Life can be a whirlwind of responsibilities, from juggling careers to managing households and caring for little ones. We know the struggle is real, and that’s why I’m here to spill the tea on the latest health trend that I’m obsessed with: ashwagandha.
You may have seen this ancient herb popping up everywhere lately, and trust me, it’s not just a passing fad. Today, I’m diving into why ashwagandha has become the go-to superfood for millennial moms including myself, its incredible benefits backed by science, and how you can seamlessly incorporate it into your daily routine.
Why the Ashwagandha Hype?
So, what’s with all the hype surrounding ashwagandha? Well, picture this: a magical adaptogen that helps reduce stress, boost energy levels, and enhance overall well-being and mood. Sounds like something straight out of a fairytale, right?
But it’s real, and it’s here to transform your life!
Health Benefits of Ashwagandha:
- Reduces Stress and Anxiety: Ashwagandha has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to combat stress and anxiety. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that ashwagandha significantly reduced cortisol levels (the stress hormone) in participants, leading to a calmer and more balanced state of mind. Say goodbye to those frazzled nerves and hello to Zen-like tranquility! Many of my clients are looking to lower their cortisol levels to burn stubborn belly fat and this is a simple solution.
- Boost Your Energy: We all know motherhood is a 24/7 gig, and sometimes we need an extra boost to beat fatigue. Ashwagandha has been shown to increase energy levels and improve overall vitality. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that participants who took ashwagandha experienced significant improvements in their energy levels and athletic performance. It’s like having a natural, caffeine-free energy drink in your back pocket! It also has been shown to help improve cognitive function and reduce brain fog.
- A Better Night’s Sleep: Lack of sleep is the most underrated stressor on the body and hormones. Ashwagandha has been found to have a positive impact on sleep quality and duration. A study published in the journal Cureus showed that participants who took ashwagandha experienced better sleep outcomes, including decreased sleep latency and improved sleep efficiency. If you are someone who is a light sleeper or experiences occasional insomnia, you may want to give it a shot!
- Bye-bye, Hot Flashes: Hot flashes are like surprise visits from an unwelcome guest during perimenopause and menopause, but fear not! Ashwagandha has been shown to alleviate the frequency and intensity of hot flashes. Research published in the Journal of the American Herbalists Guild found that women who took ashwagandha experienced a significant reduction in the number and severity of hot flashes.
- Mood Balancing Magic: The hormonal fluctuations of postpartum life, weaning, PMS, peri-menopuase and menopause can sometimes wreak havoc on our emotional well-being and cause serious mood swings. Ashwagandha comes to the rescue once again, as it has been traditionally used to balance mood and reduce anxiety. A randomized, double-blind, placebo group study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology demonstrated that ashwagandha effectively improved mood and reduced anxiety levels in participants.
- Building Bone Strength: As estrogen levels decline at the age of 35, the risk of osteoporosis increases. But don’t fret, because ashwagandha has potential benefits for bone health too. Research published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine found that ashwagandha supplementation helped improve bone mineral density in postmenopausal women. It’s like a natural boost for your bones, helping to keep them strong and resilient.
- Regulate blood sugar levels: While research is ongoing, some studies suggest that ashwagandha may help regulate blood sugar by improving insulin sensitivity and reducing insulin resistance. This means it could potentially be beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those at risk of developing the condition
How to Incorporate Ashwagandha into Your Routine
Now that you’re aware of the incredible benefits, let’s discuss how you can introduce ashwagandha into your daily regimen:
- Capsules or Extracts: Ashwagandha is available in capsule or extract form, making it convenient and easy to incorporate into your vitamin regimen. Look for high-quality, standardized products to ensure you’re getting the most potent form of the herb. I have a multi-vitamins for females 40+ that have it included by MegaFood and a probiotic that also includes ashwagandha in it from Garden of Life. Both bought at Whole Foods!
- Powder Power: Ashwagandha is commonly available in powder form, making it versatile and easy to use. You can sprinkle it into your morning smoothies, oatmeal, or even your favorite baked goods. The options are endless, and the taste is mild and earthy, blending seamlessly into your recipes. I blend it sometimes into the milk of my lattes.
Ashwagandha Effects and Thyroid Hormones
So, I use ashwagandha to reduce stress and anxiety for the most part but the effects of ashwagandha on thyroid hormones have been a subject of interest and research in recent years. Ashwagandha, known for its adaptogenic properties, has shown potential benefits for individuals with certain thyroid conditions. However, it’s important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms and effects of ashwagandha on thyroid function.
Here are a few promising notes I wanted to share:
- Hypothyroidism: Ashwagandha may have positive effects on individuals with hypothyroidism, a condition characterized by an underactive thyroid gland. Studies have shown that ashwagandha supplementation can increase thyroid hormone levels, including thyroxine (T4), in individuals with hypothyroidism. This suggests that ashwagandha may have a stimulating effect on the thyroid gland, potentially helping to improve thyroid function. YAY! We need this especially after years of under eating which sabotages your thyroid.
- Stress and Cortisol Regulation: Ashwagandha’s adaptogenic properties may indirectly affect thyroid function by helping to regulate stress levels. Chronic stress can impact thyroid function by disrupting the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis. Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce stress and lower cortisol levels, which, in turn, may support overall thyroid health and function. Again, YAY for my clients looking to balance hormones and burn stubborn belly fat.
It’s important to emphasize that while ashwagandha shows promising potential in supporting thyroid health, it should not replace medical treatment or be used as a standalone therapy for thyroid disorders.
Ashawagnda, sexual function and libido!
Ok, so I wasn’t going to report on any of this but google is telling me that I should, lol. At least I’m being honest!
So, some preliminary research suggests that ashwagandha may have positive effects on sexual function and libido. It is believed to have adaptogenic properties as I mentioned, which again means it may help the body adapt to stress and improve overall well-being. Since stress can often have a negative impact on libido, reducing stress levels may indirectly improve sexual arousal.
Additionally, ashwagandha has been found to potentially enhance fertility in men. A study published in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal in 2013 found that men who took ashwagandha experienced improved semen quality, including higher sperm concentration and motility.
Lastly, ashwagandha has been shown to have a positive impact on testosterone levels in animal studies. Testosterone is an important hormone for sexual desire and performance in both men and women. However, more research is needed to determine the direct effects of ashwagandha on testosterone levels in humans.
It’s worth noting that individual responses to ashwagandha can vary, and some people may not experience any noticeable changes in libido or sexual function.
Ashwagandha: In Summary
There are a lot of benefits to adding ashwagandha into your daily routine if you are a millenial mom like me who is anxious and looking for something natural to help feel like herself again. There are so many things in our lives that cause stress, eating foods that are antioxidant rich helps but the key to success is learning how to manage it.