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    Ashwagandha: What you Need to Know

      |  Jun 02, 2023

    Ashwagandha is a popular supplement that is highly versatile in many respects. Research studies have demonstrated its ability to reduce the cortisol levels, inflammation, and generally mitigate the effects of stress.

    What is Ashwagandha?

    Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera, is a herb commonly used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. It is native to India, the Middle East, and some parts of Africa. Ashwagandha is also known as "Indian ginseng" due to its rejuvenating properties and ability to enhance physical and mental health.

    Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, which means it helps the body cope with stress by balancing hormones and reducing inflammation. It is believed to have many health benefits, including reducing anxiety and depression, improving brain function, increasing energy and stamina, boosting immunity, and reducing inflammation and pain. Ashwagandha is available in various forms, including capsules, powders, and teas. It is always recommended to consult a healthcare professional before taking any herbal supplements.

    What are the health benefits of Ashwagandha?

    Ashwagandha is believed to have several potential health benefits for aging and overall health. Here are some of the benefits that have been suggested by research:

    • Reducing stress and anxiety: Studies have shown that ashwagandha may reduce levels of cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, which in turn may help lower anxiety levels.

    • Improving brain function: Ashwagandha has been found to improve memory, focus, and cognitive function in both healthy individuals and those with cognitive impairment.

    • Boosting immunity: Ashwagandha may help boost immunity by increasing the activity of natural killer cells, which are white blood cells that help fight infections.

    • Reducing inflammation: Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, ashwagandha may help reduce inflammation in the body and protect against chronic diseases.

    • Increasing muscle mass and strength: Research has shown that ashwagandha may increase muscle mass and strength in men who engage in resistance training.

    • Supporting sexual health: Ashwagandha has been traditionally used as an aphrodisiac and may help improve sexual function and fertility in both men and women.

    • Promoting healthy aging: Ashwagandha may help support healthy aging by reducing oxidative stress, improving brain function, and supporting cardiovascular health.

    One of our favorite Ashwagandha studies is this one - a randomized trial where people received 125mg of Ashwagandha, 300mg of Ashwagandha, or placebo. The study found that Ashwagandha not only improved subjective perceptions of stress and anxiety, but actually lowered serum cortisol levels as well. And interestingly, the strength of the impact was also dose-dependent (meaning the 300mg had a stronger impact than 125mg), which lends further credence to the idea of the association being real.

    How do I know if Ashwagandha is right for me?

    Determining whether ashwagandha is right for you depends on a variety of factors, including your current health status, any medications you are taking, and your individual health goals.

    If you are considering taking ashwagandha, here are some factors to consider to determine if it is right for you:

    1. Health conditions: If you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medication, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional before taking ashwagandha. This is especially important if you have a thyroid disorder, as ashwagandha may affect thyroid function.

    2. Allergies: If you are allergic to plants in the nightshade family (such as tomatoes, eggplants, or bell peppers), you may be more likely to have an allergic reaction to ashwagandha.

    3. Pregnancy or breastfeeding: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is important to speak with a healthcare professional before taking ashwagandha.

    4. Personal goals and needs: Consider your personal health goals and needs. Ashwagandha is often used to reduce stress and anxiety, support immune function, and promote overall well-being. If these are areas of concern for you, ashwagandha may be worth exploring.

    Before implementing any new supplement into your routine, it's a good idea to speak with your healthcare provider. At Modern Age, we offer the Aging Wellness Assessment to help you better understand your health from the inside out. Our board certified clinicians will work with you to develop personalized goals and recommendations based on your results.