Extracts of Antrodia camphorata cause a dramatic increase in endurance capacity and strength, according to the results of an animal study published by researchers at the National Taiwan Sport University in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The researchers suspect that supplements containing Antrodia camphorata can help improve athletes’ performance and fight fatigue.
The local population in Taiwan have been Antrodia camphorata for generations as a cure for hangovers and exhaustion. Chinese healers use the mushroom to treat liver disease, poisoning and tumours. Recent studies confirm that Antrodia camphorata is effective against tumours, inhibits inflammation and activates the immune system. Supplements containing extracts of Antrodia camphorata have been on the market for years in Asian countries. They are not cheap.
The active ingredients in Antrodia camphorata are probably the triterpenoids shown below.
The researchers gave an alcohol extract of Antrodia camphorata to mice for seven days. The animals were given 50 g [AC-50] or 200 mg [AC-200] of the extract per kg bodyweight once a day via a stomach tube. A control group was given no active substances [Vehicle].
At the end of the week the researchers measured how strongly the mice could clasp a rod with their front paws. The figure on the left below shows that Antrodia camphorata supplementation caused physical strength to increase.
But the effect on endurance capacity was stronger. When the researchers got the mice to swim to the point of exhaustion they saw that the AC-200 group’s endurance capacity was twice that of the Vehicle-group. The figure on the right below shows this.
In another experiment the researchers got the mice to swim for fifteen minutes, and then studied their blood composition. The figure below shows that the mice that had been given Antrodia camphorata had less lactic acid, ammonia and creatine kinase in their blood, but more glucose.
The Taiwanese also found more glycogen in the mice’s muscles and livers after the physical exertion. Cells store glucose fuel as glycogen.
“Although the detailed antifatigue mechanisms of Antrodia camphorata remain to be elucidated, this study provides science-based evidence to support traditional claims of antifatigue results with Antrodia camphorata treatment and suggests a use for Antrodia camphorata as an ergogenic and antifatigue agent”, the researchers conclude.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:364741.