Ashwagandha, a herb with a long history of use in complementary medicine, has gained popularity in recent years for its numerous health benefits, particularly for both men and women. In this article, we will explore the origins and benefits of Ashwagandha, the importance of taking a 500mg dose each day, and why incorporating it into a protein shake may provide the best results.
Understanding Ashwagandha and Its Origins
The origins of Ashwagandha can help us appreciate its medicinal value even more. Let’s take a look at what Ashwagandha is and its historical context.
Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera or Indian ginseng, is an adaptogenic herb predominantly used in Ayurvedic medicine - a traditional Indian healing system. As an adaptogen, the benefits of Ashwagandha include assisting in the body’s ability to adapt to various stressors, promoting a sense of overall balance and well-being.
Ashwagandha is a small shrub with yellow flowers that is native to India and North Africa. The plant is a member of the Solanaceae family, which also includes tomatoes and eggplants. The plant’s roots, leaves, and berries are used for medicinal purposes, with the root being the most commonly used part of the plant.
A Brief History of Ashwagandha Use
For thousands of years, the benefits of Ashwagandha have been an essential part of traditional Indian medicine. Originally, it was prescribed as a tonic for various ailments, including stress, fatigue, and nervous exhaustion. Ancient Ayurvedic texts also mention its use in treating a wide range of conditions, including arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, cancer, diabetes, and infertility in addition to promoting vitality, longevity, overall health and well-being.
Active Compounds in Ashwagandha
The key active compounds in Ashwagandha responsible for its medicinal properties are called withanolides. These naturally occurring steroidal lactones help modulate the body’s stress response, inflammation levels, and neurological functions, contributing to the herb’s wide range of benefits.
Other compounds found in Ashwagandha include alkaloids, saponins, and flavonoids, all of which have been shown to have various health benefits. For example, alkaloids have been found to have anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties, while saponins have been shown to have immune-boosting effects.
Overall, Ashwagandha is a versatile and powerful herb with a long history of use in complementary medicine. Its active compounds have been shown to have a wide range of health benefits, making it a valuable addition to any wellness routine.
Benefits of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha benefits for Men
Ashwagandha has specific benefits for men that help improve overall health and well-being. Let’s look at some of these advantages in detail.
Boosting Testosterone Levels: Studies have shown that Ashwagandha significantly boosts testosterone levels and improves sperm quality in men. This is due to its ability to increase luteinizing hormone (LH) levels, which in turn stimulates testosterone production. As a result, it has gained popularity as a natural supplement for enhancing male fertility and addressing low testosterone-related issues.
In addition to its effects on testosterone, Ashwagandha also contains compounds that have been shown to improve sexual function and increase libido in men.
Enhancing Athletic Performance: Research has demonstrated that Ashwagandha can increase muscle mass, reduce body fat, and improve strength in men. This is due to its ability to increase levels of creatine kinase, a marker of muscle damage and growth, and reduce levels of cortisol, a hormone that can inhibit muscle growth and increase fat storage.
By enhancing physical performance and promoting healthy body composition, Ashwagandha is beneficial for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. It can also help improve endurance and reduce fatigue, making it an attractive option for those looking to improve their overall fitness levels.
Reducing Stress and Anxiety: One of the primary benefits of Ashwagandha is its ability to reduce stress and anxiety levels. Studies have shown that participants who took Ashwagandha supplements experienced a significant reduction in cortisol levels — the body’s primary stress hormone — making it an attractive option for promoting relaxation and mental calmness.
Ashwagandha has also been shown to improve symptoms of anxiety and depression in both men and women, making it a useful tool for those struggling with these conditions.
Improving Cognitive Function: Ashwagandha has been shown to improve cognitive function by enhancing memory, learning, and reaction time. Its neuroprotective properties can help maintain a healthy, well-functioning mind as men age, reducing the risk of cognitive decline.
In addition to its effects on cognitive function, Ashwagandha has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that can help protect against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Ashwagandha Benefits for Women
Women, too, can greatly benefit from the various health-boosting properties of Ashwagandha. Let’s explore some of these advantages.
Balancing Hormones and Supporting Reproductive Health: By regulating hormone production and reducing inflammation, Ashwagandha has been found to support menstrual health, fertility, and overall reproductive health in women. This adaptogenic herb also helps balance stress-related hormones, promoting overall well-being.
Reducing Symptoms of Menopause: Ashwagandha’s adaptogenic properties help alleviate common menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes, mood swings, and sleep disturbances. By supporting the endocrine system, the herb helps to maintain hormonal balance and improve quality of life for women during this transitional phase.
Enhancing Mood and Reducing Stress: Like men, women can experience lowered stress levels by incorporating Ashwagandha into their routines. The herb not only reduces cortisol levels but also helps increase the production of neurotransmitters responsible for stabilising mood, thus enhancing overall emotional well-being.
Supporting Healthy Weight Management: Ashwagandha may help women manage their weight through its adaptogenic action. By reducing stress and cortisol levels, the herb may decrease stress-induced food cravings and promote healthy eating habits. In addition, Ashwagandha’s impact on thyroid function can support weight management efforts.
The Importance of a 500mg Daily Dose
To fully reap the benefits of Ashwagandha, it is crucial to understand the appropriate dosage, its safety, and potential side effects.
Recommended Dosage for Optimal Benefits: While specific dosages can vary depending on individual needs, research suggests that a 500mg dose of Ashwagandha extract per day is generally effective for promoting optimal health benefits. Veloforte’s Molto Protein Super-Shake contains 500mg of Ashwagandha per serve. Supporting not only physical and mental well-being, but maintain stamina, build muscle-mass and promote optimal relaxation.
Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.
Safety and Potential Side Effects: When taken in the recommended dosage, Ashwagandha is considered safe for most individuals. Some possible side effects may include mild digestive upset, drowsiness, or allergies. Pregnant or breastfeeding women and those with certain medical conditions should consult their healthcare professionals before taking Ashwagandha.
How to Measure and Adjust Your Dosage
Ashwagandha is generally well tolerated but if you experience any side effects then we suggest that you start start with a smaller dose and gradually increase it to the recommended amount when introducing Ashwagandha into your routine. Doing so allows your body to adjust to the supplement with minimal side effects.
Incorporating Ashwagandha into a Protein Shake
One of the best ways to take Ashwagandha is through a protein shake. Let’s explore the advantages of this method and learn how to choose the right protein powder.
Why a Protein Shake is the Best Delivery Method
Incorporating Ashwagandha into a protein shake makes it easier for the body to absorb the herb effectively. Protein shakes deliver essential nutrients post-workout, and the addition of Ashwagandha can maximise the body’s recovery and stress management. Plus, mixing it into a shake helps mask its natural bitter taste for a more enjoyable experience.
Choosing the Right Protein Powder
When selecting a protein powder, consider factors such as dietary preferences, the protein source, and additional ingredients. Look for high-quality proteins that are easy to digest, such as whey or pea protein, and avoid options with artificial sweeteners or excessive additives. Discover Veloforte’s range of naturally delicious, high performing super-shakes, enriched with anti-inflammatory superfoods, prebiotics and adaptogens that taste amazing and promote active recovery and good gut health too.
Delicious and Nutritious Ashwagandha Protein Shake Recipes
Veloforte's Molto Protein Super-Shake contains 20g complete plant protein & 500mg stress-busting Ashwagandha per serve with a delicious combination of Madagascan Vanilla & Cinnamon. Just add water or your favourite milk drink and shake until smooth. It couldn't be more simple to start feeling the zen!
If Vanilla isn't your thing then you can easily add Ashwagandha to your favourite protein shake recipes too. Some popular options include chocolate peanut butter, mixed berry, or a mocha mix. Simply add your 500mg dose of Ashwagandha powder to the blend and enjoy the numerous health benefits it offers for both men and women.