Diabetes mellitus is one of the largest global epidemics worldwide, mostly due to the widespread increase in overweight and obesity caused by unhealthy diet and physical inactivity typical of Western societies. Diabetes is often associated with several neuroendocrine changes that increase the risk for psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety. Diabetic patients show an almost 20 percent increased prevalence of depression than non-diabetic people, although just one-third of them receive a proper diagnosis1. A new natural treatment with the mushroom Cordyceps Sinensis (CS) however shows much promise in treating both these two disorders.


Cordyceps Sinensis has been used for centuries as a remedy in Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and is known for its effects in weight reduction and improved glycemic control2. In a recent Chinese study from 2010, a specific vanadium-enriched complex of Cordyceps Sinensis called VECS has been suggested as a possible treatment to address both depression and diabetes3.


As many other mushrooms, Cordyceps Sinensis (CS) only contains minimal amounts of fats and carbohydrates and is thus an optimal food and provides benefits for both diabetic and obese patients. CS acts by increasing plasma insulin levels while decreasing plasma glucose levels, and possess a distinct antidepressant activity by acting as an agonist on the dopamine D2 receptors. Vanadium compounds may exert an antidiabetic action by mimicking the effects of insulin, which is also associated with a general sensation of well-being and a mood improvement3.


1.      Gavard JA, Lustman PJ, Clouse RE. “Prevalence of depression in adults with diabetes. An epidemiological evaluation.” Diabetes Care. 1993 Aug; 16(8):1167-78.

2.      Lo HC, Hsu TH, Tu ST, Lin KC. “Anti-hyperglycemic activity of natural and fermented Cordyceps sinensis in rats with diabetes induced by nicotinamide and streptozotocin.” Am J Chin Med. 2006;34(5):819-32.

3.      Guo, Jian-You, Chun-Chao Han, and Yong-Mei Liu. “A Contemporary Treatment Approach to Both Diabetes and Depression by Cordyceps Sinensis, Rich in Vanadium.” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine: eCAM 7.3 (2010): 387–389. PMC. Web. 5 Nov. 2015.


Dr. Claudio Butticè, PharmD.

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