Ayurvedic medicine or traditional herb or medicinal plant is the natural ingredient that works to better the body without any harmful chemicals. Ashwagandha is an ancient magical herb with a rejuvenating and vitalizing effect to give energy and strength to the body. It is also known by several names like Indian ginseng, Withania somnifera or Winter cherry, offering a wide range of benefits for ages. Ashwagandha supplements are abundant in various properties like anti-stress, anti-diabetic, balances hormone and cortisol level, costs immunity, improves sexual health, muscle strength and many more.
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Stress can affect the body in various ways like it triggers blood sugar levels, cortisol levels and sleeplessness. Intake of ashwagandha supplements reduces cortisol levels which is responsible for stress, anxiety and blood sugar level. An increase in creatine kinase (CK) level in blood indirectly indicates the damages to muscles (Baird et al., 2012). Hence, muscle recovery is the reduction of creatine kinase (CK) level that damages muscles over time. Ashwagandha’s adaptogenic property works towards promoting well-being of the body, calmness, enhancing muscle recovery, muscle development and improves muscle strength. Muscle size comes under muscle growth, which gets affected by an increase in testosterone level and low cortisol level (Wankhede et al., 2015).
Ashwagandha is an amphoteric herb that regulates essential physiological processes and boosts adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels by inhibiting the enzyme that degrades ATP. Ashwagandha improves mitochondrial function, which boosts energy production in the muscles. When used in conjunction with resistance exercise, ashwagandha has been shown to increase muscular mass, strength, and reduce body fat. Ashwagandha also aids in the alleviation and healing of physical injury as well as the promotion of muscle recovery after exercise.
The various studies linking effects of Ashwagnadha and muscle strength:
- In a study of 57 untrained people, Ashwagandha root extract demonstrated a significant increase in muscle strength, muscle growth, and a significant decrease in exercise-induced muscle injury when compared to placebo. (Wankhede et al., 2015).
- In a study of 40 healthy people, standardised root extracts of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) were obtained by ten of them, and supplementation may help with generalised muscle weakness, lower limb muscle power, and neuromuscular coordination. (Sandhu et.al. 2010).
- In another study, 18 healthy volunteers were given escalating doses of ashwagandha for 30 days: 750 mg per day for days 1-10, 1000 mg per day for days 11-20, and 1250 mg per day for days 21-30, and the results showed that Ashwagandha supplementation boosted muscle strength and lean body mass (Raut et. al., 2012).
Overall, Ashwagandha may improve body composition and increase strength.
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Baird, M. F., Graham, S. M., Baker, J. S., & Bickerstaff, G. F. (2012). Creatine-kinase- and exercise-related muscle damage implications for muscle performance and recovery. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, 2012, 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1155/2012/960363
Sandhu J.S, Shah B, Shenoy S, Chauhan S, Lavekar G. S, Padhi M. M. Effects of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) and Terminalia arjuna (Arjuna) on physical performance and cardiorespiratory endurance in healthy young adults. International journal of Ayurveda researc. 2010 Jul;1(3):144-9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21170205/
Raut A. A., Rege N. N, Tadvi F. M, Solanki P. V, Kene K. R, Shirolkar S. G, Pandey S. N, Vaidya R. A, Vaidya A. B. Exploratory study to evaluate tolerability, safety, and activity of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in healthy volunteers. Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine. 2012 Jul;3(3):111-4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23125505/
Wankhede, S., Langade, D., Joshi, K., Sinha, S. R., & Bhattacharyya, S. (2015). Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 12(1). https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26609282/