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How Long Does It Take Ashwagandha To Work?

Elevate your stress management with Healthycell's Calm Mood and experience the calming effects by improving your body's own response to stress!
How Long Does It Take Ashwagandha To Work?

Ashwagandha, also known as Withania somnifera, is a powerful herb deeply rooted in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, dating back thousands of years. Often referred to as the "Indian ginseng" or "winter cherry," ashwagandha has gained global popularity for its potential health benefits and adaptogenic properties. Adaptogens are herbs that naturally help the body respond to stress, normalize the physiological processes of the body, and help the body adapt to changes over time through their calming effects (1).

 

In this article, we will delve into the origins, traditional uses, and modern scientific research. We'll also address the  mechanism of action, length of time it takes to work, optimal dosage, timing, and  the ways in which taking a high-quality supplement containing ashwagandha can support a healthy lifestyle.

 

Origin, Traditional Uses, and Modern Scientific Research 

Ashwagandha's use can be traced back over 3,000 years to ancient Indian texts, where it was revered for its rejuvenating properties. In Sanskrit, "ashwagandha" translates to "smell of the horse," which refers to the fresh roots of the herb which emit a smell much like that of a horse, and the belief that a person consuming extracts of this herb may develop the strength and vitality of a horse (2).

 

Ashwagandha has been traditionally used for a variety of purposes including to help improve sleep,  alleviate stress and anxiety,  improve cognitive function, as well as to boost energy and endurance. Recent scientific studies have explored the potential health benefits of ashwagandha, providing insights into its mechanisms of action. Some key findings include:

  • Stress Reduction: Numerous studies suggest that ashwagandha may help reduce cortisol levels, the hormone associated with stress. This contributes to its adaptogenic effects, helping the body adapt to stress and promoting a sense of calm over time (3).
  • Anxiolytic Effects: Research indicates that ashwagandha may have anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects, making it a potential natural remedy for anxiety disorders. (4).
  • Improved Sleep Quality: Ashwagandha's mild sedative effects may contribute to improved sleep patterns, making it a potential aid for individuals with insomnia or sleep disturbances. (5).
  • Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Ashwagandha contains compounds with anti-inflammatory properties, which may be beneficial for conditions characterized by inflammation. (6, 7)
  • Immune-stimulating Properties: Ashwagandha has been shown to stimulate the production of immune cells, circulating antibodies and antibody-producing cells. (6)
  • Enhanced Cognitive Function: Some studies suggest that ashwagandha may support cognitive function by protecting the brain from oxidative stress and inflammation. (8)

Branded Options

There are several forms of ashwagandha. Sensoril® and KSM-66® are both branded extracts of ashwagandha, each standardized to specific active compounds and marketed for their purported health benefits. Most reputable brands, such as Healthycell, use Sensoril® or KSM-66®. If you check out Healthycell's Calm Mood supplement, you'll see that this supplement contains 125 mg of Sensoril® ashwagandha. 

 

Sensoril® is derived from both the roots and leaves of the ashwagandha plant. Benefits include:

  • A high glycowithanolide content, known for its analgesic, mild sedative, antistress, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiapoptotic, anxiolytic, and immunomodulatory effects. 
  • GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid), a neurotransmitter that helps regulate brain activity to reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress, decreases with chronic stress, which in turn perpetuates the stress response cycle. Quality ashwagandha supplements containing the withanolide glycoside components have been shown to act as GABA anti-stress agonists, promoting relaxation, a sense of calm, improving sleep quality, total sleep time, and sleep onset latency (time taken to fall asleep) (5). 

KSM-66® is made exclusively from the root of the ashwagandha plant. Benefits include:

  • Potential for reducing stress, anxiety, but more specifically supports benefits relating to enhanced energy levels, physical performance, and cognitive function. 
  • KSM-66® benefits include improved memory, more energy during the day, and enhanced muscular recovery (9).

 

When choosing between Sensoril® and KSM-66®, personal preferences, health goals, and individual responses should be taken into consideration. 

 

Mechanism of Action

How long it takes ashwagandha to work and its effects on your body can vary depending on an individual's health, the specific benefits they are seeking, and dosage. Since ashwagandha is an adaptogen, benefits can be both immediate and cumulative. Look for short- and long-term benefits as follows: 

 

Short-term benefits:

  • Improved Sleep: For those using ashwagandha to support better sleep, effects may be noticeable within the first thirty days (10,11,12).
  • Stress and Anxiety Reduction: Some people report feeling a reduction in stress and anxiety relatively quickly, within a few days to a couple of weeks after starting Ashwagandha supplementation. However, individual responses can vary (13).

 

Long-term benefits: 

  • Cognitive Function: If using ashwagandha to support cognitive function, improvements may be gradual and become more noticeable over an extended period such as 4 to 8 weeks (14).
  • Adaptogenic Benefits: As an adaptogen, the full adaptogenic effects of Ashwagandha may take longer to manifest. Adaptogens are substances that help the body adapt to stress over time. Long-term use, over several months, may be needed to experience the full adaptogenic benefits (15).

 

Determining whether ashwagandha is working may involve assessing changes in various aspects of your physical and mental well-being. For example, you may want to start each morning journaling both your physical and mental state, changes in sleep quality, and quantity to help you notice any changes or progress throughout the duration of your supplementation. 

 

Optimal Dosage 

Dosage can also influence how long ashwagandha takes to work. Some people may respond to lower doses, while others may require higher doses to experience the desired benefits. Individual responses to ashwagandha can vary significantly depending on one's overall health, genetics, and lifestyle. Since the effects of ashwagandha are cumulative, consistent use is key. Keep in mind that it may require patience to give the herb sufficient time to exert its effects before increasing the dosage. 

 

It is advisable to start with the recommended dosage on the product label and, if needed, adjust the dosage under the guidance of a healthcare professional. In general, here are some guidelines for ashwagandha dosage:

  • Powdered Ashwagandha: A common starting dose is around 300 to 500 milligrams per day. It can be mixed with water, milk, or a smoothie.
  • Capsules or Tablets: Dosages typically range from 300 to 600 milligrams per capsule.
  • Ashwagandha Extracts: Standardized extracts, such as Sensoril® or KSM-66®, may have different recommended dosages depending on the product and its specific studies, but common dosages can range from 125 to 600 milligrams per day, respectively. The absorbability of the supplement will also help determine the dosage. For example, Healthycell's Calm Mood supplement is 100% bioavailable while tablets are 25-30% bioavailable. Therefore, the Microgel supplements contain lower dosages. 

 

Timing

Some people may find that taking ashwagandha in the morning or evening works better for them based on their individual preferences, daily routines, and goals. If you are taking ashwagandha to manage stress and anxiety, or to enhance cognitive function and clarity, it is recommended to take it in the morning. Individuals using ashwagandha for its potential benefits in athletic performance may consider taking it before workouts. For those using ashwagandha to promote better sleep, it is typically suggested to take it in the evening, at least one hour before bedtime. No matter when you decide to take ashwagandha, most studies recommend taking with water and a meal containing dietary fat to enhance absorption and avoid gastrointestinal issues.

 

Ashwagandha, Additional Supplementation and Lifestyle

Combining ashwagandha with other supplements or lifestyle changes can enhance its potential benefits and contribute to overall well-being. Here are some suggestions:

  • Healthy Diet: Combine ashwagandha with a balanced and nutritious diet. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can complement the adaptogenic effects of ashwagandha.
  • Regular Exercise: Engage in regular physical activity. Exercise has its own stress-reducing and mood-enhancing benefits, which can complement the effects of ashwagandha.
  • Stress Management Techniques: Incorporate stress management techniques such as mindfulness, meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises. Combining these practices with ashwagandha may amplify stress reduction.


Additional Supplement Support:

  • Magnesium: Similar to Sensoril ashwagandha, magnesium has a calming effect on the nervous system due to its interaction with GABA receptors.
  • L-Theanine: This amino acid, found in tea, may promote relaxation, and improve sleep quality. Combining ashwagandha with L-Theanine may be beneficial for stress-related sleep disturbances.
  • GABA: Sensoril® ashwagandha helps influence GABA receptors in the brain, contributing to furthering its anxiety-reducing effects and sleep benefits.
  • 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan): Although ashwagandha and 5-HTP use different mechanisms to benefit mood and sleep, together they complement each other.
  • Saffron: Also known for its mood enhancing qualities, it is also a nice complement to the calming effects of ashwagandha.

 

The Healthycell supplement, Calm Mood makes taking ashwagandha easy. It packs over 663 mg of relaxing nutrients in one gel pack including effective doses of Sensoril® Ashwagandha, Magnesium, L-Theanine, GABA, 5-HTP, Saffron, plus Vitamin D and B vitamins to promote a sense of calm, benefit mood and enhance sleep quality. Order here

 

Precautions and Considerations

While ashwagandha is generally considered safe for most people when used as directed, it's essential to exercise caution, particularly for individuals who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have underlying health conditions. As with any supplement or herbal remedy, it's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating ashwagandha into your routine.

 

Conclusion

Ashwagandha's journey from ancient Ayurvedic medicine to modern scientific research highlights its enduring significance in promoting overall health and well-being. As interest in natural remedies and holistic health practices continues to grow, ashwagandha stands out as a versatile herb with the potential to enhance resilience, reduce stress, improve sleep, and contribute to a balanced and healthy lifestyle. As with any health-related decision, it's crucial to approach the use of ashwagandha with an informed and consultative mindset, explore high quality products like Healthycell's Calm Mood, while considering individual health needs and seeking professional advice when necessary.

 

Note: Sensoril® is a registered trademark of Natreon, Inc. and KSM-66® is a registered trademark of Ixoreal Biomed, Inc.

 

About the Author

Elizabeth Candela, MA, RDN, CLT, LE is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified LEAP Therapist and Licensed Esthetician specializing in an integrative and holistic approach to address client needs. Beth utilizes various clinical methods, techniques, and comprehensive therapies, while promoting balance and harmony among her clients in all areas of life. She is the owner of B3yond Nutrition LLC and Skin Fresh in Montclair, New Jersey, and excels at helping clients reach their personal health, wellness, and beauty goals.

 

References

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