The Power of Adaptogenic Herbs – InVite Health Podcast, Episode 447
InViteⓇ Health Podcast, Episode hosted by Amanda Williams, MPH
You’ve probably heard us talk about adaptogenic herbs in the past, whether it’s on a podcast or on one of our radio shows. Today, I want to talk about what in the world an adaptogenic herb actually is.†
What happens to the body when we are stressed?
We know all about stress and we’re always trying to find different mediators to the stress response. Let’s talk about what is actually occurring within the body when we are under acute stress. The body itself has become reliant on this acute stress response to overcome any issues that arise.†
The problem is that many people are not experiencing acute stress and that fight-or-flight response, but they’re experiencing chronic stress. It is this chronic stress that is creating dysregulation within the HPA axis, which is the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis. Once we start to affect that, then we are starting to see more issues when it comes to every single system in the body, including our blood glucose response, blood pressure response and our ability to fend off oxidative stress.†
Chronic stress can create significant health issues by impacting our sleep cycle, immune defenses, microbiome, cardiovascular health, metabolism and mood. This is when we have to start thinking about how we can adapt to or manage this.†
The heart of adaptogenic herbs
Managing stress in the body is a multi-pronged approach. Obviously, we want to try to make some lifestyle modifications to help minimize our stress as much as possible.†
Then we get into adaptogenic herbs. So what is an adaptogen? Adaptogens are nutrients that have been used for thousands of years to help counteract the negative effects of stress. The way that these adaptogens work is through restoring the body’s natural balance. Research has shown how adaptogens can help to fight off different harmful biochemicals and the emotional effects of stress.†
We need to create balance or homeostasis within the body to avoid the long-term damage of chronic stress and that is what adaptogenic herbs are known to do. For thousands of years, they have been utilized and we now understand the science behind how they offset the negative impact of chronic stress. We can look at the way things like ashwagandha or rhodiola are working to help to normalize a happier cortisol response and at the same time, really heighten the cellular ability to fend off oxidative stress and generate energy. Research has shown how ashwagandha can help to support the cardiorespiratory system and how rhodiola has been used for exercise endurance and muscle recovery, in addition to in the setting of mood and anxiety. We can see how these nutrients work in the body to support our cognitive and physical performance.†
In this episode, Amanda Williams, MPH discusses adaptogenic herbs, an important category of nutrients that help the body fend off the damages of chronic stress. She explains the difference between acute stress and chronic stress and also explains stress affects the body.†
- The impacts of chronic stress on the body
- How lifestyle changes can help with stress responses
- The damaging effects of long-term chronic stress
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