Unless you surround yourself with Tibetan monks, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone in your life (including you) that wouldn’t say they’re stressed about something. There are times when stress can be a good thing... it can help you conquer fears or motivate you to get something done. But, when you’re constantly in a state of tension and anxiety, it can have some harsh effects on your body’s physical and emotional state.
Cortisol, known as the regulator of immune response, is a hormone controlled by the adrenal cortex. This powerful hormone is also known as an adrenalcorticol hormone, a glucocorticoid and hydrocortisone or simply cortisone. Cortisol has a catabolic (muscle breakdown) effect on tissue and is associated with a decrease in anabolic (muscle growth) hormones. Obviously, reducing levels of cortisol is ideal for an athlete to achieve tissue growth and positive adaptations to exercise training. Playing many different roles in the body, cortisol can have a negative impact on sleep, mood, sex drive, bone health, ligament health, cardiovascular health and athletic performance, potentially causing fatigue and inflammation. Not good!!!
Are there any all natural remedies that can help reduce cortisol, stress, and anxiety? Today, we are going to discuss one of nature's oldest and most powerful herbs and adaptogens. Welcome to Ashwagandha 101!
Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb and adaptogen that has been utilized for over 3,000 years for its ability to reduce stress, combat anxiety, naturally increase energy levels, and improve concentration. In fact, Ashwagandha is referred to as the “Prince of herbs” in Ayurveda (one of the world's oldest holistic healing systems) because it has an impressively wide range of therapeutic effects. So, let's dive into these astounding benefits of Ashwagandha and how this miraculous herb works.
Up first is stress and anxiety reduction. In today's fast pace and ever evolving world, chronic stress, anxiety, and other mental issues are at their peak for many of us. This is usually associated with a rise in the concentration of serum cortisol in our body. Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen which means that it helps the body to adapt to stress inducing conditions by decreasing the inflammation and infection, and by modulating adrenal hormones and neurotransmitters. Chronic stress related conditions such as hyperglycemia, glucose intolerance, sexual dysfunction, immunosuppression and mental depression have also been found to be mediated through the use of Ashwagandha. This also provides the additional benefit of aiding in weight management. Cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast energy, and stimulates insulin release and maintenance of blood sugar levels. The end result of these actions can be an increase in appetite and can cause cravings for sweet, high-fat, and salty foods.
On top of Ashwagandha's amazing stress relieving benefits, this sensational herb also helps increase cognitive abilities and has been proven to enhance brain function, response times, memory, concentration capacity, and task performance capability. Ashwangandha also has the ability to boost energy and have a significant impact on athletic performance by improving cardiovascular endurance and strength in healthy men and women, increases the levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), by reducing the enzyme that breaks down ATP, increase energy production in the muscles by increasing mitochondrial function, and is known to enhance muscle mass, muscle strength and also decrease body fat in conjunction with resistance training, and helps alleviate and heal the body’s damage and promote muscle recovery during exercise.
Other benefits include the ability to boost energy and have a significant impact on athletic performance by improving cardiovascular endurance and strength, improve sexual health in both men and women, enhanced thyroid health, better quality sleep, and boost the immune system and improve the body’s defense against disease by improving the cell-mediated immunity.
So what are the best Ashwagandha supplements out there? Function by Phase1 Nutrition. Function is clinically formulated to accomplish 3 vital tasks: reduce stress anxiety, increase metabolism, and decrease cortisol in the body. Function starts off with a potent dose of KSM-66 Ashwagandha at 600mg to help manage stress, fight off symptoms of anxiety and depression, lower cortisol levels in the body, promote a more relaxed physical and mental state, better sleep quality, reduced anxiety, on top of overall wellness being improved.
On top of the potent dose of Ashwagandha, Function is also clinically formulated with DIM (Diindolylmethane), Coleus Forskohlii, and Iodine. DIM contributes to a better metabolism in the most natural way possible by working with your own hormones and adjusting their action to avoid hormonal imbalance.
Slender Balance by Motiv8 is a perfect balance of KSM-66 Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, and Schisandra Chinensis: powerful and all-natural adaptogens that aid the body in handling stress and anxiety. This balance will lower cortisol levels; increase physical endurance and work performance by fighting symptoms of anxiety, fatigue and stress; reduce the level of stress hormones in your blood, boosting brain function to help fight symptoms of anxiety and promote mental calmness; and promote fat loss at the same time!