Understanding Adaptogens: The Best Supplements for Stress and Anxiety

May 03, 2024

In today's world, stress and anxiety have become common companions for many of us. The constant demands of work, family, and social obligations can leave us feeling overwhelmed and fatigued. While there are many ways to manage stress, one intriguing approach involves the use of adaptogens—natural substances that help the body adapt to stress and help restore balance. But understanding how they work is imperative before adopting into your routine so that you can be your best self. 

What Are Adaptogens?

Adaptogens are a class of natural substances, primarily derived from plants, that are believed to help the body adapt to stress, both physical and mental. The concept of adaptogens originated in traditional medicine systems, such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, where these substances were used to promote vitality, resilience, and overall health. Adaptogens are known for their ability to support the body's ability to maintain homeostasis, which is crucial in times of stress.

How Do Adaptogens Work?

Adaptogens work by supporting the body's stress response systems. When we're stressed, the body goes through a series of physiological changes—often referred to as the "fight or flight" response—that prepare us to handle the stressor. While this response is beneficial in short bursts, chronic stress can lead to negative and serious effects on health, such as fatigue, anxiety, and weakened immune function. Adaptogens help modulate the stress response, reducing its intensity and promoting a state of equilibrium.

The Best Adaptogenic Supplements for Stress and Anxiety

  1. Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera, is one of the most well-known adaptogens. It has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine to reduce stress and anxiety, improve energy levels, and promote relaxation. Research suggests that ashwagandha may lower cortisol levels (a key stress hormone), reduce symptoms of anxiety, and improve sleep quality. It's commonly available in capsule or powder form.

  2. Rhodiola Rosea is a flowering plant native to cold regions and has a long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It's often used to boost energy, reduce fatigue, and improve mental clarity. Rhodiola's adaptogenic properties can help the body manage stress by reducing cortisol levels and promoting a sense of calm. It's also known to support physical performance, making it a popular choice for athletes.

  3. Holy Basil is another adaptogen commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine. It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and it’s known for its ability to reduce stress and promote mental clarity. Holy basil may also support respiratory health and boost immunity, making it an excellent addition to your stress-management toolkit. It’s available in tea, capsule, or extract form.

  4. Eleuthero (Siberian Ginseng) often referred to as Siberian ginseng, is an adaptogenic herb used to increase energy, reduce stress, and enhance overall vitality. It's believed to help the body cope with physical and mental stressors by supporting the adrenal glands, which play a key role in the stress response. Eleuthero can also improve endurance and physical performance, making it a popular supplement among athletes.

Incorporating Adaptogens into Your Routine

Adaptogens can be taken in various forms, including capsules, powders, teas, and tinctures. When you incoporate these, make sure it fits your lifestyle. This might start with a morning tea containing holy basil, take an ashwagandha supplement in the afternoon, or add a scoop of adaptogenic powder to your post-workout protein smoothie.

It's essential to choose high-quality adaptogenic supplements from reputable sources, and consult with a healthcare professional before adding new supplements to your routine, especially if you're taking medications or have underlying health conditions.

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.