What Are Ashwagandha Supplement Benefits?David Nazarian M.D.
What is ashwagandha?
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an herb known informally as Indian ginseng or winter cherry. It is a small shrub with yellow flowers native to India and Southeast Asia. People have been gathering this herb for more than 6,000 years to use in cooking, religious rituals, and Ayurvedic medicine. Though many segments of the plant are used, the most common form for ashwagandha supplements is the herb’s root powder.
Ashwagandha is one of the most important herbal supplements in Ayurveda — a traditional alternative medicine based on Indian principles of natural healing.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years because of its health benefits. The herb comes in ashwagandha powder, teas, tinctures, supplements, and even in its raw form.
Ashwagandha contains bioactive compounds such as alkaloids, flavonoids, glycosides, steroids, and steroidal lactones. Steroidal lactones are withanolides that exhibit most of the plant’s health benefits.
Most of the ashwagandha benefits are due to its potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Ashwagandha bolsters levels of antioxidant enzymes like glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase while also inhibiting lipid peroxidation — a fancy way of saying it’s full of compounds that combat oxidative stress and protect your cells from damage.
Ashwagandha supplements are available in a variety of forms, including ashwagandha capsules, gummies, liquid drops, powders, and (of course) VitaminMD’s drink mixes.
What are ashwagandha supplement benefits?
Scientists are constantly studying the benefits of ashwagandha for further insight into its medicinal properties. We include ashwagandha powder in our vitamin formulations and vitamin packets because of its beneficial effect on many health conditions.
Does Indian ginseng reduce stress and anxiety?
A recent study called An Alternative Treatment for Anxiety confirmed that ashwagandha does have the ability to decrease stress and anxiety while increasing well-being.
Ashwagandha reduces HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis activity — a system in your body responsible for regulating the stress response. Less stress equals lower cortisol levels, which equals better blood sugar control and lower stress response.
Researchers found that ashwagandha root extract blocked the stress pathway in the brain by regulating chemical signaling in the nervous system, lowering blood pressure, and furthering weight management.
In a small placebo-controlled study, 58 participants took either 250 or 600 mg of ashwagandha extract for eight weeks. Participants had less perceived stress and lower cortisol levels compared with those who took the placebo.
Another study by the National Library of Medicine observed that 64 people with chronic stress who took ashwagandha experienced a 69% reduction in anxiety and insomnia, compared to only 11% in the placebo group.
Can ashwagandha boost athletic performance levels?
The effects of ashwagandha vitamins and powder may significantly affect athletic performance when taken as a VitaminMD formulation.
Some people believe ashwagandha increases testosterone levels in men and improves athletic performance in everyone.
A study for the National Library of Medicine analyzed 12 men and women who took ashwagandha doses between 120 and 1,250 mg per day. Results showed that the herb enhanced physical performance — including strength and oxygen — during exercise.
The study revealed that taking ashwagandha enhanced oxygen use (VO2 max) in adult athletes. VO2 max refers to the maximum amount of oxygen a person can use during strenuous activity — essentially, it measures heart and lung fitness.
This measurement is essential for all people, not just athletes. A person with low VO2 max has an increased mortality risk, while a higher VO2 max may have a lower risk of heart disease.
How does ashwagandha affect mental health?
Another Library of Medicine study studied 66 people with schizophrenia who were depressed and anxious. Participants who took 1,000 mg of ashwagandha daily for three months had less dysfunction, depression, and anxiety than those in the placebo group.
Further, a study looking at adults under stress found that those who took 600 mg of ashwagandha a day for two months reported a 77% reduction in depression, while the placebo group reported only a 5% reduction.
None of the studies claim that ashwagandha is a substitute for antidepressant medication, but it may help manage symptoms.
Does ashwagandha benefit male fertility?
The Library of Medicine studied men ages 40-70 who suffered from mild fatigue. The men either took ashwagandha or a placebo for eight weeks.
Those who took ashwagandha had an 18% greater increase in DHEA-S — a sex hormone involved in testosterone production. Participants who took the herb also had a 14.7% greater increase in testosterone than those who took the placebo.
The clinical trial also revealed that ashwagandha increased sperm concentration, semen volume, and sperm motility.
How does ashwagandha affect blood sugar?
Researchers believe a compound called withaferin A (WA) has a powerful anti-diabetic effect and may stimulate your cells to take in glucose from the bloodstream.
The next step is additional, more extensive studies.
Ready for a cognitive boost? Try ashwagandha
Studies note that ashwagandha may improve cognitive functions in older adults with mild cognitive impairment and those with schizophrenia.
Areas of potential benefit include:
- Executive functioning
- Reaction time
- Performance on cognitive tasks
- Immediate and general memory
- Information-processing speed
How about ashwagandha and improved sleep?
A double-blind study of 50 people between 65–80 found that taking a dietary supplement of 600 mg of ashwagandha a day for 12 weeks improved sleep quality and mental alertness upon waking compared with a placebo treatment.
Plus, taking ashwagandha reduced people’s anxiety levels, helped them feel more alert when they woke up, and improved their quality of life.
Evidence suggests that ashwagandha may be an effective natural remedy to improve sleep and help people with insomnia.
Ashwagandha pill side effects
Ayurvedic classical texts, animal studies, and clinical studies describe ashwagandha as a safe and effective adaptogen.
Ashwagandha is considered safe when used for up to 3 months. Large doses of ashwagandha may cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and vomiting. Rarely, liver problems may occur.
VitaminMD only uses safe amounts of ashwagandha in its vitamin formulations.
Ashwagandha may affect the thyroid, so people with thyroid disease should check with a healthcare professional before taking it. Ashwagandha may cause adverse effects if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, immunocompromised, or having surgery soon.
Always seek medical advice from your doctor before beginning any vitamin supplementation.
Why trust VitaminMD with your vitamin formulations?
The VitaminMD Story
Dr. David Nazarian developed high-quality VitaminMD vitamin packets and formulations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The healthcare provider saw his patients’ diets lacked an all-inclusive vitamin — an essential immunity boost that optimizes overall health. He also noticed that most of his patients were vitamin D-deficient and unaware of its many problems.
Many patients asked Dr. Nazarian what to take to boost their immune systems and keep their bodies strong against infections, but there wasn’t one product with all the necessary ingredients. Ashwagandha was added as a powder in our vitamin packets due to its many benefits. Our Ashwagandha extract is one of the best ashwagandha supplements that can be purchased on the market. We are confident you will enjoy our daily vitamin packets and all its benefits!
There is a wide variety of multivitamins available to the public. Unfortunately, no single multivitamin has been specifically formulated to meet today’s needs. VitaminMD’s vitamin packets and custom formulas contain many ingredients that patients can’t find in a single product. Our vitamin supplements are easy to drink, great tasting, and absorb better than tablets. An M.D. formulated VitaminMD on the pandemic frontlines to meet today’s health needs.
Many patients do not like to take multiple tablets (11% of the U.S. population). A VitaminMD custom vitamin packet delivers a robust and comprehensive dose of all the vitamins necessary for boosting the immune system and supporting overall health. Other vitamins often lack main ingredients — meaning patients must take multiple tablets to meet all their needs.
Many people are deficient in vitamin D, and popular immunity drinks on the market today lack enough vitamin D. VitaminMD has the necessary dosage of vitamin D and other great ingredients that boost immunity and optimize overall health.
Cleveland Clinic https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/drugs/22361-adaptogens
National Library of Medicine https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6750292/