Regulation of cholesterol by Cordyceps Militaris

Cholesterol is defined as a wax-based fat generated in either the intestines or the liver and is present in all animals. It is actually an essential component for life, being used to create lining around body cells so that nutrients can pass in and out of them. High cholesterol can be attained with excess red meat, food prepared in generous quantities of oil, but then it is not always harmful. The problem occurs as several symptoms of excess cholesterol are visible only when bulk of the damage has already taken place.

The essential reason that causes problems after high cholesterol is that blood is unable to flow freely to different parts of the body owing to blockages. Though symptoms vary based upon the type of high cholesterol, you are likely to see one or more of the following:

  • Tingling across the body
  • Yellowish parts on the skin
  • Frequent bulges on the skin
  • Aches in the legs while walking
  • Chest pains

The best way to keep this problem in check is to visit the doctor for a blood test on a regular basis. Another way is to consume the mushroom Cordyceps Militaris based upon your doctor’s recommendation. It is a recognized food which, amongst various benefits, aids in lowering cholesterol levels.

Experiments to verify lipid-lowering effects

One of the major components of the mushroom Cordyceps Militaris is cordycepin, its chemical formula being 3′-Deoxyadenosine. This bioactive component has been recognized to have a number of biological effects, such as preventing growth of tumours, activities for vasorelaxation and controlling immune responses. In order to understand its fat-lowering effects, hyperlipidemic rats and hamsters were administered high-lipid diet and another diet with cordycepin from Cordyceps Militaris , for a period of four weeks. The quantities of lipids in rats and hamsters were measured with the help of enzymes, both before giving cordycepin (12.5, 25 and 50 mg x kg(-1)).

In the results, it was measured that levels of total cholesterol (TC), triglyceride (TG), serum, low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-C) increased markedly in the two animal populations on the high fat diet. On the other hand, cordycepin brought down levels of TG, LDL-C, serum TC, LDL- C/HDL-C and VLDL-C, as well as TC/HDL-C ratios. As a corollary, an increase in hepatic lipase (HL) and lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity due to cordycepin was understood as responsible for lipid profile regulation.

[1] Other clinical studies that involved 273 patients (across 9 hospitals) having high levels of cholesterol showed that Cordyceps Militaris is responsible for bringing down total cholesterol by 10–21% and triglycerides by 9–26%. Additionally, it also helped increase HDL (good’ cholesterol) by 27–30%.


[1] (Zhu, JS, Halpern, GM, Jones, K. The scientific rediscovery of an ancient Chinese herbal medicine: Cordycep Militaris. Part I. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 1998, 4(3), 289–303.)

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