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Adaptogens: What are they – and are they safe to supplement with?

 

So, you’ve heard of ADAPTOGENS (you don’t live under a rock!), but you have no clue how to start using them.Some say pills are the easiest way to incorporate adaptogens into your daily routine, but if that’s not your thing or like many you have enough supplements in the cabinet, we’ve got a crazy easy adaptogen-lovin’ solution for you and a rocking recipe below!

DID YOU KNOW that your body is constantly under stress – even when you don’t feel stressed?! The body actually encounters different forms of stress every day and is always working to restore balance. That’s because stress prompts the release of stress hormones, like Cortisol. When you’re chronically stressed with high Cortisol levels, your health can take a serious toll!

You may hear the word ‘STRESS’ and immediately think of the mental and emotional aspects along the lines of feeling overwhelmed, overly busy, and/or anxious.

Here are some examples of common, daily stressors:

  • EXERCISE – yep, it’s good for you, but it’s a form of stress the body has to deal with!
  • LACK OF SLEEP – a big one, or rather lack of restorative sleep.
  • VIRUSES/COLDS – often very hardd to avoid
  • TOXINS – like exposure to environmental pollutants, heavy metals, anda big one –  chemicals in personal care and cleaning products
  • ANXIETY – which can be caused by stress or exacerbates existing stress

Decreasing stress is critical for good health. Too much stress can cause weight gain, poor digestion, increased inflammation, accelerated cellular aging, hormonal imbalances, including adrenal dysfunction – your adrenals are responsible for your body’s response to stress. Have you experienced this cyle?

GOOD NEWS! There are plenty of ways to reduce the impact of stress in your life, including:

  • Getting restorative sleep – it can be a science of sorts – more on that another time.
  • Keep up with a regular exercise routine – figure out what is best for you and makes you happy and as you have heard – just do it!
  • Eating a healthy, balanced nutrition profile of whole foods ( you may have heard me say this often !)
  • Practicing tried ‘n true stress relief techniques  – deep breathing; quiet time, maybe it’s meditation of some sort for you.

But if you’re looking for something to naturally supplement  with, in a way that can minimize the impact that daily stressors have on your body, you might want to consider adding an ADAPTOGEN (or a few) to your feel better plan.

What are Adaptogens?

Adaptogens – or Adaptogenic Herbs – are plant-based supplements (oten in pill or powder or tea form) that do just what they sound like: they can help your body adapt to the stressors of your personal environment.

 Adaptogens have a long history of use in ancient medical practices, like TCM – Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic practices. Current research has found that Adaptogens boost mental function, attention span, and energy during times of stress and reduce the overall production of inflammatory stress hormones, like Cortisol.

My Fav 5 common adaptogens:

  • CORDYCEPS – known to boost and maintain energy levels by activating energy production in the cells
  • GINSENG – may decrease fatigue, calming effect
  • MACA – supports a boost of energy levels, has been shown to balance hormones
  • RHODIOLA ROSEA – boosts energy and immune system function
  • CHAMOMILE – may lower stress and boost the immune system, may alleviate gastrointestinal issues

How do Adaptogens work?

The molecular pathways involved in the body’s stress response are pretty complicated!

The 3 glands responsible for regulating stress hormones (the HPA axis)

  • Hypothalamus
  • Pituitary
  • Adrenals

HPA axis is an abbreviation for a subsystem in your body called the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. It describes a complex set of interactions between two parts of the brain—the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands—and the adrenal (or suprarenal) glands that are located at the top of each kidney. Learn more here:  https://www.integrativepro.com/Resources/Integrative-Blog/2016/The-HPA-Axis

Research has found Adaptogens help support these glands in achieving equilibrium or homeostasis – a fancy way of saying that they help stress hormones get back into balance! Unlike caffeine, alcohol, and other drugs, Adaptogens can gently help reduce stress hormones, decrease anxiety levels, and prevent fatigue without any crazy spikes or crashes in energy.

How do you take Adaptogens – and are they safe?

Adaptogens are available in pill or powdered form, or tea form –. See a great recipe below or contact mr about trying Jasmine Tao.  You can read about it here – Tibena. The best part about these herbal supplements is that it’s not necessary to take an Adaptogen every day and choosing just one to add to your routine can still provide health benefits. However; with most adaptogens, they are blended and usually contain more than one.  AND it’s often lest expensive to by a supplement, rather than individully.  I like to use my tea daily…actually all 3 😊

Always follow the dosing instructions on the product label or consult with your Natural Health Practitioner for specific Adaptogen recommendations to support your unique health journey.

t’s important to note, though, that while most adaptogens are generally safe for nearly everyone, please supplement with awareness! https://time.com/5025278/adaptogens-herbs-stress-anxiety/

 

 

RECIPE

Maca Mocha Smoothie

Ingredients

¾ cup almond or other dairy-free milk

¼ cup brewed coffee, cooled

1 banana, frozen in chunks

1 tsp maca powder (can work up to 2 tsp per day)

1 tsp – 1 Tb cacao powder, raw & unprocessed (non-Dutch)

Optional: 2 tsp raw cacao nibs

 

Preparation

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender.

Blend until frothy and desired consistency.

Add in cacao nibs for last 10 seconds of blending for added texture. Crunch with benefits!

 

 

REFERENCES

Healthline: Adaptogenic Herbs: List, Effectiveness, and Health Benefits 

Healthline: Smart Girl’s Guide to Adaptogens for Hormonal Balance and Stress

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2017: Understanding adaptogenic activity: specificity of the pharmacological action of adaptogens and other phytochemicals

Pharmaceuticals, 2010: Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity

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