Cordyceps Dangers: Risks & Safety Concerns Explained

Cordyceps Dangers: Risks & Safety Concerns Explained - Lucid™

From enhancing athletic performance to boosting immunity, cordyceps supplements have become popular among health-conscious individuals seeking natural remedies. However, amid the growing interest in cordyceps, questions have arisen regarding its safety profile and potential risks.

Don’t fret, though. Cordyceps supplements can be safely enjoyed, assuming you’re aware of the potential risks and how to avoid them.

In this article, we delve into potential cordyceps dangers and explore safety concerns that consumers should consider. Let’s take it from the top:

Key Takeaways

Cordyceps supplements offer potential benefits such as increased energy levels and immune support, but consumers should be aware of potential risks and safety concerns.

Risks associated with cordyceps consumption include allergic reactions, drug interactions, contamination, and mild side effects like gastrointestinal discomfort or headaches.

To mitigate risks, consumers should purchase from reputable brands, follow recommended dosages, monitor their body's response, and consult healthcare professionals if necessary.

Understanding Cordyceps

Before we can really dive into the potential dangers of cordyceps, let’s discuss a little about what cordyceps is, why people choose to take cordyceps supplements, and how they work.

Cordyceps is a variety of fungi that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries to treat various ailments, including fatigue, respiratory disorders, and kidney disease. Most notably, cordyceps has been used to support athletic performance, and limited research supports its potential benefits for enhancing blood flow and improving endurance.

Cordyceps is often considered the best nootropic mushroom for improving energy . Cordyceps are also believed to possess adaptogenic properties, meaning they may help the body adapt to stress and maintain homeostasis. In fact, preliminary evidence and anecdotal reports have linked cordyceps to a wide range of potential benefits, including:

It's important to note that individual responses to Cordyceps may vary, and further research is needed to fully understand its effects on human health.

Additionally, the dosage of cordyceps you take and the quality of the product you choose greatly affect the effects you will experience–good and bad. That means that if you want to avoid cordyceps dangers and side effects, it’s crucial that you know how to choose a high-quality product and how to use it correctly.

Potential Risks of Cordyceps Consumption

While cordyceps supplements are generally considered safe for most people when taken in recommended doses, there are potential risks and safety concerns to be aware of:

1. Allergic Reactions:

Like any other natural substance, cordyceps may trigger allergic reactions in some individuals. Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include rash, itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing. If you experience any allergic symptoms after consuming cordyceps, discontinue use immediately and seek medical attention if necessary.

2. Drug Interactions:

Cordyceps supplements may interact with certain medications, particularly those that affect the immune system or blood clotting. If you are taking any prescription medications or have a pre-existing medical condition, consult with your healthcare provider before adding cordyceps to your regimen to avoid potential interactions..

3. Contamination:

The quality and safety of cordyceps supplements can vary depending on the manufacturer. Contamination with heavy metals, pesticides, or other harmful substances is possible, especially with products sourced from unreliable suppliers. To minimize the risk of contamination, choose reputable brands that adhere to good manufacturing practices and undergo third-party testing.

4. Side Effects:

While uncommon, some individuals may experience mild side effects from cordyceps supplementation, such as:

  • gastrointestinal discomfort

  • Nausea

  • Diarrhea

  • Headaches

  • dizziness

These side effects are typically temporary and resolve on their own. However, if you experience persistent or severe symptoms, discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional.

Read ‘ Cordyceps Side Effects ’ to learn more.

Safety Considerations and Precautions

To mitigate potential risks associated with cordyceps consumption, consider the following safety precautions:

  • Purchase cordyceps supplements from reputable brands with a track record of quality and safety.

  • Follow the recommended dosage instructions provided by the manufacturer.

  • If you have any underlying health conditions or concerns, consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.

  • Monitor your body's response to cordyceps and discontinue use if you experience any adverse reactions.

We’ll break these down further below:

How to Check the Quality Standards of Cordyceps Products

There are many different types of Cordyceps. Some supplements like low-quality myceliated supplements or whole cordyceps powders (which haven’t been extracted) may have very few therapeutic effects, though they aren’t inherently unsafe.

On the other hand, cordyceps extracts provide more therapeutic benefits, but making them is a bit more involved, leaving more room for error. For this reason, we need to understand how to evaluate the quality of mushroom supplements.

A Note About Cordyceps Extracts

Cordyceps extracts, derived from the fruiting bodies, are the gold standard for supplementation. Unlike raw or fermented mycelium products, extracted fruiting bodies offer optimal bioavailability of beneficial compounds like cordycepin, adenosine, cordycepic acid, and polysaccharides. Extraction is crucial for breaking down chitin, the tough cell wall component, ensuring that the body can access the mushroom's full potential.

If you want to experience all of the benefits that cordyceps has to offer, we recommend finding a high-quality extract product.

When considering mushroom supplements, it's crucial to discern between options to ensure you receive the full spectrum of benefits. Here are key factors to weigh:

Whole Mushroom Powder vs. Mushroom Extract

  • Whole Mushroom Powder : This form includes the entire mushroom, retaining all its natural nutrients and compounds. While akin to consuming a whole fruit, it may lack the necessary beta glucans that provide therapeutic benefits.

  • Mushroom Extract: Extracts are concentrated and contain specific anxiety-alleviating compounds. The extraction process enhances bioavailability, ensuring consistent and potent results. However, extracts often omit the fiber and other nutritional components found in whole mushroom products.

Fruiting Body Supplements vs. Mycelium Supplements

  • Fruiting Body Supplements: Derived from the mature part of the mushroom, fruiting body supplements are richer in the sought-after therapeutic compounds, making them ideal for addressing health concerns.

  • Mycelium Supplements : Mycelium , the mushroom's root system, may not offer the same anxiety-relief benefits as fruiting body supplements. Some companies use mycelium to reduce costs, but this may compromise the therapeutic potential.

Labeling and Transparency

When choosing a mushroom supplement for anxiety, prioritize transparency and thorough product information:

  • Look for supplements from reputable manufacturers that provide clear details about sourcing, extraction methods, and quality control practices.

  • Ensure the label specifies the mushroom species used, whether it's whole mushroom powder or an extract, and the source (fruiting body or mycelium).

  • Aim for a beta glucan content of around 20% or more for effective anxiety support.

  • Verify third-party testing for purity and potency.

Opting for products with transparent labeling empowers you to make an informed decision and trust the quality of your chosen mushroom supplement.

What’s a Safe Cordyceps Dosage?

To avoid cordyceps dangers, it's crucial that you understand how to dose cordyceps correctly. Individual response to Cordyceps varies due to factors like metabolism, genetics, and lifestyle. According to most sources, the optimal dosage of cordyceps ranges from 1 to 3 grams for whole-mushroom products and 0.5 to 1 gram for extracts.

Finding the right dose requires personalized experimentation and guidance from healthcare professionals to maximize benefits and ensure well-being. Here are some precautions to take when crafting a safe and effective Cordyceps dosing regimen:

1. Start Low, Go Slow : Initiate with a conservative dosage and gradually increase over time.

2. Monitor Response: Pay attention to changes in energy levels, mood, and overall well-being. Adjust dosage accordingly.

3. Allow Time for Adaptation: Give your body several weeks to adapt before making significant changes.

4. Stay Hydrated and Nourished: Ensure hydration and balanced nutrition to optimize absorption.

5. Listen to Your Body: Scale back or pause supplementation if adverse reactions occur.

6. Consult with a Healthcare Professional: Seek guidance, especially if you have medical conditions or are taking medications.

By adhering to these principles, you can safely navigate Cordyceps supplementation, maximizing its benefits while prioritizing your well-being.


While cordyceps offers promising health benefits and has a long history of use in traditional medicine, it's essential to approach its consumption with caution. By being aware of the potential risks and safety concerns associated with cordyceps supplementation, individuals can make informed decisions about its use and minimize the likelihood of adverse effects. As with any dietary supplement, moderation and vigilance are key to ensuring a safe and positive experience with cordyceps.

All in all, Cordyceps dangers are rare and avoidable with some careful consideration. Choose a high-quality cordyceps mushroom extract for the most therapeutic benefit while avoiding unwanted side effects.

If you want to take full advantage of the "functional" side of functional mushrooms, consider a mushroom super-blend like our Lucid Coffee, Chai, or Matcha powders. It takes full advantage of the benefits of these superfood mushrooms by pairing Cordyceps,  Maitake, Tremella, and Lion's Mane, plus powerful nootropics, like BCAA's, L-Theanine, Alpha-GPC, and more. 


  1. “Randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial and assessment of fermentation product of Cordyceps sinensis (Cs-4) in enhancing aerobic capacity and respiratory function of the healthy elderly volunteers”

  2. “Cordyceps as an Herbal Drug”

  3. “The anti-hyperglycemic activity of the fruiting body of Cordyceps in diabetic rats induced by nicotinamide and streptozotocin”

  4. “Cordyceps sinensis: Genotoxic Potential in Human Peripheral Blood Cells and Antigenotoxic Properties Against Hydrogen Peroxide by Comet Assay” 

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