Reishi And Cordyceps Enable You Train Harder And Recover Faster
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Reishi and Cordyceps enable you to train harder and recover faster than a placebo a new study from Italy has shown. The study was carried out in 2014 on a group of amateur male cyclists.
Many people who I talk to about Reishi and Cordyceps as well as other medicinal mushrooms always, and rightly so, like to hear how western science evaluates some of the many health claims attributed to them.
And by giving you some scientific evidence I hope to show you that many of the amazing health claims about medicinal mushrooms are not just ancient hear say and health mumbo jumbo that was just passed on through the ages, but do in fact have evidence backed up by science today.
The subjects of the study were instructed not to change their lifestyle during the trial, including exercise, diet, and other routine activities, and not to take any other medicinal herbs or drugs. They were also instructed to report any adverse events to the investigators during the trial: none occurred.
Below is the study in a some what shortened form as the entire paper is quite long and hard to assimilate quickly and as we live in a fast paced world I appreciate not everyone has the time to read pages and pages of a scientific study.
Fatigue and underperformance are common in athletes and can affect more than 65% at the peak of their career. The European College of Sport Science has defined these symptoms as nonfunctional overreaching (NFO) and the overtraining syndrome (OTS) [1–3].
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Athletes increase their training load in order to improve their performance. However, a maladapted response to excessive exercise, without adequate rest, can lead to nonfunctional performance, such as a discrepancy between the stress incurred during training or competing and the athlete’s ability to recover after exercise.
The most commonly encountered effects are underperformance, reduced tolerance to training load, decreased coordination, and increased heart rate.
NFO is a performance decrement that requires 72 hours of recovery, while OTS is a performance decrement that requires days or weeks of recovery after maximal physical exercise [1–3]. It is clinically difficult to differentiate between NFO and OTS as the difference is based on the time it takes for athletes to recover and not necessarily on the degree or type of symptoms.
Thus, a period of complete rest is often required before it is possible to diagnose one syndrome or the other.
How To Test For Over training?
One of the indices that is used to evaluate the stress induced by physical exercise is the ratio between the levels of testosterone and cortisol (T/C), both in basal conditions and after exercise.
The T/C ratio is used to define the general metabolic trend in an organism: a decrease indicates a catabolic tendency, while an increase indicates an anabolic trend.
In particular, data from the scientific literature show that a decrease of less than 30% in the T/C ratio indicates an effective workout, while a decrease of more than 30% from baseline in the T/C ratio is a risk factor for overtraining.
To assess the training condition of the athletes, according to the hypothalamic hypothesis, we evaluated the T/C ratio before and after race: an increase in the after race value of more than 30% compared to the before race value was considered a risk factor for overtraining.
Using saliva to calculate the levels of cortisol and testosterone is a valid alternative to using plasma: the concentration of cortisol and testosterone in saliva represents the hormone-free part and thus the biologically active component. In order to test the oxidative stress hypothesis, we measured the free radical scavenging activity by DPPH.
Subjects were provided with either two commercially available capsules, one of which contained a formulation of Cordyceps sinensis and the other a formulation of Ganoderma lucidum, or with placebo capsules that were identical in shape and colour.
The placebo capsules contained hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (HPMC) and 18% mannitol. Every day, during the placebo phase, athletes took 5 capsules: 1 with breakfast, 2 with lunch, and 2 with dinner. Every day, during the fungal supplementation phase, athletes took 3 capsules: 1 capsule of O. sinensis with breakfast, 1 capsule of O. sinensis and 1 capsule of G. lucidum with lunch, and 1 capsule of O. sinensis and 1 capsule of G. lucidum with dinner.
The first phase of the trial protocol consisted of a month of placebo capsule intake as specified above. At the end of this phase, the athletes participated in the first bicycle race.
We evaluated the testosterone/cortisol ratio in athletes at risk of overtraining, just before and just after the races in both the placebo phase and after 3 months of fungal supplementation (Figure 3(c)). After 3 months of fungal supplementation, the ratio values of the two athletes increased both before race (1.24 versus 0.66, values multiplied by 100) and after race (ratio 1.13 versus 0.2, values multiplied by 100).
In the placebo condition, the testosterone/cortisol ratio decreased by an average of −69.3%, suggesting that the athlete was at risk of overtraining , while after fungal supplementation it decreased by an average of −8.7%, so the athlete was no longer at risk of overtraining.
Four out of the 5 athletes who were shown to be at risk of overtraining in the placebo condition overcame these symptoms after fungal supplementation, whereas the testosterone/cortisol ratio in the remaining athlete in this group did not improve. After fungal supplementation, all athletes displayed an increase in the T/C ratio after race compared to before race.
We can therefore conclude that a 3-month period of O. sinensis and G. lucidum dietary supplementation may protect endurance athletes from nonfunctional overreaching/overtraining.
An interesting future development of this research would be to analyze inflammatory parameters in order to understand the role fungal supplementation plays on the immune system.
The study should continue to select standardized fungal dietary supplements, but it should be expanded to include a larger number of endurance athletes, due to the variability in their athletic condition.
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