In the search for a natural remedy to promote and restore physical, sexual, and mental equilibrium, this ancient, and scientifically acclaimed supplement may be just what you are looking for. Ashwagandha benefits for men are endless!
This blog will delve into the science behind how ashwagandha can help ease the symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. We also explore ashwagandha’s benefits to male sexual health, including performance, testosterone levels, sperm quality, fertility, and prostate health, as well as muscular strength and recovery.
What is Ashwagandha?
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Extracts from the ashwagandha plant, botanical name withania somnifera, have been used to great acclaim in Ayurvedic and Unani Indian medical systems for over 3,000 years.
Known for its ability to support health, ashwagandha’s pharmacological properties include extracted compounds called withaferins which have been found to have adaptogenic, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory properties. Ayurvedic practitioners consider it to be one of the most important herbal supplements due to its versatile health-promoting properties.
Ashwagandha is a member of the group of herbs termed adaptogens which are heralded for their health benefits. They can be taken in various forms such as steeped in hot water to make a tea, as powder added to food or drink, as a tincture or in Ashwagandha Root Extract 500mg . The parts of the ashwagandha plant used for medicinal properties are mainly the roots and berries.
In 1965, following medical research, a discovery was made resulting in what is now known as withaferin A. This comprises approximately 900 naturally occurring compounds with multiple ways of working on various inflammatory conditions, including arthritis, cancer, neurodegenerative disease, autoimmune disease, and neurobehavioral issues.
These naturally occurring compounds show remarkable biological activity across the range of varied symptoms, and as research continues, further compounds continue to come to light, leading to ongoing trials to discover still more therapeutic value from this amazing plant.
Ashwagandha Benefits for Men
The term ‘adaptogenic’ means something which helps your body balance its systems by working in those areas where support is most needed. Ashwagandha contains compounds called withanolides, which scientists have confirmed to be responsible for many of ashwagandha’s benefits. These include the ability to reduce inflammation, boost immunity, enhance mood and support cognitive function. Ashwagandha can also help your body adapt to stress by regulating cortisol levels.
Ayurvedic medicine has traditionally used ashwagandha primarily to treat inflammation. Research into the properties of withanolides has shown that these compounds provide effective and safer anti-inflammatory relief for chronic conditions as an alternative to the widely prescribed non-steroidal drugs which are well known to be detrimental to the digestive system and may result in stomach ulcers.
Adaptogenic properties of the extracted compounds of ashwagandha, known as withaferins, have been found to help support neurological function, as well as hormonal processes.
Other areas where ashwagandha supports male health include muscle strength, endurance, athletic performance, and cardiovascular support. It is also known to help regulate mood, improve sleep quality, enhance cognitive function and boost immunity. In physical training circles many men now take ashwagandha as a supplement to support and promote physical and mental fitness and it is often referred to simply as ‘ash’. Our Ashwagandha Root Capsules contain 500mg root extract and we recommend taking one per day to start, possibly increasing to 2 per day if necessary.
There is strong evidence that ashwagandha may lower the risk of many serious diseases. Laboratory tests have shown that the antioxidant withaferin can kill cancer cells and block tumour growth. This means it may be helpful in treating several types of cancer, including lung, prostate, thyroid and colon. Further research into these findings are needed but results so far are encouraging.
Research has also suggested that ashwagandha can help in the management of blood sugar levels, and in treating insulin resistance. This may prove to be very good news for the many who are suffering with diabetes, pre-diabetes and other metabolic disorders.
The adaptability of ashwagandha to get to work where it’s needed creates an impressive catalogue of benefits for numerous and diverse health issues.
Ashwagandha for Stress and Anxiety
We know that a certain level of stress is unavoidable, and in many ways your body’s natural response to it is a necessary coping mechanism, but long-term stress will undermine general mental and physical health, leading to anxiety, depression, and fatigue. Ashwagandha is known to act as a natural remedy, helping to reduce cortisol levels and regulate the functioning of your adrenal glands which eases the symptoms associated with chronic stress.
Methods of managing stress, other than with benzodiazepines and other pharmaceutical products, are increasingly becoming of interest to clinicians and medical scientists alike. The intention is to reduce exposure to the adverse effects associated with those drugs, and in light of this, Ayurvedic practises are gradually becoming of much greater interest and support in medical primary care. This has led to laboratory trials to evaluate ashwagandha’s ability to regulate physiologic processes to stabilise the body’s response to stress.
Following the positive findings of laboratory trials, human clinical studies have taken place with ashwagandha showing promising results. A sixty-day randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving sixty-five participants with chronic stress symptoms, was conducted to assess ashwagandha’s ability to alleviate the symptoms of stress and anxiety. The study concluded that high concentration, full spectrum ashwagandha root extract improves an individual’s resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life.
Numerous studies, both animal and human, have discovered that ashwagandha reduces cortisol levels. It also supports the healthy function of the adrenal glands, and this strengthens and calms an exhausted or agitated nervous system.
Ashwagandha for Strength and Endurance
If you are on a programme of intense physical exercise, such as in endurance training, this exerts a huge amount of stress on your body. In managing this degree of stress your body has certain mechanisms to help it adapt. Ashwagandha, being an adaptogen, can enhance these mechanisms in the following ways:
- Provide support to muscle recovery due to its ability to speed up muscle growth.
- Relieve pain by reducing lactic acid levels.
- Reduce inflammation with its free-radical zapping, antioxidant properties. This helps to protect against damaging aspects of high-intensity exercise.
- Decrease levels of stress hormones including cortisol.
Ashwagandha is highly beneficial for physical health. It can enhance cognitive function, energy levels, and cardiovascular health, while also boosting muscle strength, endurance, and athletic performance. Additionally, it supports the immune system and reduces inflammation.
A report on the randomised, controlled trial into the effect of supplementing with ashwagandha for muscle strength and recovery was conducted and published by The International Society of Sports Nutrition, and the findings were that ashwagandha is associated with significant increases in muscle mass and strength. The recommendation was that ashwagandha supplementation would be useful in conjunction with a resistance training programme.
Ashwagandha for Sexual Health
Ashwagandha has been heralded for its power to boost sexual potency from the days of the Kama Sutra where it is mentioned in the ancient text. Modern science is now validating the claims made centuries ago that the ashwagandha plant provides a safe and powerful supplement to improve the sex life of men.
Because of its adaptogenic properties, ashwagandha strengthens your adrenal system which helps control the release of adrenaline and cortisol, the main stress hormones. When stress levels are high, your blood pressure goes up, and when this happens, blood-flow to the arteries is restricted. This is one of the most common reasons for declining sex drive and performance.
When men start taking ashwagandha the nitric oxide levels in their bodies are boosted and this causes increased blood-flow to the genitals, resulting, with appropriate stimulation, to significantly heightened sexual desire and satisfaction.
Ashwagandha has long been known to be an aphrodisiac and modern science now acknowledges it as a powerful treatment for loss of libido and erectile dysfunction. It is frequently used as one of the major ingredients in natural alternatives to Viagra.
Ashwagandha benefits for men also inclides male reproductive health by improving testosterone levels, sperm quality, fertility, and prostate health.
An eight-week randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to investigate the aphrodisiac properties of ashwagandha root extract in males was conducted in 2022. Fifty participants with lower sexual desire were randomly allocated to take 300 mg of ashwagandha root extract or placebo capsules twice daily.
Results of the trial found that compared to placebo, ashwagandha root extract supplementation showed a significant increase in the serum testosterone levels and demonstrated a significant subjective perception of sexual well-being in the participants.
Ashwagandha And Sleep
A 2020 study to evaluate ashwagandha’s effectiveness on sleep, concluded that it improved sleep quality and reduced symptoms of non-restorative sleep in those who had suffered long-term with this problem.
The study involved 150 participants all with high levels of non-restorative sleep issues resulting in physical and cognitive fatigue. Ashwagandha supplements were taken by the trial participants for a period of six weeks and showed significant improvements in their non-restorative sleep patterns. No adverse effects from this treatment were reported during the study.
Results of a further study, published by The National Library of Medicine in 2020, examined the effects of ashwagandha on people between the ages of 65 and 80 years. The object of the study was to assess the safety, efficacy and tolerability of ashwagandha root extract on general health and sleep in those of this age group.
The study concluded that ashwagandha was efficient in improving quality of life and has a positive impact on non-restorative sleep patterns.
Ashwagandha for Cardiovascular Support
High levels of cholesterol may lead to impaired cardiac health and studies have found that ashwagandha can help reduce cholesterol levels and so offer protection against heart disease. It has also been found to lower high blood pressure which can reduce the risk of stroke and heart failure. Further research into ashwagandhas role in preventing heart disease is ongoing.
Studies have also shown that ashwagandha reduces cortisol levels in the body, which in turn reduces stress and resultant elevated blood pressure and heart rates. Cortisol is a stress hormone which is released into the blood stream which sometimes may cause an irregular heartbeat. A study involving participants suffering with stress showed that when they were given high-concentration, full-spectrum ashwagandha root extract in the form of capsules for 60 days, this brought their cortisol levels down by 28 percent. The trial also showed a reduction in palpitation.
A 2015 study involving human participants found ashwagandha root extract could enhance cardiorespiratory endurance and give improved quality of life to healthy adults.
Ashwagandha for Cognitive Performance
Traditionally, ashwagandha has been used for boosting memory and aiding concentration. Modern research is still being carried out, but early trials have shown that it may improve cognitive performance. It is now being classed as a nootropic substance and researchers are optimistic that it may reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline.
Ashwagandha has been found to help block nervous system issues resulting from anxiety disorder, insomnia, and clinical depression.
It has also been discovered that ashwagandha has an effect which mimics the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), not only promoting relaxation, calming the nervous system, but also blocking cravings for alcohol, nicotine and narcotics.
GABA is a neurotransmitter that inhibits nerve activity in the brain. It plays a crucial role in regulating anxiety, stress, and addiction. Pharmaceutical drugs such as benzodiazepines work by modulating GABA activity in the brain, but they come with a host of side effects, including addiction and withdrawal symptoms.
Ashwagandha works as a GABA agonist, meaning it binds to the GABA receptor and increases its activity. This boost in GABA activity results in calming effects on the nervous system, reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation. Ashwagandha also acts as an anti-anxiety agent and mood booster.
In deciding if ashwagandha is suitable for you, there are certain instances you may wish to consider where it should be avoided:
- If you have an auto immune disease.
- If you have recently had surgery, or have a procedure scheduled.
- If you have a thyroid disorder.
- For women who may be reading this blog, it is not safe to take ashwagandha during pregnancy or breast feeding.
Side Effects of Ashwagandha on Males
Ashwagandha has been safely used for many centuries to support health and treat a wide range of conditions. However, the herb’s powerful profile may cause health risks in certain cases, so before taking ashwagandha you may like to consider the following:
- Negative side effects are generally very mild and resolve quickly. They may include stomach discomfort, diarrhoea, and drowsiness.
- Should you experience more serious or ongoing symptoms such as blurred vision, skin rash, irregular heartbeat, or vertigo you should stop taking the supplements and see your doctor.
Ashwagandha Drug Interactions
There are certain pharmaceutical drugs that ashwagandha may interact with such as benzodiazepines, anticonvulsants, barbiturates.
Ashwagandha can lower blood pressure and blood sugar, so if you are taking medications to manage blood pressure or diabetes you may need to adjust your dosage to use ashwagandha safely. Checking with your doctor is a good idea.
Increases in Hormone Levels
Because ashwagandha can increase testosterone levels, the effect can be harmful if you have hormone-resistant prostate cancer.
If you are taking medication for thyroid disease, you should check with your doctor before taking ashwagandha as it may possibly raise thyroid hormone levels.
Ten Key Takeaways on Ashwagandha BenefitsFor Men
- Ashwagandha has been used in Ayurvedic traditional Indian medicine for thousands of years to support good health.
- Ashwagandha promotes muscle strength, endurance, and athletic performance.
- Ashwagandha benefits for men include reproductive health and function.
- Ashwagandha can help improve testosterone levels, sperm quality, fertility, and prostate health, contributing to overall sexual health and well-being.
- Ashwagandha can help block addictive cravings for alcohol, nicotine and narcotics as it mimics the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)
- Ashwagandha can help improve testosterone levels, sperm quality, fertility, and prostate health.
- Ashwagandha can contribute to overall sexual health and well-being.
- Ashwagandha can reduce cortisol levels and support normal adrenal gland functioning, benefiting stress levels.
- Ashwagandha helps regulate mood and sleep for improved mental health.
- Ashwagandha enhances cognitive function, energy levels, immunity, and cardiovascular health.
- Ashwagandha has adaptogenic properties that help the body cope with diseases caused by inflammation.
- Always discuss with your doctor before incorporating any new herbal supplement into your routine.
You may be interested in reading some of our other blogs on men’s health and wellbeing:
- Low Testosterone: How it Affects Your Health
- Low Libido in Men
- Is Stress and Anxiety Affecting Your Mental Health?
When it comes to keeping you informed on health and nutrition, we’re here for you and aim to help where we can. If you would like to discuss any aspect of using natural supplements, or would find advice helpful, please feel free to contact us on 01297 553932.