What Are Adaptogens And Who Could Benefit From Them?
Adaptogens are becoming super trendy in the health and wellness world- so we wanted to dispel them and give you the 411!
They're not a necessity, but they ARE a nice to have.
There are some adaptogens that have the ability to be strong pillars in someone's health. And certainly their stress levels (which we will get to later.)
Karen Berrios sells an adaptogen, Maca, so of course we are even more invested in the studies and understanding how people are using them.
There are multiple different kinds. In this paper. we will examine what adaptogens are, some of their main benefits, and lastly- some of the most popular and universally used kinds.
What are adaptogens?
There are hundreds, yes hundreds of studies that mention, or specifically feature, adaptogens. There is still a lot of research needed, but so far the temperament has been very positive and hopeful. Many Western Medicine doctors say they are shocked they weren't covered in medical school, because their abilities can be so powerful!
So what are they?
This TIME article explained it well: "Adaptogens are non-toxic plants that are marketed as helping the body resist stressors of all kinds, whether physical, chemical or biological. These herbs and roots have been used for centuries in Chinese and Ayurvedic healing traditions, but they’re having a renaissance today. Some, like holy basil, can be eaten as part of a meal, and some are consumed as supplements or brewed into teas." (Article here)
Adaptogens can all play a different role, but the center of them is the same: they are meant to balance us out where we need balance. They help us build up vitality. Adaptogens are supposed to restore vigor, focus, and strength.
Dr. Merry, who has a PhD and studies infectious diseases, says that "Adaptogens are believed to affect the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the peripheral nervous system. This is the explanation commonly used to explain the ability of adaptogens to mitigate stress and other lifestyle related diseases." (Article here) For the record, Dr. Merry sees how adaptogens could be of benefit however, she would like to see more research before she herself is convinced.
There is powerful research that supports adaptogen's ability to help with stress.
There is research that, in the end, states that adaptogens really can enhance the quality of life.
Top Researched Adaptogens
Maca comes from the Andes of Peru (Did you know our Founder is from Peru? Might be way partly why she is so fond of Maca!) It is a cruciferous that has strong adaptogenic properties. Lepidium Meyenii is the scientific name and what we eat is the root of Maca.
One big reason people are drawn to Maca, is its ability to possibly support hormone health. Specifically, fertility. Women always get the fertility talk, men also need to be aware of the subject and what they can do to keep their sperm and sperm count healthy. Maca has been shown to help men with fertility and the quality of their sperm. This study was an interesting one- going over the results of 20 men aged 20-40 years old, with positive results when it came to the quality of their sperm they were administered Maca for 12 weeks. For women, though we need more research, there has been positive studies done on the reduction of menopausal symptoms in correlation to taking Maca.
Maca can also greatly help your mood. When you take Maca, you almost instantly feel the cleanest, lightest, most enjoyable buzz of energy. (This is one reason why one might not want to take Maca at night.) But many people love Maca for mood-boosting abilities. This study measured postmenopausal women's levels of depression and also blood pressure when they were administered Maca over 12 weeks.
Maca has also shown us that is can help with athletic performance and also cognitive function. But again- more studies are needed!
If anything- Maca is highly nutritious. It has fiber, protein, copper, and lots of Vitamin C! We recommend it in smoothies, lattes, or oatmeal bowls! People love baking with it as well. Make sure it is organic and high quality! See ours here, and a recipe below!
Ashwagandha, unlike Maca, does not give energy or endurance but has the potential to help with focus and calmness. Many people love it for when they are stressed out or anxious, and many people enjoy it before they fall asleep.
Ashwagandha's scientific name is Withania Somnifera and it has been around and studied for over 3,000 years.
One of the main benefits of this adaptogen is its ability to help with stress. Unfortunately, in such a go-go-go society, we are overactiving our sympathetic nervous system. This can cause burn out and cortisol levels to raise. What we want is to activate our parasympathetic nervous system more often- the rest and digest response. Ashwagandha can definitely help with stress. Going above and beyond stress, there has been studies showing it can also help with anxiety. This study was in favor of Ashwagandha- they studied 39 subjects over a six week period
Another popular adaptogen is Chaga, otherwise known as Inonotus obliquus. This is a mushroom that grows and almost looks like burnt charcoal. But don't let the look of it fool you- it's a very health giving adaptogen!
One of the big reasons people are drawn to Chaga, are the claims that it can help fight off cancerous and tumor cells. There have been more animal studies and tube studies than human studies, but skin cells have been used in testing. Chaga contains a specific antioxidant called Triterpene, which some studies have revealed can help kill off cancer cells.
Chaga is also powerful enough to scavenge free radicals in our bodies. This, due to its high antioxidant count.
It is also said that Chaga may help lower blood sugar levels as well as help stimulate white blood cells- which helps with preventing infectious bacteria and disease.
Maca Latte Recipe
If you are looking to get into adaptogens, Maca is a great place to start and makes for a wonderful mix in for lattes! Many people love to drink a maca latte in place of their morning coffee, especially if they are looking for more a more gentle, long-term focused pace of energy.
This recipe is delicate, light, tasty, and loaded with fiber and antioxidants as well a heart-protecting polyphenols!
Courtesy of Katey Yurko @thevioletfog
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