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Zaheera Swing
Nutritional Therapist & Herbalist BSc Hons Nutritional Science + NTPD

Benefits Of Ashwagandha For Athletic Performance, Muscle Strength And Recovery

Ashwagandha, an Ayurvedic herb, has been shown to improve physical performance. It boosts muscle strength and endurance, reduces exercise-induced muscle damage, and increases oxygen capacity, likely due to its adaptogenic nature and ability to increase testosterone levels.




What is Ashwagandha?



Ashwagandha, also known by the Latin name Withania Somnifera or Winter Cherry, is an evergreen shrub within the nightshade family and is native to India, Africa, and the Middle East.

The Ashwagandha plant has been used in Ayurveda, a traditional Indian medicine paradigm, for thousands of years to offer a natural solution for chronic stress and anxiety, low mood, fatigue, fertility issues, and overall vitality. Its primary bioactive components are withanolides, particularly withaferin A and withanolide D.

Ashwagandha comes from Sanskrit and means "horse smell" [1]. It describes the plant's root, which has a strong horse-like odor, but also refers to its properties and benefits for men - giving you "the strength of a horse." 

The plant's root is the richest source of bioactive molecules called withanolides, which possess most of its beneficial properties. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, meaning it increases the tolerance of your body to stress [2].

Thanks to the presence of science-backed bioactive compounds, Ashwagandha has been shown to provide the following benefits for athletic performance.


1. Boosts muscle strength and mass: Ashwagandha has been found to increase muscle strength and mass, making it an effective supplement for those looking to build muscle [3].



2. Improves endurance: Ashwagandha may help improve endurance, making it easier to perform at your best for longer periods of time [4].



3. Improves recovery: Ashwagandha has been found to reduce muscle damage caused by exercise, which can help you recover faster and perform better [5].



4. Increases oxygen capacity: Ashwagandha has been shown to increase oxygen capacity, which can help improve endurance and overall physical performance [6].



5. Reduces stress and anxiety: Ashwagandha is a powerful adaptogen that can help reduce stress and anxiety, which can have a positive impact on physical performance [7].




Ashwagandha Benefits For Athletic Performance



Ashwagandha can improve exercise performance in several ways. It may boost muscle strength and endurance, reduce exercise-induced muscle damage, and increase oxygen capacity. In this article, we provide detailed information on the potential benefits of Ashwagandha for physical performance.



1. Increases Muscle Mass And Strength


Several clinical studies have shown that Ashwagandha root extract increases muscle strength, muscle growth, muscle size, and muscle recovery. 

For example, a randomized controlled trial published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition examined the effects of Ashwagandha supplementation on muscle strength in healthy young men. [8]

The study found that participants who took Ashwagandha root extract twice daily for eight weeks experienced significant gains in muscle strength compared to the placebo group.

Another study published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine also reported similar findings, showing that the Ashwagandha group had a significant increase in muscle strength and muscle mass compared to the placebo after taking 500 mg of Ashwagandha root extract twice per day for eight weeks. [9]



2. Enhances Endurance 


Several studies have shown that the root extract of Ashwagandha has a positive effect on energy levels and can enhance physical endurance - an important factor in sports performance, especially in long-distance running, cycling, and swimming. 

A study published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine examined the effects of Ashwagandha supplementation on aerobic endurance in elite cyclists. [10]

The study found that participants who took 500 mg of Ashwagandha extract twice daily for eight weeks showed significant improvements in aerobic endurance compared to the placebo group. 

Another study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition also reported similar findings, showing that Ashwagandha supplementation led to significant improvements in endurance performance in healthy individuals [11].



3. Increases Testosterone Levels


The beneficial effects of Ashwagandha on muscle strength and vitality may be attributed to its ability to increase testosterone levels, a hormone which plays a critical role in both muscle strength and muscle size. 

Supplementation with Ashwagandha has been shown to cause an increase in testosterone levels which could potentially enhance muscle strength and increase muscle muscle mass. [13]

On average, evidence suggests that Ashwagandha may naturally boosts testosterone by 17% in men, according to high-quality research. Testosterone is a sex hormone that plays a vital role in regulating muscle mass and strength, sperm health, sexual function, and body composition.  [9]

The main mechanism through which Ashwagandha supplements appear to elevate testosterone levels is by lowering the stress hormone cortisol, which interferes with the normal function of the testes. This means that when cortisol levels are high, it can lead to reduced testosterone production. [10]



4. Reduces Stress and Anxiety


The benefits of Ashwagandha to enhance physical performance may be attributed to its ability to lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, Ashwagandha is known as an adaptogen, which means it helps the body adapt to stress, relieves anxiety and promotes overall resilience. [3]

Endurance sports impose significant physical stress on the body, and Ashwagandha may help the body adapt to this stress, resulting in improved endurance performance. 



5. Improves Recovery


According to sports medicine, Ashwagandha improves recovery through multiple mechanisms. Another study showed that resistance-training men who took Ashwagandha had a significantly greater reduction of exercise-induced muscle damage compared to individuals who took a placebo.

Its ability to improve sleep quality can further optimize recovery, while its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties can speed up the healing process after intense workouts, promoting better muscle recovery and overall muscle health.

How To Use Ashwagandha For Physical Performance 



The recommended dosage of Ashwagandha ranges from 500mg-1900mg per day for men and women, split into 2-3 separate doses. Certain clinical trials have used 600 mg of Ashwagandha per day, while other studies suggest higher doses may be more effective such as 1300-1900 mg per day of full-spectrum ashwagandha root extract.

Take Ashwagandha with or without food at any time of the day or night.

Make sure to speak to your doctor before adding Ashwagandha to your routine, especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, taking medications, or have any pre-existing health conditions.



What Type Of Ashwagandha Boosts Performance The Most?


NutriRise Ashwagandha: The Superior Choice



NutriRise is a health and wellness brand providing dietary supplements to support the health of your mind, body, and spirit, including our top-selling Organic Ashwagandha, used by over 1 million happy customers.

Co-founders Basim & Ramsha Mirza started NutriRise in 2016, fuelled by the desire to transform their own health through the power of nutrition and ancient wisdom. NutriRise is now backed by a world-class team of researchers, chemists, biologists, doctors, and nutritionists. Every supplement we provide is produced in the USA in a CGMP-certified facility for unparalleled safety, purity, and quality.

At NutriRise, we ensure the quality and effectiveness of our Organic Ashwagandha Capsules and Ashwagandha Gummies by rigorous third-party testing. This stringent protocol helps us guarantee that the Ashwagandha we offer is of the highest standard. 

We also ensure you're getting the most potent and effective form of Ashwagandha by only using the root extract of the ashwagandha plant. This delivers the perfect, safe amount of bioactive withanolides for optimal thyroid support, stress relief, sleep and mood, hormonal balance, and overall vitality, making it the superior choice. 

Finally, we go beyond just creating and selling products; at NutriRise, we care deeply about the customer experience too. Through our efficient delivery system, we ensure your Ashwagandha reaches you in perfect condition. By choosing NutriRise, you can trust in the quality and potency of each product, from our meticulous production processes to its arrival at your doorstep. 




Key Points


  • Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb known for its adaptogenic properties and its ability to improve muscle strength, muscle size, and muscle recovery.

  • The root of the Ashwagandha plant is rich in bioactive molecules called withanolides, which offer numerous health benefits.

  • Ashwagandha can increase muscle mass and strength, making it a useful supplement for those looking to enhance physical performance.

  • The herb improves endurance, reduces exercise-induced muscle damage, and increases oxygen capacity, facilitating better athletic performance.

  • Ashwagandha also has stress and anxiety reducing properties, which can indirectly boost physical performance.

  • Its endurance-enhancing properties have been demonstrated in studies involving cyclists and healthy individuals.

  • Ashwagandha can increase testosterone levels, a hormone crucial for muscle growth and strength.

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and not intended for use as medical advice. Always consult your doctor before taking ashwagandha.



Want to learn more about the benefits of Ashwagandha? 


Dive in and explore more below or check out our best-selling Organic Ashwagandha Capsules and Ashwagandha Gummies.



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Zaheera Swing
Nutritional Therapist & Herbalist BSc Hons Nutritional Science + NTPD
As a qualified Nutritional Therapist (BSc Hons Nutritional Science + NTPD), Zaheera Swing has a deep passion for restoring balance and harmony to the body through the modalities of nutritional science, herbalism, and holistic lifestyle practices. Using the functional medicine model coupled with wisdom from ancient paradigms, she aims to provide insight into the underlying root causes of poor health and the holistic tools we can harness to enhance the well-being of mind, body, and spirit.
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