Need More Energy? Try Adaptogens

Hi everyone!

It’s the middle of winter, so let’s talk energy! But, instead of talking about my usual energy tips, like protein, water and sleep (which are certainly important), I want to take it a step further. What if you are already doing the right things diet wise, and you’re still tired, exhausted, and sluggish or just plain unmotivated?

Your solution might lie in adaptogens, but I want to first explain how you get to a point where you might need them.

Why You Might Need Adaptogens

Chronic stress is one of the main reasons adaptogens could be useful for you. In today’s day and age, we are in stressful situations ALL the time, but it’s more than just your typical ‘work is busy’ stress, though of course that can be a big part of it.

Other mental & physical stress you might not have thought of include:

  • Consuming foods you are intolerant to, setting off an inflammatory response in the body
  • Overexercising – believe it or not, too much exercise can actually prevent weight-loss as it is still a stress on the body (more on that for another post)
  • Consistently negative thoughts
  • A relationship that is not going well, or the loss/death of a loved one

When you experience these chronic stressors (and this has to be ongoing for a while before it becomes an issue), your cortisol, a stress hormone, becomes first elevated, and then chronically low.

When your cortisol levels are off, here are some things you might experience:

  • Waking up in the middle of the night, anxious or mind racing, or just unable to sleep
  • Having a hard time falling asleep
  • Waking up not rested, even if you slept 8 hours
  • Problems concentrating during the day
  • Serious need for stimulants (coffee, chocolate, black tea)
  • Sugar cravings, even if you’re eating enough protein & healthy fats
  • Difficulty losing weight, no matter how well you’re eating
  • Hormonal imbalances (thyroid, or menstrual cycle related like PCOS, heavy & painful periods, etc)

What Are Adaptogens?

Adapotgens are a group of herbs that help your body deal with stress, by regulating the HPA (hypothalamic, pituitary & adrenal) axis. The most common ones include ashwaghanda, rhodiola, Korean ginseng, and holy basil, though there are lots more. Adaptogens promote a state of homeostasis (or balance) in the body and can decrease your body’s susceptibility to stress.

How To Use Adaptogens

Adaptogens work differently on each individual, and everyone is in different states with their energy. Some of you might be in a high cortisol state, while others might be in a low cortisol state, and therefore what you need varies.

With my clients, I run a saliva test to determine where their cortisol levels are at so that we know which herbs will work best. Unfortunately, your doctors won’t yet run this test, so it’s something you have to order via a natural health care practitioner. The beauty of this test is that it shows where your cortisol levels are at, and plots them on a chart, like the below.

This was a client’s results who was feeling exhausted throughout the day. You can see how low her cortisol levels were. By adding in adaptogens during the time her cortisol was low, we were able to gradually repair her adrenal glands and therefore her energy.

Here are some general guidelines, and again I’d recommend speaking to an expert before using these:

  • Ashwaghanda – For the person who simply can’t get out of bed in the morning
  • Rhodiola – For the person having a hard time concentrating and thinking straight
  • Relora – For the person who is anxious and stressed, and not sleeping well

If you feel like you’re eating well already, and your energy levels aren’t where they should be, book a time to chat with me here, at no charge, and I’d love to provide you some specific guidance.

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