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An Introduction to Adaptogens

What are adaptogens?

Adaptogens are natural compounds or plant extracts, which enhance the body's ability to cope with the damaging effects of stress (both mental and physical) while simultaneously promoting normal physiological function. The Natural Cognitive Fuels range contains carefully selected, premium quality adaptogens, including a patented extract of the highly revered Ashwagandha.

The Ashwagandha used in Clarity & Serenity is a full-spectrum, root only extract; it is the highest quality Ashwagandha available.

A brief history of adaptogens

Adaptogens have been used by various cultures for thousands of years. References to adaptogens and their benefits appear in Eastern Chinese writings, as well as Ayurveda, a medical system utilised in India dating back 3,000 years. However scientific advancements in the last decade have reached the point at which modern, well designed clinical trials are able to identify, demonstrate and quantify the ways in which adaptogens work and their significant beneficial effects on cognitive health and function.

The Science behind Adaptogens

Adaptogens primarily affect the body’s adrenal glands, as well as the pituitary and hypothalamic glands. The adrenal glands are responsible for releasing cortisol (the body’s main stress hormone) into the body during instances of stress. Cortisol influences the fight or flight reaction, essentially it is part of your in-built alarm system and helps you respond to a perceived threat or danger. After this stress has passed, cortisol levels in the blood stream reduce to normal levels. However if you regularly experience stressful situations your cortisol levels can remain elevated.

Symptoms associated with a sustained increase of circulating cortisol include,

• Anxiety & depression

• Headaches

•Insomnia and related sleep issues

• Mental, emotional & physical fatigue

• Thyroid disorder

Clinical studies are now demonstrating that the beneficial, stress reduction activity of adaptogens is primarily associated with their ability to effectively balance and regulate the level of cortisol being released into the blood stream by the adrenal glands. This ultimately results in a reduction of objective stress levels and a sense of homeostasis ie. balance.

What are the benefits of Adaptogens?

1. Adaptogens stimulate the central nervous system and exhibit neuroprotective and antidepressant effects on the brain.

2. Adaptogens exert a significant anti-fatigue effect that increases mental work capacity.

3. Adaptogens support mental energy levels.

4. Adaptogens enhance the capacity of the brain to cope under a wide range of external stress conditions.

5. Adaptogens are able to improve levels of focus and concentration.

6 Adaptogens are able to improve deep sleep quality.

7. Adaptogens have stimulatory effects on the central nervous system.

Adaptogens are proficient at maintaining the body’s energy levels, by enhancing the transfer of energy between cells and ensuring oxygen, glucose and lipids are readily available. Summary Adaptogens work at a molecular level; they are highly desirable for their stress reducing/protection effects.

These benefits are attributed to several active mechanisms of action, but primarily via the regulation of key mediators of the stress response throughout the body. The benefits of adaptogens accumulate over time. Four weeks being a realistic time scale for the tangible benefits to be consistently experienced. Just like nootropics (discussed in a previous blog) the key to benefiting from adaptogens is consistent and regular use.

We are always very keen to discuss the science behind our products, so please feel free to contact us with any questions about this, or any of the other information on the Neura site using our contact section.

We look forward to hearing from you.

References:

1. Panossian, Alexander & Georg, Wikman. (2010). Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity. Pharmaceuticals. 3. 10.3390/ph3010188.

2. Liao, Lian-ying & He, Yi-fan & Li, Li & Meng, Hong & Dong, Yin-mao & Yi, Fan & Xiao, Pei-gen. (2018). A preliminary review of studies on adaptogens: comparison of their bioactivity in TCM with that of ginseng-like herbs used worldwide. Chinese Medicine. 13. 10.1186/s13020-018-0214-9.

3. Panossian, Alexander & Georg, Wikman. (2010). Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity. Pharmaceuticals. 3. 10.3390/ph3010188.

4. Liao, Lian-ying & He, Yi-fan & Li, Li & Meng, Hong & Dong, Yin-mao & Yi, Fan & Xiao, Pei-gen. (2018). A preliminary review of studies on adaptogens: comparison of their bioactivity in TCM with that of ginseng-like herbs used worldwide. Chinese Medicine. 13. 10.1186/s13020-018-0214-9.

5. Langade, Deepak & Kanchi, Subodh & Salve, Jaising & Debnath, Khokan & Ambegaokar, Dhruv. (2019). Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Insomnia and Anxiety: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Study. Cureus. 11. 10.7759/cureus.5797.

6. Panossian, Alexander & Georg, Wikman. (2010). Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity. Pharmaceuticals. 3. 10.3390/ph3010188.

7. Panossian, Alexander & Georg, Wikman. (2010). Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity. Pharmaceuticals. 3. 10.3390/ph3010188.