Exploring the stress-lowering benefits of ashwagandha
Dr. Jennifer Brix, ND
Note: this article is sponsored content from our friends at Natural Factors.
As we have been navigating the new normal during the past few months, many of us are looking for ways to reduce our daily stress and anxiety. Stress is fast becoming a way of life for Canadians, with many of us feeling the strain daily. As our stress levels continue to rise, more and more of us are searching for new ways to cope and support both our mental and physical health.
We all know stress can cause a racing heart, headaches, and upset stomach, but did you know that long-term exposure to stress is linked to many health issues? Hormone disruption, weight gain, sleep problems, anxiety, low mood, and blood sugar swings can result from chronic stress. Over time, this unmanaged stress can begin to impact our immune systems, digestion, and cardiovascular health, sometimes leading to serious complications.
We can do many things to minimize stress, such as exercise, self-reflection, and adopting healthy habits, but sometimes we need relief now. Adaptogens may be the answer. They are among the most clinically studied and effective treatments for managing stress. In herbal medicine, adaptogens are natural substances that counteract the effects of stress. A well-known example is ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha(Withania somnifera), or Indian ginseng, originated in Ayurvedic medicine. Also known as winter cherry, it is native to India, China, Nepal, and Yemen. Traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine to balance aggravated Vata, ashwagandha helps balance nerves, improve sleep, and enhance memory. It also supports adults of all ages, including helping seniors recover from illness and gain back their strength. In clinical research, ashwagandha helps reduce cortisol levels, relieve anxiety and stress, promote restful sleep, and support cognitive and mental function. Ashwagandha contains steroidal alkaloids and lactones, collectively known as the withanolides that provide the greatest benefit. Withanolides are found in the highest concentration in the root of the ashwagandha plant and, to a lesser degree, the leaves. However, the leaves also contain withaferin A which can be cytotoxic at higher levels. When taken as a natural health product for stress, ashwagandha needs to be standardized to a concentration of withanolides, but also contain very little to no withaferin A to meet the claims that support its activity and safety.
One extract, KSM-66 Ashwagandha™, is a patented form of organic ashwagandha root, containing a full spectrum of active constituents, including withanolides, and no trace of withaferin A. This completely natural product is created from an innovative extraction process that uses no alcohol or synthetic solvents. KSM-66 is one of the most clinically studied ashwagandha root extracts on the market, and has been shown to help increase resistance to stress and anxiety in those with a history of chronic stress, thereby improving quality of life. And for those looking to get in shape, KSM-66 Ashwagandha can increase your physical performance when combined with regular resistance training. It improves endurance and protects muscles from damage and speeds their recovery. Since it’s WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) approved, this particular extract offers athletes a safe and effective option for those looking for an herbal exercise supplement. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and in need of some support, look for a high quality standardized form of ashwagandha, such as KSM-66. Safe and effective natural stress relief is within reach.
Dr. Jennifer Brix, ND, will be a featured speaker at the upcoming “Celebration of Health” event on November 5 to 6. Click here for more information and to register!