varieties. According to recent research, each species and strain may offer unique benefits that lower stress and boost your performance.
So, which type of Cordyceps is the best?
Well, it depends on your goals. Read on to find out about the differences between C. sinensis, CS-2, CS-4, and C. militaris, and what each one can do for you.
Cordyceps sinensis is native to the Himalayas and other mountainous parts of Asia. It’s been one of the most prized compounds in Traditional Chinese Medicine for millennia, where it’s used for virility and stress. More recently, scientists have found a few benefits to C. sinensis:
- Physical endurance. A well-controlled study in older men found that, after 3 months of supplementing, C. sinensis increased lactate threshold by 10% and ventilatory threshold by 8.5% over placebo. In other words, C. sinensis increased cardio endurance by a substantial margin. A study in rats also found that C. sinensis significantly decreased fatigue.
- Curbing stress. Several studies in rats have found that C. sinensis eases the physical effects of stress, including decreased inflammation and adrenal and thyroid response. No studies in humans yet, but a lot of people report an anti-stress effect from taking C. sinensis.
- Immune/organ function. C. sinensis improved liver function and kidney function in patients struggling with each.
Researchers think the effects of C. sinensis may be thanks to an active compound called cordycepin, as well as a unique combination of mushroom polysaccharides. Levels of cordycepin and polysaccharides vary by strain. Most C. sinensis supplements are one of two strains: either CS-2 and CS-4.
The CS-2 strain is harder to grow on a large scale, although it’s still available from some supplement companies. CS-4 is easy to grow in large amounts, and it’s the type used in the research you just read about.
That doesn’t mean one is better than the other. The human research with both strains is still young. In fact, we use both CS-2 and CS-4 in Natural Force Cordyceps Pro.
In the last few years, another species of Cordyceps has been getting researchers excited. It’s Cordyceps militaris, a relative of sinensis that grows throughout Europe.
C. militaris is exciting because preliminary studies suggest it may have higher levels of cordycepin than other species, although research is much less robust for C. militaris. That said, there have been a few interesting studies:
- Intense exercise capacity. The one study of C. militaris in humans found that it lengthened the time to exhaustion and increased breathing capacity during high-intensity exercise, both after a few days and three weeks of daily supplementation. Supplementing for a longer time produced bigger benefits. Full disclosure: This study was funded by the company that sells the C. militaris supplement researchers used.
- Happiness and mood. A study in mice found that injecting a solution of C. militaris caused a sudden and powerful antidepressant effect that lasted for several days. Of course, us humans may not get the same benefit, and you probably won’t be injecting your Cordyceps. But considering the long history of using Cordyceps for happiness in Asia, there may be something to using Cordyceps as a mood booster.
Really, the type of Cordyceps you take depends on your goals. Looking for a boost in mood? Maybe you should try C. militaris. Stressed out at work? C. sinensis may be better for you.
Natural Force Cordyceps Pro includes all of these strains to support your performance at the gym, at work, and at home. Cordyceps Pro also includes other anti-stress and energy-boosting compounds like Ashwagandha and Rhodiola to help balance stress hormones, decrease anxiety, and sharpen your focus and athletic performance.
Cordyceps in conjunction with other adaptogenic herbs help your body deal with mental and physical stressors and keep energy levels high. Unlike stimulants or sedatives, adaptogens don’t manipulate your biochemistry as much as they support hormone balance and energy levels. This means you can take Cordyceps Pro any time of day to boost your workout without worrying about it affecting your sleep.
Traditional healing methodologies like Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have been using Cordyceps and other adaptogenic herbs for millennia. This, along with some of the more modern research supporting its benefits, makes adding Cordyceps to your supplement cabinet a no-brainer.
Have you tried Cordyceps or other adaptogenic herbs to enhance performance? We’d love to hear your experience in the comments!
Also published on Medium.