We think of weight loss as a result of improved metabolic efficiency. If we eat less and move more, we’ll lose weight. If we eat the right foods at the right times, we’ll burn more calories. So we look for supplements that promise to speed up the metabolism, or for ones that help us eat less… but maybe we’re trying to solve the wrong problem.
Your MOOD is potentially linked to weight management. Stress, anxiety, and depression are often connected and very hard to overcome. There is evidence that these psychological conditions are associated with weight gain [1, 2]. Worse is the evidence that weight loss leads to increased cortisol output, the “stress hormone” [2, 3]!
In short – yes… but don’t be discouraged; it’s not that simple. Scientists are still trying to understand the stress-obesity relationship, and other research failed to find a link at all . Long-term controlled trials are lacking.
Forget about cortisol though, because science supports what we already know from personal experience: stress influences our food habits (emotional eating) [3, 5].
Stress is correlated with all kinds of other problems: increased blood pressure, heart disease, headache, gastrointestinal issues, sleep problems, brain-degenerative diseases, accelerated aging, and premature death [6, 7].
Do you want to improve your quality of life? Would you like to maintain a healthy weight? Is living longer by reducing incidence of disease important to you? If yes, it’s imperative that you take measures to reduce your stress!
Reduce your stress with following effective strategies:
If you got at least some of the above stress-reducing techniques already implemented in your life, then it may be time to consider adding Ashwagandha Root Extract.
Ashwagandha is a plant that has been used for thousands of years. Hundreds of research publications demonstrate the herb’s ability to combat disease and promote all kinds of health benefits. Stressed individuals that regularly consumed Ashwagandha in clinical trials had reduced their cortisol by as much as ~50% [8, 9, 10]. Stress and overall anxiety was also drastically cut down [8, 9, 11, 12 ]. One of the trials showed a staggering 77% reduction of symptoms over 60 days, in depressed people that were also stressed .
Promoting weight-loss by reducing stress is one thing, but Ashwagandha was also explored as a supplement for exercise. Compared with placebo, participants experienced greater improvements in exercise-related fatigue, performance, power output, and aerobic capacity. It’s therefore not surprising that the supplement group built more muscle and strength, and lost more weight and body-fat than the control group [13, 14, 15].
Individuals from another 12-week trial combined Ashwagandha with diet coaching, and experienced greater weight loss than diet coaching only group . Calories were not controlled in this study, so we can’t conclusively say that the herb directly causes weight loss.
Ashwagandha is studied for a plethora of other indications, but for the sake of staying true to the context of stress, cortisol, and weight loss, I’ll leave that information out. Side effects and toxicity were not observed at normal doses.
1. Studies show that elevated stress (cortisol) can lead to weight-gain or prevent weight-loss. Another problematic finding is that weight-loss can independently lead to elevated cortisol. Research on these matters give contradictory results, and so we still don’t know what’s what.
2. Regardless, we know that when we feel stressed, anxious, or depressed, we tend to eat poorly (emotional eating as we call it). This reason alone justifies the importance of managing stress for an improved physique.
3. Ashwagandha is an herb that has been clinically demonstrated to reduce cortisol, perceived stress, and anxiety, more effectively than other supplements.
4. Placebo-controlled trials have shown that Ashwagandha supplementation improved dietary behavior and overall exercise performance, which is likely why users became significantly more fit than non-users.
Wrapping the above 4 points together: if you’re often anxious, depressed, or just feeling stressed – and you’re dieting and exercising regularly – adding Ashwagandha to your daily routine is likely to accelerate your results.
We may need fat burners, weight-loss amplifiers, or appetite suppressants to help with progress, but many of us could be misinterpreting the obstacles we’re facing. Make sure that it’s not stress itself that’s holding you back.
Ashwagandha is among the best, but certainly not the only supplement that can reduce stress/cortisol.
Would you like the answers to these questions:
1. Where can you find a quality source for Ashwagandha?
2. How should you dose Ashwagandha?
3. What other supplements can you try (or stack with Ashwagandha)?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or click here to JOIN my Underground Fitness and Diet Vault on Facebook, where you can directly find and ask me, as well as catch up on a lot of other valuable tips from myself and others like you!
1. Harding JL, Backholer K, Williams ED, Peeters A, Cameron AJ, Hare MJ, Shaw JE, Magliano DJ. Psychosocial stress is positively associated with body mass index gain over 5 years: evidence from the longitudinal AusDiab study. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2014 Jan;22(1):277-86. doi: 10.1002/oby.20423. PubMed PMID: 23512679.
2. Roberts C, Troop N, Connan F, Treasure J, Campbell IC. The effects of stress on body weight: biological and psychological predictors of change in BMI. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007 Dec;15(12):3045-55. doi: 10.1038/oby.2007.363. PubMed PMID: 18198314.
3. Tomiyama AJ, Mann T, Vinas D, Hunger JM, Dejager J, Taylor SE. Low calorie dieting increases cortisol. Psychosom Med. 2010 May;72(4):357-64. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0b013e3181d9523c. PubMed PMID: 20368473; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2895000.
4. Abraham SB, Rubino D, Sinaii N, Ramsey S, Nieman LK. Cortisol, obesity, and the metabolic syndrome: a cross-sectional study of obese subjects and review of the literature. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013 Jan;21(1):E105-17. doi: 10.1002/oby.20083. PubMed PMID: 23505190; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3602916.
5. Yau YH, Potenza MN. Stress and eating behaviors. Minerva Endocrinol. 2013 Sep;38(3):255-67. Review. PubMed PMID: 24126546; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4214609.
6. Schneiderman N, Ironson G, Siegel SD. Stress and health: psychological, behavioral, and biological determinants. Annu Rev Clin Psychol. 2005;1:607-28. Review. PubMed PMID: 17716101; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2568977.
7. Keller A, Litzelman K, Wisk LE, Maddox T, Cheng ER, Creswell PD, Witt WP. Does the perception that stress affects health matter? The association with health and mortality. Health Psychol. 2012 Sep;31(5):677-84. doi: 10.1037/a0026743. PubMed PMID: 22201278; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3374921.
8. Biswajit Auddy, Jayaram Hazra, Achintya Mitra, Bruce Abedon, Shibnath Ghosal, Bidhan Nagar, A Standardized Withania Somnifera Extract Significantly Reduces Stress-Related Parameters in Chronically Stressed Humans: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study (2008)
9. Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012 Jul;34(3):255-62. doi: 10.4103/0253-7176.106022. PubMed PMID: 23439798; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3573577.
10. Mahdi AA, Shukla KK, Ahmad MK, Rajender S, Shankhwar SN, Singh V, Dalela D. Withania somnifera Improves Semen Quality in Stress-Related Male Fertility. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2009 Sep 29. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 19789214; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3136684.
11. Cooley K, Szczurko O, Perri D, Mills EJ, Bernhardt B, Zhou Q, Seely D. Naturopathic care for anxiety: a randomized controlled trial ISRCTN78958974. PLoS One. 2009 Aug 31;4(8):e6628. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0006628. PubMed PMID: 19718255; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2729375.
12. Andrade C, Aswath A, Chaturvedi SK, Srinivasa M, Raguram R. A double-blind, placebo-controlled evaluation of the anxiolytic efficacy ff an ethanolic extract of withania somnifera. Indian J Psychiatry. 2000 Jul;42(3):295-301. PubMed PMID: 21407960; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2958355.
13. 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. PubMed PMID: 26609282; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4658772.
14. Raut AA, Rege NN, Tadvi FM, Solanki PV, Kene KR, Shirolkar SG, Pandey SN, Vaidya RA, Vaidya AB. Exploratory study to evaluate tolerability, safety, and activity of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in healthy volunteers. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2012 Jul;3(3):111-4. doi: 10.4103/0975-9476.100168. PubMed PMID: 23125505; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3487234.
15. Shenoy S, Chaskar U, Sandhu JS, Paadhi MM. Effects of eight-week supplementation of Ashwagandha on cardiorespiratory endurance in elite Indian cyclists. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2012 Oct;3(4):209-14. doi: 10.4103/0975-9476.104444. PubMed PMID: 23326093; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3545242.