Ashwagandha: The Benefits on Health and Performance

At one point or another, we’re all going to get a little stressed. Managing stress is a very personal thing – some choose to meditate, some choose to exercise, some to journal. But did you know that there is a supplement to help you feel less stressed and is already an ingredient in some of our best selling products?  

Join us as we discuss Ashwagandha, its benefits and how it may also help your athletic performance. 


What is Ashwagandha? 

The new kid on the block, Ashwagandha or Withania somnifera, is a small shrub that is native to India and Southeast Asia. Used widely as a more traditional form of herbal medicine, Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen, meaning it is supposed to improve our body’s resilience against stress. 

Ashwagandha is referred to as the “royal herb”. This is because of its suspected rejuvenative effects on the human body. It is generally thought to increase energy, reduce fatigue and counteract the effects of aging (1). 


What are the benefits of Ashwagandha?  

Whilst we can class Ashwagandha as an adaptogen, what does that actually mean it can do, and how can a daily dose of Ashwagandha benefit the human body? 

Research has found Ashwagandha has effects on:  

  • Inflammation 
  • The immune system  
  • Arthritis, and  
  • Anti Aging activities.  

However, its effects on stress and anxiety are what have given this supplement its claim to fame. 


Ashwagandha and Reduced Stress 

A variety of studies have shown that when subjects took 240-600mg of Ashwagandha extract for 8+ weeks, they showed a significant reduction in stress levels. This included lower levels of Cortisol, the stress hormone that controls your body’s stress response (2,3,4).   

In addition to this, taking around 600mg of Ashwagandha root per day for 12-weeks was shown to significantly improve sleep quality (5), and this was even more effective for people who suffer with insomnia (6). Sleep disturbance or lack of sleep can negatively affect your stress levels and overall wellbeing, so Ashwagandha may be a important supplement to consider in your general health. 


How much Ashwagandha should I take? 

Based on studies (2,3,4,5), the recommendation for an effect on the body is around 600mg/day and Ashwagandha comes in a variety of formats. 

PHD Relax supplements are expertly formulated to combine a variety of complimentary ingredients, including Ashwagandha, all designed to help your mind and body unwind after a stressful day. Relax has added amino acids and botanicals to support mental wellbeing and balance, and the convenience of the capsules mean they’re easy to fit into your daily supplement regime. 

Our Complete Meal Replacement powders are also a great way to get Ashwagandha into your diet. High in protein, full of vitamins and 100% plant based, Complete can either be used as your daily breakfast shake or within recipes as it’s such a versatile supplement. 


Can Ashwagandha help performance 

As well as being a great supplement for overall health, Ashwagandha may have positive effects on athletic performance as well. 

A 2020 review of five studies found that supplementing higher doses [330-1000mg] of Ashwagandha over a 24-week period significantly improved VO2max* in both trained and untrained individuals. This meant that the body could process more Oxygen during activity, and there are links between a higher VO2max and a lowered risk of heart disease (7). 

It has also been shown that doses of between 750mg -1250mg of Ashwagandha daily has positive effects on muscle strength, muscle size, testosterone levels and absolute power output (8).   

Given that athletes experience high levels of inflammation in response to regular training, it is worth noting that 60 days of supplementing with Ashwagandha helped reduce inflammatory markers in the blood (9).  


Ashwagandha in a nutshell   

  • From a health perspective, around 500mg of Ashwagandha per day may have positive effects on stress, anxiety, inflammation and sleep. Given there are no noted side effects, even at really high doses, this is a low-risk supplement with a lot of potential benefits.   
  • Higher doses [up to 1250mg per day] may enhance both strength and endurance performance. It is suggested that 300-500mg taken twice per day (morning and before sleep) might be an effective and safe protocol to see benefits in athletes.   
  • Ashwagandha can already be found in some of our best selling products including Relax Capsules and Complete Meal Replacement Powder