If you’re familiar with the health benefits of ashwagandha, you may have also heard that it can be taken as an effective remedy to boost your immune system, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve sleep patterns. But when exactly should you take ashwagandha in order to reap these benefits? Let’s look at the science behind this herbal supplement and find out when is the best time to take ashwagandha so that you can maximize its potential health benefits.
What is Ashwagandha
Also known as Indian Ginseng or Indian winter cherry, ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb native to India, the Middle East, and Africa. It’s an Ayurvedic herb that has been used for centuries to promote health and well-being.
Ashwagandha is specifically cherished for its antidepressant, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and thyroid modulating properties. It can also help increase strength and stamina and reduce the effects of aging.
Benefits of Ashwagandha
As stated above, Ashwagandha is an ancient Indian herb that has been used for centuries to promote health and well-being. Today, Ashwagandha is commonly used as a natural remedy for anxiety and stress. However, there are many other potential health benefits of Ashwagandha that are worth exploring. Here are some of the most promising benefits of this powerful herb:
1. It can regulate blood sugar levels
Ashwagandha promotes insulin secretion and increases insulin sensitivity in muscle cells, making it highly beneficial for diabetes and insulin resistance.
Insulin is a hormone that transports glucose from the blood into the cells, where it’s used for energy.
In diabetes or insulin resistance, the cells are not accepting insulin, leading to an accumulation of sugar in the blood. This may worsen diabetes and cause weight gain and other metabolic complications. However, with ashwagandha, the cells, though resistant, can be more receptive to insulin.
In one study, 30 days of supplementing with ashwagandha powder decreased blood glucose levels to the same degree as oral hypoglycemic medication would, but without any side effects.
Another study showed that taking Ashwagandha helped reduce fasting blood sugar levels by 13.5% and post-meal blood sugar levels by 11.6%. Another study showed that Ashwagandha increased insulin sensitivity by 53% and reduced hemoglobin A1c (a measure of long-term blood sugar levels) by 3.5%.
These studies suggest that Ashwagandha may be a helpful herb for people with diabetes or prediabetes. If you have diabetes and are interested in trying Ashwagandha, talk to your healthcare provider first.
2. It may lower cortisol levels
Cortisol is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands when one is stressed or has deficient glucose levels. Although some level of cortisol is needed in the body, too much of it may result in
- Decreased metabolism
- Decreased immune system
- Chronic fatigue
- Sleep deprivation
- Acid reflux disease
In one study, supplementing ashwagandha root extract reduced cortisol levels compared to the controlled group in adults with chronic stress.
The study also confirmed that ashwagandha root extract might reduce a person’s resistance to stress, thus preventing the associated complications.
3. It may help in the treatment of cancer
Different studies show that ashwagandha contains compounds that may be beneficial in the fight against particular cancers, including brain, lung, colon, breast, and ovarian cancers.
Although the mode of action is not well known, compounds in ashwagandha extract may inhibit cancer cell activities in these cancers,
In test-tube studies, it has been shown that a compound in ashwagandha induces programmed death of cancer cells (apoptosis) which inhibits cancer progression.
In a similar study, ashwagandha inhibited cancer spread to other organs and resulted in a 70-80% reduction in ovarian tumor growth after treatment with withaferin, a compound in ashwagandha.
It is also considered safe to use in addition to traditional cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. Furthermore, experts believe it may boost the low immunity associated with cancer and its treatments.
4. It may reduce stress and anxiety
Ashwagandha is well known for its ability to combat stress and relieve anxiety.
It’s an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body resist all types of stressors, including physical, chemical, or biological.
In one study, individuals with chronic stress supplementing with ashwagandha recorded a 69 percent reduction in symptoms, including anxiety and insomnia.
Another 8-week study showed that individuals who took 300 milligrams of ashwagandha daily experienced improved stress symptoms and fatigue. These individuals also had a humble time concentrating than those that were on therapies like talk therapy and psychotherapy.
Regular intake of ashwagandha may also help prevent stress from progressing into depression. Even so, research shows that you can cab your stress levels before they result in a full-blown depression. In the study, taking a high concentration of ashwagandha root extract resulted in a 79 percent reduction of depression symptoms, while the controlled group experienced a 10 percent increase.
5. It may boost fertility in men
In one study, infertile men experienced high testosterone levels and increased sperm count and motility after supplementation with ashwagandha.
A different study shows that ashwagandha can also be used in the treatment of stress-related male infertility. The study found that after only 3 months of treatment, participants had a better sperm quality and 14 percent of their partners conceived.
6. It may fight inflammation
Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb that has been used for centuries to treat a variety of health conditions. One of the main ways it does this is by fighting inflammation. Inflammation is a response by the body to protect itself from infection or injury. However, when it becomes chronic, it can lead to a variety of diseases, including heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Ashwagandha has been shown to fight inflammation at the root, helping to prevent these chronic diseases.
7. Ashwagandha may improve brain function
It has been used traditionally to boost memory and other cognitive abilities.
It provides antioxidant benefits, which have been shown to protect the nerves against oxidative damage.
In one study, consuming 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract twice daily improved information processing speed, attention, task performance, and memory in mild cognitive impairment.
In another controlled study, researchers suggested that ashwagandha extract could be effective in treating conditions associated with cognitive impairment due to its ability to improve cognitive and psychomotor performance.
8. It may improve thyroid functions
There are many supplements that can help improve thyroid functions, such as iodine and selenium. But there is one supplement in particular that people don’t often consider – ashwagandha.
There are many ways in which Ashwagandha may improve thyroid function, primarily in a sluggish thyroid for individuals with an underactive thyroid or Hashimoto’s disease. One way is by increasing the production of thyroid hormones. Ashwagandha has been shown to increase levels of thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) in the blood. This can help improve overall thyroid function.
In a 2017 pilot study involving 50 participants with subclinical hypothyroidism (they didn’t display obvious symptoms), daily consumption of 600 mg of ashwagandha for 8 weeks improved serum thyroxine (T4) and thyroid-stimulating hormone remarkably compared to the placebo group.
Ashwagandha may also improve thyroid function by reducing inflammation in the thyroid gland. Inflammation of the thyroid gland can lead to a condition called Hashimoto’s disease, which can cause a decrease in thyroid hormone production. By reducing inflammation, Ashwagandha may help to improve Hashimoto’s disease and other conditions that cause inflammation of the thyroid gland.
Lastly, Ashwagandha may improve thyroid function by helping to regulate the immune system. Autoimmune conditions, such as Hashimoto’s disease, can cause the immune system to attack the thyroid gland. By regulating the immune system, Ashwagandha may help reduce the severity of autoimmune conditions and improve overall thyroid function.
What is the Best Time to Take Ashwagandha?
When it comes to taking Ashwagandha for health benefits, timing is everything. While you can take this supplement at any time of day, it is best to take it in the morning or evening. But whether you choose one over the other, the best time to take it depends on your individual needs.
If you are looking for general health benefits, then taking Ashwagandha in the morning is a good option. This will help to improve energy levels and reduce stress throughout the day. If you are looking to improve sleep quality, then taking Ashwagandha in the evening is a better option. This will help to relax the body and mind and promote deep and restful sleep.
Also, it is important to note that Ashwagandha should never be taken on an empty stomach. To fully absorb the nutrients and receive their benefits, you will want to consume this supplement with food.
How to Take Ashwagandha
The most common way to take ashwagandha is through a tea or capsule form, but it can also be taken as an extract. Tinctures, powders, and liquid extracts are also available for those who do not prefer capsules.
If you want to maximize the health benefits of ashwagandha, it’s important to take it correctly. Here are some tips on how to take ashwagandha for optimal results:
-Take ashwagandha with food. This will help to reduce any stomach upset that may occur.
-Start with a low dose of ashwagandha and gradually increase as needed. This allows your body to adjust to the supplement and minimizes the risk of side effects.
-If possible, choose an organic, high-quality ashwagandha supplement. This will ensure that you’re getting a pure product without any fillers or additives.
Ashwagandha Tea: If you choose to use the traditional method of taking ashwagandha, you will need a high-quality tea bag or loose leaf tea to get all of the benefits.
Are There Any Adverse Effects?
Ashwagandha is generally considered very safe when taken within the therapeutic doses of between 1000-6000mg daily for root powder and 500mg-1500 mg for an extract.
However, there are some side effects that have been associated with using this product. One of the more common side effects of taking Ashwagandha involves nausea or vomiting. This can occur in individuals who take this product on an empty stomach or eat only a light meal before consuming it. If you experience these symptoms while taking Ashwagandha, stick with a full meal when moving forward instead to avoid any.
Another potential side effect of ashwagandha is an allergic reaction. This can manifest as a rash, hive, itching, or difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms after taking ashwagandha, it’s important to discontinue its use immediately and then re-introduce it in small doses. If you still experience the same, it’s best to discontinue its use altogether.
Ashwagandha is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
In case you have any underlying medical conditions, consult your doctor before taking ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha is an ancient herb with numerous health benefits. It has been shown to fight inflammation, boost fertility, promote brain function, improve thyroid function, regulate glucose levels, and relieve stress by reducing cortisol and building resistance against stress.
It can be taken in many different forms depending on preference, but it’s most commonly ingested as an extract powder in capsule form or drunk as a tea.
If you are looking to take it, you want to make sure that you know the best time to take Ashwagandha.
While the benefits of taking it in the morning and before bedtime are something that many people recommend, it all comes down to why you are taking it. Different needs will dictate whether to take it in the morning or evening.
And while it’s generally safe to consume, it’s contraindicated in pregnant and breastfeeding women. It may also cause mild gastrointestinal discomfort or allergic reactions if you are taking it for the first time or in sensitive individuals.
In case of any medical problems, seek professional advice before taking ashwagandha.
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