By: Regan Quaal
WHAT THEY ARE
Adaptogens are natural herbal supplements that have the capacity to normalize body functions and strengthen biological systems that can be compromised by stress. Meaning it helps the body adapt to any environmental factors of our everyday life that may induce stress, by keeping us at homeostasis (or even-keeled).
Adaptogens were initially studied by the Russian during WWII who tested them on their soldiers. The adaptogens proved to have many beneficial effects including: increased work capacity, faster recovery, improved motor learning abilities, and enhanced ability to regulate bodies mechanisms, so homeostatic conditions were maintained in stressful environments of war.
After this initial trial period, it was stated that there are four major effects all adaptogens should induce:
TYPES OF ADAPTOGENS
There are many adaptogen supplements on the market today. Some of the more well-known ones are: Rhodiola Rosea, Panax Ginseng, Schizandra Chinesis, Ashwaghanda, Eleutherococcus Senticosus, Siberian Ginseng, plus many more.
When first supplementing with adaptogens I recommend trying one at a time to figure out what works best for you for multiple reasons. First off, even though they all must possess the four qualities listed above (HISTORY), some deliver certain qualities to a higher degree than other, so it’s important to find out what works for you. Secondly, all supplements effect everyone differently, so it takes a bit of trial and error to figure out the dosage of each supplement that best fits your lifestyle.
Personally, overtime I have found that the adaptogens below is most effective for my lifestyle and goals:
The key to training at a high level every day, every week, is maximizing your recovery. In the gym we stress our bodies through training, with the hope that it will adapt and become stronger. The only issue is our body doesn’t differentiate the different types of stress. It all breaks down the body the same way, except stress from your work or home life don’t cause the same adaptation as training does.
In order to continuously improve in the gym stress must be minimized outside the gym, so the brunt of stress can be induced during training. This is where adaptogens are very beneficial, they allow us to handle higher level of stress, allowing the body to adapt more, and improve faster!
Effects of Adaptogens Supplementation on Sport Performance. A Recent Review of Published Studies.
Alvaro Domene- Journal of Human Sport and Exercise- 2013
Head Strength & Conditioning Coach at Shakopee High School