We’ll never be able to completely avoid stress. Unfortunately, all those traffic jams, bills, work deadlines, relationship issues, and frustrating lines at the grocery store are just part of life. But day after day they can make you feel tired and zapped of energy. Stress can also cause hormone imbalances, depression, poor sleep, head and body aches, weight gain, and poor immunity. And if that’s not enough, over the long-term, stress can have serious negative effects on your health with symptoms like ulcers, GERD, high blood pressure, heart disease, and worse.
Eating a healthy balanced diet, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, meditating, and even doing fun activities can all have positive effects on our health while reducing the effects of stress on our minds and bodies. But even if you’re technically doing everything right, it may still not be enough for your body to reset from day after day of stress.
Fact: Currently, about 77% of Americans regularly experience physical and emotional symptoms caused by stress and the CDC estimates that stress is the culprit behind 75% of all doctor visits.
That’s where beneficial herbs and botanicals known as adaptogens come into play. These powerful plants contain special compounds that can naturally help regulate our hormones and metabolism, but one of the most important benefits of adaptogens is the way they help our body adapt to stress and protect us from the damage it can cause on a cellular level. With their awesome benefits and ability to make you feel more like yourself again, adaptogens are becoming the new “must-haves” in the world of wellness for combating the effects of stress.
What are the Health Benefits of Ashwagandha?
With use dating back over 3000 years in Ayurveda, the Indian system of medicine, Ashwagandha, also known as “Indian Winter cherry” or “Indian Ginseng,” is one particular adaptogen that is especially good at helping our bodies cope with stress and its effects while also giving us more energy throughout the day. And unlike many other adaptogens which can be stimulatory, Ashwagandha has a soothing and relaxing effect.
One of the most important benefits of Ashwagandha is its ability to support the adrenal glands and balance the body’s “stress hormone” known as cortisol.
Normally, our cortisol starts out high in the morning and then slowly decreases throughout the day. But when we’re chronically stressed, cortisol can spike at odd times of the day, causing us to feel tired when we should be awake, and wired when we should be winding down for bed. Having high cortisol can also cause us to have weight-gain (especially around the midsection and upper back), problems with focus and concentration as well as cause anxiety, muscle weakness, and burnout.
Healthy Fact: Ashwagandha is high in compounds called withanolides, which are believed to be responsible for most of its stress-relieving health benefits.
That’s where ashwagandha comes in to save the stressful day. Many clinical studies have shown that ashwagandha may be a really effective tool when it comes to stress. A natural way to balance the havoc stress can wreak in our bodies, ashwagandha may:
Ashwagandha May Help Reduce Cortisol Levels
In a study focused on chronically stressed adults, those who supplemented with ashwagandha were found to have significantly greater reductions in cortisol as compared with the control group. Those subjects taking the highest dose of ashwagandha experienced a 30% reduction of cortisol on average (1).
Ashwagandha May Help Improve Memory and Focus
An eight-week study with 50 adults, found that adults taking ashwagandha showed significant improvements of both immediate and general memory as well as improvement in executive function (a set of mental skills that allow us to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks successfully), and information-processing speed when compared with the placebo group.(4)
Ashwagandha May Help Exercise Performance, Muscle Strength and Recovery
Researchers found in one study that ashwagandha helped to improve endurance rates in elite cyclists after taking a regimen of 500 mg of ashwagandha twice daily. (5). Another study found a group treated with ashwagandha had significantly greater increases in muscle strength during a resistance training program and had a significant increase in muscle mass of the arms and chest. Compared to the placebo subjects, the group receiving ashwagandha also had a significantly greater reduction of exercise-induced muscle damage. (6)
Ashwagandha May Help With Weight Maintenance
A 2017 study published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine found that subjects given ashwagandha experienced less overall cravings for food and even had a 2.9 to 3.0% decrease in body weight in comparison to placebo subjects. (3)
Which is the Best Ashwagandha Supplement to Take?
The root of the ashwagandha plant is the richest and safest source of its stress-relieving beneficial compounds. But often you’ll find many products also include the stems and leaves blended into teas, tinctures, and capsules. Ashwagandha products that include the leaves can be cheaper and have a good amount of withanolides, the plant’s potent stress-relieving compounds, but they also carry with them a higher amount of something called withaferin A, a type of withanolide that can be toxic to cells. Traditionally the primary use of ashwagandha leaves is for topical treatments only and the majority of published clinical trials reviewing its benefits for stress focus solely on the root and not the leaves.
Healthy Fact: For thousands of years, Ayurvedic texts logged that only the root of the ashwagandha plant was used for internal consumption. Not many studies have documented whether the leaves are safe.
One of the best choices to help fight the effects of chronic stress with ashwagandha is Stressveda™ from Flora Health. What makes Stressveda special is that it includes a special full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha known as KSM-66. With a concentration of 5% withanolides (ashwagandha’s beneficial compounds), KSM-66 is the highest concentration of root-only ashwagandha extract available on the market. Developed with over 14 years of research and evaluated in 22+ human clinical trials, KSM-66 is also the most well-studied. And with a negligible amount of withaferin A, KSM-66 extract is also the safest, unlike leaf containing ashwagandha products.
In fact, KSM-66 Ashwagandha® has been clinically proven to help reduce stress and stress-related food cravings while helping to improve memory and cognitive function. (7) What also makes the KSM-66 Ashwagandha® extract special is that its extraction process preserves all the ashwagandha root’s beneficial compounds in the same concentrations as you would find them in nature.
What else is in Stressveda?
For an even more beneficial stress relief formula designed to help increase your resistance to stress, while boosting energy, Stressveda combines the amazing benefits of KSM-66 Ashwagandha® extract with plant-sourced vitamins including B complex as well as A. C, D, and E.
So why include the B vitamins? Studies have shown that B vitamins can help the body break down food, increase energy and have a positive effect on chronic stress. B6 (pyridoxine) is especially good for hormone balance while B5 (pantothenic acid) can help with the proper functioning of the nervous system which can become overstimulated during times of stress. One particular 12-week study with 60 participants suffering from work-related stress found that those who took a vitamin B complex supplement had fewer work-related stress symptoms such as anger and fatigue compared with placebo. (8)
Other research has shown evidence that a combination of B-vitamins and ashwagandha can have a synergistic effect when taken together and may help significantly reduce stress (9). Other vitamins included like Vitamin D can help with mood and immunity, while antioxidant-acting vitamins like A, C, and E can reduce damage caused by free radicals, which can be high during times of stress.
Safe and effective, Stressveda can help:
- Relieve symptoms of stress and mental fatigue
- Support cognitive health, mental focus, and working memory
- Protect cells from free radical damage caused by stress
One of the safest and most effective ashwagandha formulas available, Stressveda also:
- Delivers 600 mg KSM-66 Ashwagandha® root extract (5% Withanolides)
- Is a good source of plant-sourced vitamins A, C, D, E, as well as B-complex to support your body, nourish your adrenals and fight cellular damage from stress.
- Is Gluten-Free
- Is Non-GMO
- Is Vegan friendly
What is the Best Way to Take Stressveda to Fight the Effects of Stress?
Start by taking Stressveda once a day with breakfast or lunch. Most benefits can typically be seen within 4 to 8 weeks. As always if you have any medical conditions, be sure to consult with your doctor before starting any new supplement.