What are the benefits of Ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha can help reduce stress
Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen, which means it can help your body lower levels of cortisol (the stress hormone). Your adrenal glands release cortisol in response to stress and when your blood sugar levels get too low. In some cases, cortisol levels may become chronically elevated, and can lead to high blood sugar levels and increased fat storage in the abdomen.
Reducing cortisol levels is extremely beneficial for your health. Studies have shown that Ashwagandha can help. In this controlled study of 64 adults, with a history of chronic stress, the group that supplemented with Ashwagandha improved, all tested parameters of chronic mental stress, and reduced serum cortisol by 27.9%.
Ashwagandha may help reduce anxiety and depression
In the same 60-day study, those in the Ashwagandha group reported a 69% average reduction in anxiety and insomnia, compared to 11% in a placebo group. Numerous other double-blind control trials have also found it has benefits on anxiety, but there's a placebo effect at play, too. So those taking fake pills tend to experience improvements as well, but it's never nearly as strong or consistent as the Ashwagandha group. Anti-depressive effects have also been seen with Ashwagandha, but they are nowhere near as notable as the anti-anxiety effects. But the mechanism by which it helps appears to be very similar. Back to the 60-day study, those who took a larger daily dose reported a 79% reduction in severe depression. Now at the same time, the placebo group reported only a 10% increase.
Ashwagandha may increase muscle mass and strength
It’s benefits are not limited to mental health. Research has shown that Ashwagandha may increase strength and power output. Now one study's purpose was to determine a safe and effective dosage for Ashwagandha, but they found healthy men who took a high dose, for 30 days, had a significant increase in strength in the quadricep and back extensor muscles, despite not exercising. In another study, 57 untrained men were put on a strength training program and given either Ashwagandha or placebo for eight weeks. The Ashwagandha group improved their one rep max of bench press by almost 20 kilos, or 44 pounds, over placebo, and leg extension by almost five kilos or 11 pounds. Muscle size, serum testosterone, and muscle recovery was also improved versus placebo.
Ashwagandha may reduce blood sugar levels
Several studies have found Ashwagandha has benefits on your metabolic health. A test-tube study found that Ashwagandha increased insulin secretion and improved insulin sensitivity in muscle cells. In a small pilot study of six people with type 2 diabetes, supplementing Ashwagandha for 30 days lowered fasting blood sugar levels as effectively as an oral diabetes medication. There's other studies that noted benefits even in those without diabetes, but the effect was fairly small, less than a 5% change.
Ashwagandha may improve cholesterol and lower triglycerides
In a 60-day study of chronically stressed adults, the group taking the highest dosage of Ashwagandha experienced a 17% decrease in LDL cholesterol and an 11% decrease in triglycerides, on average. Another study noted very similar reductions in LDL cholesterol, but they also found HDL cholesterol increased by 17%. Quick note: The authors of the study were involved with the companies that produce Ashwagandha supplements. While it may not discredit the findings, it’s something we should be aware of.
Why is Ashwagandha good for Thyroid?
Ashwagandha directly increases the production of T4. T4 is a thyroid hormone, known as Thyroxine, responsible for metabolism, mood, and your body temperature. T4 can help regulate the HPA axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis) which plays an important role in your body’s stress response. By regulating the HPA axis, T4 can reduce the stimulation of the pituitary in the adrenal system lowering the production of cortisol, the stress hormone.
Lastly, through its anti stress or anti cortisol effects it can have an indirect beneficial effect on the conversion of t4 into t3.
According to lab studies at the University of India it's been found that Ashwagandha has the capacity to stimulate divert at hormones t3 and t4. So more specifically the findings suggest that it boosts the serum concentration of thyroid hormones t3 and t4 making it an effective remedy for hypothyroidism.
Therefore, if you're somebody who's suffering from thyroid disorders especially hypothyroidism or you have an overactive adrenal system sometimes referred to as adrenal fatigue which is usually just again hyper adrenal activity and Ashwagandha is one clinically proven herb that can help you regulate your thyroid and decrease stress in the body. Please do check with your doctor before adding any new supplements or medications.
How Much Ashwagandha Should You Take per Day?
According to research and reviewing the clinical studies, the ideal dosage for achieving most of these effects is somewhere between 500 and 600 milligrams.
When should you take your Ashwagandha?
In general, Ashwagandha is the type of herb whose benefits do not kick in until it’s taken for days or weeks prior. Assuming you’ve started utilizing it regularly, here is when you should take your ashwagandha:
If you're using Ashwagandha for physical or mental performance, you must use it right before that performance.
If you're using Ashwagandha for general anxiety, take it during the morning. Cortisol typically spikes in the morning, therefore taking Ashwagandha then allows it to suppress that spike and lower anxiety throughout the day. Taking ashwagandha on an empty stomach may lead to mild discomfort in some poeple. Therefore, you may wish to take ashwagandha after breakfast or after eating a small snack..
If you're taking Ashwagandha to improve your sleep, most experienced users say that taking it roughly two hours before bed gives them the best results.
As you can see, the timing of consumption of Ashwagandha depends on what you’re looking to achieve from it. Best of all, it appears very safe for most people. However, there are some individuals who shouldn't take it, including pregnant or breastfeeding women, and people with autoimmune diseases. As a general rule, always consult with your healthcare provider before taking new supplements or medications.
At Awesome Health, LLC we strive to provide you with the most up-to date and comprehensive information possible. We believe everyone has their own needs in life so it's important to know that what works for one person might not work for another! As such please consult your doctor before taking any advice found on our site or through other channels like social media. We sincerely hope that our information can support you on your path to health and wellness.