The science behind ADAPTOGENS and mental wellbeing

The science behind ADAPTOGENS and mental wellbeing

Mental wellbeing is a challenging state of mind to achieve given that it requieres the input of multiple intrinsic and extrinsic factors such us our sleep quality, diet, physical performance, cognitive state and stress management.

In the past decade adaptogens have been emerging in the world of nutricosmetics for stress management and mood improvement nevertheless not enough is explained about the functioning of these substances nor they relate to our cognitive state. In our journal we have created a simplified version of what adaptogens are and their role in our mental wellbeing.

The term "adaptogen" is derived from the Latin word "adaptare," which means "to adapt,”; it was first utilised by Soviet scientist Dr. Nikolai Lazarev in 1947. He was researching substances that could help the body adapt to various stressors and coined the term "adaptogen" to describe multiple substances with this effect. Since then, the term has become widely used in the fields of herbal medicine and alternative medicine to describe substances that help the body adapt to stress factors both physically and mentally.   

They have been used in traditional medicine systems, particularly in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine, for centuries. These natural substances are thought to have a normalizing effect on bodily functions, helping to regulate systems, such as the neuroendocrine system, that become imbalanced due to stressors.

Adaptogens have multiple benefits depending on the daily administered dosage however, the 6 main beneficial pilars that you should be familiarised with as a GHABITIAN include:

Stress Reduction: They regulate the production of stress hormones such as cortisoland neurotransmitters such as adrenaline by a direct mechanisms over the  hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the sympathetic-adrenal-medullary (SAM) axis which are the primary systems involved in the body's stress response. Due to this mechanism they have the capacity of creating a balanced response to stress and stressful

Physical and mental stress are not the only ones that are attained with adaptogens; they operate on a celular anti-oxidative level. They are believed to stimulate the production of heat shock proteins (HSPs), which help protect cells from damage caused by stressors such as heat, toxins, and oxidative stress and consequently improve overall health and resilience.

Increased Energy and Endurance: Some adaptogens are claimed to boost energy levels and physical endurance through their antioxidant properties and neutralisation of free radicals, making them popular among athletes and individuals with demanding lifestyles.

Enhanced Mental Clarity and Focus: Adaptogens are believed to support cognitive function, improving mental clarity, focus, and overall cognitive performance due to their influence on the levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine in the brain. These neurotransmitters play important roles in mood regulation, energy levels, and cognitive function, and when done right, their modulation may reduce mental fog.

Immune System Support: Certain adaptogens have demonstrated to enhance the body's immune response by an enhancement of its ability to respond to pathogens and stressors which helps prevent illnesses and supports overall health.

Hormonal Balance: Some specific adaptogens, such as Ashwagandha and Licorice root, are believed to support hormonal balance, particularly in women by their effect on the pituitary-gonadal axis. They help regulate hormone levels, alleviate symptoms of hormonal imbalances, and support reproductive health.

Mood Regulation: due to their neurotransmitter modulating activity, adaptogens are believed to have mood-regulating effects, helping to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and mood swings. For this reason, they are great allies to supporting overall emotional balance.
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