Ashwagandha - The Ultimate Adaptogen
- Hi, I'm Sage! Welcome back to the Addictive Wellness channel. Today, I'm pretty excited because we're gonna be talking about one of my favorite herbs, ashwagandha. This is an herb coming from the world of Ayurveda, from the traditional medicinal system of India. It's known in Latin as Withania somnifera. And it is truly one of the elite adaptogens in the entire world. It may even be the absolute best. But, you'll have to try some of these different ones and decide for yourself which is your favorite. So, ashwagandha, it's amazing to me because it works in so many different ways, on so many different systems in the body. From the brain, to endurance, to thyroid health, to hormone health, testosterone, muscle building. So many things that it's doing. And, I think we should just start from the top and work our way down through the body looking at all the different ways that we can stand to benefit from ashwagandha. Looking at the traditional uses and some of the amazing modern science. And, ashwagandha, I have to say, has been very well researched. So, let's delve right into it. Now, starting with the top, let's start with the brain. Ashwagandha is an amazing nootropic. And, you know we hear so much these days about different nootropic supplements, and I'm always a bit hesitant with a lot of them. Because, they are using these different supplement-type ingredients that are relatively synthetic. They do occur in natural forms, but never isolated in this state. And, the brain is so complicated. There's so much we still don't know about everything and how it works. That, to put a single, isolated compound in to try to affect the brain in a certain way. I just know for me, it always makes me a bit nervous that, you're going to upregulate something that's, then, not going to be balanced out by something else and you're going to end up with some form of perhaps, longterm negative side effect that is not foreseen because we just didn't understand it well enough. And, of course, there's plenty of these ingredients that have been very well studied and are very well supported by the research But, for me, personally, I always feel safer with compounds that are a bit closer to nature. Herbs like ashwagandha and lion's mane. These adaptogenic herbs that have this ability to act in a very balanced manner upon our biology. Never overstimulating, never pushing something too far. Never taking us into a state of imbalance, as long as they're used appropriately. So, let's look at some of the research here. So, if you look at this 2005 study, they found that ashwagandha was able to regenerate neurites and synapses. And, this is especially true in areas where there's been damage by heavy metals. And, the neurites and the dendrites have gotten shriveled back where there's been traumatic brain injury or heavy metal toxicity. And, this allows them to grow back out. It's fascinating! Especially to look at these images that they include in the study. Then, jumping forward eleven years, we look at a 2017 pilot study that was published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements. And, here they found that in people with mild cognitive impairment, again, they found that ashwagandha was effectively enhancing both immediate and general memory, which is amazing. So many people these days, you just hear about this epidemic going on of things like Alzheimer's and early onset cognitive decline. It's amazing to be able to have an herb like ashwagandha that can support us and protect us from what is a fate that you wouldn't wish upon anybody. Now, that's looking at what happens in the brains of people who are experiencing some cognitive decline or have had some heavy metal toxicity. What happens if you give it to a person with a relatively healthy brain? Well, they did a study where they took 50 adults. Look, it's a small sample size, but it gives us some pretty interesting indications. Fifty adults, and they gave them 300 milligrams a day of ashwagandha root extract. And, this was over a eight week period, and I want to note the dose there, 300 milligrams. With a lot of herbs, you see amounts used in studies in the range of three grams, five grams, sometimes even five grams, twice a day, for a total of 10 grams a day. Ashwagandha is very potent. In the studies you often see, most commonly, doses in the range of 300, 600 grams. Sometimes 300 grams twice a day. So, a little goes a long way. In this particular study, 300 milligrams a day, they found that the herb was able to improve attention, information processing, and overall mental skills. Which is amazing that it's not just having an effect on people who are dealing with cognitive challenges, but also, in healthy individuals. So, going on from the brain, 'cause we see there's awesome stuff happening there. Going on down, let's go to the lungs. We're seeing improved cardio respiratory endurance. And, this is after 8 to 12 weeks of taking ashwagandha. And, not only do they see improved cardio respiratory endurance, but also quality of life scores, which they were also, it's a bit more subjective. But, they were measuring these people's subjective quality of life. And, there was a huge improvement that was noted. So, it's making you have more endurance, but it's also making you happier. Now, is this just acting as a stimulant? No, because what you actually see is it's decreasing stress at the same time. This is one of the most amazing herbs for decreasing cortisol. Bringing this chronic stress down and getting it back under control. Not acting as a sedative, just making you feel more peaceful. So, you're going to have more energy on tap in your account there to use it if you want to. But, by no means is this a stimulant, nor a sedative. You're just going to feel peaceful and invigorated. It's the ultimate combination, really. And then, we can look at also, not just endurance, but also strength effects. What happens here? So, in 2015, there was an eight week study, 57 males. Again, we see 300 milligrams, but this time, taking it twice a day. And, they saw a significantly greater increases, compared to placebo, in strength on the bench press, and leg extension. Now, they're not just getting stronger and keeping the same size muscles. They also saw a greater increase, compared to placebo, in muscle size, testosterone levels, and then, less muscle damage. And, a greater decrease in body fat amongst the participants in the trial. And, this is amazing, to be able to have something like this that is dealing with stress, helping your brain work better, and helping you in terms of building strength and endurance. It's like the ultimate combination of brains and brawn. It's great. And, of course, when you're building this muscle, there's possibility for wear and tear on the joints, right? So, does ashwagandha help there? There's a study where, it's actually clinical trials, where they found people with general joint pain and joint pain related to rheumatoid arthritis found very positive results in relieving major pain with basically no side effects. Which is so good. Now, we know what it's doing for brains, and we know what it's doing for muscles and endurance, and for stress, but what happens in the bedroom? Well, it's a pretty incredible herb there too. For guys, it's been well proven to increase testosterone, and also to increase sperm count and sperm motility. Interestingly, it's not increasing them directly, but the research appears to indicate that it's decreasing stress levels, thereby, allowing the body to be in a healthier state to produce more testosterone and sperm, and just do everything better. And, with women, we see it as well. There was a study published in BioMed Research International, and this was, again, 300 milligrams, twice a day, 50 women. They found increased arousal, increased lubrication, and increased orgasms. So, women, there's something here for you too. It's not just for the guys. Also, thyroid health. This is not necessarily in the bedroom, right, but this is something that is connected to your hormone system, to your endocrine system. Ashwagandha is a very supportive herb of healthy thyroid function, especially in the modern world where we see millions and millions of people dealing with hyperthyroidism brought on by diet, by stress, by goitrogens, by medications, all sorts of things that can contribute to it. But, it's great to have something like ashwagandha that can help out in this department. So, now you have to be mindful, as with any powerful herb. There can be some contraindications. Of course, if you're dealing with any disease or serious health condition, always run it by your doctor. Hyperthyroidism can sometimes be pushed too much in an overactive thyroid direction. If you're dealing with autoimmune conditions, you always want to be careful. If you're dealing with any medications, again, check with your doctor. And, if you're going to have surgery any time within the next two weeks, you don't want to be taking ashwagandha. Now, as long as you're not in any of those groups, ashwagandha is such a powerful herb that can bring balance and optimization into just so many areas of your life. I'm curious to know if you guys have tried ashwagandha. And, what your experience has been. And, I'm just so glad that we have an herb like this to be able to share with the world, because I feel like it can help so many people in a variety of different situations. Thanks again for joining me, guys. I hope you enjoyed this video and got some interesting information out of it. And, I hope you have a wonderful day.