Results of a human clinical trial1 published late last year in the American Journal of Sports Science show that supplementation with a commercially available adaptogenic mushroom blend including Cordyceps militaris may improve endurance performance in healthy young adults. The Cordyceps genus of fungi has a research record of medicinal and performance effects, and recent studies have investigated the performance effects of the Cordyceps militaris species in particular.
The trial considered the aerobic performance effects of both a longer period of low-dose supplementation and a shorter period of higher-dose supplementation with the product PeakO2 (Compound Solutions, Inc.; Carlsbad, CA), which contains six Ayurvedic mushroom strains (mainly Cordyceps militaris), as well as vitamin D2, L-ergothioneine, and beta glucans.
In the low-dose arm, 40 subjects aged 19 to 34 received either 1.0 to 2.0 g/day of the mushroom blend with Gatorade, or a similar Gatorade-based control for 28 days. The 43 subjects in the higher-dose group consumed the supplement at a dose of 12.0 g/day or the placebo—also via Gatorade—for one week.
Results for the trial’s low-dose arm showed that after 28 days, the supplementation group saw time to fatigue and maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) increase significantly, while its levels of blood lactate (commonly associated with decreased performance) fell during the “economy” phase of a cycle ergometer test.
As for the high-dose arm, those in the half of the supplement group with a VO2peak below the median at baseline (MB) experienced significant increases in VO2peak and VO2max after the week of supplementation, while those in the supplement group with a VO2peak above the median at baseline (MT)—as well as all subjects taking the placebo (CB and CT)—saw no significant change. The MT cohort did, however, see a significant 3-bpm drop in economy heart rate from pre- to post-testing. And CT subjects also demonstrated a significant 4.5% increase in peak power from before the test to after.
Based on the results, the study’s authors wrote, “these data show that PEAKO2 had a significant impact on markers of aerobic fitness in young, apparently healthy adults. A supplement that improves oxygen consumption, time to fatigue, blood lactate levels, or exercise HR, taken individually would be reason for encouragement in that it takes significant training time to change these variables independent of supplementation."
- Wesley DD et al., “The effects of high and low-dose Cordyceps militaris-containing mushroom blend supplementation after seven and twenty-eight days,” American Journal of Sports Science, vol. 6, no. 1 (2018): 1-7