Hunting for the active substances in Antrodia camphorata
Antrodia camphorata is perhaps the hottest medicinal mushroom in the supplement industry. Extracts from this mushroom have countless positive health effects, including a number that are extremely interesting for elite athletes. No wonder biotech companies and researchers are trying to find out what the bioactive substances in Antrodia camphorata are. You can patent active substances - and after that you can earn even more money with them than with the mushroom itself.
Is it ergostatrienol?
Researchers at Jilin Sport University suspect that the most important active substance is the steroid-like compound that you see on the right. Or else some analogs of it.
You are looking at the structural formula of ergosta-7,9(11),22-trien-3-beta-ol, a compound that is present in other medicinal mushrooms as well. It is an ergosterol.
The researchers extracted this substance from Antrodia camphorata and gave it to mice for 6 weeks. [Molecules. 2019 Mar 28;24(7).]
The Taiwanese divided their mice into 3 groups. One group received nothing [Vehicle], the second a standard dose of ergostatrienol [EK100-1X] and the third group a double dose [EK100-2X]. If the mice in the experimental groups had been adult humans, they would have received about 80 or 160 milligrams of ergostatrienol daily.
After those 6 weeks, ergosta-7,9(11),22-trien-3-beta-ol had increased the strength with which the mice could develop with their front paws. Moreover, the sterol significantly increased their endurance.
Below you can see how ergosta-7,9(11),22-trien-3-beta-ol probably works. After the researchers let the mice run for 15 minutes, they found less ammonia and lactic acid in their blood if the animals had received ergostatrienol. The sterol apparently facilitated the conversion of nutrients into energy.
In addition, the researchers found less creatine kinase and degraded proteins [BUN] in the experimental group. This indicates less muscle breakdown.
After the exercise test, the glycogen content in the liver of the mice was higher in the experimental groups. Perhaps, the researchers speculate, ergosta-7,9(11),22-trien-3-beta-ol allows the liver to store more energy in the form of glycogen. With intensive physical exertion, this energy is released.
"Ergosta-7,9(11),22-trien-3-beta-ol could potentially be used to improve exercise physiological adaptation, promote health, and as a potential ergogenic aid in combination with different nutrient strategies", conclude the researchers.
All nice. But if you look at the doses that the mice received, and then compare them with the doses in similar animal studies in which the researchers did not use a purified substance but an extract of the entire mushroom, then you start to doubt whether ergostatrienol really is such a crucial component of Antrodia camphorata...
Is it cyclohexenone?
The Taiwanese Golden Biotechnology Corporation [goldenbiotech.com.tw] studies the effects of another group of components of Antrodia camphorata. You don't read much about their research in the scientific literature, You don't read much about their research in scientific literature, but more so in patents. According to patent literature, Golden Biotechnology focuses on the cyclohexenones in Antrodia camphorata.
The company produces an extract containing these cyclohexenones under the name Antroquinonol.
In a 2008 patent from Golden Biotechnology you find a description of a human study, in which the researchers got 15 male students to run on a treadmill for a few minutes on 2 different occasions at 80 percent of their maximum oxygen uptake. [United States Patent 7,468,392.] One time the men had used cyclohexenones from Antrodia camphorata before the exercise [DE], another time a placebo [PE].
The researchers also studied the men at rest. One time the men had used cyclohexenones [DR], another time a placebo [PR].
The cyclohexenones had no effect during rest. During and after exercise however, they lowered the concentration of ammonia and creatine kinase in the blood.
Really interesting, of course. It was just a shame that the patent doesn't state how much cyclohexenones the men received.
Perhaps extracts from the entire Antrodia mushroom are still more useful than highly concentrated and purified products with a only few active substances...
United States Patent 7,468,392.
Anti-tumour mushroom Antrodia camphorata has ergogenic effect 07.10.2012