Effects of a Commercial Supplement of Ophiocordyceps sinensis and Ganoderma lucidum on Physiological Responses to Maximal Exercise in Healthy Young Participants

Int J Med Mushrooms. 2018;20(4):359-367. doi: 10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.2018025989.


Cordyceps sinensis (=Ophiocordyceps sinensis) and Ganoderma lucidum are 2 medicinal mushrooms that have been suggested to have the potential to enhance exercise capacity. We used a commercial supplement combining a traditional Chinese medicine and G. lucidum and tested its effects on human physical, aerobic, and anaerobic capacities. Physical education students (n = 96; 43 women, 53 men; mean ± standard deviation age, 26.3 ± 3.21 years) were randomly divided into 3 groups: low-dose treatment, high-dose treatment, and placebo. Participants received the supplement or the placebo for 28-33 days. Both before and after the intervention, the participants performed a graded maximum oxygen consumption (Vo2max) test on a treadmill and a Wingate anaerobic cycle test (on a different day). The following parameters were measured and recorded during the maximal graded treadmill test: heart rate, oxygen consumption, respiratory exchange ratio, and ventilation. The following parameters were calculated from the Wingate anaerobic cycle test: maximal anaerobic power, mean anaerobic power, and fatigue index. The supplements did not affect Vo2max or the physiological responses upon maximal exercise during the graded treadmill test. In a similar way, they had no effect on peak or mean power, or fatigue index, as measured by the Wingate anaerobic test. A borderline interaction indicated a somewhat lower heart rate at rest after treatment; however, post hoc analysis did not reveal any further statistically significant differences (P = 0.047; F = 3.169). The findings indicate that dual supplementation with C. sinensis and G. lucidum had no effect on Vo2max, on physiological responses at peak exercise load during a graded maximal treadmill test, or on the parameters of anaerobic capacity.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anaerobiosis / drug effects
  • Cordyceps / metabolism*
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Test / drug effects
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional
  • Oxygen Consumption / drug effects
  • Reishi / metabolism*
  • Young Adult