What are adaptogens? You must have heard this word before, but what does it mean? Adaptogens are a class of supplements and natural herbs/plants that help your body better deal with stress. Precisely, they do this by regulating your cortisol levels and other hormones that are released in response to stress.
Adaptogens may be the answer if you're looking for a way to improve your health and resilience. In this article, we'll take a closer look at what adaptogens are and how they can benefit you. So, read on to learn more!
What are Adaptogens?
Adaptogens are natural herbs that help the body cope better with physical and emotional stressors. They regulate the adrenal system, which makes for our fight-or-flight response. In other words, adaptogens can prevent our bodies from going into "overdrive" when faced with stressful situations.
Rather than being treatments for specific conditions, adaptogens reset your body's balance by managing both physical and mental stressors.
There are many different adaptogens; some of the most popular include ashwagandha, holy basil, and Rhodiola Rosea. These herbs can be taken in supplement form or consumed as part of a healthy diet. For example, holy basil can be added to stir-fries or sandwiches, while ashwagandha powder can be added to smoothies or yogurt.
What are the Benefits of Adaptogens?
Here are some of the most important benefits of adaptogens:
For many people, anxiety is a daily struggle. Anxiety can adversely affect your mental and physical health, from worrying about work deadlines to feeling overwhelmed by life's challenges.
Fortunately, there are natural ways to manage anxiety and promote calmness, such as using adaptogens. As mentioned above, adaptogens are herbs/plants that program the body to adapt to stressors by reducing stress's physical and psychological effects.
Taking adaptogens can help lower cortisol levels, improve mood, and increase your resilience to stress.
Reduce Fatigue & Increase Energy
There are many ways of naturally increasing energy levels, including taking adaptogen herbs; adaptogens help optimize the body's response to stress, leading to less fatigue. To know exactly how adaptogens help with anxiety and fatigue, we must know the process. So here we go:
When stressed, our bodies release hormones like cortisol that prepare us for fight-or-flight mode. This response causes an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and a release of glucose from storage. While this can be helpful in a true emergency, it's not sustainable in the long term. As a result, chronic stress can lead to feelings of exhaustion and fatigue.
By reducing the amount of cortisol in your system, adaptogens reduce stress and, consequently, optimize energy levels.
Help Cope With Trauma Better
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, trauma is stored in the kidneys. This makes sense when you think about it:
- The kidneys are responsible for our will to live.
- They hold our primordial energy or "life force."
- They are connected to the adrenals, which produce our stress hormones.
When we experience trauma, whether a one-time event or chronic stress, it takes a toll on our kidneys; this is where adaptogens come in. They help us cope with trauma better. By helping us manage and regulate our stress response, adaptogens safeguard our kidneys from the negative effects of trauma, saving our vitals from damage.
So basically, by regulating stress hormones in the body, adaptogens help save the body from damage and the mind from anxiety and depression simultaneously.
Support Immune System
When stressed, our bodies produce cortisol, which suppresses the immune system. This means we're more susceptible to illness and infections because our natural safeguard is down. Cortisol can also cause inflammation, which can lead to a variety of health problems.
In addition, stress can cause us to neglect our health, leading to unhealthy lifestyle choices. By helping the body regulate stress, adaptogens indirectly boost immunity, allowing us to experience better health and mental peace.
Allow Mental Clarity
It's no secret that stress can damage our physical health, but it can also majorly impact our mental clarity. When we're under pressure, our bodies release a hormone called cortisol.
Cortisol has several different effects on the body, including increasing heart rate and blood pressure. It can also mess with the body's ability to process glucose, leading to feelings of fatigue and brain fog.
In addition to cortisol, stress also causes the release of other chemicals that can damage brain cells and lead to inflammation. As a result, it's not surprising that people under a lot of stress often find it difficult to think clearly or make decisions.
Adaptogens help by reducing cortisol and regulating the stress response. When the root cause is neutralized, you'll feel active, fresher, and attentive.
Are Adaptogens Good for Weight Loss?
When stressed, our bodies release cortisol, a hormone that increases appetite and encourages fat storage. Cortisol also disrupts the body's metabolism, making it harder to burn calories and lose weight. In addition, stress can lead to emotional eating, which is often characterized by unhealthy cravings for comfort foods.
By reducing stress and the production of cortisol, adaptogens make weight loss easy. When you don't binge eat to divert attention, your body is not automatically storing fat. While your metabolism is in an optimal state, torching calories, you'll start losing stubborn fat and weight without a doubt.
How Adaptogens are Said to Work in the Body
The theory is that adaptogens work by helping to regulate the hormones that are released in response to stress. By keeping these hormones in balance, adaptogens are said to help reduce the overall stress level in the body.
Some adaptogens are also thought to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which may also help protect the body from the damaging effects of chronic stress. While more research is needed to confirm the efficacy of adaptogens, there is certainly potential for these herbs to be used naturally to reduce stress levels.
What are the Best Adaptogenic Herbs?
There are many different kinds of adaptogens out there. These are some of the most famous ones:
- Astragalus root
- Siberian ginseng
- Holy basil
- Rhodiola Rosea
- Wild yam
- Bacopa Monnieri
Can You Get Adaptogens from Food?
The general idea is that adaptogens are found in special herbs only, and supplements are the only other option. However, some foods contain adaptogens, like ginger, garlic, green tea, and turmeric. You can incorporate these into your daily routine and naturally add to your adaptogens intake.
Plus, you can always add these herbs mentioned above to your smoothies and teas for a change of taste and nutrient optimization. Needless to say that there are quite amazing adaptogen-based supplements that can help you fulfill your needs more conveniently than other methods.
1. What is the most powerful adaptogen?
Some of the most effective adaptogens are:
- Panax ginseng root
- Rhodiola Rosea root
- Eleutherococcus senticosus root
- Astragalus root (Astragalus membranaceous)
- ashwagandha root (Withania somnifera L.)
- Schisandra fruit (Schisandra Chinensis).
2. What are natural adaptogens?
Adaptogens are plants and mushrooms that help your body adapt to stress, anxiety, fatigue, and other challenges. You can add them to food or beverages or take them as tinctures. Adaptogens bring your body back into balance by managing both physical and mental stressors.
3. Is turmeric an adaptogen?
Turmeric is an adaptogen that helps the body maintain healthy body weight, blood glucose, cholesterol, corticosterone, memory power, and reduced glutathione when a person experiences stress.
4. What happens if you take too many adaptogens?
Increased risk of side effects occurs when taking too many adaptogens. If you're taking numerous supplements with various adaptogens or vitamins, or if your vitamin or mineral levels are already high, this could have dangerous consequences.
The Bottom Line
Adaptogens are a class of plant-based compounds that help the body cope with stressors like poor sleep, anxiety, and inflammation. While scientific research is limited, some proponents claim that adaptogens can help improve focus, reduce fatigue, boost immunity, and promote balance in the body.
If you're interested in trying adaptogenic herbs or foods, check with your healthcare provider because some adaptogens may interact with your medications or worsen certain conditions.