This is an article I’ve been eager to write because adaptogens are one of the most incredible and least talked about group of supplements out there. My life has been directly effected by these amazing incredible natural ingredients and I’m hoping this article inspires a few of you to try them out for yourself.
First it’s important to define the term adaptogen: a natural substance considered to help the body adapt to stress and exert a balancing effect upon bodily processes. The word itself says adapt, these are supplements you take to help your mind and body become resilient towards the many stressors in life. They do this by causing reactions in the mind and body primarily due to their hormone balancing properties. Adaptogenic herbs can be used to hack your performance in the gym, reduce stress during high pressure moments, and build your resilience to heavy levels of work.
While there are tons of adaptogens to choose from, I’m going to break down 3 benefits along with the best adaptogens to help with them. This way you can quickly skim to the benefit you’re looking to receive and immediately see the best potential adaptogenic herbs to aid you.
Lions Mane Mushroom- There was a study done where they gave one group lions mane and the other group a placebo to test the effects on menopause, depression, sleep quality, etc. The study showed true that those taking lions mane had better concentration, less irritation and even reduced anxiety.
Ashwagandha- Ashwagandha has a host of incredible benefits, one of which is anxiety reduction. This Ayurvedic herb is my highest recommendation for reducing anxiety and providing a slight calming feeling without making you drowsy.
Mucuna Pruriens- Mucuna pruriens is a plant that naturally contains L-dopa. L-dopa converts in the brain to dopamine which is your “feel good” neurotransmitter, a great way to ease the anxiety and relax.
Ashwagandha- On top of reducing anxiety levels, ashwagandha is a great stress reduction supplement. I recommend taking between 300-600mg per dose twice a day or as needed to reduce stress levels.
Rhodiola Rosea- Rhodiola is an incredible plant for reducing stress and just improving your mood in general. I recommend higher doses for stress reduction, while you can use lower doses for an increase in energy/reducing fatigue.
Reishi Mushroom- Reishi has been used for a very long time as a calming agent. I recommend brewing it in some tea or as a supplement when you’re looking to wind down after a busy or stressful day.
Cordyceps Mushroom- Cordyceps might be my favorite anti fatigue/endurance/energy adaptogen out there. Use it as a natural energy booster or pre workout to enhance your daily performance and even resistance to heavy training.
Maca Root- Maca is a powerful provider of natural energy as well as an immunity booster. Add it to your morning shake as a daily energy/health boost.
Panax Ginseng- Ginseng has been used for thousands of years as a caffeine alternative for improving your energy levels as well as maintaining focus. If you’re looking to take it a step further, try taking this with either green tea or yerba mate for added energy without the jitters.
Adaptogens are a great tool to lower stress levels, boost immunity, amplify energy, or even to calm down and relax. Do your own research on all of the listed ingredients above as well as others not listed to see what’s possible. When it comes to adaptogens it’s hard to go wrong, most of us could use a little less stress in our lives and a little more natural energy.
My top 3 recommended adaptogens:
1- Ashwagandha: Stress and anxiety reduction (300-600mg 1-2x per day)
2- Rhodiola Rosea: Energy/anti fatigue (200mg 1-2x per day)
3- Cordyceps Mushroom: Pre workout (1000-2000mg)
If you’re looking for a cheap way to take both rhodiola and ashwagandha on a daily basis I recommend trying Aptitude which contains both as well as a host of other nootropics.