It’s common knowledge that mushrooms have been used for thousands of years in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), but did you know they were also used by the ancient Egyptians? They considered them gifts from the gods to royalty, and saw them as plants of immortality. Obviously, they can’t really make you immortal, but medicinal mushrooms are treasured for their ability to support health.
Virtually all mushrooms contain components that boost your immune system and some also support your brain and cognitive function. Even more interesting, however, is that a few, select mushroom species can have a dramatic impact on energy levels!
Just What IS an Energy Level?
The “Energy level” we speak of in common conversation pinpoints how you feel on the exhaustion scale. We have low energy when we don’t feel up to riding our bike, go for a swim, or play a round of golf. Alternatively, when you’re focused and ready for whatever comes, you have “energy to burn.”
It’s important to not confuse energy with the sensation you get from caffeine. Stimulants provide no energy whatsoever, but rather kick you into a kind of overdrive that helps you get through a task, but at the cost of putting real strains on your heart and adrenal glands.
While you might sense an energy deficiency as feeling too tired to enjoy a good workout or play a round of golf, the impact goes much deeper. If you lack the energy for these things, your cells likely lack the energy they need to fuel life processes like digestion, immunity, brain function, etc. In a nutshell, low energy levels can undermine every aspect of health.
Unfortunately, several common factors can deplete energy. These include poor sleep patterns or food choices, too little or too much exercise, unhealthy habits (alcohol, drugs, tobacco, etc.) or conditions like depression, heart disease, anemia, diabetes, and cancer. 
Fatigue, of course, can express itself as physical, mental, or both. Physical fatigue can be measured by the feeling that your legs feel – enormously heavy, muscle aches and soreness, and so on. Mental fatigue encompasses poor concentration, lack of motivation, anxiety, irritability, and headaches.
If low energy is not resolved, it can stress essentially any bodily system. So, if you’re even a bit short on energy, it’s important to resolve it. This is where mushrooms can help!
The Energy Boosting Properties in Mushrooms
Fundamentally, every mushroom contains beneficial compounds, some of which are outstanding for energy recuperation. Here, we’ll focus on four ways these compounds can help:
- Increased ATP production
- Improved blood circulation
- Lactic acid inhibition
- Stress relief
Increased ATP Production
ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) is a molecule (made in the mitochondria of your cells) that stores and transfers energy. As cells age, they have fewer mitochondria, and thus make less ATP. A lack of energy may occur due to your burning more ATP than you’re making. Stress generates free radicals that damage your cells and undermines your production of ATP. By neutralizing free radicals, Cordyceps protects cellular mitochondria and supports healthy ATP production. 
Improved Blood Circulation
Cellular respiration is the process by which your cells convert glucose to ATP. It depends on oxygen, which is delivered to your cells by the hemoglobin in your blood. In other words, making enough ATP depends on sound circulation.  Several mushrooms, like Reishi and Shiitake, are rich in polysaccharides and triterpenes. These compounds support healthy blood pressure and circulation.
Lactic Acid Inhibition
The harder you work out the more oxygen you need to replace the ATP you’re burning. When you’re short on oxygen, cells in your muscles and blood produce lactate as an alternative method of turning carbs into energy. This causes a lactic acid buildup and disrupts your normal pH balance. Studies show Cordyceps contain specific, beta-glucan factors that help slow this buildup. 
(Note: While this article is about mushrooms, one of the best ways to reduce muscle spasms, cramps, and soreness is with magnesium.)
Whether we experience stress as mental or physical in nature, it’s really happening at the cellular level. Stress is a major, Major cause of fatigue. Luckily, numerous mushrooms, like Cordyceps, Reishi, and Chaga are adaptogens. Adaptogens help us adapt to or cope with stress in the healthiest possible way. When you can properly cope with stress, sleep comes more easily, the body must allocate fewer resources to a radical stress response, the strain is less on the kidneys, adrenals, and heart, fewer stress hormones are produced, digestion is more efficient, etc. All these things support higher energy levels.
So, What’s the Best Mushroom for Energy?
Depending on the root cause of your low energy there are several different mushrooms you can use, including Reishi, Shiitake, Chaga, and Lion’s Mane. However, the best overall solution, if you want just one mushroom, is Cordyceps. It covers all your bases.
In TCM, “Essence” is the deep, primal energy reserve that forms your genetic blueprint and determines your daily vitality and longevity. One facet of Essence is that passed on by the parents through the sperm and egg, while the other increases or decreases throughout your life based on lifestyle choices. Cordyceps and Reishi are rock star, tonic herbs that TCM considers among the most powerful ways to build Essence. Of the two, Cordyceps is the number one mushroom used for energy fortification and renewal.
MyPure™ Cordyceps 4X encapsulates all the benefits of Cordyceps mushrooms, giving you the equivalent of 2300 mg of pure, whole, fruiting-body mushroom nutrition in each capsule.*
Don’t let fatigue keep you from living your best life!
 Ko, Kam Ming, and Hoi Yan Leung. “Enhancement of ATP generation capacity, antioxidant activity and immunomodulatory activities by Chinese Yang and Yin tonifying herbs.” Chinese medicine vol. 2 3. 27 Mar. 2007, doi:10.1186/1749-8546-2-3
 Nugent, Nicole, "Investigating the Effects of Blood Flow on Muscle Fatigue and Recovery in the First Dorsal Interosseous Muscle" (2020). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from https://scholarworks.rit.edu/theses/10404
 Geng, Ping et al. “Antifatigue Functions and Mechanisms of Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms.” BioMed research international vol. 2017 (2017): 9648496. doi:10.1155/2017/9648496