The body’s immunity protects us from various infections and diseases. Firstly the physical barriers prevent pathogens from entering the body. If a pathogen breaks the barrier and enters the body, the immune system provides an immediate, but a nonspecific response. The human body possesses a third layer of protection, which is the adaptive immune system including phagocytes (macrophages, neutrophils, and dendritic cells), mast cells, eosinophils, basophils, and natural killer cells. In the adaptive system, B cells are involved in humoral immune response, whereas T cells contribute to cellular immune response. Cordyceps is a modulator with both potentiating and suppressive effects on the immune system through regulating innate and adaptive immunity.
Cordyceps militaris is a mushroom traditionally used for pharmaceutical purposes in East Asia and has been found to be effective for enhancing immunity through animal testing.
digestion and uptake of nutrients
maintenance of immune homeostasis.
The gastrointestinal-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) is composed of macrophages, dendritic cells, B lymphocytes, and T lymphocytes in GALT. Both innate and adaptive responses collaborate in maintaining the immune balance of GALT. In a study C. sinensis hot water extract could significantly lower harmful bacteria populations (Salmonella sp. and E. coli.) and increase helpful bacteria numbers (Lactobacillus sp.) in the small intestine thus it regulates intestinal bacteria by improving GALT or systemic immunity or both. C. sinensis modulates the systemic immune system partly through a mechanism mediated by Peyer’s patch cell. Furthermore, C. sinensis and C. scarabaecola showed intestinal immune system modulating activity by activation of T lymphocytes in Peyer’s patch which is a part of GALT.
Hence Cordyceps has a modulatory effect on the gut immune system, which may further influence systemic immune function.
It is now proved that the immune system functions well with Cordyceps supplementation, perhaps with less accompanying inflammation. Thus Cordyceps is safe and effective for enhancing cell-mediated immunity in healthy adults.