Chronic stress can have detrimental effects on mental health, sleep, anxiety, cardiovascular health, hormone regulation, and immune function. Ashwagandha, a natural adaptogen, has been shown to help regulate the body's response to chronic stress and reduce cortisol levels.
Let's face it. Life can be stressful, and there are many stressors we simply can't avoid.
Do you know the difference between the types of stress we face daily? Not every stressful situation is harmful but finding a balance is crucial to prevent things from spiraling out of control and becoming a chronic condition. What if I told you that there are natural ways to help you cope with the surprisingly complex demand stress places on your body?
If you are looking for a way to improve your health, then balancing your eustress and distress levels is an important place to start.
First, let's take a look at these different types of stress:
Eustress is the good stress triggered by positive events such as getting married, meeting new people, etc. It is even healthy in some cases, such as the physical stress experienced during exercise.
Distress is the negative stress we all experience daily - ranging from mild to severe. Things like divorce, injury, financial worries, or problems at work would fall into this category.
Acute stress is sudden and intense. It may be either eustress or distress, depending on whether it is caused by a good or a bad event. Either way, these unexpected events trigger the fight or flight response which helps us prepare and adapt to the situation.
The stress response is short-lived, and the metabolism returns to normal within an hour or two.
Chronic stress is when distress persists over an extended period and becomes debilitating and overwhelming. This can lead to problems like anxiety, insomnia, muscle tension, pain, high blood pressure, increased risk of heart disease, and a weakened immune system.
Daily worries like work and paying bills, raising kids, and the usual pressures we face daily can lead to chronic stress. Where we simply feel bogged down by the troubles of life.
This is where Ashwagandha can help. It is a natural remedy and a potent adaptogen that can help regulate your body's response to chronic stress.
Why should you take stress seriously?
One of the most common attempts to define stress is “physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension.” Yet, experts still haven’t agreed upon an official definition of “stress,” which deprives us of a reliable method to quantify and measure it.
Due to the lack of official definitions and reliable measurements, many experts often underestimate or completely ignore the impact of long term stress on the human body.
In reality, stress is not simply a psychological phenomenon and can seriously impact your physical health and well-being. Your body's stress response is controlled by your nervous system, which puts you into a “fight or flight” mode.
“Fight or Flight” is a state in which your body mobilizes its resources and manifests with increased heart rate, faster breathing, changes in digestion and peristalsis, and more!
Unfortunately, when these physical symptoms last over extended periods, they wreak havoc on the body and become a health problem - chronic stress is no longer a healthy and adaptive reaction (1).
Instead, it becomes draining and exhausting, both physically and mentally, leading to many problems and affecting almost every organ and system. Let’s take a detailed look at chronic stress and its impact on each aspect of your health.
Effects of stress on mental health, sleep, and anxiety
Chronic stress can take a heavy toll, leading to complaints like fatigue, headaches, and physical weakness. This can significantly decrease the quality of your life and affect your mental health.
People experiencing chronic stress may complain of increased anxiousness, sleep problems, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, and even an increased perception of pain. Gastrointestinal pain and tension headache are the most common manifestations.
Studies have even linked mental health problems like depression and anxiety to chronic stress (2).
Effects of stress on the cardiovascular system
Scientists warn that chronic stress is one of the significant risk factors for elevated blood pressure, especially in younger adults (3). That’s because the stress response causes blood vessels to constrict and makes the heart work harder to pump blood throughout the body.
The condition is often called “the silent killer” because it usually lacks symptoms until it eventually progresses into serious heart disease. In fact, blood pressure is the number one risk factor for heart failure, heart attack, and stroke (4).
Effect of stress on endocrine health and hormones
The endocrine system plays a crucial role in your body's stress response, producing stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.
Unfortunately, chronic stress can lead to persistently elevated cortisol levels in the blood, leading to unfavorable interactions between the different hormones and hormonal imbalance (5). Cortisol causes an increase in blood sugar levels, which forces the pancreas to produce more insulin than usual.
Overexposure to cortisol can also disturb the production of sex hormones and the normal function of the reproductive organs. For example, high cortisol levels have a strong negative effect on the production of testosterone in men (6),
It appears that high cortisol levels may also suppress ovulation and lead to irregular menstruation in women (7).
Effect of stress on the immune system
Studies show that chronic stress can wreak havoc on the human immune system by suppressing pretty much all of its components (8).
Thus, chronic stressors can significantly diminish your immune defenses and make your body more susceptible to infections. One of the causes of the adverse effects of chronic stress is prolonged overexposure to cortisol.
The stress hormone has potent immunosuppressive effects, which may provide benefits during acute stress responses but lead to a dysregulated immune response if you struggle with chronic stress levels.
How Ashwagandha can help in stress management
Although measuring stress is challenging, researchers have worked hard to develop various questionnaires that report subjective and perceived stress levels. One of the most widely used questionnaires is the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS).
Currently, there are several clinical studies published by independent researchers which show that Ashwagandha supplementation significantly reduces levels of chronic stress and improves PSS scores (9, 10, 11, 12, 13)
Moreover, a systematic review of all studies regarding the effects of Ashwagandha on cortisol also shows significant benefits (14). All the studies investigating serum cortisol levels report significant decreases ranging from 8% to 28% higher than placebo.
Ashwagandha appears to lower cortisol levels and reduce levels of perceived stress thanks to the presence of bioactive molecules known as withanolides and sitoindosides (15). The researchers reveal that they work together to potentiate the benefits of ashwagandha for reducing cortisol levels in the body.
Apart from reducing the production of stress hormones such as cortisol, the bioactive molecules in Ashwagandha may also interact with receptors for neurotransmitters in the brain, which promote calm, such as GABA and serotonin (16, 17).
Remember that, as with most herbal remedies, it will take time before you notice the effects of Ashwagandha on your stress levels and overall well-being. According to scientific research, most individuals who take Ashwagandha experience a reduction in cortisol and stress levels within 2 months of supplementation (18, 19).
So why choose our Ashwagadha over other brands? Good Vibes by Nutririse is one of the few products on the market that offers 100% organic and natural ashwagandha supplements with no additives.
Our Ashwagandha is certified organic by the UDAF, and its 3rd party tested, which guarantees that it is safe, effective, and contaminant free. Good Vibes by Nutririse also contains organic black pepper extract to ensure maximum absorption in your body.
So, If you are looking for a natural and proven way to help your body cope with the symptoms of stress, give ashwagandha a try! This tried and tested ancient remedy has become the daily go-to for thousands of people worldwide to improve feelings of calm and relaxation.
Note: This article is for informational purposes only and not intended for use as medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting any dietary supplement.