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ashwagandha-weight-management

Guide to using Ashwagandha for weight management

24 Nov 2022 • 1 min read

Supporting brain function and memory; helping aid symptoms of mental health conditions; improving libido… ashwagandha has a reputation as a jack-of-all-trades.

So, how does ashwagandha help with weight management?

From increasing testosterone levels to reducing cortisol levels, ashwagandha can work in clever ways to help increase muscle mass and reduce body fat.

Discover how ashwagandha can aid weight management and the recommended daily dosage for gaining muscle mass or losing weight from our guide.

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Ashwagandha and cortisol

Firstly, it’s useful to understand how ashwagandha could influence weight management.

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen - this is a herb thought to improve the body’s ability to cope with stress. Therefore, taking ashwagandha could influence your stress hormone - Cortisol.

Cortisol provides us with our ‘fight or flight’ function, operating on high emotions as well as physical stress.

Multiple studies have shown that ashwagandha supplements could help to lower cortisol levels, reducing levels of perceived stress.1

But how does that relate to muscle growth and weight management?

The more cortisol you have running through your body, the less likely it is that your body can stay in its anabolic state - which is a state required to build muscle.

That’s why ashwagandha is considered helpful in muscle growth, as its most prominent feature is its ability to reduce cortisol levels.

Recommended dosage: if you’re taking ashwagandha to help lower cortisol levels, it’s recommended you should take between 500 – 600mg a day for 6 – 12 weeks.

How does ashwagandha help with muscle growth?

As highlighted above, there’s a significant link between ashwagandha reducing stress levels in the body, meaning your body could stay in an anabolic state for longer.

The main study supporting this theory involved analysing 57 men who consumed 300mg of ashwagandha root extract twice daily. In addition, the treatment and control groups underwent resistance training for 8 weeks.2

This led to “significant increases in muscle mass and strength” and more than doubling their reductions in body fat percentage compared to the placebo group.

Another study analysing healthy men concluded that an increase of strength in muscle activity was significant, as well as a reduction in total body fat percentage.3

This supports the proposed benefits of ashwagandha for bodybuilding and muscle growth, as well as helping contribute to a reduction in body fat.

Recommended dosage: if you’re taking ashwagandha to help increase muscle growth, it’s recommended you should take daily dosages of 500mg.

Ashwagandha and testosterone

Another important piece of the ashwagandha puzzle is the impact it has on testosterone levels.

As a hormone, testosterone plays an important role in driving muscle growth. It means that the more testosterone you have in your body, the more recovered your muscles can be, which leads to a faster growth rate.

As well as reducing cortisol levels, ashwagandha has proven benefits of aiding infertility in men. For example, a study showed taking 5g of ashwagandha daily for 3 months increased sperm count and motility.4

Another study found that an ashwagandha supplement increased males’ fertility rate by 14%.5 Learn more about the benefits of ashwagandha for men, and ashwagandha for women, from our dedicated guides.

So, while ashwagandha is quietly working away to reduce your cortisol levels, simultaneously, testosterone levels are rising, which aids the ability to grow muscle mass.

Recommended dosage: if you’re taking ashwagandha to help increase fertility levels, it’s recommended to take 5g per day.6

How does ashwagandha help with weight loss?

So, we’ve explored how cortisol can help the body maintain an anabolic state, which could help increase muscle mass.

But how does ashwagandha help you lose weight?

In addition to being an adaptogen, ashwagandha is also a natural antioxidant, which helps to improve overall health in the body.7

Antioxidants speed up your metabolism and decrease inflammation8, which helps reduce your body’s stored fat. They also help to boost your immune system9, which helps to redirect energy back to the weight loss process.

Naturally, with its ability to lower stress hormones in the body, ashwagandha is also thought to help with weight loss in people suffering from mental health conditions.

A study analysing body weight management - in adults under chronic stress - through treatment with ashwagandha showed interesting findings.

The study indicated a significant reduction in both body weight and body mass index in patients who took ashwagandha extract compared to the placebo group. Therefore, it concluded that ashwagandha is useful for body weight management in patients experiencing chronic stress.10

Recommended dosage: if you’re taking ashwagandha to help lose weight, dosages vary depending on individual needs, but taking 250 – 500 mg a day for at least 1 month should be effective.

The final say

In summary, ashwagandha has many benefits for weight management purposes.

It can help increase muscle mass, which is especially helpful for bodybuilders, as well as reduce body fat levels, thus helping with weight loss.

If you’re considering taking ashwagandha as part of your daily routine but aren’t sure about the correct dosage for you, please contact your GP for specialised advice.

Sources

1 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23439798/ 
2 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26609282/ 
3 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23125505/ 
4 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19501822/ 
5 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3136684/ 
6 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19789214/
7 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252722/ 
8 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7696210/ 
9 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19388865/ 
10 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871210/ 

 
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