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Know How Cordyceps Can Increase Your Testosterone

Cordyceps testosterone

No, does cordyceps increase testosterone?

Nature is full of beautiful creations.

The more you search for something, the more you discover nature’s vast resources.

And with the ever-increasing awareness regarding herbal and botanical alternative treatments for nonmajor health issues, people are actively trying to learn more and more about different plants and their different impacts on the human body.

On the other hand, unfortunately, the levels of male impotence in modern society are increasing with time. Some scientists believe that the reason might be stress, anxiety, and the fast pace of life.

And if that is the case, people should try to find ways to reduce stress and treat this psychological impotence with natural healthy ingredients. 

Many Google “Cordyceps testosterone” or “Can Cordyceps increase my T-levels?”

So, in this article, we will discuss the effect of nature’s excellent fungus, Cordyceps.

What is it? How it affects the body? Does scientific research back the claims? How to use it? What are the precautions and side effects? And so much more.

Now, first of all,

What is Cordyceps?

Cordyceps(1) is a fungus that grows by attacking and infecting a host.

It invades and then replaces the infected host’s original tissues to grow inside the body.

Also known as Chinese caterpillar fungus, it is a dark reddish-orange fungus with a cylindrical stem. It exists in the soil as deep as the host’s larva is present. 

Also, it is a genus of fungi that includes about 600 species, primarily found in Asia. Cordyceps are famous for their parasitic lifestyle, infecting insects and other arthropods and sometimes manipulating their behavior. 

One of the most famous cordyceps species is Ophiocordyceps sinensis, also known as caterpillar fungus or Yartsa gunbu.

This fungus grows on the larvae of ghost moths in the high-altitude regions of Tibet, China, Nepal, and Bhutan. It is highly valued in traditional Chinese and Tibetan Medicine, treating fatigue, respiratory disorders, sexual dysfunction, and more.

It is also considered a delicacy and a status symbol, fetching high prices in the market.

Another well-known cordyceps species is Ophiocordyceps unilateralis, the zombie ant fungus. This fungus infects carpenter ants and alters their behavior, making them climb to a high point and bite into a leaf before dying. The fungus then grows out of the ant’s head and releases spores that can infect other ants.

Moreover, Cordyceps is one of the most famous fungi in ancient traditional Chinese Medicine. People use it for many health benefits, from treating fatigue and high blood pressure to supposedly treating cancer and working as an anti-aging supplement.

What are the primary uses of Cordyceps?

According to traditional Chinese Medicine, cordyceps treats fatigue, inflammation, upper respiratory tract infections, high blood pressure, and liver And kidney disorders.

Also, Cordyceps can slow aging, protect against cancer, and boost libido and testosterone levels.

Stamina and performance

Scientific research shows that cordyceps increases stamina and performance in general(2) and can be particularly useful for athletes.

And that’s because Cordyceps increases the production of ATP in the cells. And ATP is the currency of energy in the cell.

Moreover, the anti-inflammatory nature of Cordyceps promotes a faster muscle healing potential after a workout or any physical strain.

Which is another indirect way to bettering overall stamina.

Moreover, Cordyceps potentially improves VO2 max, the maximum oxygen consumption rate a person can attain during physical exercise.

The name stands for: “V̇” for volume, “O₂” for oxygen, and “max” for maximum. A similar measure is VO₂ peak, the measurable value from a physical exercise session.

Immune system

Cordyceps is full of anti oxidants.

Which are essential natural elements that fight off free radicals. And free radicals are harmful particles that can damage any human cells anywhere in the body. 

Also, people in ancient China knew that cordyceps could speed up natural healing. (3) They used it in various forms, like powders and tinctures.

Cognitive Function and brain health

Cordyceps have a direct impact on the central nervous system. It stimulates the brain and helps with concentration and attention.

Also, many believe that taking cordyceps supplements helps increase the individual’s learning capability and memory.

Moreover, another function of the antioxidants in cordyceps is neuroprotective.

It protects the brain against Alzheimer’s and different age-related cognitive decline disorders.

Even more, just as physical wounds and ailments, cordyceps also showed great potential for helping individuals heal from brain injuries.

Cordyceps increases the blood flow in the brain, which is why it has shown great potential for bettering memory and attention levels.

Anti-aging properties

As cordyceps is full of antioxidants and can fight off free radicals that damage skin, hair, and the whole body on a cellular level.

Combined with the fact that it increases blood flow to the brain and different organs in the body, adding to the anti-inflammatory effect and improving the healing process, we can conclude that cordyceps works wonders as an anti-aging supplement.

Effect on testosterone

Cordyceps can be referred to as natural Himalayan viagra. That’s because it positively impacts sexual function, performance, and stamina. (4)

Scientists conducted a study on mouse Leydig cells (which are the cells primarily responsible for testosterone production) using cordyceps extract.

  These studies yielded encouraging results, concluding that cordyceps stimulate testosterone production. (5)

Before we dive into the details even more, we need to understand testosterone better. What is testosterone? What is it, what are the symptoms of low testosterone, and what are the causes?

Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone that plays a vital role in various aspects of men’s health, such as muscle growth, bone density, libido, mood, energy, and cognition. 

Moreover, testosterone increases in production during puberty and decreases slowly around 30.

But of course, each individual is different and is somewhat affected by genetics and lifestyle of choice. 

Testosterone effect on the body

  • Testosterone is primarily responsible for increasing muscle mass, which is responsible for improving overall energy and regulating weight, as muscles consume more daily calories than fat cells.
  • Adequate amounts of testosterone within the normal range are responsible for more stable mental health and overall well-being.
  • Testosterone is responsible for bone density and blood cell production from bone marrow.
  • Last, testosterone is vital in maintaining good verbal memory and fast information processing.

Signs and symptoms of low testosterone levels

According to the national library of Medicine, there are a few signs that you should probably consider seeing a physician if you notice on yourself.

If your healthcare provider suspects you might have low testosterone levels, they would ask you to take a blood test to measure them.

When should a person consider conducting a testosterone blood test?

  • Hair loss
  • Less beard growth than usual for the individual
  • Infertility 
  • Development of unusual breast tissues
  • Lower muscle mass than the average male at the specific age of the patient
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability 
  • Depression 
  • Weight gain
  • Poor memory 
  • Low performance 

However, not only male patients do a blood check on testosterone levels. Sometimes health care providers ask female patients to go for testosterone tests in case of:

  • Excess body hair and facial hair.
  • Irregular menstruation cycle
  • Acne
  • Change in the voice rendering it deeper
  • Weight gain

What are the normal testosterone levels for a healthy male?

The testosterone level range for males after puberty and under 30 is between 300 and 1000 nanograms per deciliter.

However, for males above 30, the level decreases roughly by 2% each year. Of course, as we mentioned earlier, each case is unique as testosterone levels are affected by genetics and lifestyle of choice for each individual. 

Does having low testosterone means the individual has a medical condition?

Although it may seem that any irregularities in blood tests indicate a medical condition, there are many other factors you should consider.

The general rule is that you do not need treatment if your blood test shows a low testosterone level, but you feel well overall.

Of course, your healthcare provider should decide whether you require treatment.

If you feel unwell, your healthcare provider will likely ask you for more tests to discover the reason behind your low testosterone level so that the primary condition is treated.

What are the most common medical conditions that cause low testosterone levels?

  • Ambiguous genitalia
  • Klinefelter syndrome
  • Noonan syndrome
  • Testicular cancer
  • Chemotherapy 
  • Radiation
  • Infection
  • Disease in the pituitary gland resulting in hormone deficiency 
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Obesity 
  • High blood pressure 
  • Diabetes 
  • Smoking
  • Unhealthy high cholesterol levels
  • HIV and AIDS

Other than medical conditions that require medical care like most of the ones in the previous list, some supplements and natural products can be very helpful in increasing testosterone and stamina. This takes us back to:

How does Cordyceps increase testosterone?

Stimulating steroidogenesis

Steroidogenesis is the process of synthesizing steroid hormones from cholesterol.

Cordyceps mushrooms can stimulate steroidogenesis by activating a protein called steroidogenic acute regulatory protein, which transports cholesterol into the mitochondria of Leydig cells, the primary source of testosterone in the testes.

The type of Cordyceps scientists used in this trial is Cordyceps sinensis aqueous extract.

In mice, the impacts of cordycepin and adenosine (compounds in cordyceps sinensis extract) include higher testosterone production, steroidogenesis, and increased plasma testosterone levels.

These bioactive compounds stimulate PKA and PKC/PLC pathways, which are known to regulate steroidogenesis.

Reducing testosterone catabolism

Testosterone catabolism is testosterone breakdown into inactive metabolites by enzymes such as 5-alpha reductase and aromatase. These enzymes convert testosterone into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and estradiol.

Cordyceps maintains the serum levels of testosterone and DHT but inhibits testosterone-induced prostate hypertrophy.

It also increases the secretion of testosterone and DHT by primary testicular cells, with no changes in the mRNA expression of steroidogenic enzymes. It also decreases the growth of prostatic cell lines.

This information suggests that Cordyceps can be helpful in the case of benign prostatic hyperplasia in men. (6)

Enhancing testosterone bioavailability

Testosterone bioavailability is the amount of testosterone available to bind to androgen receptors and exert its effects on target tissues.

This function mainly depends on the binding affinity of testosterone to sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), a protein that transports testosterone in the blood. 

The higher the binding affinity, the lower the bioavailability.

Cordyceps mushrooms can enhance testosterone bioavailability by reducing SHBG levels and increasing free testosterone levels.

Now that we know about the way cordyceps affect testosterone. Let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

Are there any medications that you should not use cordyceps with?

  • Immunosuppressive medication

Cordyceps maintains an increase in the activity of the immune system.

This is particularly bad for patients undergoing organ transplants. They have to take immunosuppressive medications to avoid potential organ rejection. Cordyceps decreases the efficiency of these medications.

  • Anticoagulants and antiplatelet

As mentioned earlier, cordyceps improve and increase blood flow throughout the body.

While this is generally excellent quality, people needing anticoagulation and antiplatelet medications may be vulnerable to bruises and bleeding since cordyceps might slow blood clotting.

What are the precautions required in case someone considers taking Cordyceps?

Oral cordyceps dose might cause diarrhea, constipation, or stomach discomfort. 

Also, there is insufficient data on pregnant and breastfeeding individuals taking cordyceps. In this case, we generally advise you not to take it.

Moreover, as cordyceps enhances the immune system, people with autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and rheumatic arthritis should avoid taking cordyceps completely.

It might cause the immune system to become even more active, increasing the disease symptoms.

Last but not least, as cordyceps increases blood flow, patients who intend to undergo any surgery should avoid taking it to prevent excessive bleeding during the surgery.

The recommendation is to stop taking cordyceps two weeks before the surgery. Of course, before scheduling any surgery, you should tell your doctor about all the medications you use.

Does cordyceps affect estrogen?

There have not been insufficient studies and data on cordyceps’ effect on estrogen.

But in animals, the studies showed that cordyceps prevents estrogen deficiency in rats that underwent ovariectomy (surgically removing the ovaries).

Not only that, but it also prevented the most well-known symptom of estrogen deficiency: osteoporosis. (8)

How long does the effect of cordyceps stay in the body?

Cordyceps’ active components are mostly water soluble. This means that the body can them faster than lipid-soluble products.

That’s why cordyceps only remain in the body for 24 hours. However, the lipid-soluble substances can remain stored in fat cells for five days until the system can flush them out.

What happens to the body if an individual takes too much cordyceps?

When the consumer takes cordyceps in the proper doses, there is no possibility that it can be toxic. Also, there are not many reports of overdose cases.

However, there are concerns about cordyceps’ potential to contain harmful ingredients.

And that is because the clinical studies and clinical data on cordyceps are relatively new, so they do not cover or can even predict what the effect of long-term use can be.

There is a possibility that mycotoxins, or toxins that grow on fungi, could be present in cordyceps.

And mycotoxins are incredibly harmful to humans. But to be fair, that hazard is present with most edible fungi, so they should always bently checked for mycotoxins.

However, one study on wild cordyceps found that the fungus may contain some levels of arsenic. Arsenic is a natural metal that can be poisonous when too much is consumed.

It was one of the most potent and dangerous toxins in history, so this issue is not minor.

But it is essential to be aware that one study is insufficient, and scientists should conduct more research.

And that is why we recommend only taking the appropriate dose of cordyceps as stated on the label. Consult with your healthcare provider if you are unsure how much to handle.


Cordyceps is one of nature’s beautiful fungi offering many benefits— brain health, stamina, hormonal balance, and blood health, and acts like natural viagra in terms of testosterone levels.

You should expect satisfying results by taking precautions, consulting your healthcare provider, and receiving supplements from trusted vendors.

Please let us know in the comments if there is anything that we can help you with. And as always, stay safe.

Picture of Dr. Lin Wei Chen

Dr. Lin Wei Chen

Dr. Lin Wei Chen, PhD in Sports Medicine from the University of Hong Kong and a Master's in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Beijing University, is a trailblazer in integrating herbal wisdom with modern fitness science. With over 10 years in sports medicine, Dr. Lin specializes in natural approaches to muscle growth, stamina, and men's health, revolutionizing how we enhance physical performance. His unique perspective, combining rigorous scientific research with age-old herbal practices, offers innovative and effective solutions for athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike. Renowned for his patient-centered approach, Dr. Lin's work not only elevates physical capabilities but also empowers individuals towards holistic well-being.
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