By TAP Integrative

Chronic stress is a widespread concern across the world. If left unchecked, it can cause psychological and relationship issues, but it affects the body as well. In the short-term, stress can cause muscle tension, gastrointestinal distress, headaches and sleep problems. In the long-term, chronic stress is linked to serious illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Stress has also been linked to weight gain and obesity. Why? Because stress increases levels of hormones like cortisol, and elevated cortisol levels can cause abdominal obesity. In addition, chronic stress can change eating and exercise habits, exacerbating the problem.

Researchers are examining ways to manage stress as a way to address excess weight and obesity. One possibility is to use adaptogenic herbs, which are herbs that can counteract the negative effects of stress. Ashwagandha is one such herb with a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine. In recent years, studies have validated Ashwagandha’s usefulness in a variety of health applications, including reducing stress.

A 2016 study in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine evaluated the safety and efficacy of a standardized Ashwagandha root extract. Fifty-two people experiencing chronic stress enrolled in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial and received either Ashwagandha (300 mg) or placebo twice daily. At the start of the trial, and again at 4 and 8 weeks, study participants were evaluated for both physical and self-reported markers of stress. Their weight and body mass index (BMI) were also recorded.

The researchers found that treatment with Ashwagandha improved stress, mental well-being, cortisol levels, food cravings and eating behaviors. In addition, the treatment group experienced a significant reduction in body weight and BMI compared to the placebo group. Ashwagandha was found to be safe and well-tolerated. This adaptogen may be a useful part of a stress and weight management plan.


Reference

Choudhary D, Bhattacharyya S, Joshi K. Body weight management in adults under chronic stress through treatment with Ashwagandha root extract: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2016 Apr 6. pii: 2156587216641830. [Epub ahead of print]

 


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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease