Adapto-what? Yep, adaptogens. Adaptogens certainly aren’t a new concept, but they’ve gained popularity in the last couple of years as people are turning to more natural and holistic remedies to support their bodies. This is a topic that comes up again and again on the blog and on the podcast so I thought I’d dedicate a whole post to Adaptogens 101 and exactly how to use them. Let’s jump in…
Adaptogens 101 – What Are They?
Adaptogens in essence are just plants and herbs that have beneficial properties for your adrenal system. Your adrenal system is what’s in charge of managing your body’s response to stress. They’re actually really accurately named as they help your body adapt to short term and long term stress. Sign me up, right?
Stress appears in our life in so many ways. Some are obvious – work can be stressful, family and friend relationships can be stressful- but there are so many hidden stressors that even I often forget about. Working out can be a stressor to our bodies, being sick is stressful to our immune system, anxiety is a stressor, constantly being tired is a stressor… Seeing a pattern here? Life is stressful and our overall well-being depends on how we handle stress in all forms in our lives.
I liked this explanation of how they actually work in our bodies thanks to the science-based research website, healthline: “When we face a stressor, whether physical or mental, our bodies go through what’s called general adaptation syndrome (GAS). GAS is a three-stage response: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion. Adaptogens help us stay in the resistance phase longer, via a stimulating effect that holds off the exhaustion. Instead of crashing in the midst of a stressful moment, task, or event, we attain equilibrium and can soldier on.”
In an ideal world, we could all avoid the alarm phase, but unless you live in a bubble, that is rarely an option. That’s why having a helping hand during the resistance phase can prevent moving onto exhaustion.
Adaptogens 101 – How To Use Them?
Adaptogens are sold in many different forms: from powders, to tinctures, to pills and each one has its own benefit. Everyone has their own preference for how to take adaptogens, but there’s no denying that pills are the easiest. Certain adaptogens don’t always have the best taste (I’m looking at you ashwagandha!) so oftentimes taking them in pill form is the most convenient option. Each adaptogen tackles a different stressor to help support your body and bring it back into balance. There are HUNDREDS, but here are a few examples:
– Ashwagandha – support for the adrenals and anxiety symptoms.
– Holy Basil – supports stress.
– Eleuthero – supports physical and mental endurance and vitality.
– Maca – traditionally used for energy and stamina.
– Rhodiola Rosea – increases energy, physical endurance and well-being.
– Schisandra Fruit – known worldwide as both a tonic and a food.
– Reishi Mushroom – supports immune function.
– Asian Ginseng – a traditional Chinese herb that helps increase vitality.
– Astragalus – support for immune function.
Adaptogens 101 – what to look for in your products
Many companies are jumping on the adaptogenic bandwagon as they increase in popularity, but it’s important to know the difference between quality products and those worth passing over.
As mentioned above, there are many different ways to take adaptogens, and it’s all about finding the products that work best for you in your life. If you’re new to them, I recommend starting with a pill form for ease and simplicity. Just be sure to read the other ingredients in the product! Plant-derived cellulose for the capsule is totally safe, but skip over anything that has artificial flavors or colors. Ideally reach for organic or non-GMO certified, when possible.
Nature’s Way is a great company that has been producing herbal supplements since 1969, so they know this world well. Their products are Tru-ID certified, which means they use DNA bio-technology to ensure the authenticity of their products. It’s a shame that there are so many supplement companies out there taking advantage of the system and not actually producing what they say they are producing, that a label like this needs to exist, but I feel much more comfortable knowing Nature’s Way products are Tru-ID certified and the real deal.
If you’re considering incorporating adaptogens into your lifestyle, I recommend talking to a healthcare practitioner who can help guide you to the correct herbs for your daily stressors. They can also direct you as to how much and how often you should be consuming them. It usually takes some time and consistency to notice their benefits, so be patient!
Plants are incredible and have such a positive impact on our health, but it can also be confusing as to how they work. I hope this post can be helpful to you and you that you can find some support for your adrenals and overall wellness with the use of adaptogens. Definitely stay tuned on the podcast as we’ll be exploring this topic in even more detail in future episodes!
Disclaimer: this post is sponsored by Nature’s Way. I was compensated for my time, however all opinions expressed are 100% my own. Please consult a doctor before making any changes to your health.
Have you heard of adaptogens? Which ones do you take?
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