5 Benefits of Cordyceps in Lupus

Lupus is a condition that can affect various organs of your body. This is due to the immune system malfunction that leads to inflammation which affects the healthy state of the body. [1]

Lupus patients suffer from joint pain, fatigue, rashes on exposure to sunlight, fever, muscle pain, etc. This can even cause anxiety and depression among them. [2]

A pinpoint cause for lupus does not exist. It can be due to genetic factors and also due to environmental effects on the patients that trigger the disease. [3]

A complete cure for lupus has not yet been discovered yet. Therefore, lupus patients manage their condition with certain medications like immunosuppressants, steroids, and antimalarials. [4]

The usage of complementary and alternative medicines has increased among lupus patients in the past few years. The absence of cure and side effects of medications are the main reasons why the patients adapt alternative medicinal approaches. [5]

What is Cordyceps Sinensis (Cordyceps, Duong Chong Xiao Cao)?

Cordyceps sinensis is a fungus that grows on specific caterpillars. It is mainly found in Tibet, but some traces are also found in other Himalayan countries like Nepal, Bhutan, and India.

Cordyceps is a traditional medicine used in Tibet with the name ‘Yartsa Gunbu’. It is called ‘Duong Chong Xiao Cao’ by the Chinese. [6]

Cordyceps is a mushroom that has been in use for the past 700 years by the Chinese. This is a very expensive fungus therefore, it is even referred to as ‘soft gold’ in China. [7]

This fungus is identified to provide a tremendous amount of health benefits to the body. It possesses anti-inflammation, antioxidant, anti-cancer, and boots body immunity. It also protects kidneys, liver, lungs and other organs in the body. [8]

Cordyceps consists of 20 active chemical constituents that are responsible for its positive effects on health.

Benefits of Cordyceps sinensis in Lupus Patients

Benefits of cordyceps sinensis in lupus patients can be attributed mainly to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Not only does it reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, but cordyceps also provides anti-fatigue and anti-depression effects. Cordyceps has a vital role in curing kidney damage and preventing recurrence of kidney disease in lupus patients.

1. Cordyceps Reduces Oxidative Stress in Lupus Patients

Scientific studies prove the antioxidant capacity of cordyceps. It is a potent antioxidant that can neutralize the toxic chemicals generated within the body called free radicals. [9] [10]

Free radicals are the chemicals generated in the body that cause damage to cells causing oxidative stress. Lupus patients have a remarkably high level of oxidative stress. [11]

The antioxidant effect of cordyceps contributes to reducing inflammation in the body too. [12]

The polysaccharides present in cordyceps is responsible for its antioxidant effects. [13]

Antioxidant therapy can also help in protecting the heart and brain which are more likely to get damaged in lupus patients. [14]

What does this mean? Antioxidant therapy is crucial for lupus patients as it reduces damage to the cells from toxins. Cordyceps with its potent antioxidant activity is a great source of antioxidant for lupus patients.

2. Cordyceps Can Help Reduce Inflammation in Lupus Patients

Cordyceps contains chemicals called as Cordymin and Cordysinins that are responsible for its anti-inflammatory effect. [15]

Cordyceps has demonstrated its ability to interfere with the immune system of the body and prevent excess inflammation in lupus infected animal models. [16]

The anti-inflammatory effect of this mushroom is well-studied in animals and it is demonstrated to provide good anti-inflammatory effects. [17] [18]

Animal studies show that cordyceps prolonged the lifespan in lupus affected subjects. Cordyceps is also capable of reducing the damage to kidneys in lupus. [19]

Further clinical trials in lupus patients can confirm this benefit and help in identifying an exact dosage for them. [20]

What does this mean? The anti-inflammatory effect of cordyceps has been proven through animal studies. It has great potential in benefitting lupus patients in reducing lupus-related inflammation in them.

3. It Can Control and Prevent Kidney Disease in Lupus Patients

Five out of ten lupus patients are known to experience a kidney disease called lupus nephritis. [21]

Cordyceps being kidney protective by nature can greatly benefit in controlling as well as preventing kidney damage in lupus. [22]

A clinical trial in 61 lupus patients demonstrated the ability of cordyceps in decreasing the recurrence of lupus-related kidney damage. [23]

Studies also show the reduction of creatinine and blood urea nitrogen levels (markers of kidney dysfunction) in lupus nephritis. The antioxidant nature of cordyceps is the key effect that makes this kidney protection possible. [24]

Animal studies are also found to be concordant with the effect of reducing kidney damage by cordyceps. [25]

What does this mean? Lupus Nephritis is a kidney disease common in lupus patients. The potent kidney protective effect of cordyceps can be utilized to reduce damage to the kidney and prevent kidney damage in lupus patients not affected by lupus nephritis.

4. It Can Combat Fatigue and Depression in Lupus

Fatigue is one of the major symptoms of lupus that distorts their quality of life by preventing them from conducting day-to-day activities. [26]

Fatigue can also derange sleep routine and cause mental issues like depression, anxiety and mood disorders. [27]

Cordyceps has been used by the Chinese to restore physical strength and promote better activity levels. It works by increasing energy (ATP-Adenosine Triphosphate) production in the body. [28]

Depression in lupus patients is inter-related with fatigue and treating fatigue can help in reducing depression. [29]

In addition to the anti-fatigue effect, cordyceps also has properties that fight depression by altering the neurochemicals in the brain. It is well evidenced with animal studies. [30] [31]

However, this data warrants a need for further trials on this topic in lupus patients to quantify its benefits as well as establish an appropriate dosing schedule for lupus sufferers.

What does this mean? Cordyceps can be a key supplement in reducing fatigue and depression in lupus patients.

5. It May Reduce Skin Rashes Due to Sun Exposure in Lupus Patients

Lupus patients tend to develop rashes on their skin when exposed to sunlight. These rashes are due to the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays of the sun.

Photoprotection is essential among lupus patients to avoid any sun-related damage and rashes. [32]

A study on the human cells identified the photoprotective effect of cordyceps that can reduce damage on the skin when exposed to sunlight. [33]

The study regarding this effect has not crossed any preliminary stages. However, it could have some potential in reducing or preventing lupus related rashes which can be clarified through further clinical trials.

What does this mean? Cordyceps has some potential in reducing skin damage from sun exposure. This effect could help reduce lupus rash. However, strong evidence from trials is still lacking.

How to Take – Dosage

Cordyceps can be consumed in the form of powdered extract or a liquid preparation. A dose of 3-9 grams per day is considered safe and effective. [34]

While taking a marketed preparation is advised to follow the manufacturer’s instruction on dosage or take as suggested by your physician. [35]

Precautions

Cordyceps is generally safe and has been used for several years without any toxic side effects in patients. [36]

Cordyceps may cause nausea, diarrhea and dry mouth as its side effects. It can also precipitate an allergic reaction in some patients. [37]

In case of allergy, one must not continue taking this supplement unless advised by a physician. [38]

Conclusion

Cordyceps is a tradition medicinal fungus that has a major role to play in numerous health factors. It is evidenced to be of great benefit in lupus patients.

Cordyceps provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects in lupus patients. It is also known to reduce kidney damage which is a commonly affected organ in lupus.

Fatigue is a major lupus symptom that can also lead to depression in patients. Cordyceps provides anti-fatigue effects which also reduces the chance of developing depression.

Cordyceps has shown some minor evidence in reducing the sun-related skin damage or rashes. This may be another potential area that it can benefit lupus with. Nevertheless, this effect warrants further research.

Cordyceps is a great supplement that is safe and effective which can be taken by lupus patients as it can provide a good number of health benefits to them.

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