All About Adaptogens
What are adaptogens?
"Adaptogens were initially defined as substances that enhance the “state of non-specific resistance” in stress, a physiological condition that is linked with various disorders of the neuroendocrine-immune system…adaptogens exhibit neuroprotective, anti-fatigue, antidepressive, anxiolytic, nootropic and CNS stimulating activity. In addition, a number of clinical trials demonstrate that adaptogens exert an anti-fatigue effect that increases mental work capacity against a background of stress and fatigue, particularly in tolerance to mental exhaustion and enhanced attention."*
In normal talk this means that they are called adaptogens because they “adapt” to your body and your body's needs, as an assist or boost.
Adaptogens have been key in Ayurvedic treatment for hundreds of years. They are easy to incorporate into your everyday routine, whether it is addition to a smoothie, coffee, or used as a seasoning in a dish. It is important to implement a variety and cycle them in and out of your routine.
Why are they good for you?
Adaptogens can reduce the production of the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol can often cause weight gain. Stress also leads to many other bodily issues such as fatigue, pain, digestive problems and more. Here are a few ways adaptogens can improve your body's functions.
Increase endurance (in situations caused by fatigue)
Lower stress induced disorders and impairments in the body
Balance hormone levels
Keep cortisol (the stress hormone) levels and other hormone levels in check'
Fight fatigue (that results from overkill of physical or emotional stress)
Combat the impact that stress has on cognitive function
Stimulate mental performance that has been impacted by stress
Normalize body functions
Boost the immune system (that has been impacted by stress)
Fight the symptoms caused by elevated cortisol levels (such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and obesity)
Increase physical stamina (improve energy levels)
Improve the function of organs (such as the liver and adrenal glands)
Improve the function of body systems (such as the gastrointestinal system)*A
What are a few examples of adaptogens?
Astragalus root: said to help reduce stress and aging by protecting the telomeres (structures linked with aging, located at the end of each chromosome)
Ashwagandha- used to help the body cope with daily stress, and as a general tonic
Siberian ginseng: may provide energy and help overcome exhaustion
Holy basil: said to promotes relaxation, relieve stress and anxiety
Rhodiola rosea: may lower anxiety, fatigue, and depression
Cordyceps-a specific type of mushroom which is said to fight stress and helps balance the hormones
Reishi-a specific type of mushroom which is said to help the body adapt to stress and promotes a healthy sleep pattern
Maca- may improves mood and increase energy
Turmeric-may help the body maintain healthy levels of corticosterone (the stress hormone)
Wild yam-said to regulate female hormone levels
Licorice- said to increase energy and endurance and helps boost the immune system, stimulate the adrenal glands and promote healthy cortisol levels
Bacopa Monnieri- a natural anti-anxiety and anti-depressant agent, said to protect the brain and improve memory and improve other aspects of cognitive function
All bullet points courtesy of verywellhealth.com
* Courtesy of https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3991026/