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Ashwagandha Health Benefits Tested Through Scientific Studies

Ashwagandha Health Benefits Tested Through Scientific Studies

 Ashwagandha is an adaptogen and an ancient medicinal herb. This herb may be able to help your body manage stress along with a plethora of other health benefits. Ayurveda is one form of natural healing based on Indian principles and has been used for more than 2,000 years to improve a person’s concentration, improve energy levels, and relieve stress. Ashwagandha could have various health effects on your overall well-being. 

May be Able to Reduce Your Blood Sugar Levels

After conducting several human studies, the studies report that ashwagandha may be able to help reduce the blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and people who do not have diabetes. A test-tube study that was conducted provided evidence that suggested ashwagandha increased insulin secretion while improving insulin sensitivity in the cells of the muscles. Of the participants in this study, it reports that ashwagandha reduced the fasting blood sugar levels. 

May Possess Anticancer Properties

Many animal test-tube studies were conducted, and these studies revealed that a compound found in ashwagandha, withaferin, can help with apoptosis, the programmed death of cancer cells. These studies also reveal that withaferin can decrease the growth of new cancer cells in various ways. Withaferin is also said to improve the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that is found inside cancer cells. This formation disrupts the function of cancer cells and can cause these cells to be less resistant to apoptosis. Other animal studies that were performed using withaferin suggest that this compound can help reduce some of the symptoms associated with various types of cancer, including ovarian, colon, lung, brain, and breast cancer.

Can Reduce Cortisol Levels

There is a stress hormone that releases from your adrenal glands as a response to stress known as cortisol. This hormone can also release from the adrenal glands as a response to your blood sugar levels decreasing to dangerous levels. In some cases your cortisol levels can increase and become chronically elevated, leading to an increase in your blood sugar levels, and an increase in fat storage in the abdomen.

May Be Able to Help Reduce Anxiety and Stress

Stress and anxiety are a part of many people’s lives. Ashwagandha is said to possess different properties that help reduce stress. During an animal study involving rats, researchers report that this medicinal herb blocked the stress pathway in the brains of the rodents by regulating the chemical signal found in the nervous system. Several controlled human studies were also conducted that revealed Ashwagandha can possibly reduce many of the symptoms associated with anxiety disorders and stress. During a 60-day study involving 64 people with chronic stress, the study suggested that people in this group that used Ashwagandha as a supplement had a 69% reduction in their episodes with insomnia and anxiety in comparison with the 11% of people in the placebo group.

Could Reduce Symptoms of Depression

Depression, also referred to as major depressive disorder, is a serious medical condition that negatively impacts how you think and the way you feel. Although the effects of ashwagandha have not been studied thoroughly, the studies that were conducted suggested that Ashwagandha supplements can help alleviate some symptoms associated with depression. During a controlled 60-day study 64 adults with stress took 600mg of a highly concentrated extract containing Ashwagandha daily. The participants involved in this study, report a 79% reduction in severe depression, while the participants in the placebo group report a 10% increase in their experience with severe depression. All the participants in this study had a history of depression, making the results somewhat unclear.

Might Increase Fertility and Boost Testosterone in Men

Some studies suggest that supplements that contain Ashwagandha may have a powerful effect on testosterone levels and reproductive health in men. In a study involving 75 infertile men, the study group that was treated with Ashwagandha revealed an increase in the male’s motility and sperm count. Another result of this specific study revealed the men in this study experienced a significant increase in their testosterone levels. The researchers involved in this study report that the group of men who consumed the Ashwagandha supplement had an increase in the antioxidant levels in their blood. In a different study that was conducted, the men in the study who received Ashwagandha to manage stress experienced better sperm quality and increased antioxidant levels. After three months of this treatment with Ashwagandha, 14% of the partners of the men in this study become pregnant.

May Improve Strength and Muscle Mass

Research conducts that consuming Ashwagandha may improve your body composition and increase your strength. A study was conducted to determine effective and safe dosage men could consume to enhance their muscle mass and become stronger. In this study, healthy men were given between 750 and 1,250 mg of pulverized Ashwagandha root each day. The results reveal the men in this study experienced an improvement in muscle strength after a 30-day period. This ancient medicinal herb is also said to reduce body fat.

Might Reduce Inflammation

Different animal studies reveal that Ashwagandha may be able to aid with decreasing inflammation. There were also studies conducted in humans that found this medicinal supplement may be able to increase the activity of natural killer cells. Natural killer cells are immune cells that can fight infections to help people stay healthy. This supplement may also be able to decrease markers of inflammation, including C-reactive protein (CRP). The C-reactive protein is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and other conditions. During a controlled study, the participants in this study were given 250 mg of standardized ashwagandha. Of the people that participated in a controlled study, they experienced a 36% decrease in CRP while the placebo group participants experienced a 6% decrease in CRP.

Could Lower Cholesterol and Triglycerides

In addition to Ashwagandha’s powerful anti-inflammatory effects, this herb may also help with improving heart healthy by reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Of the animal studies that were conducted on rats, these studies revealed that the medicinal herb lowered triglyceride and cholesterol levels by 53%. Controlled human studies showed less dramatic results. Researchers in the study report they observed different impressive moments. A 60-day study involving chronically stressed adults experienced a 17% decreased in LDL cholesterol, also referred to as “bad” cholesterol, and an 11% decrease in triglyceride levels on average. During this study, the participants consumed the highest dosage of standardized Ashwagandha extract.

May Improve Memory and Brain Function

Animal and test-tube studies that were performed suggest that the medicinal herb Ashwagandha may be able to mitigate issues associated with brain function and memory caused by disease or injury. Of the research that was conducted involving rats with epilepsy, the results revealed the animals had an almost complete reversal of their spatial memory impairment. Other research concluded that this herb may promote antioxidant activity that helps protect the nerve cells from damaging free radicals. Although Ashwagandha was traditionally used to improve memory in Ayurvedic medicinal practices, not enough human research has been thoroughly conducted.

A controlled study involving healthy men revealed the participants in this study experienced improvements in task performance and reaction time. The men in this study consumed 500 mg of standardized Ashwagandha extract daily. An 8-week study was also performed involving 50 adults. During this study, the adult participants consumed 300 mg of Ashwagandha root extract twice a day. The results of this 8-week study revealed a significant improvement in the participant's general memory, attention, and task performance.

Widely Available and Safe for Most People

Although the long-term effects of Ashwagandha are unknown, it is deemed safe for more people to use. People who are advised not to use this ancient herb are women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Other individuals who should not use Ashwagandha without consulting their physician are people who have autoimmune diseases, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes. People who take medication for a thyroid disease need to proceed with caution when taking Ashwagandha because it can increase thyroid hormone levels in some individuals. This herb can also decrease blood pressure and blood sugar levels drastically, so the dosage of Ashwagandha needs to be properly adjusted.

The recommended dosage of ashwagandha varies according to the type of supplement it is. It is crucial to follow the instructions on the label before including this supplement in your daily routine. Standardized ashwagandha root extract is often consumed in 450-500 mg capsules once or twice a day.

The Verdict

Ashwagandha is a medicinal ancient herb that possesses various health benefits. This ancient medicinal herb is said to help reduce anxiety and stress, aid with fighting depression. This herb may also be able to boost fertility and testosterone in men and improve brain function. Including ashwagandha in a daily routine may be an effective way to improve a person’s health and overall quality of life.

Do Ashwagandha Supplements Contain Caffeine?

Supplements containing ashwagandha should not contain caffeine. This supplement may be able to help you sleep soundly, and get the rest a body needs to function the next day. Being well-rested often eliminates the need for caffeine consumption.

How Does Ashwagandha Taste?

Whether ashwagandha is in supplement or powder form, it can have an unpleasant taste, but the flavour can be enhanced by adding natural lemon-lime flavors and sweeteners.

What Other Natural Herbs Enhance Ashwagandha?

While ashwagandha is considered a super herb, an herb that is said to possess various health benefits, adding other super herbs and spices can make this ancient herb a powerhouse, such as Ceylon cinnamon, turmeric, monk fruit, skullcap, and more.

How Long Should Individuals Consume Ashwagandha?

Individuals can consume ashwagandha and experience its health benefits as long as they like. It is suggested that individuals take one serving per day every day. People can consume the powder or supplement on an empty stomach without any adverse side effects. This supplement or powder can also be consumed after eating without any complications.

What Are the Active Compounds in Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha contains active compounds that include withanolides, saponins, and alkaloids. Withanolides can be found in nightshade plants, such as tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants. Saponins include a variety of plants, including spinach, ginsengs, oats, and similar plants. Alkaloids are a naturally occurring compound that is commonly found in ginseng.

Finding Ashwagandha Supplements

People who are ready to experience a dream team of supplements can do so today! The health benefits of ashwagandha are abundant and may be able to help individuals improve many aspects of their lives over time. Supplements containing ashwagandha can be found around the world, but individuals who are interested in adding this medicinal herb to their daily routine need to use supplements that also use other quality ingredients instead of cheap fillers and unnatural extracts. Feel free to start your journey with Ashwagandha and experience its health benefits now! You might be amazed at how well you feel.

 

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