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Effects of Cordyceps on Athletic Performance

What Govern's an Athletic Performance ?

Athletic performance is an adaptive trait that is also dependent on inherited gene structure. This adaptive trait is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Our muscle

composition starts with muscle fibers. Muscle fibers are essential for recognition of the muscle mobility and response time.

Accordance to our aerobic capacity these muscle fibers use a very segmented and aligned process to adhere to their application. As slow-twitch muscle fibers contract very slowly and hence are used in agility and longevity. The fast-Twitch Muscle fibers contract really fast and hence are used in high pace athletic activity like sprints and short athletic events.

ACTN3 and ACE are two essential genes present for the development of aerobic longevity, strength, endurance, speed and agility.

How Does ACTN3 Matters ?

ACTN3 gene is an important gene for chemical signalling the production of alpha (α)-actinin-3, which is used in fast twitch muscle activity.

Primarily there are two sub-variant genotypes of ACTN3 gene also referred as 577X and 577R. The 577X variant leads to production of an abnormally short (α)-actinin-3 protein that is quickly broken down by enzymes without any inhibition.

In 577X genetic pattern (genotype) there stands a diminished amount of (α)-actinin-3, which appears to reduce the proportion of fast-twitch muscle fibers and increase the proportion of slow-twitch fibers in the body. Making it essential for long-distance athletic work.

Whereas the 577R genotype is associated with a high proportion of fast-twitch fibers and is seen more commonly in athletes who rely on strength or speed, such as sprinters.

How Does ACE matters?

ACE gene is responsible for chemical/protein signalling that activates ACE ( Angiotensin Converting Enzyme) that leads to the transformation of Angiotensin 1 to Angiotensin 2 hormone for inducing blood pressure with increase of sodium retention.

Angiotensin is part of an elaborate group of linked hormones, enzymes, proteins and reactions called the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system that helps regulate blood pressure. A periodic and balanced conversion of Angiotensin is found in natural athletes.

Nowadays use of many steroidal drugs among budding athletes has become an abused practice. Many have suffered heart failure for practicing an overuse with no daily limitations or proper dosing guidance. Many steroidal drugs enhances the ACE signalling leading to increase of Angiotensin 2 which ultimately leads to an abrupt spike in blood-pressure which may result in cardiac arrest.

Gene Variant Testing Found Amongst Professional Athletes

Two gene variants, ACE I/D and ACTN3 R577X, have been consistently associated with endurance (ACE I/I) and power-related (ACTN3 R/R) performance.

Little information on the association of genetic variation with athletic performance in young athletes is available; however, genetic testing is becoming more popular as a means of talent identification.

Cordyceps Sinensis

Cordyceps Sinensis has been dwelled in the athletic world for more than a decade now, Since the story broke out about the Chinese marathon runners who broke world record at a national level competition in 1993. Ever since that, Cordyceps Sinensis has caught itself at a higher ground of demand.

The Cordycepin content (C10H13N5O3) in Cordyceps Sinensis has successfully shown results in revamping endurance but plays an essential role in balancing the neuromuscular functionality along with receptiveness of ACTN3 protein synthesis which over-all benefits quality of an athletic life.

But an expectations of complete athletic rejuvenation is something that theoretically mandates alterations and tampering with genetic-chemical signalling that in itself is an over-reach of medical approach which definitely comes along with some serious side-effects.

Along with immense amount of athletic exposure, Cordyceps Sinensis does require adequate dosing for it to show substantial results. This factor of Cordyceps Sinensis definitely resorts itself as a safer option opposed to many other supplemental boosters that claim to improve quality of an athletic lifestyle in a shorter period of time.

Athletic related scientific studies conducted on Cordyceps Sinensis

- Effects over Endurance

When propelled with a tested dosage of (200mg/kg BWI) over a period of 6 weeks, the endurance tested with a swimming capacity showed an increase of 1.76 folds more than the original state. 3'-Deoxyadenosine along with polysaccharide ultimately helps battling fatigue as it leads to phosphorylation (Process of energy consumption/release by cells to build or break down AMPs, ADPs and ATPs).

- Effects Over Skeletal Muscle Metabolic Receptors

Cordyceps levy a longing effect on Metabolic regulators like AMPK (Activated Protein Kinase), PGC-1(α) and PPAR-􏰂(δ).

AMPK plays critical roles in regulating growth, reprogramming metabolism and recently has been connected to cellular processes including Autophagy and cell polarity.

PGC-1(α)􏰁􏰁􏰁, Peroxisome Proliferator-activated receptor-gamma co-activator is a member of a family of transcription co-activators that plays a central role in the regulation of cellular energy metabolism. It is strongly induced by cold exposure, linking this environmental stimulus to adaptive thermogenesis. PGC-1 (α) stimulates mitochondrial biogenesis and promotes the remodelling of muscle tissue to a fiber-type composition that is metabolically more oxidative and less glycolytic in nature, and it participates in the regulation of both carbohydrate and lipid metabolism.

PPAR-􏰂(δ),Peroxisome Proliferator-activated receptor-delta is one of three members of the PPAR group in the nuclear receptor superfamily, is a ligand-activated transcription factor. PPAR-δ regulates important cellular metabolic functions that contribute to maintaining energy balance. PPAR-δ is especially important in regulating fatty acid uptake, transport, and β-oxidation as well as insulin secretion and sensitivity.

A study conducted in an athletic observatory for athletic science research suggested the oral supplementation of Cordyceps Sinensis during the aerobic training medley increased the expression of AMPK, PGC-1(α)􏰁 and PPAR-􏰂(δ) performing athletes 􏰂. The Cordyceps sinensis supplementation without exercise also increased the expression of AMPK, PGC-1(α)􏰁 and PPAR-􏰂(δ) amongst non-performing athletes􏰂. Together, these results suggest that oral supplementation of Cordyceps Sinensis enhances the expression of skeletal metabolic regulators independent of exercise.

- Effects over Lactate transporters

Skeletal muscle is the major producer of lactic acid in the body, but its oxidative fibres also use lactic acid as a respiratory fuel. The stereoselective transport of L-lactic acid across the plasma membrane of muscle fibres has been shown to involve a proton-linked monocarboxylate transporter (MCT) similar to that described in erythrocytes and other cells.

This transporter plays an important role in the pH regulation of skeletal muscle. A family of eight MCTs has now been cloned and sequenced, and the tissue distribution of each isoform varies.

Skeletal muscle contains both MCT1 (the only isoform found in erythrocytes but also present in most other cells). MCT1 expression is increased in response to chronic stimulation either in endurance or explosive exercise training in humans, whereas denervation decreases expression of both MCT1. Cordyceps Sinensis supplementation along with exercise, significantly increased the expression of MCT1 in the body.

Conclusive Take

These beneficial effects are mediated by up-regulation of skeletal metabolic regulators AMPK, PGC-1􏰁 and PPAR-􏰂 as well as activation of NRF-2-ARE pathway limiting the oxidative stress. Cordyceps Sinensis also improves exercise endurance without extensive exercise training, making it a natural exercise mimetic and performance enhancer.

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