Here’s Why You Need to Add Ashwagandha in your Routine
Ashwagandha is a herb that has been used for ages in Ayurveda, India's traditional medical system. It belongs to the adaptogen family of herbs, which are known for their health advantages when consumed as teas, powders, solutions, supplements, or in their natural state. The roots and berries of this herb, also known as Indian ginseng, winter cherry, or by its scientific name Withania Somnifera, are recognized for their therapeutic benefits. The roots of Ashwagandha have traditionally been used to treat arthritis, constipation, insomnia, skin disorders, stress, gastrointestinal problems, diabetes, psychological breakdowns, fevers, snake bites, memory loss, and a variety of other ailments.
While research on Ashwagandha continues to evolve, below are a few science-backed benefits of Ashwagandha. In addition to specific benefits for men, women and children, the medicinal herb helps with skin and hair problems too.
Ashwagandha Benefits for Men
One of the most important benefits of Ashwagandha for men is its capacity to boost and control testosterone production in the body. Ashwagandha has traditionally been used to treat such male problems. Men's health depends on maintaining adequate testosterone levels. It may even aid with andropause, sometimes known as the "middle-age crisis." Ashwagandha is known to boost and maintain healthy male fertility levels in men with poor sperm count.
Ashwagandha Benefits for Women
Stress has a profound impact on the delicate reproductive hormones that affect fertility, libido, and menstrual health. As Ashwagandha's involvement in stress reduction is inextricably linked to its ability to strengthen the immune system, it improves the endocrine system communication by strengthening the adrenal glands, lowering cortisol, and increasing blood production. Increased blood flow and hormone regulation have a good influence on libido and menstrual health, and can also help with fertility. Hormonal imbalances occurring during menopause, can result in hot flashes, anxiety, melancholy, and sleeping problems. Ashwagandha has proven to be the most effective treatment for these problems. It affects the endocrine system, which helps to alleviate unpleasant symptoms.
Benefits of Ashwagandha in Children
It should come as no surprise that Ashwagandha has numerous health benefits for children and teenagers. One of the most common uses for children and adults alike is to improve their immune systems. According to studies, it accomplishes this by raising the body's numbers of white blood cells and platelets. It also aids in the production of antibodies, which improves the body's response to a health threat.
Benefits of Ashwagandha for Hair and Skin
Ashwagandha has high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that aid in the health of the scalp. Flavonoids are abundant in Ashwagandha powder, which also contains fatty acids, glucose, potassium, tannins, and nitrate. Tyrosine, an amino acid found in the herb, increases melanin formation and prevents melanin loss in the hair. It's also been said to help prevent postpartum hair loss.
Ashwagandha is a superfood that promotes healthy nails and beautiful skin. It includes alkaloids that operate on the nervous system to relieve worry and tension, which has a direct impact on the health of skin and hair. It also has high quantities of antioxidants that combat symptoms of ageing such as wrinkles, dark spots, fine lines, and blemishes.
Here is how it works on your skin –
- Moisturizes – Ashwagandha calms and protects dry, irritated skin.
- Cleanses – Withanolides are chemicals that help cleanse dirt and pollutants, which can help avoid clogged pores and acne.
- Heals – Cuts, bruising, and skin infections can be treated with a fluid Ashwagandha mixture administered as a lotion.
- Slows Down Ageing - DHEA, a precursor to both testosterone and estrogen, is increased by Ashwagandha. It stimulates the creation of essential proteins that keep the skin hydrated. DHEA and estrogen stimulate collagen production and increase natural skin oils, which helps to keep the skin looking young. It also decreases cortisol levels and protects the skin from stress-related ageing.
General Benefits of Ashwagandha
Stress and Anxiety Reliever – Stress-relieving qualities of Ashwagandha are likely its most well-known feature. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, which means it aids the body's ability to adapt to stress. It can improve brain function and alleviate anxiety and depression symptoms. Cortisol is regarded as a stress hormone because it is released by your adrenal glands in reaction to stress and when your blood sugar levels go too low. Ashwagandha has been found in studies to help lower cortisol levels.
Reduces Blood Sugar Levels – Ashwagandha was proven to be effective in lowering blood glucose levels and triglycerides (the most prevalent type of fat in the blood) in a few minor clinical investigations. The blood sugar-lowering benefits of Ashwagandha have been compared to those of type 2 diabetes medicines in one research.
Increases Stamina – The effectiveness of Ashwagandha in increasing strength and muscular size is still being researched. It's natural to feel exhausted and tired in our fast-paced modern life. A sedentary lifestyle and poor diet can sap your energy and leave you fatigued. If you're having problems coping with daily duties or lack stamina, Ashwagandha should be your first line of defense. Ashwagandha helps the body conserve and preserve important energy during the day, allowing for a restful and serene night's sleep. It also improves your ability to exercise and work in general.
Reducing Inflammation – Inflammation is the body's natural reaction to things like infection, poisons, and trauma. To restore equilibrium, the body will release an anti-inflammatory response under normal circumstances. However, in cases of chronic pain, the body is unable to control the inflammatory response. The end outcome is chronic discomfort and imbalance. One such herb that has been shown to be useful in lowering inflammation is Ashwagandha.
Sharpens Concentration – Ashwagandha may aid in the improvement of cognition, memory, and the capacity to execute motor actions after being instructed.
Improves Heart Health – Ashwagandha has been demonstrated in a few studies to boost VO2 max, which is the greatest quantity of oxygen you can take in while physically exerting yourself. Greater VO2 max levels can indicate a healthy heart that is capable of performing effectively in certain conditions. Ashwagandha has a number of heart-health benefits, including the treatment of excessive cholesterol, high blood pressure, chest pain, and a variety of other cardiac conditions.
Having cited the benefits, it is still advisable to consult your physician before consuming ashwagandha, in case of underlying medical conditions, and especially pregnant women.
Covid-19 and the Role of Vitamin Supplements
PLEASE NOTE: It is critical to remember that no supplement, diet, or other lifestyle change can protect you against COVID-19. Physical separation, also known as social distancing, and appropriate hygiene practices are the only ways to protect yourself.
With the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, the focus has moved to strategies that improve the immune system strength.
To brace ourselves and strengthen our immunity, after identifying what deficiency our body lacks, supplements make for a great boost and companion to prevent infections.
The Immune System
Your immune system is a complex system of cells, processes, and substances that protects your body from invading pathogens such as viruses, poisons, and bacteria.
It's critical to keep your immune system healthy all year to avoid infection and sickness.
A well-balanced diet rich in Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K, as well as micronutrients like salt, zinc, potassium, chloride, calcium, and phosphorus, can assist to maintain overall health and improve the immune system, reducing infection risk.
A lack of vitamins and minerals in the plasma causes the immune system to work poorly, resulting in a weakened immune system. (1) The potential therapeutic role of Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K, as well as minerals such as immunity boosters in COVID-19 patients, is however still being investigated.
The most essential ways to strengthen your immune system are to make healthy lifestyle choices such as eating nutritious foods and getting adequate sleep and exercise.
Supplementing with specific vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other substances has also been found to enhance immune response and possibly protect against illness, according to research.
Covid 19 and Supplements
Despite the fact that COVID-19 is a novel disorder, scientific research has looked into whether supplements could help.
Calcium, Zinc, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D are essential vitamins that can help strengthen the immune system.
- Calcium is known to kill viruses in cells, and data reveal that COVID-19 patients with severe disease have lower calcium levels than those with less severe disease.
- Vitamin C is an antioxidant that has long been touted as an important component of a healthy immune system.
- Zinc may have antiviral properties, either through boosting immune cell function to combat viral infections or by inhibiting virus replication.
- Vitamin D is also known to boost the immune system and ease inflammation.
A few studies suggest that combining vitamin C and zinc may limit the duration and severity of cold symptoms.
Vitamin D and Covid-19
According to a recent study, people hospitalized with COVID-19 who had adequate Vitamin D levels had a lower chance of negative outcomes and death.
Low Vitamin D levels have been linked to an increased risk of TB, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), as well as viral and bacterial respiratory infections.
Furthermore, Vitamin D insufficiency has been related to a reduction in lung function, which may impact your body's capacity to fight infections.
Vitamin D deficiency may enhance the “cytokine storm” as well as lead to a higher risk of pneumonia and viral upper respiratory tract infections. A cytokine storm refers to the uncontrolled release of pro-inflammatory cytokines that takes place in response to infection or other factors. This dysregulated and excessive release of cytokines leads to severe tissue damage and enhances disease progression and severity. In fact, it’s a major cause of multiple organ failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), as well as an important factor in the progression and severity of COVID-19. For example, patients with severe cases of COVID-19 have been shown to release large numbers of cytokines.
Thrombotic events are common in COVID-19, and vitamin D insufficiency is linked to an increase in them. Vitamin D insufficiency has been observed to be more common in obese and diabetic patients.
Vitamin D supplements were shown to be most helpful at protecting against acute respiratory infections (ARI) when taken in small doses daily or weekly, and less effective when taken in larger, more widely spaced doses. Vitamin D is a known natural immunoregulator that has been demonstrated to enhance antimicrobial activity against several pathogens including respiratory viruses.
The elderly particularly, are often deficient in Vitamin D and are at the highest risk of having major COVID-19-related problems. Their lifestyles don’t permit them to move out of their homes too often, and more so during the recent lockdowns during the Covid-19 outbreaks.
Supplementing with vitamin D has also been demonstrated to lower mortality in older persons, who are more susceptible to respiratory disorders like COVID-19.
Also, to be noted is that the Covid-19 outbreak occurred in winter when 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations are at their lowest. Further, the number of cases in the Southern Hemisphere near the end of summer are low; vitamin D deficiency has been linked to acute respiratory distress syndrome; and that case-fatality rates increase with age and with chronic disease comorbidity, both of which are associated with lower 25(OH)D concentration, especially among the elderly
Precautions when taken in excess
But there are significant hazards to consider too. These include side effects, allergic reactions, interactions with other drugs, the cost of unnecessary supplements, and the dangers of taking too much. For example:
- Vitamin C in high quantities can cause diarrhea and stomach distress. High-dose vitamin C supplementation has also been linked to possible interactions with blood thinners and cholesterol-lowering medicines.
- High amounts of vitamin D can produce serious side effects such as stomach distress, kidney damage, and pancreatitis, and can even be fatal.
Who Should Take Supplements?
Supplements should be taken by people who are nutritionally deficient.
Deficits in zinc or Vitamin D are common, and can contribute to the impaired immunological function.
As a result, even if there is no direct evidence that supplement administration leads to improvement in patients with COVID-19 insufficiency, these supplements may be beneficial for people who have a suspected or proven deficit.
If you do take supplements, unless your doctor suggests otherwise, it's best to stick to the daily suggested dosages your body requires.