Ashwagandha: Sources and Benefits

Ashwagandha: Sources and Benefits

What is Ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb often referred to as “Indian ginseng.” Within this system of it was classified as a general tonic and strength promoting. Its uses included infusing energy and vigor in circumstances characterized by exhaustion or a lack of physical energy. 

Benefits of Ashwagandha 

As its English common name implies, Ashwagandha mirrors some of the responses associated with ginseng, in essence upregulating multiple areas of health and well-being, especially under conditions characterized by increased stress.* Herbs that produce these types of nonspecific resistance to and recovery from stress are called adaptogens. 

Many of Ashwagandha’s reported benefits and responses, including supporting healthy energy, stress resilience, muscle performance, better sleep, and cognitive function, are the types that would be hoped for in an adaptogen.*

Our initial interest in Ashwagandha stemmed from these positive responses in clinical trials. While Qualia Life is focused, from a feature level, on enhancing cellular and mitochondrial energy and rejuvenation functions, at the benefit level, our goal was that the formulation would, over time, promote the types of positive responses associated with Ashwagandha. Of course, the ideal is that an ingredient can add to both the micro-level features and big picture benefits.

As we did more research on Ashwagandha it became evident it covered both bases. At the feature level some of its functional benefits include: (1) supporting insulin, leptin, and thyroid hormone signaling (these support optimizing cellular energy and metabolism processes), (2) promoting cellular and mitochondrial antioxidant defenses, (3) stabilizing mitochondrial membrane structure and function, and (4) regulating important cell signaling pathways (e.g., Foxo, IGF-1, sirtuins).*

Qualia’s Ashwagandha Sourcing

Ashwagandha’s novel active constituents are called withanolide glycosides. We opted for the branded Sensoril® Ashwagandha because it has been clinically tested in 10 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled human trials. Several of these studies directly overlapped with the subjective benefits we want users of Qualia Life to experience. We also chose Sensoril® because it: (1) uses both the root and leaf—other standardized extracts might only use the root, and the leaf was important to use because of compounds that tend to be more concentrated in the leaf, and (2) is standardized to contain a high amount (a minimum of 10%) of the important withanolide glycosides.

We consider Ashwagandha to be an herbal adaptogen. With adaptogens we think it’s important to identify the lowest dose that can produce the desired response. In general, as the dose increases, so do chances for (1) unwanted effects, and (2) more rapid adaptation. Sensoril®—the standardized extract we use—allowed us to do this because there was a study where different doses were compared. When we reviewed this study, we came to the conclusion that most of the benefits occurred at the lowest dose used, with marginal added response if the dose was doubled or doubled again. So this lower dose is what we included. 

We think it makes a great deal of sense to dose something at a sufficient amount to capture most of the benefits (90% plus). It makes much less sense to us to chase after marginal additional benefits when the dose needed to possibly achieve them would double or more. This does not represent good value. As your trusted partner in performance optimization, part of our job is identifying where the best value lies. 

SENSORIL® ashwagandha extract is protected under U.S. Patent No. 7,318,938 and is a registered trademark of Natreon, Inc.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products and information on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information on this site is for educational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Please speak with an appropriate healthcare professional when evaluating any wellness related therapy. Please read the full medical disclaimer before taking any of the products offered on this site.

1 Comment

  • Joanne
    I found this article very useful. I hsve been taking ashwagandha for a couple of months and have tryed increasing it, but find I become hypersensitive to the increase. I will stick to my desired small dose for the forseeable future and listen to my body!
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