Health & Habits
What are Adaptogens?
Posted July 9, 2021
Whether we’re familiar with adaptogens or not, their popularity and availability seem to be growing every day. Adaptogens are a class of plants that are intended to boost our resistance to and tolerance of both emotional and physical stress. As the name suggests, this group of more than 70 plants adapt to meet our needs, and bring us balance the way a thermostat controls temperature: they turn up our energy when we’re fatigued and help us relax when we’re restless. They're also purported to address issues as disparate as trouble focusing, headaches, dry eye, high blood pressure and even cancer.
Praised in Ayurveda (a medical system based on principles of natural healing that originated in India more than 3,000 years ago), adaptogenic plants are proving invaluable in battling the modern problem of chronic stress. For those of us who experience persistent daily stress in our lives, this makes adaptogens incredibly valuable. When we consider that stress is behind nearly every known disease state, it takes on a whole new level of significance.
But these stress benefits also have powerful implications for athletic performance as well. Exercise is, after all, a form of physical stress, which is why we feel tired and sore afterwards. Increasing our resilience to this stress can help us extend our energy reserves, reduce muscle damage, and shorten our recovery times - adding up to faster gains in our athletic endeavors.
All we need to do is to introduce adaptogens into our diet. Below are a handful of the most common and beneficial adaptogens available today:
Ashwagandha has been the subject of considerable research, with studies showing it can help reduce stress, improve fertility, and stimulate an underactive thyroid. A 2015 study showed that supplementing with ashwagandha root extract can significantly increase muscle mass and strength gains from resistance training. Additionally, ashwagandha has been shown to not only improve cardiorespiratory endurance in elite cyclists, but also support a healthy inflammatory response - both of which are very important for athletes.
Many people don’t realize turmeric is an adaptogen with high levels of antioxidants. It’s typical in the diets of many people with (and even without) autoimmune issues, and is a healing food known for its anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it perfect for combatting post-workout soreness, and it’s also been found to help lessen the effects of delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
Rhodiola rosea is fast becoming a popular alternative supplement in sports and exercise recovery, driven by a growing body of promising research. A 2016 study found that rhodiola significantly improved both reaction and response times in healthy males. Another study showed that rhodiola reduced lactate levels and skeletal muscle damage following exhaustive exercise.
Reishi mushroom’s potential benefits can aid in muscle recovery and body composition change by helping us outside our workouts. This adaptogen has been known for its ability to improve sleep and support a healthy immune system - both of which are vital for a healthy, strong body. Reishi mushroom is also thought to be especially beneficial for endurance athletes, offering protective effects against overtraining and physical stress.
Luckily, finding organic-certified adaptogens that help our athletic performance has never been easier. Offering a plethora of benefits in endurance, energy, and overall wellness, Turmeric+ and Creatine+ from Vedge help us increase our training capacity and improve our recovery. Creatine+ is blended with PeakO2® - an organic-certified combination of six adaptogenic mushrooms grown in the U.S. It allows us to “adapt” to and overcome physical and mental stress while increasing our power and stamina. Turmeric+ not only includes the health benefits of turmeric, but also offers ashwagandha root and rhodiola rosea to create a perfect 3-in-1 adaptogenic formula.
When taken consistently, adaptogens will do more than just enhance an athlete’s performance in the gym or a sport. They offer long-term health benefits without the side effects that come with most exercise supplements, such as sleep disruption and irritability. Unlike other supplements that can cause our bodies to develop a tolerance towards, adaptogen benefits increase with usage. The more we use them, the more we enjoy their stress-reducing qualities.
TRY IT FOR YOURSELF!
Wankhede S, Langade D, Joshi K, Sinha SR, Bhattacharyya S. Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015 Nov 25;12:43. doi: 10.1186/s12970-015-0104-9. PMID: 26609282; PMCID: PMC4658772.
Ewa Jówko, Jerzy Sadowski, Barbara Długołęcka, Dariusz Gierczuk, Benedykt Opaszowski, Igor Cieśliński, Effects of Rhodiola rosea supplementation on mental performance, physical capacity, and oxidative stress biomarkers in healthy men, Journal of Sport and Health Science, Volume 7, Issue 4, 2018, Pages 473-480
Parisi, A; Tranchita, E; Duranti, G; Ciminelli, E; Quaranta, F, Effects of chronic rhodiola rosea supplementation on sport performance and antioxidant capacity in trained male: preliminary results, Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness; Turin Vol. 50, Iss. 1, (Mar 2010): 57-63.
By Vedge Nutrition
Protein is often referred to as the “building blocks of life”, and for good reason. From our hair to our fingernails to our muscles, protein is the glue that holds each cell in our bodies together and makes up many major hormones and antibodies. That's why getting enough protein in our daily diets is important. New evidence suggests the exact amount we need depends on a host of factors: our diet, age, health, activity level and - for pregnant women - whether we’re eating for two. Here we outline how much protein we need to eat, how to calculate our needs and which people may need more.
Pre-workout supplements can be one of the most effective exercise supplements available on the market today. Whether we’re looking for an extra burst of energy after work or a pick-me-up in the morning—pre-workouts can provide us with much needed stimulation and energy to make the most of our sessions. Although they can benefit our workouts and bring us closer to our goals, some supplements in this category can have harmful ingredients and side effects that can hinder our progress and negatively affect our health.
We’ve covered the benefits of vitamin B12 here, so stressing the importance of vitamin B12 may be redundant. In short, vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient, meaning the body needs it to remain healthy. It must be consumed through the foods we eat, since our bodies are unable to produce it on our own. It’s used for so many processes, including red blood cell creation, DNA synthesis, energy production, and brain and nerve cell protection. If we don’t get enough B12 in our diet, we run the risk of developing a nutrient deficiency, which unfortunately many people around the world encounter. Signs and symptoms of a deficiency can include headaches, confusion, weakness, fatigue, and anemia.
Creatine monohydrate is considered one of the top ergogenic aids on the market today. Despite its wide usage, popularity, and research surrounding the supplement’s benefits, female athletes may sometimes be misinformed on the usage, safety, and purpose of creatine as an exercise performance aid.