The Last Of Us Cordyceps Fungus Is Real, Edible, And An Aphrodisiac

The Cordyceps fungus has gained some notoriety amongst consumers for its apparent medical benefits nut most recently in the critically acclaimed HBO series based on the video game of the same name "The Last of Us." In the series, Cordyceps in its natural form has adapted to the human body to overtake brain functions and turn individuals into frenzied maniacs that seek to spread the infection at all costs. Clearly, the show may be terrifying if you are afraid of mushrooms.

Before taking the fungus in supplement form some may be concerned about its zombifying properties featured in the fiction or have preconceptions about avoiding the consumption of certain varieties to prevent some sort of infection like protagonist Joel did in the show. But not to worry the real-life fungus is simply an often lab-grown supplement used for a general variety of ailments including use as an aphrodisiac. Although WebMD questions the lab variety's effectiveness, the fungus may have uses to assist in athletic performance and may aid in the treatment of liver and kidney problems.

The question of effectiveness

On an anecdotal basis, plenty of reviewers on WebMD detailed their experiences with the supplement ranging from very effective for asthma for example to no noticeable difference in their day-to-day lives. Such a range of responses from successful to ineffective implies that the fungus' usefulness will depend on the individual. But WebMD isn't the only resource with something to say about Cordyceps.

A study published in J Diet Suppl. concluded that short-term week-long supplemental usage of Cordyceps was minimally effective in increasing athletic performance. However, a three-week side experiment yielded "significant improvements in maximal oxygen consumption, with potential improvements in ventilatory threshold and time to exhaustion, suggesting the potential for greater benefits with chronic supplementation," according to the same study. 

This would suggest as opposed to the anecdotal information from WebMD's user base that longer exposure to the fungus supplement could yield greater results. The study itself acknowledges that more testing is needed on human subjects to unravel the full benefits of it. However, Cordyceps fungus definitely belongs alongside mushrooms with a wide range of uses.