Cordyceps militaris is a species of fungus in the family Clavicipitaceae, and the type species of the genusCordyceps.
Cordycepin, or 3'-deoxyadenosine, is a derivative of the nucleoside adenosine, differing from the latter by the absence of the hydroxy group in the3' position of its ribose part. It was initially extracted from the fungus Cordyceps militaris, but is now produced synthetically.
Because cordycepin is similar to adenosine, some enzymes cannot discriminate between the two. Therefore, it can participate in certain biochemical reactions (for example, be incorporated into an RNA molecule, thus causing the premature termination of its synthesis).
Cordycepin has displayed cytotoxicity against some leukemic cell lines in vitro, and at least one clinical trial of cordycepin as a leukemia treatment is in progress.
Cordycepin has been found to produce rapid, robust imipramine-like antidepressant effects in animal models ofdepression, and these effects, similarly to those of imipramine, are dependent on enhancement of AMPA receptorsignaling.
More specifically, cordycepin is known for:
Having antimicrobial, anticancer, antimetastatic, insecticidal and immunomodulatory properties;
Inhibiting cellular proliferation;
Stimulating cellular apoptosis;
Slowing down the aggregation of platelets;
Limiting cellular invasiveness/migration;
Limiting the polyadenylation of mRNA;
Reducing tumor development and progression.
Polysaccharides are a type of carbohydrate composed of long chains of monosaccharides. They are often referred to as complex carbohydrates and play a role in immune function and digestive health. C. militaris contains beta-glucan polysaccharides, which are known to reduce LDL and total cholesterol levels.
They also boost immune system responses and may improve quality of life for individuals who have a compromised immune system, such as the sick and elderly. Further, they fight off infections and provide antioxidant protectionagainst free radical damage.