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Reproduction Potential of Cordyceps Sinensis

Updated: Jun 18


Another great example from one of our key mushrooms in Infinimin® - cordyceps sinensis! This extract in our formulation has some very dramatic research, not only supporting cancer, but most potently, reproduction capabilities. Read on to learn about this unique mushroom (or not a mushroom? you decide :) )



Cordyceps sinensis has various biological and pharmacological functions and has been

claimed as a tonic supplement for sexual and reproductive dysfunction for a long time in Asian cultures. In this article, the in vitro and in vivo effects of C. sinensis and cordycepin on mouse Leydig cell steroidogenesis are briefly described, the stimulatory mechanisms are summarized, and the recent findings related to the alternative substances regulating male reproductive functions are also discussed. While this article speaks most to male reproduction, there are numerous studies already performed on female reproduction that you can find in our references section. We found this one unique as it is the first time speaking to the male side of the story.


Cordyceps sinensis (CS) is a fungal parasite on the larvae of Lepidoptera (an order of insects that includes butterflies and moths). In late autumn, the fungus attacks the caterpillar and leisurely devours its host. By early summer of the following year, the fungal infestation has killed the caterpillar and the fruiting body protrudes from its head. Because of its particular life cycle, it is called the winter-worm, summer-plant

in Chinese. CS has long been used as a herbal tonic in Traditional Chinese Medicine

to treat many illnesses in Asian countries. Nevertheless, the supply of CS is inadequate

for the demand because of its low yield in a high-altitude area where it cannot be easily harvested. However, the mycelium of the fungus has been cultured and the dried powder of the mycelium is commercially available.


CS contains complex materials, including cordycepin, modified nucleosides, polysaccharides, and sterols. Cordycepin, or 30-deoxyadenosine, is a major bioactive component found in CS. Due to the absence of oxygen in the 30 position of its ribose moiety and its similarity to adenosine. For those that have stopped reading at "ribose moiety" - here is an explanation. In organic chemistry, a moiety is a part of a molecule which is typically given a name as it can be found within other kinds of molecules as well that bind well with it. An example of this is Figure 1. Cordycepin and Adenosine have markedly the same structure except, Cordycepin has a hyrdrogen "H" and Adenosine has an ethanol "OH" - structurally the are 95% the same - move one electron away, and they are completed different chemicals giving a different set of outcomes. For general purposes, French Fries always go good with Ketchup. Replace the Ketchup with Ranch dressing - you are still eating fries, but have one altered way of eating them giving a different experience. Moiety - think french fries with ketchup or ranch. :)

What is amazing about cordycepin and adenosine, some enzymes cannot discriminate

between the two. Therefore, it can participate in certain biochemical reactions. For example, cordycepin could incorporate into an RNA molecule causing the premature termination of its synthesis, and has a wide range of biological effects in the regulation of inflammation and platelet aggregation. Studies have demonstrated that CS has multiple pharmacological activities, including modulation of immune responses, inhibition of tumor growth, decrease of blood pressure, increase of hepatic energy metabolism and blood flow, improvement of bioenergy in liver, induction of cell apoptosis, and secretion of adrenal hormones.


For male reproduction, these little mushrooms have become very potent, specifically with mouse leydig cells, the common cells that help us understand reproduction.


Reader Beware, technical content ahead


Leydig cells are key to producing testosterone. To verify if cordycepin directly stimulates testosterone production, the purified normal mouse Leydig cells were treated

with various concentrations of cordycepin (10mMto 5mM) for 3 hours. Results show that testosterone production gradually rises as the concentration of cordycepin increases, and there is a significant three-fold increase under 1mM cordycepin treatment. In the temporal study, cordycepin (1mM) maximally stimulates testosterone production at 3 hours’ treatment. These results indicate that cordycepin stimulates normal mouse Leydig cell steroidogenesis in concentrationand time-dependent manners.


Cordycepin could stimulate the expressions of adenosine subtype receptors to induce MA-10 Leydig tumor cell steroidogenesis through PKA, PKC/phospholipase C (PLC) and

mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signal pathways without increasing StAR protein expression.


Interestingly, the stimulatory effect of PKA and PKC/PLC pathways and the

inhibitory effect of ERK1/2 pathway activated by cordycepin might interact for the homeostasis status to stimulate steroidogenesis in MA-10 cells.


In addition to the effect of CS on Leydig cell functions and MA-10 cells, the influences of CS on other steroidogenic tissues have also been investigated. Treatment of human granulosaelutein cells with CS results in the increase of E2 production due, at least in

part, to increase StAR and aromatase expressions. These data may help in the development of treatment regimens to improve the success rate of in vitro fertilization Moreover, plasma corticosterone levels can be significantly induced by

F2 at 0.02 mg/g body weight with 7 days feeding in immature mice, and by CS at 0.02 mg/g body weight with 3 days feeding and F3 at 0.02 mg/g body weight for 7 days feeding in mature mice. Accordingly, CS and its fractions do stimulate mouse

in vivo corticosterone production from adrenal gland. Thus, CS can stimulate steroidogenesis among different steroidogenic organs (testis, ovary, and adrenal gland).


Finally, we come to the conclusion that CS and cordycepin can significantly stimulate in vitro and in vivo steroidogenesis in mouse Leydig cells through the activation, at least, of PKA pathway, highly suggesting functional enhancements in male reproduction.


Cheers to your health,


Infinitum Health Team


References


1A. Yung-Chia Chen, et. al. Functional study of Cordyceps sinensis and

cordycepin in male reproduction: A review. Journal of Food and Drug Analysis. 25 (2017). 197-205 (MAIN REFERENCE)


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