What is Ashwagandha?
In one study highlighted by the National Institutes for Health, 64 subjects with a history of chronic stress who were given the high-concentration full-spectrum Ashwagandha root extract exhibited a significant reduction in scores on all the stress-assessment scales, relative to the placebo group. The serum cortisol levels were substantially reduced in the Ashwagandha group, relative to the placebo group. No serious adverse events were reported. Multiple animal studies have come to same conclusions: Ashwagandha supplementation consistently reduces cortisol levels and improves many stress-related symptoms.[i]
In another human study, Ashwagandha increased serum T-cell count, and killer-cell count, suggesting that it can boost immune function. A recent study from the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition shows the effectiveness of this adaptogenic herb in muscle strength and muscle recovery.[ii] Following baseline measurements, both groups of subjects underwent resistance training for 8 weeks and measurements were repeated at the end of week 8. The primary efficacy measure was muscle strength. The secondary efficacy measures were muscle size, body composition, serum testosterone levels and muscle recovery. Muscle strength was evaluated using the 1-RM load for the bench press and leg extension exercises. Muscle recovery was evaluated by using serum creatine kinase level as a marker of muscle injury from the effects of exercise. Compared to the placebo subjects, the subjects receiving Ashwagandha also had significantly greater reduction of exercise-induced muscle damage as indicated by the stabilization of serum creatine kinase.
A pair of studies was done on infertile subjects. After taking the herb for 90 days, subjects noted a significant increase in testosterone, and improved sperm quality. Ashwagandha stimulates testosterone production at the brain level.[iii]
Recap: How can it benefit me?
The findings of the studies cited at the end of this paper suggest that a high-concentration full-spectrum Ashwagandha root extract safely and effectively improves an individual’s resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life. Because anxiety and stress can lead to underperformance in every area of life, Ashwagandha has also been known to improve sleep quality and boost sexual prowess. In addition, regular supplementation with Ashwagandha increases testosterone levels. This benefits both women and men by creating more lean muscle mass and boosting metabolism, as well as the aforementioned prowess. This potent herb can greatly improve cardiovascular health by reducing inflammation, reducing the amount of serum triglycerides, increasing good cholesterol, and reducing bad cholesterol. Ashwagandha supplementation is associated with significant increases in muscle mass and strength, as well as muscle recovery after exercise, so it is useful in increasing the effectiveness of your resistance training program.