Ashwagandha: Top 3 Health Benefits
Ashwagandha has been used as a dietary supplement for decades, but only recently has it received such attention, due in part to an abundance of research published over the past few years. Read on to learn what ashwagandha is and what health benefits it may offer you.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, or herbal pharmaceutical that works to increase our resistance against physical, chemical and biological stressors, creating a “normalizing” or “stabilizing” effect on the body.
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There are numerous potential health benefits of ashwagandha, from boosting athletic performance to improving symptoms associated with ADHD and bipolar disorder, but more research is needed to confirm many of these findings.
Here are three benefits of ashwagandha that are backed by science, along with recommended dosage.
It may decrease stress and stress-related weight gain.
In adults with chronic stress, clinical research shows that taking 240 milligrams of ashwagandha extracts daily or 300 milligrams twice daily for two months reduces perceived stress levels by 30% to 44% and decreases cortisol levels by 22% to 28%. Other clinical research illustrates that taking 500 milligrams of ashwagandha root extract twice daily may prevent stress-related weight gain when compared with a placebo.
Ashwagandha may improve well-being, sleep and alertness in older people, resulting in healthy aging.
A small clinical trial of individuals aged 65 to 80 years found that taking 600 milligrams of ashwagandha extract daily for 12 weeks improved overall well-being, sleep quality and mental alertness by small to moderate amounts when compared with a placebo.
Taking ashwagandha may modestly reduce anxiety in people with generalized anxiety disorder.
A small clinical trial of patients with generalized anxiety disorder who were taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors found that taking 1,000 milligrams of ashwagandha daily for six weeks reduced symptoms of anxiety by 48%, compared to a 27% reduction in patients taking a placebo.
Note: Ashwagandha can interfere with some medications for anxiety, depression, thyroid, diabetes and hypertension. As always, check with your health care provider before adding any new supplements to your regime.