What is an Adaptogen?
Adaptogens are essentially naturally occurring metabolic regulators that increase an organism’s ability to adapt to and avoid damage from changing environmental factors or stress. (Think deadlines, work, homework, tests, financial, emotional, and physical chaos).
In shorter teams they:
* Counteract the adverse effects of stress.
* Increase energy.
* Increase the body’s resistance to a broad range of adverse influences.
* Have a normalizing effect, improving many conditions while aggravating none.
* And cause minimal side effects.
As an extremely active person and someone who thrives off of constantly pushing myself, it is no wonder I took to adaptogens. They have truly helped me push through some of the most stressful times at work and in school, and have given me the stamina to push through my toughest workouts.
Could YOU benefit from an adaptogen?
The short answer is, ABSOLUTELY!
The stress we face on a daily basis, whether it's physical or emotional, places extreme tension on the nervous system. With that being said, the state of the nervous system usually translates into the well-being of the whole body.
Stress on the nervous system can show up as many different symptoms. Below are specific examples of symptoms that may indicate your nervous system is beyond the need for some tender love and care!
Symptoms of the circulatory system (palpitations, hypertension, inflammation)
Symptoms of the respiratory system (asthma, allergies, congestion)
The digestive system (IBS, flatulence, ulceration, constipation, indigestion)
The glandular system (hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, diabetes and other)
The skin (drying and cracking, eczema)
The reproductive system (menstrual and reproductive problems)
insomnia and exhaustion
What is the difference between an adaptogen and a stimulant?
It is important to distinguish adaptogens from stimulants, as although their actions are similar (to increase performance/delay fatigue), their effects on the body are completely different.
Stimulants fire up the central nervous system and temporarily send our bodies into overdrive. Their effects are short-term, are often followed by a crash and a period of decreased performance and are also associated with energy depletion and insomnia. Adaptogens, on the other hand, produce a much more gentle and sustained performance increase without the subsequent crash and are rarely ever associated with adverse reactions.
Additional Benefits of Adaptogens:
Significantly increases energy and improves athletic performance.
Reduces the secretion of stress-related hormones from the adrenal glands
Improves immune function (ie: increased ability of white blood cells to devour germs)
Helps prevent cancer and helps treat the damaging effects of radiation
Some of my Favourite Adaptogens include Maca root, Rhodiola, and Ashwagandha.
ASHWAGANDHA (Withania somnifera) - In Detail:
Part used: Root.
Adaptogenic benefits: Improves stamina, combats stress, enhances immune function, antioxidant, cancer prevention, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, mood elevating action, female reproductive tonic/may help normalize menstruation.
Several Indian animal studies show that ashwagandha improves stamina and reduces the damage caused by various stressors. It stimulates the immune system, boosts antibody and red blood cell levels, and spurs white blood cells to devour germs. Ashwagandha is also a powerful antioxidant. Indian animal studies show that it has intriguing cancer-preventive action, and boosts the effectiveness of radiation treatments. Antioxidants also help prevent heart disease. In a study published in the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology in 2000, researchers gave ashwagandha daily to diabetics with high cholesterol. A month later, their cholesterol and blood sugar levels were significantly lower. Finally, the herb has some antidepressant action.
Side effects are rare in recommended amounts. But large doses may cause stomach distress, diarrhea, and vomiting. Pregnant and nursing women should not use it.
Dose: 1 to 6 grams/day (2 to 12 teaspoons) in capsules, tea, or smoothies (My favourite method of use – I buy ‘Organic Traditions’ brand, and put 2 tsp in my smoothies in the morning and after my workouts!). It can also be taken in tincture or liquid extract, 2 to 4 ml 3 times/day.
Remember The state of the nervous system usually translates into the well-being of the whole body. Balancing the nervous system, therefore, has a very profound effect on your overall health and well-being