If you’re a male in your late 30’s and feel like your energy and strength are deteriorating, then you’re not alone. (If you’re wondering, I’m the author of this article and sadly, 37 years of age). Many men start to feel like they’re unable to reach the exercise goals they once did as they move through their 30s. Besides the inevitable march of age, this is also due to declining levels of testosterone and AMPK function.
Wait what, AMPK?
AMPK is an enzyme found in literally every single living species on our planet, from the lowly yeast to us humans. It’s an energy regulator, acting sort of like a master switch. When energy is low or deficient (e.g. you’re in the middle of a high-intensity pickup game), AMPK kicks into overdrive, burning up sugar and fats so your body has more fuel to use.
The closest analogy would be a spark plug in an engine. When “sparked” or activated, AMPK helps the body burn fat efficiently and throttles more fuel into our muscles in the form of glucose. Healthy AMPK activity keeps our body fat in a normal range as well as healthy levels of lean muscle mass.
In summary, proper AMPK activity stimulates weight loss, improves insulin sensitivity, decreases inflammation, and improves muscle performance. Sounds good, right? But the frustrating thing is, like testosterone levels, AMPK activation declines with age.
The Role of Testosterone
If you’re reading this, you already probably know a great deal on testosterone. So we’ll keep it short here. It is known as the male hormone (although women do have it, just to a lesser extent). During puberty, testosterone is responsible for an increase in muscle mass, among other things. Other consequences of male puberty, such as a deeper voice and a raging libido, can also be attributed to healthy levels of testosterone.
Peak testosterone occurs in our early twenties and from there it begins a very slow but sure decline. This means men begin to lose muscle mass and sex drive as we get older. Like many of you reading this, I’m not the same young buck I was when I was 17.
There are many other causes of below average testosterone such as obesity, diabetes and so forth that, unfortunately, we can’t help you out with and are better managed by your doctor.
How can we help then??
This funky functional mushroom found in the high mountains of Tibet
Cordyceps has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for over 3,000 years to help enhance libido and sexual performance and boost stamina, energy levels, and endurance.
It’s little wonder then, that Cordyceps has attracted the attention of today’s researchers. Many studies have been conducted into the benefits of Cordyceps as a food supplement that can help boost performance and endurance.
Wild harvested Cordyceps is practically worth its weight in gold. Luckily we source our Cordyceps from one of the original producers of it. They have the original Cordyceps sinensis strain, which they clone and reproduce in stainless steel vats. We had the chance to visit the facility once. It almost reminds us of fermenting beer, with the same hue as a nice sipping amber ale.
How Cordyceps Can Help Support Better Energy and Drive
As with all novel foods, early studies on this mushroom were carried out on animals. These studies showed promising results for Cordyceps. One, in 2004  found that the Cordyceps group had significantly higher testosterone levels after only seven days of supplementation.
Naturally, human studies came next. In 2014, a study was carried out on a group of endurance cyclists. Participants were all healthy, male and aged between 30 and 40. Researchers found that after three months of Cordyceps supplements, participants had a significantly reduced risk of oxidative stress, a factor that can reduce aerobic capacity and therefore performance during intense exercise. Another win for Cordyceps and endurance!
It doesn’t stop there. In 2016, another study on 28 volunteers found that those given Cordyceps supplements for three weeks had a significantly increased VO2max (a measure of oxygen uptake during intense exercise, the higher the better). They could also exercise for longer without reaching exhaustion. Hitting the wall at the 20k mark on your runs? Not anymore bud. The study concluded that Cordyceps supplementation may “improve tolerance to high-intensity exercise”.
You can read more about the benefits of Cordyceps here, or if you are interested in the above-mentioned studies, check out the links below. If you’re really ready for the next step, give our Cordyceps Sinensis extract supplement a shot!