What is an adaptogen?

Most people can comprehend whether they are feeling their optimal self. If you are asked the following questions, “Are you sleeping well? Do you have a healthy appetite? Is work fun and engaging? Do you have healthy elimination? Do you have a healthy sex drive?”, and if you answer “No” to any of these, then this article will explain how you can release stress, stay calm in high pressure situations and create a balanced body with adaptogens!

Background

Stress is a risk issue that serves to define a wide variety of phenomena that humans are exposed to throughout their lives. Stress sets off the ‘fight or flight’ response, preparing the body to take action against potential danger. Some hormones like adrenaline and cortisol are released, causing the heart rate, metabolism and breathing rate to speed up. It may work well for short-term threats but, when the stress response goes on for too long, it can have damaging effects on the mind and body and can cause physical exertion, emotional upset, persistent psychological pressure, existential crisis and the residual effects of emotional trauma. Here come the Adaptogens, herbal medicines, which are used to help your body adapt to stress and resist fatigue and there is evidence to support the use of herbal medicines for this purpose.[1].

Benefits

Adaptogens are natural substances that help strengthen the body’s response to stress and demonstrate a nonspecific enhancement of the body’s ability to resist or cope with anxiety and fight fatigue. They are adaptogens because they have the unique ability to ‘adapt’ their functions according to your health’s specific needs. These herbs are believed to have a bimodal function of action either by providing a stimulant effect or a sedative effect depending on the needs of the individual in a particular situation. There are two ways to understand it – 1) they bring you back to your balance point, and 2) they increase your resistance to stress, keeping you at your balance point.[1]
Adaptogens offer several other health benefits which may include – [2]

  • Boost the immune system
  • Reduce fatigue
  • Increase energy and stamina
  • Improve athletic performance
  • Promote mental acuity
  • Support for managing a healthy weight
  • Increase physical endurance and mental focus and concentration
  • Reduces discomfort caused by poor health
  • Encourage a balanced mood
  • Increase appetite and relieve insomnia
  • Increase resistance against infection

When you add adaptogens into your regular diet, you can have these additional benefits in your life. Consuming adaptogenic herbs is arguably one of the best ways to increase your adaptogen intake.
There are a number of naturally adaptogenic herbs that you might consider to take as supplement. Some of the most popular adaptogenic herbs are Asian Ginseng,  Bacopa Monnieri, Aloe Vera, Cordyceps, Eleuthero, Ashwagandha, and Rhodiola rosea.

How it works

Adaptogenic compounds help mitigate the stress response. Adaptogens recharge the adrenal glands, which are known to be the body’s nominal mechanism for responding to stress and emotional changes. The adrenals that cover the upper surface of each kidney, synthesize and store dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine. These compounds are responsible for the changes that occur during the fight-or-flight reaction. Several studies indicate that adaptogens normalize the body and enable energy to be used more productively when stressors are not physical threats, they be used to enhance general health and performance.[3]
You can consider adaptogens as a stress thermostat. They keep your body’s stress response at a desirable level, much like the way a thermostat keeps the temperature from becoming too high or too low. They’re good for you all the time, not just when you have a high level of stress.

What is the best adaptogen?

By far, the number one adaptogen in the world is actually marijuana. Despite its legal status in some countries and states, historically it has been used by doctors and hospitals around the world to relieve people of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, as well as AIDS, Cancer, Epilepsy, Glaucoma, Chron’s disease, and more commonly, asthma, arthritis, anorexia, anxiety, nervousness, depression, chronic pain, and insomnia.[4-17] Although marijuana is not actually technically classified as an adaptogen (possibly due to its illegal status in most countries)[18], it certainly does meet all the requirements of an adaptogen which are: is non-toxic, no long term side effects, improves mental functionality (mood, thinking, etc.), positively contributes toward one’s health, reduces physical, chemical, and biological stresses, and has a normalizing effect on physiology.[19]
The perspective from the mainstream however can be quite skewed because the primary adaptogenic component of marijuana is cannabidiol (CBD)[19]. However, most growers tend to breed strains that are low in CBD and high in THC (tetrahydrocannibinol), the psychoactive component of cannabis. What is surprising is that THC is actually a stimulant by itself, and that the effects of the other components of marijuana, primarily CBD, are such strong adaptogens, that they can easily cause a person to fall asleep even with the mind activating effects of THC. In states in the US where marijuana was legalized, they saw a sharp fall in prescription medicine sales.[20] Reducing anxiety, depression and relieving pain fell in sales the most. Coincidentally, the effects of these medications are also the attributed effects of marijuana. By inference one might say that people are becoming healed by marijuana, and no longer need their medications to live a vibrant life.
Marijuana is such a great resource for us to be able to be healthier, stronger, and happier, it is quite sad about the legal status of the plant despite the fact that only 3 out of about 200 healing constituents can cause a person to get high. This is why we at Nootripure Laboratories went through the research and found out which of those 200 constituents were able to produce a strong mind enhancing, and mind healing effects, legally. These constituents were isolated, purified, and are included in all of our products including THRIIV.
In terms of a widely available adaptogen, the top ranked is bacopa monnieri. It is a nootropic herb from India and has been used for thousands of years in medicine. Bacopa monnieri is great for its amazing health benefits. This herb will help you in reducing stress and anxiety; it can also elevate cognitive function and enhance memory, attention, and concentration and also can improve your overall mood. Other functions of bacopa monnieri may include improved liver function, blood pressure, and overall brain health. Check out this article about Bacopa monnieri to know more about its other uses and mechanism! Bacopa monnieri is the another powerful adaptogen included in THRIIV to help you get the blend of adaptogenic and nootropic benefits together which benefit you with creativity, cognition, memory, focus and an uplifted mood.

Recommendations

In summary, we can say that adaptogens may be regarded as a novel pharmacological category of anti-fatigue supplements [3] that:

  • Induce increased attention and endurance in situations of decreased performance caused by fatigue and/or sensation of weakness.
  • Reduce stress-induced impairments and disorders related to the function of stress (neuro-endocrine and immune) systems.
  • Has low toxicity, and improves mental and physiological abilities over time.

Remember that adaptogens don’t treat a specific condition. Rather they are for anyone looking to boost overall well-being. They act through many various mechanisms, and can vary from immediate acting, to needing weeks to start making an effect. Adaptogens can be taken long term, and have a general effect of helping to make the whole body healthier by reducing your overall stress.

Sources

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1978233/
  2. http://www.adaptogens.org
  3. http://www.chiro.org/nutrition/FULL/Adaptogenic_Herbs.shtml
  4. http://www.neurology.org/content/early/2014/04/30/WNL.0000000000000446.short
  5. http://www.glaucoma.org/treatment/should-you-be-smoking-marijuana-to-treat-your-glaucoma-1.php
  6. http://nyulangone.org/press-releases/medical-marijuana-extract-curbs-seizure-frequency-in-early-trial-of-epilepsy-patients
  7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22095142
  8. http://www.cmcr.ucsd.edu/images/pdfs/Abrams_abs_2.pdf
  9. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/cam/cannabis/patient/page2
  10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11081515
  11. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16282192
  12. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17589370
  13. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18025276
  14. http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mental_Health_Letter/2010/April/medical-marijuana-and-the-mind
  15. http://jrheum.org/content/supplements/90/28.abstract?sid=0ac81474-9c99-45bd-bbaf-751cecdb282d
  16. http://www.medpagetoday.com/meetingcoverage/mds/39933
  17. http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/01/the-case-for-treating-ptsd-in-veterans-with-medical-marijuana/251466/
  18. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legality_of_cannabis_by_country
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3165946/
  20. http://content.healthaffairs.org/content/35/7/1230.abstract