Adaptogens 101

Adaptogens 101

Is it just us, or is the Christmas season starting earlier this year? Don’t get us wrong, we love this time of year! The festivities, the lights, the celebrations - we are here for it. But, along with all the fun comes all the stress of this time of year - full calendars and an ever-growing to-do list. 


One way to be prepared for the stress is to add adaptogens into your routine now. Let’s unpack this recommendation focusing on defining adaptogens and highlighting some that may be of benefit to you.


According to Dr. Stacy Sims, “...adaptogens are plants that increase your body’s resistance to stress. They do so by targeting your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, a neuroendocrine system that controls your reaction to stress and regulates various body functions, such as digestion, mood, temperature control, and immunity. When you take adaptogens, they build up in your body over time and block some of your cortisol response, so that you experience less stress.” Next Level, pg 63


As you can see, adaptogens are plants that have a cumulative effect over time, which is why you want to start now to increase your resistance to stress in the future…aka Christmastime. 


Adaptogens have been used in traditional medicine for generations and are being researched currently by Western medicine researchers. They can be stimulating or relaxing - helping you cut through brain fog and be more calm. 


While there are several adaptogens out there, we’ll share a little info here the ones we’ve tried with success:


  • Holy Basil (tulsi) is a calming adaptogen used to help with stress reduction and anxiety. It can also help with blood sugar regulation and sleep. Try adding in 500 mg twice a day.
  • Ashwagandha is also calming and can lower cortisol levels as an anti-inflammatory. Start with 250 mg for stress reduction and anti-inflammatory benefits. Ashwagandha can affect your thyroid hormones so cross-reference with your doctor if you have thyroid problems.
  • Schisandra is stimulating and can boost endurance and mental performance helping you cut through the brain fog allowing you to focus in a calm manner. Try 500 mg in the morning as it is energizing and can disrupt sleep too close to bedtime.
  • Rhodiola Rosea is another stimulating adaptogen that can combat fatigue and improve cognitive function. It can also help to decrease anxiety and irritability. Try 150 mg each day after adding in Schisandra for two weeks. 

There is much to cover with adaptogens as they are fascinating in their function and have much research behind them. We wanted to provide a brief overview to hopefully pique your interest. 


If you’ve tried them, we’d love to get your thoughts on your experience. You can email us at dietitians@fuelinglifenutrition.com or leave us a comment. 


Here’s to an enjoyable Christmas season that hopefully is filled with more merriment and less stress! 


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