• Leanne Maala - For Micah Siva

All About Adaptogens

Stress getting in the way of enjoying life?

What do you do when you are stressed?

Maybe you unwind by going on a walk, by reading a book, maybe you call a friend or family member, resort to nature, or pour a glass of wine.

If you've been following nutrition trends, it's likely you've heard of adaptogens and their potential for relieving stress. While it might sound like a silver bullet to all your problems, do adaptogens actually provide measurable results?

Many medical professionals, chiropractors, dietitians, and alike believe adaptogens to be nature's medicine. For centuries, they have been widely used by Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine practitioners.

But what do adaptogens do anyway?

Here’s some science; Adaptogens actively work to combat the outcomes of stress. Although stress can come with certain chapters in life or can be present in someone's life consistently, it is important to make the connection that stress can cause long-lasting damaging effects to our bodies. Adaptogens found in certain foods can combat these outcomes of stress.

When our bodies experience stress, our body reacts and responds. Cortisol is a hormone that is released during times of stress, and starts a process called "General Adaptation Syndrome". High levels of cortisol are linked to depression and numerous health complications, as it plays a role in many processes in our body.

Think of a moment when you were stressed? What was your reaction?

First, you were alerted by the stressor, then you tried to counteract the stressor from continuing to stress you out, and finally, the stressor goes away but leaves you drained.

Adaptogens play a role in the counteracting stage of the general adaptation syndrome.

Essentially, its responsibility is to help you fight off the stressor and not make you feel drained or tired afterwards. When we fight off a stressor successfully, our bodies stay responsive, empowered, and stable.

Don’t get me wrong, a little stress in our lives will keep us on our toes. But having a tool to help us reduce cortisol levels in the body and enhance better performance, sleep and overall health sounds very promising.

Where are adaptogens found?

Adaptogens are primarily found in non-toxic plants such as herbs and roots. The main reason why many are taking adaptogens nowadays is because of their ability to create a protective barrier from unwanted effects of stress. Let's take a further look to identify which adaptogens relate to your current situation.

Adaptogens for prolonging stress:

Ashwagandha: This ancient medicinal herb is derived from Asian countries. It is also known to boost brain function and prevent depression and anxiety from unfolding.

Asian Ginseng: Can be referred to as Chinese. American, or Korean Ginseng depending on where it is harvested. Ginseng has a valuable element known as ginsenosides which provides health benefits.

Adaptogens for short spurts of stress:

Siberian Ginseng: Is also known to increase T-Cells, which are known to kill cancer cells.

Adaptogens for overall well-being and optimal health:

Reishi: Is known to boost the immune system and increase the amount of white blood cells, which can combat infections and cancer.

Now, I know what you may be thinking, how am I going to include these adaptogens in my everyday routine?

Here are simple ways to incorporate adaptogens.

  1. Add it to your smoothie

  2. Mix it with your water

  3. Add it to your soup

  4. Drink it as a tea

  • Always make sure to read the label on product information on serving recommendations. Adaptogens come in different forms: powders, capsules, gummies, and drops. Find an adaptogen that molds into your schedule, preferences, and peace of mind.

Adaptogens are a puzzle piece to a larger picture. Solely consuming adaptogens will not magically change your life. Take into consideration the components of your overall health and well-being. This includes but is not limited to your sleep, what you eat, your environment, hydration, and mental health. There are so many other outlets to relieve stress that you may or may not be already incorporating in your life. As always, consult your doctor before starting a new supplement to learn if it is safe for your unique needs.

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