Ashwagandha is a plant in the Solanaceae family and belongs to the same class of plants as nightshade. People with nightshade sensitivity should avoid ashwagandha products. People with hyperthyroid conditions should avoid taking ashwagandha, and pregnant or lactating women should avoid it. Some of the side effects of ashwagandha are related to negative interactions with other medicines.
Improves swimming performance
Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera, is an herb that has numerous benefits for athletes. It increases athletic endurance and muscle strength and has anti-stress properties. One study showed that ashwagandha increased stamina in rats during an endurance swim test, and also prevented changes to the adrenal glands caused by stress. Furthermore, it showed protection against stress-induced gastric ulcers in mice.
Ashwagandha has been studied extensively, and in many studies, it has shown to be an effective adaptogen. The name is derived from the Ayurvedic word, ashwagandha, which means “strength of the horse.” The herb is loaded with many antioxidants, nutrients, and phytochemicals. The herb contains steroidal lactones (withanolides), which are believed to be responsible for most of the benefits of Ashwagandha.
In addition to improving athletic performance, Ashwagandha increases cognitive function. A two-month study of healthy men on 500mg of Ashwagandha daily showed improvement in their reaction times and task performance. Ashwagandha root extract also stimulates the production of immunoglobulin, which strengthens the immune system. Taking Ashwagandha also improves your body’s mood. It also reduces the production of cortisol, which is a common stress hormone and contributes to high blood sugar, increased abdominal fat storage, and several other undesirable health effects.
Improves cognitive function
In a placebo-controlled double-blind study, participants with MCI reported improved executive function, sustained attention, and information-processing speed. Participants in both the placebo and ashwagandha groups were given the same dose of ashwagandha extract twice daily. Cognitive tests were performed to measure memory, attention, executive function, and speed of information processing. Participants also reported improved recollection of new rules and faces.
In an experiment in dht blocking foods 20 healthy male adults were given 250 mg of ashwagandha extract twice a day, researchers found significant improvements in several measures of cognitive function. The subjects showed an increase in reaction time, discrimination, perseverance, and present reaction time when taking the supplement, but not in the same way as when they were given placa ebo. These findings suggest that the herb may also promote healthy brain function, as evidenced by its ability to protect the brain from injury and toxins.
According to a study published by Texas A&M University, ashwagandha extract has a calming effect on the brain. The compound gamma-aminobutyric acid in ashwagandha is known to reduce stress and anxiety, thereby enhancing cognitive function. It also supports the healthy levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter critical for communication among brain cells.
Improves sperm quality
The ancient Indian healing system Ayurveda has long praised the medicinal herb Ashwagandha for improving sperm health and quality. This adaptogen has been used for over 3,000 years to balance the body and combat stress. Ashwagandha is also known as winter cherry and Indian ginseng. The benefits of ashwagandha for sperm quality and production have been well documented.
Research has shown that micronutrients in the diet are associated with improved sperm DNA in older men. One such study was published in Fertil Steril on Aug. 23, 2012, by Abad C et al. In this study, he found that Ashwagandha helped improve the quality of sperm in older men with low sperm count. Other nutrients associated with sperm quality include folic acid and carnitine.
Studies have shown that Ashwagandha increases testosterone levels and decreases cortisol levels. Testosterone controls the functional competence of accessory sex organs. A healthy body produces sufficient seminal fluid for the survival and motility of spermatozoa. Higher levels of testosterone may contribute to increased sperm motility and concentration. For these reasons, Ashwagandha is a beneficial herb for improving sperm quality naturally.
The researchers tested the effects of ashwagandha on three types of memory. The participants’ immediate memory was assessed with short-term memory tests, as was their general memory, which measured delayed recall of word lists, family pictures, and geometric designs. Their tests of executive function, attention, and speed of information processing were also performed. The researchers concluded that ashwagandha improved memory. These results are compelling evidence that ashwagandha can improve the functioning of your memory.
Ashwagandha’s active components are thought to cross the blood-brain barrier and alter brain chemistry. These compounds were given to mice in doses equivalent to those given to healthy adults. The researchers measured their brain activity to find out how it affected the mice. Ashwagandha contains a compound called withanolides which supports the natural neural protective properties of the brain. Ashwagandha may also protect against various forms of dementia.