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Should You Take Adaptogens?
Written by: Seeking Health
No one would blame you if you’ve been dealing with stress and sleepless nights, especially over the past two years. (1) These have been unusually stressful times. And they've taught us just how vital adrenal and immune system function are for wellness.
Are you seeking a natural way to support your daily well-being and a sense of calm? A adaptogens may be the answer.†
What Are Adaptogens?
As the word suggests, adaptogens are plants and herbs that can support your body’s adaptation to daily physical, mental, and environmental challenges.†
The three main qualities of an adaptogen herb are:†
- Supports the entire body’s ability to cope with stress
- Helps the body maintain a state of homeostasis (balance)
- Must be nontoxic at normal doses
Adaptogen isn’t just a buzzword in the wellness world. There’s actually a good deal of science to back up their benefits. (2)
Adaptogens: Ancient Remedies for Modern TimesAdaptogens are rooted in Ayurvedic medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine. These herbs have been used for centuries to promote well-being.†
In the past decades, adaptogens have been put through scientifically rigorous studies. Clinical trials have found adaptogens support healthy stress responses, immunity, attention, energy levels, and endurance.†
The Purpose of Adaptogens
A recent Gallup Poll found that 40 percent of us feel worry or stress. (3) Adaptogens help your body cope effectively with everyday life demands. They can offer a sense of mindful tranquility while naturally supporting healthy energy levels.†
Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, according to research on adaptogens, they might actually be as good as they sound.
How do Adaptogens Work?
Adaptogens are best known for their ability to support a healthy stress response. They do this by helping to regulate your adrenal stress response.†
The adrenal stress response sounds more complicated than it is. Here’s what to know:
- Your body’s stress response system is intimately linked to your adrenal glands. These tiny organs sit on top of your kidneys.
- The adrenal glands secrete nearly 50 hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. These two hormones help regulate your body’s response to stress.
- When your body is under stress, the adrenals release greater amounts of cortisol. In our hectic, fast-paced lifestyle, many people are overextended by work, financial, and family responsibilities. That can lead to excessive stress and adrenals that rarely get a break.
- Over time, exposure to chronic stress can lead to a condition called “adrenal fatigue.” This occurs when your adrenals are no longer functioning at optimal levels.
If you're feeling tired, worn out, or depleted, it’s time to explore adaptogens.†
11 Signs of Adrenal Fatigue
When your hormonal response to stress is out of whack, there can be some unwanted consequences including:
- Blood sugar problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sleep issues
- Digestive troubles
- Food cravings
- Weakened immune system
- Raised blood pressure and cholesterol
- Hormonal imbalances
- Weight gain
If these sound familiar, fret not – there is hope! Adaptogens help to regulate your adrenal responses to everyday stressors.†
The goal of taking adaptogens is to help your body maintain a steady state of balance (homeostasis).†
Adaptogens work by regulating chemical reactions and cortisol levels within your body to maintain homeostasis.†
In other words, adaptogens help to support balance and proper cortisol levels. This is true whether you are in a state of fatigue or overdrive.†
Benefits of Adaptogens
We’ve discussed how adaptogen herbs target your adrenals to help manage your body’s hormonal response to stress. Now, let’s overview the most popular adaptogens that are supported by science. While all types of adaptogens help balance stress and cortisol, they also each offer unique benefits.†
As an herbal adaptogenic supplement, Astragalus is known for its immune system and respiratory health benefits. It is thought to influence immunity via cytokine regulation and immune cell signaling. Preliminary research has also found that Astragalus may help to support healthy energy levels in certain patients. (4)†
Ginseng is a popular herbal supplement that functions as an antioxidant. It is useful for supporting your immune system, energy levels, and brain function. (5) Ginseng has been used medicinally for thousands of years to support healthy energy levels and normal stress responses. In particular, Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) has been shown to successfully promote feelings of calmness. (6) Ginseng also supports your nervous system and a balanced mood. (7)†
During stress, your immune system has to work harder to keep you healthy. Cordyceps is an adaptogenic mushroom that helps support your natural defense systems. It also supports immune function, cognition, balanced blood sugar levels, healthy sleep, and heart health, along with balanced stress and energy levels.†
AshwagandhaAshwagandha is an ancient herb with several potential health benefits.†
- Published research reveals that ashwagandha may support a healthy response to feelings of tension or nervousness. (8,9)†
- When you experience stress in your life, you know it can affect your cognitive abilities and mental performance. Studies on ashwagandha suggest that it may support memory, reaction time, and the ability to complete tasks. (10)†
- In addition, preliminary research suggests that this natural herb can assist with sleep, healthy testosterone levels, and may even help to regulate healthy blood sugar levels. (11, 12, 13)†
Unlike the basil you use in your marinara sauce, studies indicate that holy basil supports mental health and your body’s natural adaptation to stress. (14) Holy basil has been revered in India for over 5,000 years to support feelings of calm in mind and spirit. Also known as tulsi, research demonstrates that holy basil contains calming and mood-regulating components. (15)†
The immune-supporting properties of the reishi mushroom have been reported in several published studies. (16) As an adaptogen, preliminary research has shown that reishi supports a healthy stress response and quality of life. (17)†
If you want to support healthy mental and physical energy levels, Rhodiola may help. (18)If you experience burnout (emotional, motivational, or physical exhaustion), consider Rhodiola as a dietary supplement. Science reveals Rhodiola can support healthy energy levels, help with a positive mindset, and promote feelings of joy. (19, 20)†
Are Adaptogens Safe?
Adaptogens are natural plants and herbs from Mother Nature. They are generally well tolerated and adverse side effects are rare. However, there are some cases where specific adaptogens can interact with prescription medications.
It is always wise to consult with your healthcare professional before using herbal supplements. This is especially true if you have issues with blood pressure, thyroid function, heart conditions, are immune-compromised, or have been diagnosed with any health conditions.
When Should You Take Adaptogens?
You will benefit most from adaptogens when you are ready to address the stress in your life. However, it's important to understand the best time of day and how long to take adaptogens. For example, you wouldn’t want to boost your energy in the evening before bedtime. Nor would you choose an adaptogen that promotes sleep when you’re at work.†
Your genes impact how well adaptogens can work to support your well-being.
Being in tune with your body by optimizing your genes is a foundational step in your overall health and wellness.
Genes and Stress
It’s true that we can’t change our genetic makeup. But even if you were born with dirty genes, you have the power to clean them up and optimize your health.
Genes become “dirty” when their normal healthy function is inhibited by nutritional deficiencies, environmental toxins, and especially physical and psychological stress.
By understanding your unique genetic code, you can manage your daily stress, maximize your health, and live a full and vital life.
Dr. Ben Lynch, the founder of Seeking Health, offers expert insight on choosing the best nutrients to maximize your health. His best-selling book, Dirty Genes, is based on his own experience and successfully helping thousands of clients. His advanced research provides a roadmap for optimizing your genetic health. Check out Dirty Genes to learn more about how stress and dirty genes impact your wellness.
Choosing Adaptogen Supplements
Different adaptogens have different purposes. Based on your situation, you may find that a combination formula of herbs, vitamins, and minerals best meets your needs.Read the label carefully to choose a high-quality supplement that is based on science. Remember, not all adaptogens supplements are created equal!
Quality Matters with Adaptogen SupplementsWith dietary supplements, the greatest health benefits come when using the extract form of an adaptogen. This means the amount in the formula is standardized and consistent from bottle to bottle and provides optimum potency.† Seeking Health Adaptogen formulas contain carefully selected extracts and nutrients to support healthy adrenal glands and your response to stress.†
- Ashwagandha Extract is designed with standardized ashwagandha extract to help support healthy immune function, mood, and balanced stress levels.†
- Adrenal Cortex and Adrenal Nutrients help maintain adrenal health, support your immune system, and promote healthy energy levels.†
- Optimal Start is the ultimate multivitamin that delivers supportive adaptogenic herbs such as American ginseng and ashwagandha extract.†
- Optimal Sleep† is ideal for promoting feelings of calm and relaxation. †
Always produced at a registered GMP facility, Seeking Health delivers superior formulas you can trust. Each ingredient is carefully selected and sourced for the greatest efficacy, safety, and value.At Seeking Health, you can shop for your supplements stress-free! We offer a 60-day money-back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied with your purchase.†
The Bottom Line
No one questions that stress can affect your mental and physical well-being. We’ve all been there. Work deadlines, packed schedules, and feeling overextended can cause instant stress. Other daily stressors like sleep deprivation, lack of activity, and toxin exposure can all have short- and long-term impacts on your health. Adaptogens provide a natural option to support your body’s response to everyday stressors. Ultimately, they help your body maintain balance so you can be your best self. Start taking charge of how stress affects you. Talk to your healthcare team about including adaptogen supplements in your daily routine!†
‡ This information is for educational purposes only. No product results are implied.