What are Adaptogens?

      

Adaptogens are used to help our bodies manage various types of stressors, be it physical in nature or psychological. Adaptogens are plants in the form of herbs, fruits, roots, seeds and mushrooms.

Key Benefits of Adaptogens?

Verve Blends – VIBE utilises 6 different Adaptogenic herbs which have proven results in achieving the benefits outlined above. To see some of the studies supporting these claims, please go to the About VIBE page (link).

Adaptogens appear to help us in two distinct ways; 1. modulating the bodies stress response, thereby reducing the negative impact stress can have our physiological and psychological systems, 2. By helping providing resources to the body to help us restore natural hormone levels that have been depleted through long lasting or extensive stress periods.

The adaptogens selected by Verve Blends combine the traditional herbal medicine wisdom from India (Ayurveda), China, Tibet, Native America and Japan (Kampo) 

Combating Stress

Adaptogens support the entire nervous system and Endocrine system (glands), collectively referred to as the neuroendocrine system. They can help regulate the metabolic activity via the neuroendocrine system, in particular the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis. Adaptogens can help modulate the stress response via the HPA axis and thereby restore optimal functioning.

To put it more simply we believe adaptogens help the body’s natural reaction to stress thereby reducing the ill impacts stress can have, as well as helping the body gradually strengthen its natural ability to tolerate stressors. When the body perceives something as stressful, the body will secrete various stress hormones via its Endocrine system (namely cortisol, adrenaline, noradrenaline), which can be regarded collectively as the stress hormones. Adaptogens can help the body modulate the release of these stress hormones and thereby help rebuild natural levels in the body which can have a number of flow on beneficial effects (explored below).

 

Health and Wellbeing

Many adaptogens have been shown to enhance the action of cellular Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) and stimulate the mitochondria of the cells to help produce energy. Adaptogens also help create an anabolic environment for the body to better support muscle building and recovery whilst offsetting catabolic (break-down) activity via adaptogen anti-oxidant properties. Thus, adaptogens can be a useful addition to post work out smoothies.

 

Adrenal Fatigue

In response to a stress the adrenal glands will release a number of stress hormones. The severity of the stress will determine how hard the glands will work and the volume of stress hormones secreted. Adrenal fatigue occurs when the glands cannot adequately meet your own regular demands. This could occur through semi-frequent high stress events (i.e. sports games, household arguments) or frequent low-stress events (i.e. daily work stress). Everyone responds to stress differently and some will handle frequent stress events better than others. Adaptogens are more impactful for those who are finding it difficult to respond to stress.

 Possible symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue include:

  • Chronic Fatigue (feeling run down even with plenty of sleep)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Lack of concentration
  • Light headedness
  • Irritability
  • Nausea occurring at times of stress 

People will often turn to various stimulants namely caffeine found in coffee, energy drinks and tea to keep themselves alert and hold attention on tasks. Turning to stimulants is common for people suffering from adrenal fatigue, unfortunately this will usually only exasperate the problem.

Adaptogens help with adrenal fatigue by helping manage the regulation of stress hormones. When the stress stops adaptogens also help the adrenal glands shut down more quickly. All the ingredients selected in VIBE have been chosen to support the adrenal glands.

In particular adaptogens containing triterpenoid saponins appear to have a strengthening effect on the adrenal glands (as they can mimic the activity of adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH). Astragalus, Siberian Ginseng and Holy Basil are utilised in VIBE and contain triterpenoid saponins.

 

Anxiety and Depression

Adaptogens have a direct effect on nervous system health. Many adaptogens have anxiolytic (relieving anxiety), antidepressant and nervine (beneficial towards the nervous system) qualities. Ashwagandha and Schisandra can provide relief from anxiety whilst also being calming for the nervous system additionally Rhodiola may help with the management of depression.

If your main goal is to target anxiety relief via a herbal blend, then VIBE can be supplemented with small dosages of nervine herbs such as chamomile, Passionflower and Skullcap. Another nervine that has antidepressant effects that can be used in conjunction with VIBE is St John's Wort. Of course, when taking any supplement, you need to assess your individual health condition and if unsure consult your Physician first especially if you are already on some form of medication.

 

Brain Function

The usage of adaptogens can help normalise neurotransmitter levels in the brain and can assist with the treatment of neurological health problems, including headaches, migraines, impaired memory and concentration. Some adaptogens appear to have the ability to increase the amount of mental exercise a person can carry out as well as the quality of that work. Verve Blends - VIBE contains Ashwagandha, Siberian Ginseng, Rhodiola and Schisandra which are commonly used to aid mental clarity. Ashwagandha can also help prevent atrophy (the wasting away) of nerve cells in the brain.

Nootropics can be used to supplement VIBE in assisting with focus; Bacopa, Ginkgo and Gotu Kola are great nootropics that can be used in conjunction with VIBE to help improve focus.

 

Supporting Proper Immunity Function

Adaptogens containing polysaccharides such as Astragalus appear to be supportive of proper immune function. Adaptogens appear to support the body’s immunity through changing the levels of certain cytokines involved in immunity activation/stimulation. Studies with Astragalus have shown the ability to increase production of white blood cells, notably T Cells and macrophages.  

Further Reading

Information and ideas contained in David Winston’s and Steven Maimes’s book - Adaptogens Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief, has provided influence for the above summary on Adaptogens. You can buy their book for a comprehensive review on Adaptogens here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Adaptogens-Strength-Stamina-Stress-Relief/dp/1594771588