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We don't know much about fungi; however, the more we discover, it looks like we're only dipping our toes into a world of unknown and magical occurrences. From Nasa exploring whether we can make homes out of fungi to a fungus that eats plastic, there is just so much to know about them.
Now, a new study shows that a synthetic form of cordycepin, which is a compound found in a medicinal fungus known for increasing one's appetite for sex, may also reset our circadian rhythm and get rid of jet lag.
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More valuable than gold
Here are some fun facts before we dive in: Cordycepin is the active component in a fungus called C. militaris, and it gets its reputation due to its similarity to a much rare, yet very famous fungus called C. sinensis.
C. sinensis can be found in the Tibetan Himalayas, sprouting out of corpses of dead caterpillars. Why is it so famous, you ask? Well, it is cited called the "Himalayan Viagra" and it is more valuable than gold since it sells for more than $100 a gram across Asia and the U.S.
Cordyceps fungus can be grown in the lab; however, the lab-grown ones differ slightly from the kind that's harvested naturally.
Testing jet lag effects on mice
In order to see whether a synthetic form of cordycepin could ease jet lag pains, the researchers evaluated its effects on mice.
It was seen that synthetic cordycepin helped the animals adjust to time changes. The change was drastic: Normally, a mouse exposed to an eight-hour change would take 10 days to adjust. However, with the help of cordycepin, mice took only four days to get back to normal.
Cordycepin can help reset the circadian rhythm
Erquan Zhang, the study's senior author, told Inverse that the results show that cordycepin can help reset the circadian rhythm. He said, "We want to let people know that drastic and quick changes for our body clock are possible."
The study was conducted solely on mice, so there is a need for further research before we can say the same thing for humans. Zhang added that this could be revolutionary for shift workers and travelers, or anyone who might need a way to control their body clocks.
The study was published in Science Translational Medicine.