Unveiling the Science Behind Adaptogens: Part 2 (Deeper Dive)

Science unlocks the secrets of adaptogens & how they influence athletic performance. Explore mechanisms & benefits.

NYB Team
By NYB Team
May 27, 2024
Unveiling the Science Behind Adaptogens: Part 2 (Deeper Dive)

In part 1, we explored the exciting potential of adaptogens for athletes. Now, let's delve deeper into the science behind these remarkable herbs and understand how they might influence your performance.

Adaptogens: Masters of Adaptation

Adaptogens are unique due to their hypothesized ability to regulate the body's stress response system, the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis. Here's a breakdown:

  1. Stress Triggers the HPA Axis: When you experience physical or mental stress, your hypothalamus releases a hormone called CRH (corticotropin-releasing hormone).

  2. Pituitary Gland Activation: CRH stimulates the pituitary gland to produce ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone).

  3. Cortisol Release by Adrenals: ACTH then triggers the adrenal glands to release cortisol, the primary stress hormone.

  4. Physiological Changes: Cortisol prepares your body for the "fight-or-flight" response, increasing heart rate, blood sugar, and muscle tension.

Adaptogens: Modulating the Stress Response

The exact mechanisms of adaptogens are still being explored, but research suggests they may work in several ways:

  • Balancing HPA Axis Activity: Some adaptogens might help regulate the HPA axis, potentially preventing excessive cortisol release in response to stress.

  • Modulating Neurotransmitters: Adaptogens could influence the levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which affect mood, focus, and energy levels.

  • Anti-inflammatory Properties: Certain adaptogens possess anti-inflammatory properties, potentially reducing muscle soreness and aiding recovery.

  • Improved Oxygen Utilization: Adaptogens like beet root might enhance nitric oxide production, leading to better blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscles, potentially improving endurance.

Important Considerations:

While the science behind adaptogens is promising, it's important to remember:

  • Research is Ongoing: More studies are needed to fully understand the effectiveness and mechanisms of adaptogens for athletic performance.

  • Individual Variability: Adaptogens may affect people differently. Consulting a healthcare professional is recommended.

  • Quality Matters: Choose high-quality, organic adaptogens from reputable sources.

A Glimpse into the Future:

In the upcoming parts of this series, we'll take a closer look at specific adaptogens commonly used by athletes. We'll delve into their unique properties, potential benefits, and recommended dosages to help you navigate the exciting world of these natural performance enhancers.

Stay tuned for in-depth explorations of Ashwagandha, Rhodiola rosea, Maca, Beet Root, Curcumin, and Astragalus!


 Mohammad Amir, Manisha Vohra, Rojin G. Raj, Ian Osoro, Amit Sharma,Adaptogenic herbs: A natural way to improve athletic performance,Health Sciences Review,Volume 7,2023,100092,ISSN 2772-6320,https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hsr.2023.100092.