Last year is marked by new supplements on the shelves of fitness fanatics, bodybuilding, martial arts, departs from the loads of creatine, protein and carbo and a diet based on rice and chicken. I have a strong knowledge in the field of supplementation and nutrition of athletes in every field.
One of the supplements that definitely gains our hearts and flushes out our wallets is Ashwagandha, which I can easily call the queen of adaptogens, as it’s one of the most versatile supplements and thus ideally fits in the current trend of a holistic approach to man.
Ashwagandha, or Indian ginseng, has been known to the narrow group of eastern medicine for thousands of years. It has hit our shelves quite recently and immediately dominated them. As is the case with most fashionable supplements, no one really knows why they take it and what its role is. So, let's discuss some of the most important effects associated with taking the STANDARDIZED Ashwagandha extract.
- Ashwagandha - the queen of adaptogens. Before we go to the very role of Ashwagandha, as the adaptogen queen, we should answer what adaptogens are, because many myths have also been made about them. The main role of adaptogens is the toning effect of the nervous system, which leads to a reduction in the reception of stress stimuli and results in less stimulation of the nervous system. The purpose of adaptogen supplementation is never to affect cortisol per se. Returning to our Indian ginseng, Ashwagandha limits the effect of stress stimuli on NADPH diphosphorasis, limiting serotonin depletion and inhibiting the secretion of glutamic acid and corticotrophin hormones. Put simply, stress stimuli evoke a much smaller response from the nervous system, so that most stressors do not move us. A simple example, if you drive a lot, then most likely, you will be much less likely to throw a rage fit 😉
- Ashwagandha is one of the natural stimulants of testosterone. Quoting Charles Poliquin's popular saying, "If u want some T, reduce Some C", so if our goal is to boost testosterone levels, then ashwagandha seems to be a very good supplementation solution. The standardized extract of 300mg 2x a day resulted in an increase in free testosterone by 15% relative to the placebo group. If we add shilajit and Tonga Ali to this, it turns out that we have a beautiful natural testosterone pro stack.
- It’s a very strong antioxidant, affecting the level of SOD and glutathione peroxidase, i.e. elements strongly regulating the natural response of our body against free radicals. What's more, Ashwagandha stimulates the activity of our internal terminators - NK cells, fighting viral infections or cancer cells. It also intensifies the action of the TH1 arm of the immune system, which people with autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto should pay attention to as it may increase the symptoms of the disease entities. Otherwise, it’s a very good idea for even chronic infections where to the advantage of TH2 and TH1 should be supported.
- Indian ginseng has a positive effect on the level of ft4 in people with hypothyroidism, increasing the pool of this hormone in the body. Thanks to that it has a positive effect on lipolysis, resulting in a reduction in fat mass of the body.
- Indian ginseng is neuro-protective and stimulates the formation of new dendritic cells. Creating new neural connections is one of the best factors supporting cognitive functions, thanks to which we will add ingredients such as Alpha GPC and Ginkgo Biloba to obtain a mild nootropic agent without side effects or affecting brain chemistry.
- Taking 5% Indian ginseng extract contributes to the improvement of maximum strength. Research conducted in the Journal of the international society of sport nutrition by Mr. Wankhede showed an increase in the maximum strength in non-trained people taking the extract, relative to people taking placebo (plus 20kg RM Max in Bench press). In the case of aerobic exercise, a significant increase in aerobic capacity was noted by 12.5% and definitely longer duration of exercise until exhaustion.
- It intensifies the detoxification of the body and prevents the entry of many environmental pollutants into the body. No, the presence of kidneys and liver is not enough to get rid of toxins from our body. Often, metabolites, or impaired individual elements of methylation, will prevent effective detoxification of our body.
Ashwagandha can not only be successfully used as an element of diet therapy, or conduct in the event of adrenal glands exhaustion, but also ideally suited as a permanent supplement in strength or endurance sports. Supplemented wisely and stacked with other herbal supplements, it can be a solution to many sicknesses of 21st century athletes.
Choosing Ashwagandha - not so simple?
There are many standardizations of ashwagandha on the market.
So much that it's easy to make a mistake and buy a product that we will not be happy with.
4: 1, 5: 1, 10: 1, 15: 1, 30: 1, 1.5% extract, 2.5% extract, 5% extract (KSM-66), 7% extract, 8-10% extract (sensoril).
You can get lost.
The cheapest ashwagandha (about $5 per pack) usually has a high value in the capsule, but they are not standardized at all - you practically eat a dried plant, without awareness if there is active substance in it, which plays the key role.
More expensive ashwagandha ALWAYS have standardization.
Below is an example of 2 very well-known and praised products - they have the same amount (100kaps), ashwagandha content in 1 capsule (450mg) and, they cost practically the same. But…