02 Oct The Amazing Benefits of Ashwagandha
The Amazing Benefits of Ashwagandha
Benefits include calming the mind and relieving stress, improving cognitive function, and hormone balance in men. The recommended starting amount is 300 mg, twice daily. Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen, which means it helps the body decrease fatigue and stress, reduce inflammation, and boost immunity.
It’s used traditionally in Ayurveda, which is a health-based system that moved westward from India over many centuries.
Ashwagandha is available as a whole root powder or extract (e.g. KSM-66), which has a standardized amount of the biologically active components.
- Helps to reduce stress
It’s well-known that the body releases cortisol in response to physical, mental, or emotional stress. There are a number of things that can help reduce stress such as vitamin C, magnesium, and adaptogenic herbs such as ashwagandha.
In a recent study individuals who took either 0.250 g (250 mg) or 0.6 g (600 mg) experienced decreased levels of cortisol and scores on stress tests compared to a control group. Those conducting the study observed a greater improvement in sleep quality and stress reduction with the higher dose.
- Has pain-relieving activity
As a medicinal herb, coupled with its anti-inflammatory activity, ashwagandha has analgesic, pain-relieving activity. It works by inhibiting an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX), which non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and alleve also inhibit.
- Can improve cognitive function
In Ayurveda, ashwagandha is often used to improve memory and cognitive function.
A 2017 study found individuals who consumed 600 mg of ashwagandha per day (300 mg in two divided doses) saw improvements in a number of cognitive parameters including executive function, memory, focus, and the speed at which they could process information when compared to those who received a placebo.
- Can have a positive effect on muscle mass
Ashwagandha may help with gaining muscle, by reducing cortisol in the body, while increasing the body’s natural production of testosterone. On the other hand, excess cortisol, can decrease testosterone, increase fat deposition especially around one’s midsection, and increase the loss of muscle mass.
In a 2015 study, a group of men between the ages of eighteen and fifty who participated in strength training who took 600 mg per day (300 mg twice daily) saw significant increases in muscle strength and size compared to those who received a placebo. The participants who took the ashwagandha, also experienced a substantial reduction in exercise-induced muscle injury.
- Can increase fertility in men
A number of studies suggest that ashwagandha can improve male infertility associated with low sperm concentration levels.
A study of men who were infertile found a small dose of ashwagandha (225 mg) taken three times per day for 12 weeks improved fertility by increasing a number of important parameters related to fertility including sperm concentration levels, semen volume, and sperm motility.
There are many ways to take ashwagandha including tablets, capsules, gummies, and soft chews. When looking for supplements, choose ones that have an active concentration of 1.5% withanolides for an extract, and 0.3% withanolides for a whole root powder.