Heard the word ADAPTOGEN while browsing the latest supplement aisle? Most likely because stress is at it’s all time highest – in fact, it’s been so high for so long that we are seeing the highest rates of burnout EVER.
So what’s an adaptogen & how is stress involved?
Adaptogens support your adrenal glands which manage your hormonal response to stress & help you cope with anxiety/fatigue.
To be considered an adaptogen, an herb must be 1. Non-toxic to the body 2. Offer widespread support 3. Help bring the body back to equilibrium
In layman’s terms: when your cortisol is sky high or hitting rock bottom, these herbs help to bring your levels back to baseline – they work with YOU specifically, adapting their function to your body’s needs.
See, our cortisol levels follow a daily rhythm – highest in the morning (cortisol awakening response) & then slowly decrease through the day & lowest before bed
Your hypothalamus & adrenal glands are responsible for this intricate diurnal rhythm to wake you up in the am & let you sleep in the pm.
But if we push the limits of our adrenals & force it to overproduce cortisol throughout the day, we risk disrupting this cortisol curve.
Why should we care to keep cortisol in it’s ideal range?
Here are just a few health problems that are associated with chronically high cortisol levels:
-causes IBS & leaky gut (resulting in food sensitivities & autoimmunity)
-impairs our immune system (we get sick more often)
-prolongs healing & repair (pro-inflammatory)
-impairs brain & cognitive function (brain fog & memory impairment)
-increases oxidative stress (by impacting the ETC in mitochondria)
-inhibits detoxification process is in the liver & kidneys (by changing gene expression in the detoxification pathway)
-raises blood pressure, blood sugar, & insulin (leading to metabolic syndrome)
So how can adaptogens reverse the effects of stress?
If cortisol is too high (stressed out Sally): supp with adaptogenic herbs reishi, ashwaganda, astragalus, & holy basil which help CALM the body & soothe the adrenals.
If cortisol is too low (Super chill BIll): supp with adaptogenic herbs asian ginseng, eleuthero, rhodiola, & maca which help STIMULATE the body & enhance mental performance, mojo & physical stamina.
Questions about adaptogens? Leave a comment below!