Adaptogens – means of plant, animal and synthetic origin that increase the adaptive abilities of the body. Adaptogens have been known to mankind since ancient times. Many of them are already of little use, due to proven inefficiency or for other reasons (for example, animal horns). The most popular and effective today are plant adaptogens, which are widely used in sports for their beneficial properties. Adaptogens are available in the form of tincture, extract, less often in tablets, and are available at any of the pharmacies.
The effect of adaptogens on the body
Each plant adaptogen has a unique set of biologically active substances that determine its beneficial properties. However, there are many common properties characteristic of plant adaptogens:
- General strengthening and tonic effect. It is associated with the activation of various body systems (nervous, immune, endocrine, cardiovascular).
- Adaptive action. Adaptogens increase the body’s adaptation to adverse conditions, such as changes in climatic conditions (heat, cold, temperature changes), change of time zones, hunger, thirst, lack of oxygen (hypoxia), increased mental and physical activity, stress.
- Psycho-emotional action. Adaptogens are able to have an exciting and calming effect on the central nervous system (CNS). They are used for stressful and obsessive states, nervous excitement, and strong feelings.
The effect of adaptogens on the central nervous system
The main advantage and versatility of adaptogens is the ability to regulate the state of the central nervous system (CNS). Adaptogens affect the central nervous system in two ways:
- Increased activity of the central nervous system. It is achieved by an average or increased dosage of adaptogen. Used to enhance mental and physical performance, tone. At moderate doses, a moderate stimulating effect is achieved, recommended as a daily intake. Taking high doses can cause overexcitation, irritability, loss of sleep, so it is recommended to refrain from such a reception or use it only in extreme cases.
- Decrease in central nervous system activity. This is achieved by taking small doses of adaptogens.
How do adaptogens boost testosterone?
Despite the fact that the effectiveness of adaptogens has been proven by more than one study, taking herbal preparations cannot guarantee an increase in the level of sex hormones. However, there is evidence of a tonic effect of plant adaptogens on the endocrine (hormonal) system, which helps to improve the synthesis of sex hormones. The following adaptogens have the potential to increase testosterone synthesis in men.
Since plant adaptogens have a similar biological effect, the description of a specific adaptogen comes down only to its distinctive features.
The rich history of the successful use of ginseng in medicine in the Far East has contributed to the spread of the “root of life” around the world. Ginseng is popular for its tonic effect on all body systems (not the strongest among adaptogens). To consolidate the tonic effect, prolonged use of the drug is necessary, but within the duration of the course. With a single use of ginseng, an improvement in performance, a surge of strength and a decrease in fatigue are observed. Ginseng has the ability to improve appetite, which can be used by athletes during muscle gain. The most effective use of ginseng in the fall and winter – in the spring and summer, the effectiveness of the “root of life” is reduced.
Eleutherococcus is very similar in its properties to ginseng, but unlike the “root of life” does not lose its effectiveness all year round. Therefore, it makes no sense to use drugs in conjunction – it is better to alternate their use and, in the end, focus on which one is more suitable for your body. Eleutherococcus, to a greater extent than ginseng, reduces the recovery period of the parameters of the cardiovascular system during exercise, so it can be used for high-intensity exercise.
Leuzea safflower (maral root)
The main advantage of leuzea over other adaptogens is its anabolic activity. A substance such as ecdysterone, contained in the roots of the leuzea, improves protein biosynthesis. For this property, ecdysterone was isolated in a separate dietary supplement. Ecdysterone has a steroid structure, but it does not have hormone-like properties. It is recommended to use ecdysterone with an additional intake of protein (see “When to Use Protein”).
Leuzea is considered the most valuable for athletes, because it improves blood supply to the muscles, due to which an increase in working capacity and the strength of their contraction is achieved. It is noted that with regular use of maral, the root increases the power of contraction of the heart muscle, which can be useful to people with an increased heart rate.
Aralia is similar to ginseng in its biological effects on the body. A distinctive feature of this adaptogen is a strong hypoglycemic effect. Therefore, it is most often used to treat diabetes. Due to the hypoglycemic action, aralia can significantly increase appetite, which will be useful to those who are in training mode aimed at gaining muscle mass. Aralia surpasses many adaptogens in its general tonic effect.
Radiola pink (golden root)
Radiol pink with prolonged use (as part of the course) can improve muscle strength and performance. Improves the work of the cardiovascular system: normalizes blood pressure (mainly increases hypotonic pressure) and heart rate. A positive effect of radiola on the function of the gonads was noted, it can be recommended for violations of spermatogenesis, impotence, delayed puberty. In its tonic and firming effect, the golden root is one of the strongest among adaptogens.
Schisandra chinensis more than other adaptogens, enhances the processes of excitation of the central nervous system. Therefore, the greatest benefit from its use will be in the period of maximum physical (sports) or mental (exams) activity. Schisandra improves digestion and assimilation of food, so it is perfect as an additive for enhanced nutrition of athletes. Of the positive aspects of Schisandra chinensis, an improvement in visual acuity should also be noted.
The flowers of the temptation are similar both externally and in composition to ginseng. Therefore, the temptation in its biological effect is close to ginseng.
Dosage and use of adaptogens
Since plant adaptogens have a different form of release (tincture, extract, tablets) and a different amount of the active substance, it makes sense to be guided by relevant information obtained from the instructions for the drug.
The selection of the dosage of the drug is individual for everyone, since the body’s response to the drug can vary widely. It is worth starting to use the adaptogen with the minimum recommended dose once in the morning or in the morning. Track the reaction of your body to the dose. If the tonic effect is achieved, continue to increase the dosage by one drop until you reach the optimal stimulating effect of the drug without any side effects.
If symptoms of an overdose in the form of insomnia or increased nervous irritability have occurred while taking the drug, it is necessary to gradually reduce the dosage until the unwanted side effects disappear.
General recommendations for the use of adaptogens:
- Alcohol tinctures of adaptogens should be taken in the morning to avoid sleep disturbances.
- Adaptogens must be used in courses, taking breaks in admission.
- Do not exceed the dosage and duration of administration indicated in the instructions for the drug.
- Since each of the plant stimulants has properties characteristic only of it, it makes sense to alternate the use of various adaptogens.
- The manifestation of the beneficial properties of the adaptogen takes time. Usually, the duration of the course indicated in the instructions for the drug is sufficient for the manifestation of the beneficial properties of the adaptogen.
- The dosage is selected individually, guided by the instructions for the drug and your own health.
- increased individual sensitivity to the components of the drug;
- high blood pressure;
- cardiovascular diseases;
- chronic liver disease;
- sleep disorders
- acute infectious diseases.
Adaptogen Side Effects
Adaptogens have good tolerance and do not have toxic effects even when taking large doses. However, taking adaptogens can cause some side effects:
- sleep disturbance;
- allergic reactions;
- high blood pressure;