What’s the Hype about Adaptogens?

Heard the word ADAPTOGEN while browsing the latest supplement aisle? Most likely because stress is at it’s all time highest – in fact, it’s been so high for so long that we are seeing the highest rates of burnout EVER.

So what’s an adaptogen & how is stress involved?

Adaptogens support your adrenal glands which manage your hormonal response to stress & help you cope with anxiety/fatigue.

To be considered an adaptogen, an herb must be 1. Non-toxic to the body 2. Offer widespread support 3. Help bring the body back to equilibrium

In layman’s terms: when your cortisol is sky high or hitting rock bottom, these herbs help to bring your levels back to baseline –  they work with YOU specifically, adapting their function to your body’s needs.

See, our cortisol levels follow a daily rhythm – highest in the morning (cortisol awakening response) & then slowly decrease through the day & lowest before bed

Your hypothalamus & adrenal glands are responsible for this intricate diurnal rhythm to wake you up in the am & let you sleep in the pm.

But if we push the limits of our adrenals & force it to overproduce cortisol throughout the day, we risk disrupting this cortisol curve.

Why should we care to keep cortisol in it’s ideal range?

Here are just a few health problems that are associated with chronically high cortisol levels:

-causes IBS & leaky gut (resulting in food sensitivities & autoimmunity)

-impairs our immune system (we get sick more often)

-prolongs healing & repair (pro-inflammatory)

-impairs brain & cognitive function (brain fog & memory impairment)

-increases oxidative stress (by impacting the ETC in mitochondria)

-inhibits detoxification process is in the liver & kidneys (by changing gene expression in the detoxification pathway)

-raises blood pressure, blood sugar, & insulin (leading to metabolic syndrome)


So how can adaptogens reverse the effects of stress?

If cortisol is too high (stressed out Sally): supp with adaptogenic herbs reishi, ashwaganda, astragalus, & holy basil which help CALM the body & soothe the adrenals.

If cortisol is too low (Super chill BIll): supp with adaptogenic herbs asian ginseng, eleuthero, rhodiola, & maca which help STIMULATE the body & enhance mental performance, mojo & physical stamina.

Questions about adaptogens? Leave a comment below!

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