Cordyceps and Medium Chain Triglycerides have become increasingly popular ingredients in health and wellness products because of their many health benefits.
Cordyceps are excellent disease-fighting mushrooms that have been used for generations to relieve symptoms of respiratory problems, coughs, colds, liver damage, and much more. They are valued for their natural capacity to fight free radicals, infections, and inflammation. Considered a true “superfood”, they can also help reduce the effects of age and stress, keep the body free of disease, and improve energy levels to keep people active for longer periods of time.
Also known as the caterpillar fungus, cordyceps are parasitic in nature. They grow on a type of caterpillar and eventually eat their hosts. The mushroom uses the insect’s larva to form it’s dark brown to black base. The cordyceps mushroom then attaches itself to the organism and develops into an organism about six inches long. They swell and grow to between 300-500 milligram in weight and consume more than 90% of the diseased insect after they have fully matured.
The first people who discovered the many benefits of cordyceps initially observed animals consuming the wild fungus and developing strength in the process. From there, farmers and herders used the fungus in powder form to make tonics and teas. They were first used to increase milk production and reproductive capability in cattle. Later on, people began to dry cordyceps in the sun to retain their medicinal properties. The anti-inflammatory properties of cordyceps are thought to originate from their ability to boost the immune system’s ability to battle oxidative stress and stimulate protective cells that keep the body free of mutations and infections
Another ingredient that has gained popularity due to its health and wellness benefits is Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT). MCT is a healthy type of saturated fatty acid that has health benefits like improving cognitive function and supporting weight loss/healthy weight management. One great source of MCTs is coconut oil with roughly 62%-65% of its fatty acids being MCTs. MCTs are thought to be substantially absent from the diets of those following “standard Western” diets, owing to widespread perception that all kinds of saturated fats are potentially detrimental. Recent studies, on the other hand, have revealed a great deal of evidence about the true nature of saturated fats. When it comes to fats, they are categorized by how many carbons they have: short-chain fats (such as butyric acid) include fewer than six carbons, medium-chain fats contain six to 12 carbons, and long-chain fats (such as omega-3s) contain 13–21 carbons. Compared to longer chain fatty acids, MCTS are easier to absorb because the body has to exert less energy to break down carbon bonds. Since MCTs are smaller, they can easily pass through our cell membranes. They therefore do not require special enzymes to break them down into usable form.
Now that we understand the definition and basics of both Cordyceps and MCTs, let us go into further detail about their various health benefits.
As mentioned previously, the first health benefit of consuming cordyceps is that it boosts immunity. Consumption of cordyceps has been shown in some studies to boost immune function and improve the health of the cardiovascular, pulmonary, endocrine, and reproductive systems. This is because anti-inflammatory chemicals such as polysaccharides, modified nucleosides, and cyclosporine are found in Cordyceps. Cordyceps may be particularly helpful in the treatment of inflammatory disorders like Crohn’s disease, arthritis, leaky gut, and asthma. Cordyceps also helps to slow aging and promote mental clarity. Cordyceps is high in antioxidants, which can help people combat free radical damage, prevent oxidative stress, and decrease the effects of aging. Although most anti-aging research on this medicinal mushroom has been done on animals, it has been shown to improve brain function, memory, and even lengthen lifespan. Moreover, cordyceps has been proven to improve athletic performance. According to a 2010 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, older people who were supplementing with Cs-4 (Cordyceps sinensis) had increased exercise performance and it contributed to better health overall. Cordyceps, like other superfood plants like maca or cacao, is thought to be an energetic adaptogen that can help fight fatigue, heal muscle aches, and prevent weakness. Several studies suggest that Cordyceps can improve athletic performance, such as physical ability, endurance, and stamina, in part by increasing the body’s supply of ATP, which is one of the key sources of energy during exercise. Adenosine, a form of nucleic acid required for the production of ATP, an “energy carrier” that is depleted in the muscles during physical exercise, is found in cordyceps.
There are many more benefits of cordyceps, but we will now look at the health benefits of MCTs.
There are different forms of MCTs: caproic (acid c6:0), caprylic (acid c8:0), capric (acid C10:), lauric (acid C12:0). As mentioned previously, the shorter the chain (i.e. the fewer carbons in the acid) Regardless of the kind of MCT, they are all good for overall health. This is specially the case for people who have trouble digesting other types of fats, such as those who suffer from malabsorption issues, digestive illnesses such as leaky gut syndrome, Crohn’s disease, gallbladder infections, and so on.
MCT oil can help boost satiety and even raise the metabolic rate at which the body functions when consumed as part of a healthy diet. Does this imply that consuming high amounts of MCTs on a regular basis will help you lose weight? That’s not the case. Although not all studies have found a link between MCT oil and weight loss, others have demonstrated that it has a good impact on metabolic function.
For example, a 2003 study published in the Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders found that MCTs had more substantial impacts on energy expenditure, body composition, and fat oxidation in obese women when compared to long-chain triglycerides (LCTs). The use of MCTs instead of LCTs in a diet with a specific energy balance demonstrated to be more effective in preventing long-term weight gain due to increased energy expenditure and fat-burning.
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