Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned athlete, it’s vital to arm yourself with a variety of muscle-building supplements. You’re certainly familiar with creatine, BCAA, glutamine and whey protein. But have you heard of the potent effects of Ashwagandha?
Known as one of the most popular herbs in Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha has been around for centuries. It was primarily used as an aid in reducing stress and anxiety but more recently it has been used to build muscle and strength.
One mechanism by which Ashwagandha may be so potent a muscle builder is that it has a dramatic impact on testosterone levels. It does so by reducing the “stress hormone” cortisol. Excess cortisol hinders testosterone production and accelerates muscle breakdown negatively impacting muscle growth. Moreover, elevated cortisol impacts your sleep cycle. This is significant because without proper sleep, your muscles do not have sufficient recovery time for proper muscle growth.
Increased Lean Muscle
Let’s take this a step further. Cortisol is considered a catabolic hormone (breaks down muscle tissue) so with higher levels of cortisol in your body, you are less likely to stay in an anabolic state to help maximize muscle gains. Ashwagandha is able to help lower cortisol levels to give you the needed edge to enhance muscularity.
In a study published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 64 male subjects consumed one 300mg capsule of KSM 66 Ashwagandha twice daily. In the study, cortisone levels were examined and randomized to either the placebo group or Ashwagandha group. The study found that cortisol levels were significantly reduced in the Ashwagandha group compared to placebo. The ability of Ashwagandha to reduce cortisol and raise testosterone levels make it a potent addition to anyone’s supplement regimen. Incidentally, KSM-66 is the same form of Ashwagandha used in our Super Test products.
Reduction of Stress Levels
Since cortisol is considered a “stress hormone”, it is important to keep it at moderate levels. Ashwagandha is able to combat the mental fatigue as well as reduce anxiety, tension and sleeplessness that come with high cortisol. With reduced anxiety, comes better sleep which will lead to better performance in the gym and allow for optimal muscle growth.
Recently, Ashwagandha has gained widespread acceptance as a potent strength builder. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study of 57 healthy males ages 18-50 with no resistance training experience, participants were to consume 600 mg of Ashwagandha root extract or placebo daily for eight weeks. The evaluation included a 1-rep max in the bench press and leg extension exercise. Compared to the placebo group, the Ashwagandha group witnessed a greater increase in muscle strength on the bench-press and leg extension exercise. In addition, the Ashwagandha group demonstrated more muscle size compared to the placebo group. This research indicates Ashwagandha dramatically improves muscle mass and strength---especially when incorporating a resistance training program.
- Helps reduce anxiety so you can sleep better to enhance your workouts
- Increases testosterone to improve strength and muscle mass
- Boosts energy for powerful physical performances
- Enhances brain health to keep you focus during training
Whether you’re a novice or fitness guru, Ashwagandha is an amazing herb and a potent weapon for your supplement arsenal.