Advantage Relaxation: Fight Stress and Improve Health

These days, stress is almost inescapable. Unfortunately, when we let stress get to us, our body pays the price. Increased cortisol levels make it harder to effectively metabolize calories and ultimately lower our immune system. In these studies, ashwagandha and astaxanthin provide some support for the body’s battle against stress.

Ashwagandha improved sleep quality, anxiety

Ayurvedic medicinal herb is safe, effective

Many people have insomnia, but standard drug treatments often have unwanted side effects. In this study, 58 adults with insomnia and a clinical diagnosis of anxiety took a placebo or 300 mg of ashwagandha extract, twice per day. After five weeks, both groups were falling asleep sooner than before the study, but by 10 weeks, those in the ashwagandha group were falling asleep much sooner than placebo.

Also after 10 weeks, the percentage of time in bed spent asleep, called sleep efficiency, had not changed for placebo, but increased significantly in the ashwagandha group. Sleep quality, including how many times participants woke up during a single night, was much better for those taking ashwagandha, meaning more continuous, undisturbed transitions between nightly sleep stages.

Doctors also measured mental and physical symptoms of anxiety, and after 10 weeks saw symptom scores improve by 9.1 percent for placebo, and by 23 percent for ashwagandha.

Reference: Cureus; 2019, Vol. 11, No. 9, e5797

Astaxanthin improves mood and boosts energy

Less depression and mental fatigue

Astaxanthin, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant, has been widely studied in the lab and in human trials, with benefits including nerve and eye health, heart and circulatory function, exercise endurance, and immune support. Here, doctors were interested in its effects on mood.

In this study, 28 healthy people ranging in age from 26 to 63, took a placebo or 12 mg of natural astaxanthin per day. After eight weeks, while the placebo group had not changed, those taking astaxanthin saw significant improvements in scores on a standard mood-state profile, including 57 percent fewer feelings of depression, 36 percent improvement in mental fatigue factors, and an overall 11 percent increase in mood state. Those taking astaxanthin also tended to see improvements in tension, anger, and mental confusion.

Discussing the findings, doctors said that while participants did not have a clinical diagnosis of depression, even healthy people may have feelings of depression, which improved in the study.

Reference: E Cronicon EC Nutrition; 2019, 14.3, 239-46

BetsyHealth Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before beginning a supplement, especially if you have a medical condition (including being pregnant or nursing) or take prescription or over-the-counter medications. For example, astaxanthin and ashwagandha also thin blood.

Article copyright 2020 by Natural Insights for Well Being.  All rights reserved. Used with permission.