This Indian herb can reduce stress, improve sleep, and help you burn more fat.

Ashwagandha: Lower Stress & Better Fat Loss?

Written by Russ Howe PTI, and most recently updated 1 day ago.

4 min read

Imagine a pill which could give you better sleep, less stress, and even help with fat loss.

Imagine no more!

That supplement is ashwagandha, or as my 12 year old calls it: “Ask Ya Granda!”. In this article, I’ll break down everything you need to know about this little green monster, and show you how to use it for maximum results.

Let’s get stuck in!


The Training Benefits Of Ashwagandha

Arnold Schwarzenegger lifting weights

Ashwagandha has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years for its anti-anxiety effect, and in recent years we’ve seen a load of studies which have confirmed it’s quite the “stress buster”.

In fact, every single study performed (except one) has shown significant improvements in this area, and production of the stress hormone cortisol is typically reduced by 14.5% – 27.9%. The only trial which did not show any improvements was featured trainees who did not suffer from anxiety issues. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

Alongside these stress-related benefits, it seems that ashwaghanda can also boost fat loss. A 2016 study from India showed that participants who supplemented with 300mg ashwagandha per day achieved 10% greater weight loss results than trainees who did not use it. Interestingly, this herb doesn’t actually have an direct fat burning effects of its own. Instead this improvement came as a result of its ability to improve the trainees’ mood and make it easier for them to sustain healthier eating habits. (10)

And then there’s the sleep thing.

A 2021 study published in the PLoS ONE Journal showed that using ashwagandha can enhance both total sleep time and overall quality of sleep. This will have a direct impact on muscle recovry, mood, and training performance. (11)

Finally, ashwagandha is sometimes touted as a tersosterone booster.

These claims are bullshit. We do have some research demonstrating that it can improve testosterone, but the difference is far too small to improve muscle growth. As a general rule, any supplement which claims to be a test booster simply doesn’t work. (12)



Ashwagandha: Russ’ Rating

Ashwagandha

This is an interesting herb.

While it does not possess any direct links to muscle building or fat loss, it’s easy to see how it could actually help with both (superior recovery, better mood, less stress).

However, it’s important to maintain perspective. This is not a miracle pill. If your lifestyle is like a dumpster fire then popping an ashwagandha pill won’t really help, but if you are already taking steps to improve your health and want to see if you can improve things even further, then ashwagandha could be a useful supplement. I recommend a daily dose of 600mg-1000mg to see maximum results, and you can get that very easily with a good ashwagandha supplement like this. (13)

Ashwagandha gets 3 out of 5 stars.

References:

  1. Chandrasekhar K., et al. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian J Psychol Med (2012).
  2. Abedon B., et al. A standardized Withania somnifera extract significantly reduces stress-related parameters in chronically stressed humans: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. (2008).
  3. Salve J., et al. Adaptogenic and Anxiolytic Effects of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Healthy Adults: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Clinical Study. Cureus (2019).
  4. Lopresti A. L., et al. An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Medicine (Baltimore) (2019).
  5. Pratte M. A., et al. An alternative treatment for anxiety: a systematic review of human trial results reported for the Ayurvedic herb ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). J Altern Complement Med (2014).
  6. Fuladi S., et al. Assessment of the Efficacy of Withania somnifera Root Extract in Patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Randomized Double-blind Placebo- Controlled Trial. Curr Rev Clin Exp Pharmacol (2021).
  7. Gopukumar K., et al. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha Root Extract on Cognitive Functions in Healthy, Stressed Adults: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med (2021).
  8. Choudhary M. I., et al. Cholinesterase inhibiting withanolides from Withania somnifera. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) (2004).
  9. Chengappa K. N. R., et al. Randomized placebo-controlled adjunctive study of an extract of withania somnifera for cognitive dysfunction in bipolar disorder. J Clin Psychiatry (2013).
  10. Choudhary D., et al. Body Weight Management in Adults Under Chronic Stress Through Treatment With Ashwagandha Root Extract: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med (2017).
  11. Cheah K. L., et al. Effect of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract on sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLos ONE (2021).
  12. Ahmad,M. K., et al. Withania somnifera improves semen quality by regulating reproductive hormone levels and oxidative stress in seminal plasma of infertile males. Fertil Steril (2010).
  13. Bonilla D. A., et al. Effects of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) on Physical Performance: Systematic Review and Bayesian Meta-Analysis. J Funct Morphol Kinesiol (2021).


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I’m Russ. I’ve been a personal trainer since 2002, and I own russhowepti.com.

My job is to simplify fitness for my readers.

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