Science – backed benefits of ashwagandha

Is it only Monday and you already feel tired?

Your adrenals may use some support.

Disclaimer: this article is for educational purposes only. Prior to introducing any changes to your diet please consult it with a physician or dietitian.

Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen, meaning that it may be able to help your body manage stress. Other possible benefits may include: brain function boost, the decrease of high blood sugar and cortisol levels, as well as relief of the symptoms of anxiety and depression (1).

In several studies, ashwagandha has been shown to lower blood sugar levels by increasing insulin secretion and improving insulin sensitivity in the muscle cells (2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 5).

Ashwagandha may help lower cortisol levels in chronically stressed individuals. In some cases, cortisol levels may become chronically elevated due to prolonged stress, which can lead to high blood sugar levels and increased fat storage in the abdomen.

Studies have shown that ashwagandha may help reduce cortisol levels (3, 14, 15). Researchers have reported that it blocked the stress pathway in the brains of rats by regulating chemical signaling in the nervous system (16). Also, several controlled human studies have shown that it can reduce symptoms in people with stress and anxiety disorders (14, 17, 18).

The limited research available suggests that ashwagandha may help reduce depression. A few studies suggest ashwagandha may help alleviate depression (14, 18).

Ashwagandha may be increasing the activity of natural killer cells, which are immune cells that fight infection and help you stay healthy. (26, 27).

Ashwagandha may mitigate memory and brain function problems caused by injury or disease (29, 30, 31, 32).

Research has shown that it promotes antioxidant activity that protects nerve cells from harmful free radicals.

People with autoimmune diseases should avoid ashwagandha unless authorized by a healthcare provider. This includes people with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and type 1 diabetes.

Additionally, those on medication for thyroid disease should be careful when taking ashwagandha, as it may increase thyroid hormone levels in some people.

It may also decrease blood sugar and blood pressure levels, so medication dosages may need to be adjusted if you take it.

Ashwagandha should be administered carefully and other measures of stress relief should be given a try before a decision of its supplementation, for example breathing techniques, behavioral therapy, lifestyle changes.

Coach Lucy, PhD

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Disclaimer: prior to making any changes to your diet discuss it with your dietitian or physician.

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