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How Does Ashwagandha Affect Your Serotonin Levels?
How Does Ashwagandha Affect Your Serotonin Levels?

How Does Ashwagandha Affect Your Serotonin Levels?

Work, school, family obligations––not to mention other countless daily stressors––can leave you feeling overwhelmed and low. Just one more thing added to your already-full plate could lead to your eventual breaking point. 

Dealing with this level of stress over a long period could cause your serotonin levels to drop, and when that happens, your mood and overall well-being can suffer.

Aside from diet and exercise, we can increase our serotonin levels with natural, stress-reducing supplements like Ashwagandha. When we get our stress levels under control and our mood stabilized, we tend to feel happier, more energised, and better equipped to handle whatever life throws at us.

Serotonin and our mental health

What is serotonin?

Otherwise referred to as our body’s “happy hormone,” serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine or 5 HT) is a chemical that acts as a neurotransmitter, relaying messages between the neurons throughout our body. 

Research indicates that approximately 95% of our body’s serotonin lives in our GI tract. Not only is serotonin responsible for stabilizing our mood and maintaining our memory, but it also plays a key role in digestion, sexual functioning, reducing inflammation in the body, and blood clotting.

What causes serotonin deficiency?

Besides chronic stress, there are several other reasons your body may be deficient in serotonin:

  • Malnutrition
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • A sedentary lifestyle
  • Natural aging

How does serotonin affect my wellbeing?

Because of the diverse role it plays in our body, specifically in the central nervous system, serotonin is a major player in our overall well-being. 

When our serotonin levels are low, we may experience some of the following symptoms or conditions:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Hyperactivity
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Appetite issues (i.e., not eating enough or overeating)
  • Sleep disruption or insomnia
  • Chronic pain
  • Cognitive decline

Ashwagandha and your wellbeing

What is ashwagandha?

A staple adaptogen in ancient and modern Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) comes from the roots and/or leaves of an evergreen shrub which is part of the Solanaceae family. 

It grows throughout India, some areas of Africa, and the Middle East. You may also see it referred to as Indian ginseng, winter cherry, or poison gooseberry.

Well-known for its adaptogenic properties, Ashwagandha can help our bodies fight mental and physical stress. Research shows it is a Rasayana––or tonic––that promotes a youthful state of physical and mental health and expands happiness.” Even more, it can also serve as an aphrodisiac.

How can ashwagandha improve my wellbeing?

Most of us deal with stress every now and then, but when we face it consistently over a long period of time (i.e., six months or more), it can batter our physical and emotional health. 

Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that can lower our cortisol levels (i.e., our stress hormone), enabling us to fight both physical and emotional stress and leave us feeling calmer.

How should I take ashwagandha?

Sold as a capsule, powder, liquid extract, tincture, or gummy, Ashwagandha is readily available in most wellness shops worldwide or on the internet for purchase. 

For those who’d prefer minimal disruption to their daily routine––yet the maximum benefits of ashwagandha––why not opt for the powder form? You can simply add it to your morning oats or smoothie or a mug of warm milk just before bedtime. Not only can it calm your nerves, but it may also help you drift asleep even sooner.

Is ashwagandha safe for me?

Ashwagandha is safe for most healthy adults. 

Of course, it’s important to discuss the benefits and any potential side effects with your doctor before rotating ashwagandha into your daily health routine. This is especially important if you suffer from any form of thyroid disorder or autoimmune disease, or if you’re pregnant or nursing.

Top supplements that can raise your serotonin levels

KSM-66 Ashwagandha

What is it?

Unlike other forms of Ashwagandha on the market, KSM-66 Ashwagandha is “pure” because it only comes from the roots of the plant. 

It contains a high concentration of withanolides (aka, its primary active ingredient) and has high bioavailability. This is important because the KSM-66 doesn’t contain toxins, and you’ll reap maximum benefits compared to other ashwagandha supplements on the market.

How can it help me?

KSM-66 Ashwagandha can improve your focus and concentration, stabilize your mood, help you feel less anxious, and restore your energy levels.

When should I take it, and how much should I take?

Depending on why you’re taking it, you can consume ashwagandha any time of the day, with or without food. For example, if you plan to take it to boost your energy levels in the morning, or as part of your nighttime/sleep routine, consider doing so consistently for the best results.

Whilst there is no official recommended dosage, the average dose is 300 mg to 600 mg daily for 6 to 12 weeks.

5-HTP

What is it?

Harvested from the seeds of the Griffonia simplicifolia plant grown throughout Africa, 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is an amino acid that occurs naturally in our bodies.

We can also make 5-HTP by eating foods rich in the amino acid, tryptophan, for example, pumpkin, greens, chicken, turkey, and milk.

How can it help me?

Not only does 5-HTP increase the production of serotonin and therefore help stabilize our mood and decrease the frequency of migraines, but it may also help alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, sleep disruption, obesity, and symptoms of fibromyalgia. 

When should I take it, and how much should I take?

Experts indicate that taking up to 400 mg of 5HTP for up to one year could be safe for most healthy adults. 

Also, for anyone pregnant or breastfeeding, it may be best to avoid taking 5-HTP, as we don’t yet know enough about the effects it may have on a pregnant woman, fetus, or infant.

Rhodiola Rosea

What is it?

Grown throughout the coldest regions of Europe, Asia, and North America, Rhodiola Rosea (aka, Arctic root or Golden root) is a flowering plant from the Crassulaceae family. 

Considered an adaptogen because of its ability to lower your cortisol levels, Rhodiola Rosea can alleviate symptoms of anxiety similar to the way Ashwagandha does.

How can it help me?

If you’re feeling exhausted, stressed, anxious, depressed, or less energetic than usual (especially for long periods of time), then a Rhodiola Rosea supplement could help you cope. 

When should I take it, and how much should I take?

You can find Rhodiola Rosea in a variety of forms––capsules, tinctures, extracts, and teas––at a variety of health and wellness shops, both brick and mortar and on the internet. A dose of 100 mg to 300 mg daily may help alleviate symptoms of depression.

Also, it may be best to take it on an empty stomach, and to avoid doing so before bedtime because it could keep you awake.

If you’re taking a benzodiazepine or a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI), you could become drowsy, so consult your doctor before taking this supplement.

What else can I do to boost my serotonin levels?

Did you know there are several ways to boost your serotonin levels naturally? 

Here are some lifestyle changes that you could adopt as part of your daily routine: 

  • Prioritize aerobic exercise (30 minutes to one-hour daily)
  • Listen to music
  • Limit your sugar intake. Instead, consume whole foods rich in vitamins B6 and B12 (e.g., cabbage, bananas, nuts, and whole grains)
  • Engage in meditation or breathing exercises
  • Sunbathe for a natural boost of vitamin D (which can increase your dopamine levels)
  • Try to get six to eight hours of sleep every night.
  • Talk with a mental health professional
  • Set reasonable, daily goals
  • Spend time outdoors. Nature can be grounding, not to mention mood-boosting.

Need help choosing an ashwagandha supplement for your health regimen?

Serotonin’s role in maintaining our well-being is complex, but that doesn’t mean choosing the best ashwagandha supplement for it needs to be.

Earths Secret’s Calm Complex consists of a blend of five, all-natural, vegan-friendly supplements designed to raise your serotonin levels and help you feel at ease: KSM-66 Ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea, Holy Basil, L-Theanine, and Organic Black Pepper. 

More often than not, we can only perform at our best when we feel at our best. With so many obligations chipping away at our time and energy around the clock, it’s critical to do everything we can to stabilize our serotonin levels and lead a calm, balanced life—in the same way Mother Nature has always intended.

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Here’s Why People Trust Us To Care For Their Body & Mind

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