A study conducted by the University of Pavia (available here) on the relation between mushrooms and athletic performance details how a very specific combination of mushroom supplements can improve performance and endurance of the athletes participating in the Italian Gran Fondo cycling event. Gran Fonto is a long-distance (120 km circa) cycling event that requires high levels of stamina and endurance to
Two mushrooms, Ganoderma lucidum and Cordyceps sinensis (3 capsules of Cordyceps sinensis and 2 capsules of Ganoderma lucidum per day) were taken by 7 healthy male volunteers between 30 and 40 years, all amateur cyclists who participate frequently in cycling races ” Gran Fondo ”.
The experiment investigated the claim of whether mushrooms can impact the athletic performance on the levesl of physical vigor and stamina by monitoring and comparing different factors before and after physical exertion: The testosterone / cortisol ratio in saliva and oxidative stress (DPPH free radical sequestration activity). This considered as a risk factor of over-training (non-functional overreaching), otherwise known as overtraining syndrome.
The study registered an average decrease of more than 30% in testosterone / cortisol ratio after the race compared to pre-race values. The results show that, after 3 months of taking the supplements, the testosterone / cortisol ratio changed in a statistically significant way, protecting athletes from overreaching and over-training.
Antioxidant activity was measured by quantifying serum free radical sequestration activity. After 3 months of use, the data show an increased ability to eliminate free radicals, thus protecting athletes from oxidative stress.