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Do Ashwagandha Supplements Work?

Ashwagandha supplements show promise in reducing stress, improving cognitive function, enhancing physical performance, and improving sleep quality. However, more research is needed to confirm these benefits.

Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera, is a well-known herb in Ayurvedic medicine. It has gained popularity in the Western world for its potential health benefits. This blog post explores the efficacy of ashwagandha supplements based on current scientific evidence.

Stress and Anxiety Relief

Ashwagandha is known for its ability to reduce stress and anxiety. Several studies support this claim. A systematic review of human trials reported significant reductions in stress and anxiety levels among participants who took ashwagandha supplements (Pratte et al., 2014). Another study involving 60 adults found that those who took 240 mg of ashwagandha extract daily for 60 days experienced significant reductions in anxiety compared to the placebo group (Lopresti et al., 2019).

A meta-analysis of seven studies concluded that ashwagandha supplementation helped lower stress levels. One study within this review showed that adults who took 300 mg of ashwagandha daily for eight weeks had lower levels of anxiety and fatigue and improved concentration compared to those who underwent psychotherapy for the same duration (WebMD).

Cognitive Function

Ashwagandha has potential cognitive benefits. A recent trial involving 50 adults with mild cognitive impairment showed significant improvements in memory, executive function, attention, and processing speed over an eight-week period (NCBI). Another study with 61 adults over 60 days demonstrated significant reductions in perceived stress, general health questionnaire scores, depression anxiety stress scale scores, and cortisol levels in the ashwagandha group compared to the placebo group (NCBI).

A study evaluating a sustained-release formulation of ashwagandha root extract found that consumption of these capsules for 90 days resulted in improved memory, focus, psychological well-being, and sleep quality, along with reduced stress levels (NCBI). This study’s strength lies in its adequate sample size and the use of a sustained-release formulation.

Physical Performance

Ashwagandha shows promise in enhancing physical performance. A meta-analysis of 12 studies found that ashwagandha supplements were more effective than placebos in improving physical performance for healthy individuals (WebMD). One study found that taking ashwagandha daily can help reduce fatigue and improve recovery after exercise. Another study involving healthy young adults who took 500 mg of ashwagandha daily for eight weeks reported increased speed and strength during exercise compared to those who took a placebo (WebMD).

A study conducted solely with male participants found that those who received ashwagandha saw significant gains in muscle strength and size, as well as a reduction in body fat percentage and post-workout muscle damage compared to the placebo group (Forbes).

Sleep Quality

Ashwagandha has potential to improve sleep quality. A meta-analysis of five studies found that the herb had a little but significant impact on improving sleep, especially in people with insomnia. The benefits were greatest when participants took at least 600 mg of ashwagandha daily for eight weeks or longer (WebMD). Another study showed that taking 300 mg of ashwagandha twice a day improved sleep quality (Healthline).

Safety and Side Effects

Ashwagandha is generally considered safe and nontoxic. However, potential interactions with other medications should be considered. Ashwagandha may enhance or delicateen the effects of other medications, so consulting with a healthcare provider before adding it to your regimen is advisable (Forbes). Common side effects may include constipation, nasal congestion, cough, drowsiness, and loss of appetite (Forbes).

Key Takeaways

  • Ashwagandha reduces stress and anxiety.
  • It improves cognitive function.
  • Enhances physical performance.
  • Improves sleep quality.
  • Generally safe but consult a healthcare provider.

Summary

Ashwagandha supplements appear effective in reducing stress and anxiety, improving cognitive function, enhancing physical performance, and improving sleep quality. However, many studies have little sample sizes. Further research with larger sample sizes and longer durations is needed to substantiate these findings and determine optimal doses and durations of use.

In conclusion, while ashwagandha shows promise as a therapeutic agent for various health benefits, ongoing research is necessary to confirm its potential uses and ensure its safety, particularly when used in combination with other medications or supplements.

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