Ashwagandha and Vitality in Middle-Aged Men : Terry Talks Nutrition

Study Spotlight

Study Spotlight

Ashwagandha and Vitality in Middle-Aged Men


As people get older, they may feel a loss of vitality and energy, and wonder why. There are a lot of factors at play, but one of them is hormone balance. And one of the answers to restoring that balance is in ashwagandha.

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an adaptogenic botanical used in Ayurvedic practice for thousands of years. It is known for its ability to restore energy and help people feel more mentally and physically resilient and able to cope with the challenges of stress. The typical effect of adaptogens is to help individuals feel like they are running at an even keel. And hormone levels are intensively tied to that feeling. When hormones are metabolized into unhelpful forms or simply in short supply, the result can be an overwhelming sense of fatigue and general ill-feeling.

This study focused on middle-aged, overweight men. In this case, an 8-week regimen of ashwagandha increased testosterone levels by almost 15 percent and DHEA-S levels by 18 percent.

Both hormones are dependent on each other. For the adrenal glands to produce DHEA-S at beneficial levels, testosterone levels must be up to the task. A lack of either could easily correspond to less energy and ability to deal with stress. The fact that ashwagandha worked so effectively means that this herb can do a lot to restore vitality to men who otherwise would feel chronically tired and listless.

Abstract:

Lopresti AL, Drummond PD, Smith SJ. A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Study Examining the Hormonal and Vitality Effects of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in Aging, Overweight Males. Am J Mens Health. 2019;13(2):1557988319835985.

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a herb commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine to promote youthful vigor, enhance muscle strength and endurance, and improve overall health. In this 16-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study, its effects on fatigue, vigor, and steroid hormones in aging men were investigated. Overweight men aged 40-70 years, with mild fatigue, were given a placebo or an ashwagandha extract (Shoden beads, delivering 21 mg of withanolide glycosides a day) for 8 weeks. Outcome measures included the Profile of Mood States, Short Form (POMS-SF), Aging Males' Symptoms (AMS) questionnaire, and salivary levels of DHEA-S, testosterone, cortisol, and estradiol. Fifty-seven participants were enrolled, with 50 people completing the first 8-week period of the trial and 43 completing all 16 weeks. Improvements in fatigue, vigor, and sexual and psychological well-being were reported over time, with no statistically significant between-group differences. Ashwagandha intake was associated with an 18% greater increase in DHEA-S ( p = .005) and 14.7% greater increase in testosterone ( p = .010) compared to the placebo. There were no significant between-group differences in cortisol and estradiol. In conclusion, the intake of a standardized ashwagandha extract (Shoden beads) for 8 weeks was associated with increased levels of DHEA-S and testosterone, although no significant between-group differences were found in cortisol, estradiol, fatigue, vigor, or sexual well-being. Further studies with larger sample sizes are required to substantiate the current findings.

Here is the link to the complete study: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Study Examining the Hormonal and Vitality Effects of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in Aging, Overweight Males

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