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The Athlete’s Ally: Adding Cordyceps to Your Performance + Recovery Toolkit

The Athlete’s Ally: Adding Cordyceps to Your Performance + Recovery Toolkit

Part 5: Not all ingredients are created equal

HANAH Heroes weigh in on their experiences with Cordyceps+

In the ever-growing supplement industry, there’s always a new potion, pill or powder that experts are telling athletes they must take. Beyond the basic go-to’s of protein, creatine and fish oil, there are a seemingly limitless number of rabbit holes to swallow our time, attention and budget, with all of them promising a performance boost and/or better recovery. But with so much nutritional noise – and much of it nonsense – how can you make the distinction between effective supplementation and snake oil?

The first step is to stop believing that every lab-created “new” product represents progress, no matter what marketers and online advertisers would have us believe. To move forward, we actually would do well to look back to rediscover natural substances that have been used by other cultures for hundreds or even thousands of years. From shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) to thermal therapy to meditation, vitality-enhancing practices from around the world have perpetuated throughout generations for one simple reason: they’re effective. It’s the same story with medicinal botanicals.

Communities living in the Amazon jungle, the Himalayan Plateau, or any other ancient community don’t need the findings of a scientific lab to prove efficacy – either an herb or plant does something positive or it doesn’t. We can get so caught up in evidence-based practice that we neglect to honor practice-based evidence (aka we hold these truths to be self-evident).

At HANAH, we believe the future of human performance lies in the lessons of the past. One example is adaptogens. These are a class of botanicals that, as the name suggests, help the human body adapt to and buffer the impact of both physiological and psychological stressors that bombard us daily. Athletes prompt growth by subjecting themselves to training stimuli. Yet even when appropriately dosed, these must be paired with adequate recovery to close the adaptation loop. Premium sleep, hydration, and nutrition aren’t just box checks for high performance – they’re a necessity. That’s why we’re dedicated to sourcing the finest natural adaptogens from around the world as part of our commitment to making old medicine new again for the modern world.

Take Cordyceps sinensis for example. This prized medicinal mushroom grows out of the ghost moth on the lofty slopes of Bhutan, at an elevation of up to 17,000 feet. If you’ve seen Cordyceps listed on the side of a supplement bottle, it’s probably not the genuine article but rather the low grade variant grown in liquid vats in China or Cordyceps militaris cultivated on and ground up with wood chips or grain in an American laboratory. The former is often processed with harsh chemical solvents while the latter commonly contains 30 percent or less of the stated main ingredient – hardly a recipe for success in either case. Plus, the grain-grown kind contains as little as 1.5% of the potent, disease-fighting and recovery-promoting beta glucans found in medicinal mushrooms, while wild-harvested Cordyceps has as much as 34% . In other words, one of these things is not like the other.

HANAH on the hunt for Cordyceps sinensis high in the mountains of the Himalaya: Joel Einhorn and Travis Rice join a local Bhutanese collector.

Then there’s the human element to consider. By sourcing our 100 percent wild-grown Cordyceps directly from the harvesters who collect it in Bhutan, we’re supporting their local economy and investing in an environmentally sustainable process that protects the land. To athlete, HANAH Hero, photographer and co-director of Meru and Free Solo Jimmy Chin, the difference in both efficacy and ethos is readily apparent:

“About a year ago, I became interested in trying Cordyceps,” Jimmy said. “Since then I’ve learned a lot from Joel Einhorn about the big differences between the premium, wild-harvested mushroom and the much less efficacious, lab-grown version. Joel gave me a jar of HANAH Cordyceps+ and explained how it’s gathered by Bhutanese highlanders above 14,000 feet and packaged in their villages to ensure purity. I’m intentional about only using products like this that come directly from the source, are made from high quality ingredients, and are produced ethically. From my personal experience using Cordyceps, I can say it’s one of the most effective and powerful herbal supplement I use for mountain training and big cardio/distance days. Cordyceps+ keeps me sharp and gives me a sustained energy boost but that’s really just the beginning of the benefits.”

Jimmy is far from the only high performer who’s noticing the physical and cognitive advantages that Cordyceps+ provides.

HANAH Hero Jimmy Chin on the set of Free Solo. With plenty of ropes, for himself, not Alex Honnold.

As someone who grew up on a Wyoming ranch and is still involved in the family business (Carter Country Meats), Mark Carter knows a thing or two about the importance of sustainably sourced, farm-to-table ingredients. And as a pro snowboarder, he understands the need to be at his peak when navigating the technical, steep mountains where he loves to play.

“When I take HANAH Cordyceps+ I notice a big difference in focus and energy level,” Mark said. “The effects are even more pronounced when I use it for several days in a row.”

Mark Carter surveys the scene before a big adventure with fellow HANAH Hero Forrest Shearer

Such benefits aren’t restricted to anecdotal evidence, but also backed up by significant research findings. A study published by a leading Japanese journal concluded that Cordyceps increased the efficiency of energy generation at the cellular level, while also reducing the impact of mental fatigue during exercise.

Italian researchers discovered that Cordyceps helps people improve their ability to deal with physical stress, due to the fungus’s flavonoids that take down damaging free radicals. And in a Chinese study on older, active participants, those who supplemented with Cordyceps boosted their metabolic threshold by 10.5 percent.

So whether you’re an amateur athlete or a pro like Jimmy and Mark, it’s clear that when it comes to chasing peak performance, HANAH Cordyceps+ really is a powerful ally.

HANAH Cordyceps+ Product Page

Learn more about our series on Bhutan and Cordyceps

Check out our HANAH ONE & Cordyceps+ bundle

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HANAH ONE & Cordyceps+ product page


*Individual results may vary. This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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