To determine the effects of a mushroom blend containing Cordyceps militaris on high-intensity exercise after 1 and 3 weeks of supplementation. Twenty-eight individuals (Mean ± standard deviation [SD]; Age = 22.7 ± 4.1 yrs; Height = 175.4 ± 8.7 cm; Weight = 71.6 ± 12.0 kg) participated in this randomized, repeated measures, double-blind, placebo-controlled design. Maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), time to exhaustion (TTE), and ventilatory threshold (VT) were measured during a maximal graded exercise test on a cycle ergometer. Relative peak power output (RPP), average power output (AvgP), and percent drop (%drop) were recorded during a 3 minute maximal cycle test with resistance at 4.5% body weight. Subjects consumed 4 g·d-1 mushroom blend (MR) or maltodextrin (PL) for 1 week. Ten volunteers supplemented for an additional 2 weeks. Exercise tests were separated by at least 48 hours and repeated following supplementation periods. One week of supplementation elicited no significant time × treatment interaction for VO2max (p = 0.364), VT (p = 0.514), TTE (p = 0.540), RPP (p = 0.134), AvgP (p = 0.398), or %drop (p = 0.823). After 3 weeks, VO2max significantly improved (p = 0.042) in MR (+4.8 ml·kg-1·min-1), but not PL (+0.9 ml·kg-1·min-1). Analysis of 95% confidence intervals revealed significant improvements in TTE after 1- (+28.1 s) and 3 weeks (+69.8 s) in MR, but not PL, with additional improvements in VO2max (+4.8 ml·kg-1·min-1) and VT (+0.7 l·min-1) after 3 weeks. Acute supplementation with a Cordyceps militaris containing mushroom blend may improve tolerance to high-intensity exercise; greater benefits may be elicited with consistent chronic supplementation.
Keywords: endurance performance; ergogenic aid; maximal oxygen consumption.