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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Ashwagandha for Adrenal Fatigue: How it Helps!

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If you are experiencing adrenal fatigue, it is important to bring your body back to balance so that you feel like yourself again. Taking ashwagandha for adrenal fatigue could bring you relief. In this easy to digest article, I explain how to look for signs and symptoms of adrenal fatigue, how to use ashwagandha to help, and my top recommended ashwagandha supplements!

woman yawning

Do you feel tired, stressed, and achey? These common symptoms could be a sign of adrenal fatigue. While there is a lot of debate over whether or not adrenal fatigue is a true disease, since so many other diseases cause common symptoms, it is possible to support your adrenal glands, and achieve relief with the use of ashwagandha.

Ashwagandha is an ancient herb known for its medicinal qualities. It helps the body deal with stress among other ailments.

Ashwagandha is a small, evergreen shrub originating from India, but can also be found growing in the Middle East and Africa. The ashwagandha root is known for its potent smell, often described as “smelling of horses”. 

The root is harvested, dried and ground to make the root edible in pill-form. The mix of amino acids and vitamins in ashwagandha helps to improve the bodies ability to manage stress. It’s also beneficial for helping improve sleep, increasing energy levels and improving cognitive function

What is adrenal fatigue?

The adrenal glands are two tiny glands that sit directly on top of the kidneys and are responsible for producing three hormones that are released when the body experiences stress: cortisol, aldosterone and adrenaline. 

If you are suffering from adrenal fatigue, your body is not producing these hormones adequately. There is a lot of debate around what causes this, although it is thought that it is caused by chronic stress because your adrenal glands cannot keep up with the demands of the body’s fight-or-flight response. 

There is also evidence that Addison’s Disease, which is a rare type of adrenal insufficiency, is caused by damage to the glands and prevents the production of  cortisol and aldosterone. 

What does adrenal fatigue feel like?

Depending on the level of adrenal insufficiency, you may experience different signs and symptoms.

Early Stage of Adrenal Fatigue

In the early stages, adrenal fatigue feels comparable to having the flu or depression. 

Common symptoms include a lack of energy, aching and weakening of the muscles, a loss of appetite, low mood, increased thirst and unintentional weight loss. 

Slightly less common symptoms you may experience are low blood pressure, body aches similar to flu aches, lightheadedness, and hair loss. 

Later Stage of Adrenal Fatigue

Over time, more severe symptoms may begin to develop such as fainting, cramps and complete exhaustion where you struggle to do basic day-to-day tasks. 

Unfortunately adrenal fatigue is still not seen as a disease due to a lack of scientific research linking adrenal impairment as the cause of fatigue due to so many medical conditions like fibromyalgia that present similar symptoms. 

However, if you’re suffering with these symptoms, there are things you can do to help improve your adrenal glands.

What is ashwagandha?

Ashwagandha extract and root powder has been used for over 3000 years.

It stimulates the immune system to help reduce the amount of chronic inflammation and therefore reduce the negative effects of stress.

Some of the other benefits include: reduced stress and anxiety, reduced blood sugar levels, increased muscle mass (and strength), reduced inflammation, lower cholesterol, lower cortisol levels, improved cognitive function, and slowing down the effects of certain types of cancer!

The amount you need to take varies depending on what results you want, the type of extract you’re taking (leaves, root, berries or whole plant) and the strength of the extract. You also need to be careful not to take too much so that you do not experience unwanted side effects. 

Is ashwagandha safe to take?

Ashwagandha is considered safe for use by most people, but as with starting any new supplement it is important to consult with your doctor before taking it. 

Generally, you can find products with extracts from the leaves or roots, or both, and depending on where your product is sourced the potency will vary.

The root extract is considered the safest form of ashwagandha to take. Make sure that it has a certificate of analysis. If you are pregnant, or breastfeeding, have an autoimmune disease, arthritis, or type 1 diabetes, ashwagandha may not be safe to use as it could interact with medications.

How much ashwagandha is safe to use daily?

Daily doses that range between 250mg and 500mg are generally considered safe due to research studies.  

Everybody is different, and your unique requirements will determine the dose that will work best for you. It’s recommended you start on a lower dose to test your tolerance, after discussing taking ashwagandha with a medical professional. 

Start off with taking 1/3 or a half dose and slowly work your way up to the recommended dose based on how your body reacts and what your doctor recommends. 

How to Avoid Negative Ashwagandha Side Effects

Like any new supplement or medicine, starting to take ashwagandha can have side effects, although they are not common. 

However, it is important to note that there have not been many long-term studies to examining the long term implications of taking this herb over an extended period of time. 

Clinical trials have shown very low rates of individuals experiencing side effects, but they are always a possibility. 

Again, it’s important to start off slow with a low dose.

What are the side effects of taking Ashwagandha?

On the rare occasion that taking Ashwagandha has side effects, they appear to be quite mild. They include…

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Upset stomach

Always be aware of any potential side effects, and discuss these with your health doctor before you start a new supplement routine. 

How do you make sure you’re taking ashwagandha correctly? 

Always read the advice and dosage on the product you buy! This will tell you exactly how much to consume to get what you need. I addition, discuss dosage amounts with your doctor.

The typical recommended dose for controlling the release of cortisol is 500-600mg a day for 6-12 weeks. 

Benefits of Ashwagandha for Adrenal Fatigue

There are literally hundreds of different health benefits that have been linked to the Ashwagandha over the thousands of years it’s been used in medicine. 

Some of the health benefits are supported by scientific research, while others need further investigating!

Lowers Cortisol Levels

Cortisol is the primary stress hormone that is released by the adrenal glands in response to stress and when your blood sugar levels get too low! When someone is suffering from adrenal fatigue, they may have chronically elevated levels of cortisol which can ultimately lead to high blood sugar levels. 

Studies show that using Ashwagnandha extract can help significantly reduce cortisol levels by up to 30%.

Lowers Blood Sugar Levels

There is a lot of scientific research that has concluded that taking ashwagandha reduces blood sugar levels in those who have diabetes, and healthy individuals with no underlying conditions. 

Ashwagandha Helps reduce Stress and Anxiety

Reports suggest that the ashwagandha blocks the stress pathway in the brain by regulating chemical signaling in the nervous system. Several studies have shown that the extract ca reduce symptoms in those who suffer from stress and anxiety disorders by up to 69%

Another similar study in humans who took the supplements found that 88% of the participants reported a reduction in anxiety compared to those who were given a placebo. 

Anti-Cancer Properties

Studies done on animals suggest that taking this supplement can assist in the treatment of lung, breast, colon and ovarian cancer, with one study showing a 70-80% reduction in tumor growth when given in combination with a pre-existing cancer drug. 

How to Use Ashwagandha for Adrenal Fatigue

There are many ways in which you can use Ashwagandha for adrenal support, from taking pills to making a milk elixir which is also known to help treat insomnia. 

Before purchasing these products, consult your doctor to ensure that you have are buying and taking the right product for your particular area of concern. Different products use different parts of the plant and have different potencies and medicinal qualities. 

What does Ashwagandha do for adrenal fatigue?

The nature of Ashwagandha has calming, and rejuvenating effects when used as a tonic for the body. It lowers the levels of stress hormones to help relieve symptoms of stress that lead to adrenal fatigue.

Best Ashwagandha Supplements

As with every supplement, it’s difficult to find the right one! So we’ve put together a couple of well reviewed Ashwagandha supplements to help guide you in the right direction. Remember, do your own research based on your needs and always discuss with your healthcare professional! 

Some of the items below were given to me to review by the manufacturer or as part of an affiliate program. I may receive commissions if you make a purchase through the links provided. I only recommend products I’ve actually evaluated, I believe are the highest quality, and can do the most to help you and your family. By purchasing any of these products from the links below, you help keep this blog running, so thanks for your support!

Keep in mind that every person & situation is different, especially yours, so make sure to talk to your doctor and see how these guidelines and tips can help you. These tips are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard or delay in seeking professional medical advice because of something you read here!

My recommendations are based on the manufacturer’s claims and ingredients list, and what I feel best giving to my own family. Your individual results may be different based on your overall diet, exercise, age, weight, family history, or pre-existing conditions.

Best Ashwagandha Capsules

NaturaLife Labs Ashwagandha for Adrenal Fatigue
NaturaLife Labs Organic Ashwagandha

Tied for our #1 spot, these capsules promote stress reduction, supports the immune system, and improves mood. It has a high dosage of 2,100mg per capsule in the form root powder and extract. It’s pure ashwagandha, without any fillers or binders. Gluten Free, Non-GMO, GMP, vegetarian friendly, third party tested, and Purity & Potency Lab tested. It also has black pepper to aid absorption.

Happy Healthy Hippie Ashwagandha Bottle - Ashwagandha for Adrenal Fatigue
Happy Healthy Hippie Organic Ashwagandha Root Powder

This is our second option for a high potency supplement – these organic capsules are optimized for faster absorption. With an ultra-potent 2100 mg of ashwagandha root powder, this capsule promotes relief from anxiety, stress, mood, cortisol, thyroid, and adrenal fatigue. It also has black pepper to aid absorption.

Truvani Ashwagandha Bottle
Truvani Organic Ashwagandha

This particular brand is organic and certified by the USDA. With high quality ingredients from India, there are no binders or fillers. The overall dosage is not as high as the first two recommended brands, but it has high quality ingredients including black pepper for absorption!

Garden of Life Ashwagandha for Adrenal Fatigue supplement
Garden of Life mykind Organics Ashwagandha Stress & Mood

Not as high potency as the first two on this list, but it has clean ingredients and includes ginger and probiotics for digestion. It doesn’t include black pepper, however. They are organic, non-GMO, and contain no soy or corn-derived ingredients or chemicals. Certified USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, NSF Certified Gluten Free, Certified Vegan & Kosher.

Organic India Ashwagandha for Adrenal Fatigue
Organic India Ashwagandha Herbal Supplement

This particular Ashwagandha supplement has a high potency (800mg of Ashwagandha), but it does not include black pepper, which helps with absorption.

Himalaya Ashwagandha for Adrenal Fatigue
Himalaya Organic Ashwagandha

This capsule does not have as high of a potency as the first two, but it does have excellent ingredients. Each caplet is equivalent to 4,630 mg of powder. Made from root powder, root powder extract and supercritical C02 extract instead of just the simple crushed powder you may find in other supplements.

Best Ashwagandha Powders

Organic Ashwagandha powder package
Organic Ashwagandha Root Powder

This gluten-free, non-GMO, organic ashwagandha root powder can be mixed into your drinks and smoothies. While it doesn’t contain black pepper, you can always add a sprinkle of black pepper into your drink when you mix this powder in. We ranked this #1 because it’s the most affordable powder on the list – at $14.54 for 17.64oz.

KOS Ashwagandha powder
KOS Organic Ashwagandha Powder

A simple organic powder you can combine in your smoothies, and drinks to reduce cortisol levels, improve mood, and reduce fatigue. This powder is processed in a GMP & NSF certified facility. Each batch is also lab tested by a Verified Third Party to ensure purity, potency and quality. Costs $22.99 for about 12.8 oz.

Anthony's Ashwagandha powder packet
Anthony’s Organic Ashwagandha Powder

Another organic root powder, this one is gluten-free, non-GMO, and vegan friendly. Add to smoothies and tonics, or brew it as a tea with other roots and herbs. Costs $20 for 12oz.

Best Ashwaghanda Liquids

Gaia Ashwagandha bottle
Gaia Herbs Ashwagandha Root

Similar to capsules, this is a capsule filled with a liquid version of ashwagandha instead of a powder. It’s vegan, contains both the root and extract, easy to take, with two capsules recommended per day.

Mary Ruth's Liquid Ashwagandha drops
Mary Ruth’s Organic Ashwagandha Root Liquid Drops

These are the only USDA organic, liquid ashwagandha drops with clean ingredients I’ve found. They’re super easy to take – can be taken directly by mouth or added to water for ease of use. Non-GMO, Vegan, Made in a GMP Facility. Dairy Free, Nut Free, Gluten & Wheat Free, Soy Free, Corn Free, Sugar Free, No Synthetic or Artificial Colors. Alcohol Free Tincture. Celiac Friendly.

Ashwagandha is just one of many adaptogens that can help with adrenal insufficiency and reduce the symptoms of adrenal fatigue.

With hundreds of benefits, and evidence supporting the use of Ashwagandha to help with adrenal insufficiency, this extract may help reduce the symptoms of adrenal fatigue.

There are many adaptogens that are quickly becoming more and more popular for treating long and short term health conditions, but Ashwagandha is the most highly recommended and most researched of them all!

Looking for more supplement guides? Try these!

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