I am fortunate enough to have an amazing internship that is constantly pushing and encouraging me to grow professionally, entrepreneurially, and educationally.
During one of the projects I assisted in, I had to learn about and discuss the powerful benefits of adaptogens. What I learned was so amazing that I must share it with you!
What are Adaptogens?
In his article Understanding Adaptogenic Activity: Specificity of the Pharmacological Action of Adaptogens and Other Phytochemicals, Alexander Panossian describes adaptogens to “act as eustressors (i.e., “good stressors”) and as mild stress mimetics or “stress vaccines” that induce stress-protective responses” (3).
Adaptogens are substances found in certain plants that improve the body’s ability to respond to stressors.
A stressor can be anything causing your body to respond in a manner that’s outside of your body’s norm.
An example might be the tearing of muscle fibers when you are weight-training. In this case, an adaptogen can help the body respond to the tearing of your muscle fibers in a more efficient manner.
Adaptogens have proven to have neuroprotective traits (Panossian and Wikman), meaning they can protect against nerve damage.
They also help improve mental work capacity in the body when it’s undergoing fatigue (Panossian and Wikman). Specifically they assist with preventing mental exertion and they enhance attention (Panossian and Wikman).
How do Adaptogens Work?
They assist the body in regulating homeostasis.
They do this by working on a molecular level with areas of the body that mediate stress responses (Panossian and Wikman).
By working with the body to mediate stress, they provide us with the ability to adapt to stress more effeciently.
Types and Associated Benefits of Specific Adaptogens:
So how can an adaptogen benefit you?
What plants can help your body adapt to which stressors?
There are a variety of different Adaptogens out there but Ashwagandha, Cordyceps, Ginseng (American, Asian, and Siberian), Holy Basil, Rhodiola Roasea, and Maca (Peruvian Ginseng) are the ones I’ll discuss.
While they all help the body better adapt to different stressors, they each have been suggested to be specialized in helping the body respond to a specific few.
– Assists in relieving anxiety and fatigue
– Improved Immunity
◊ American and Asian
– Enhanced strength, stamina, & sports performance
– Improved blood sugar in type II diabetes
– Improved insulin function in type II diabetes
– Protective against cancer
– Enhanced immunity (leads to fewer colds)
– reduced menopausal symptom
– improved menopausal heart health
– relieved cold hands and feet in women
– Enhanced immunity
– Enhanced physical activity & endurance
– Improved neurological health
– Healthier bones & cholesterol in postmenopausal women
– Reduced impacts of stress
– Improved memory
– Boosted immunity
– Antimicrobial effects
– Enhanced energy, endurance, and alertness
– Improved memory
– Reduced fatigue
How to Incoporate Adaptogens into Your Diet
Make adaptogenic lattes!
Are you a coffee or tea drinker? Do you enjoy a good latte? Why not 1/3 tsp into your daily cup-o-joe! You could also harness the powerful benefits of adaptogens by tossing 1/3 tsp of adaptogenic powder into your smoothies, overnight oats, or chia pudding!
Need more guidance than that? I’ve prepared for you a series of adaptogenic lattes you can make to help harness the powerful benefits of adaptogens.
How to Buy Adaptogens Safely?
While not an exhaustive list of things to look for in adaptogen suppliers, these are some things to be aware of!
– Look to see if the supplier abides by Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)
– Check to see if it’s USDA Certified Organic
– Look for where it was produced. Some supplemental powders from india can be contaminated with toxic metals. If a supplement supplier does abide by GMP or isn’t USDA Certified Organic, I’d be weary.
These are some of the powders I have bought in the past that meet some of the criteria listed above.
I like the ashwagandha from this amazon store. They abide by Good Manufacturing Practices, which are among the highest standards in the world.
I like the Rhodiola Rosea from this store on amazon. It’s USDA organic which means it should be safe.
I really like Four Sigmatic products in order to get some adaptogens into my diet (not an affiliate link). I am 100% positive their products are safe.
In summary, adaptogens are powerful substances found in plants that help the body improves its ability to adapt to situations.
If this article peaked your interest, I encourage to do more research to learn more about adaptogens.
Look out for some articles on adaptogens being posted on this blog as well.
Of course, if you want to take any of these herbal products, be sure to consult your doctor to make sure that they are safe for you to take.
Erickson, Kim. “Adapt with Adaptogens.” Better Nutrition, vol. 79, no. 9, Sept. 2017, p. 40. EBSCOhost, cscc.ohionet.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=cookie,ip,uid&db=a9h&AN=124544630&site=ehost-live.
Panossian, Alexander. “Understanding Adaptogenic Activity: Specificity of the Pharmacological Action of Adaptogens and Other Phytochemicals.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 1401, no. 1, Aug. 2017, pp. 49-64. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/nyas.13399.
Panossian, Alexander, and Georg Wikman. “Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity.” Pharmaceuticals 3.1 (2010): 188–224. PMC. Web. 28 May 2018.
Tweed, Vera. “Herbal Adaptogens for Immune Health & Energy.” Better Nutrition, vol. 78, no. 10, Oct. 2016, pp. 46-48. EBSCOhost, cscc.ohionet.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&AuthType=cookie,ip,uid&db=a9h&AN=118137418&site=ehost-live.
Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link.
Purchase and use Adaptogens at you’re own risk.