Ashwagandha is an herb historically used in Ayurvedic medicine, known for its powerful adaptogenic properties. Ashwagandha is commonly used to regulate stress levels and improve sleep quality, and has also demonstrated support for various other health benefits. When taken as a supplement, the time it takes for Ashwagandha to exhibit benefits depends on various factors.
Health Benefits of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb supported by clinical studies for various positive effects. Taking Ashwagandha as a supplement has become increasingly popular, with studies suggesting it can be a natural solution to:
- Help reduce stress and anxiety
- Improve sleep
- Boost cognitive function
- Enhance fertility in men
- Improve sexual function in women
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that has been well-studied for a plethora of benefits. When taking ashwagandha supplements, it's important to evaluate your health needs, consider how ashwagandha supplementation can fit into your daily routine, and determine which supplement is best suited for your health goal.
Side Effects of Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is generally safe to take consistently with minimal side effects. The upper daily intake limit for ashwagandha is typically recommended at 1,000 mg. In many cases, a lower dosage than this is sufficient to experience positive effects.
Avoid taking ashwagandha if you are pregnant, taking any medications, or have a pre-existing condition. If you have medical concerns, it is advisable to consult your healthcare provider before starting ashwagandha supplements.
How to Take Ashwagandha
Consumers tend to ask what the best time to take ashwagandha is. Ashwagandha can be taken at any time of day, with or without food. Some people prefer to take it at night if they are seeking sleep benefits, while others take ashwagandha in the morning before they start their day. There is no specific right time; the best time to take ashwagandha will depend on what works best for your routine.
Ashwagandha supplements come in various dosages. Depending on the potency of the ashwagandha extract, common daily dosages can range from 300 mg of ashwagandha to 600 mg. It is generally advisable to take ashwagandha root extract supplements with a withanolides content, the active compound in ashwagandha thought to be responsible for its positive effects, ranging from 1% to 10%.
The time it takes for ashwagandha to start working varies, but research supports the notion that people who take ashwagandha for 30 days or more are likely to experience the benefits.
To Reduce Stress and Anxiety
When taken as a supplement, ashwagandha is a powerful aid in relieving stress and anxiety. Several studies support ashwagandha's ability to lower stress levels and boost resilience to symptoms of anxiety. In an 8 week study, ashwagandha significantly reduced serum cortisol levels in both groups taking 250 mg/day and 600 mg/day. Another study using a dosage of 600 mg of ashwagandha daily showed positive results in anxiety relief after 60 days.
To Improve Sleep
Stress and anxiety levels are known to impact sleep quality. In a particular study, volunteers took 300 mg of ashwagandha twice daily on patients for 10 weeks significantly improved the quality of sleep. Additionally, it made it easier and faster for the volunteers to fall asleep. Research suggests that given the relationship between stress and sleep, ashwagandha can help improve sleep quality while simultaneously benefiting stress levels.
To Boost Cognition
One study performed over 8 weeks suggests that ashwagandha may have a positive influence on cognition. In the pilot study, subjects took 600 mg of ashwagandha daily or a placebo. The intervention group showed significant improvements compared to the placebo group in both immediate and general memory among individuals with mild cognitive impairment. Additionally, there were improvements in executive function, attention, and processing speed.
To Enhance Fertility in Men
Ashwagandha has been shown to improve fertility in men. In a pilot study involving 46 male patients, the treatment group took 675 mg of ashwagandha root extract daily for 90 days. The intervention resulted in a remarkable 167% increase in sperm count, 53% increase in semen volume, and 57% increase in sperm motility, whereas minimal improvements were observed in the placebo group.
To Improve Sexual Function in Women
Evidence suggests that ashwagandha may help contribute to improved sexual function. One study with 80 female participants tested the impact of 300 mg of ashwagandha twice daily versus placebo over 8 weeks. The results demonstrated statistically significant improvements in the ashwagandha-treated group's arousal, sexual satisfaction, and other sexual health markers.
How Much Ashwagandha Should I Take?
Research has employed a variety of dosages and potency levels. In general, studies have utilized dosages ranging from 150 mg to 1000 mg, demonstrating the efficacy and safety of ashwagandha at these different levels. We would recommend starting with around 500 mg of ashwagandha at 1.5% withanolides, or an equivalent potency ratio. This ratio implies 7.5 mg of the active ingredient.
It may take a minimum of a few weeks for ashwagandha to work, so be patient. If you do not notice benefits after consistently taking ashwagandha root extract for 60 days, consider increasing the overall active amount of withanolides or other active compounds you are consuming—either by increasing the dosage or opting for a more potent product.
Does Ashwagandha Work Immediately?
Ashwagandha is not believed to work immediately. While studies have identified ashwagandha as a powerful adaptogen with numerous benefits, these positive outcomes typically manifest after consistent use beyond four weeks.
Several factors influence the duration it takes for ashwagandha to take effect, including dosage, potency, quality, and regular use. The time required for ashwagandha to produce the desired benefits also depends on the intended outcome of the supplementation and the severity of the health concern. Additionally, individual variations in body composition, absorption efficiency, and reaction to supplementation play a role in how quickly ashwagandha works.
Despite these variables, there is promising clinical support for ashwagandha supplementation across various health benefits. Consistent use is crucial to maximize the advantages derived from supplementation.
How Do I Know If Ashwagandha is Working?
Depending on the specific health benefit you are seeking, you may experience noticeable improvements after regular use of ashwagandha. Often, the benefits of the supplement gradually become apparent over time, making it challenging to pinpoint whether the supplement is effective.
A recommended method to assess the impact of ashwagandha on your targeted health concern is to log key health markers such as sleep duration and quality, stress levels, energy levels, mood, and sexual drive. Pay particular attention to key indicators related to the health concern you are focused on. For instance, if using ashwagandha for stress, consider logging your daily stressors, such as a work presentation, and note how you felt before, during, and after it. After consistent use of ashwagandha, revisit these logs to determine if there has been a noticeable difference.
Ashwagandha is an herbal supplement shown to possess antioxidant, natural anxiolytic, anti-stress, and various other properties. When taken as a supplement, the adaptogen is well-tolerated in dosages up to 1000 mg daily. There are no immediate benefits of taking ashwagandha extract. To experience the full benefits and results of taking ashwagandha, consistent use is essential. It may take anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks of regular use to produce any positive effects.