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Cordyceps Extract Modulates Immune Function

10/15/2019 12:44:03 PM
natural medicineCordyceps sinensis is a wild mushroom that grows in the Himalaya Mountains in Tibet and the high regions of China. Cordyceps is well known for its immunomodulatory effects in traditional Chinese medicine. However, the availability of cordyceps has been limited because of the difficult and specific growing conditions it requires.

Cordyceps cultivation methods increase availability

Advancing technology in recent years has allowed for the artificial cultivation of cordyceps and its wider availability. The mycelia of cordyceps contain an endoparasitic fungus called Paecilomyces hepiali, which has been found to contain many of the bioactive substances responsible for cordyceps’ health benefits.

A mycelium extract from P. hepiali isolated from cordyceps (CBG-CS-2) contains 32% cordyceps polysaccharide, 7.3% cordycepic acid, 0.13% adenosine, and 0.001% cordycepin. CBG-CS-2 has been the subject of preclinical trials and now a randomized, double-blind clinical trial.

Trial examines effects of cordyceps formulation

In a clinical trial published in 2019, researchers evaluated the effects of CBG-CS-2 on immune parameters in healthy Korean adults. Eighty participants (52 men and 28 women between the ages of 20 and 75) were randomized to take CBG-CS-2 (1.43 g/day) or a placebo for 8 weeks. The primary outcome measure was natural killer (NK)-cell activity. Secondary outcome measures were cytokine levels (IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, IL-2, IL-4, IL-10, and IL-12).
Compliance was good (~95%) in both groups. There were no serious adverse events, and all safety assessments remained within normal range. After 8 weeks, NK-cell activity increased by 38.8% in the CBG-CS-2 group and decreased by 35.5% in the placebo group. The difference between the groups was significant (p=.019). There were no significant differences between the treatment and the placebo on any of the secondary outcome measures.

Results indicate cordyceps components enhance immunity

Based on the results of this and preclinical studies, the authors conclude that the major components of CBG-CS-2 (cordyceps polysaccharides and adenosine) induce immunomodulatory effects by enhancing NK-cell activity. They would like to explore further research in populations with depressed immunity and with supplementation for a longer length of time.
Jung SJ, Jung ES, Choi EK, Sin HS, Ha KC, Chae SW. Immunomodulatory effects of a mycelium extract of Cordyceps (Paecilomyces hepiali; CBG-CS-2): a randomized and double-blind clinical trial. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2019; 19: 77.