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Adaptogens For Athletes – 7 Performance Powering Plants!

Competitive athletes are always looking for an edge.  In the world of sports, the difference between winning and losing can be a couple inches or a few hundredths of a second.  You may have watched an Olympic event where the difference between an athlete receiving a gold medal and one finishing in 4th place, out of the medals and never mentioned and/or celebrated is miniscule.  Almost every serious athlete has experienced the joy of victory and the devastation of defeat and recognizes the slim margin between those two outcomes.  As a result, most competitors continue searching for something, anything, that can add a little extra speed, strength or mental focus to make the difference between winning and whining.

athletes

With all the controversy surrounding performance enhancing drugs, you need to know that there is a natural alternative.  If you are an athlete and you would like to improve your performance through better nutrition, there are a number of adaptogenic herbs that can safely and effectively provide you with that competitive advantage.  Here are seven adaptogens that have been documented to drastically improve athletic performance.

Eleuthero

Eleuthero, also known as Siberian ginseng, is particularly effective for athletes and can boost energy, sharpen mental concentration and help improve strength and stamina.  Studies have shown that when taken consistently, eleuthero will improve one’s ability to manage stress, tolerate heat and endure longer and more intense workouts.  Russian athletes started taking eleuthero in the 1970’s and were able to significantly improve stamina, endurance and mental focus.

Cordyceps & Reishi Mushrooms

New research has determined that two adaptogenic mushrooms Reishi and Cordyceps significantly improve performance and recovery in cyclists.  The double blind study conducted by researchers from Italy’s Pavia University have found these two adaptogens to be powerful performance boosters by increasing the production of testosterone and decreasing the production of cortisol.  The cyclists in the study demonstrated greater stamina and shorter recovery times after taking reishi and cordyceps .

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Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is a classic ayurvedic herb. Ayurveda is one of the oldest forms of medicine, dating back thousands of years, and ayurvedic practitioners have long known about the benefits of ashwagandha.  In a recent study involving elite athletes, ashwagandha was shown to dramatically improve cardiovascular endurance.  In the study, athletes were given 500 mg of ashwagandha twice a day for eight weeks.  The placebo group was given capsules filled with starch.  Here is the conclusion as written by the clinical research team:

“To date, most of the properties of Ashwagandha have been studied, investigated and reported only in sedentary healthy subjects having low fitness levels. Thus, this study was designed to analyze its effectiveness in improving performance in well-trained athletes. Considering the fact that it is difficult to detect minor changes in elite athletes, this study was the first of its kind to document the significant improvements in aerobic performance with regard to cardiorespiratory and cardiovascular endurance of elite athletes”

Rhodiola

The science involving Rhodiola is amazing and it is perhaps the most thoroughly tested of the well-known adaptogens.  Historically it was consumed by the ancient Greeks and Vikings for strength and stamina.  Rhodiola may have its greatest effect on the mental part of athletic performance. In multiple double-blind, placebo controlled studies, Rhodiola Rosea enhanced learning, prevented mental fatigue, reduced errors and improved the quality of work produced. Rhodiola rosea has the most pronounced effect on mental fatigue during stress and strain when compared to other adaptogens.  In other words, rhodiola may provide you with the drive and/or mental toughness to push through a difficult workout helping you to achieve a personal best in speed or strength training.

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Rhaponticum

Scientific studies performed on Rhaponticum (also known as Maral Root) have shown this adaptogen improves overall physical performance, and shortens recovery time after an intense workout.

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In athletes who use Rhaponticum regularly, it demonstrates a marked anabolic effect, and aids the body in the synthesis of protein. It also appears to protect the body from environmental stress. Rhaponticum is prescribed to athletes by Russian sports physicians in order to replenish depleted physical and psychical reserves that become exhausted as a result of hard training. After taking Rhaponticum carthamoides extract, an increase in muscle mass and a decrease in fat tissue has been documented by researchers.

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Schisandra

Schisandra is the berry of a climbing vine native to northeast China and parts of Russia.  According to the results of recent human studies schisandra has demonstrated the ability to increase stamina and endurance in athletes, specifically in distance runners, gymnasts and cross country skiers.  Chinese athletes have been using schisandra to boost performance for more than 2 decades.  Schisandra also has shown the additional benefit of limiting mental fatigue and improving concentration and mental alertness.

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So if you are an athlete and you’re looking for an edge, either mental or physical, adaptogens have you covered.  Adaptogens are safe for daily use and are devoid of side effects, unless you consider “winning” a side effect.  So, let adaptogens start improving your performance.  They can be your secret weapon, your competitive advantage.

Better Immunity With Impunity

Guest Contributor, Betty Wells Runkle, ND, CNHP, CECRP is the owner of The Health Fix Center for Natural and Alternative Health Solutions

The fact of the matter is ..The human body is a MAGNIFICENT, VIRUS FIGHTING, PATHOGENIC BACTERIA ENGULFING MACHINE by Grand Design.  The problems occur when we as the conductors of this body, don’t put the proper fuel into it on a regular basis to keep it functioning full steam ahead.  You know, stuff like processed foods, non-nutritive, junk, and as my teenagers say…eating crap!  We all do it…don’t kid yourself.  However, there is hope in learning new ways to change your lifestyle for the better, by learning to eat healthy and make better choices.

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For now, let’s concentrate on the immune building properties of ADAPTOGENIC herbs.

Let’s start by covering the word adaptogen, as a term used in herbalism to reflect the ability of a plant to work as a biological response modifier. For a plant to be adaptogenic it must meet three criteria, as defined by the Russian doctor I.I. Brekman:

  • It should cause no harm and place no additional stress on the body.
  • It should help the body adapt to many and varied environmental and psychological stresses.
  • It must have a nonspecific action on the body, supporting all the major systems, such as the nervous system, hormonal system, and immune system, as well as regulating functions (such as the blood sugar); if they are too high, an adaptogen will lower it and vice verse.

Let me tell you about some of these ADAPTOGENIC HERBAL ALLIES.  The most commonly researched herbs like astragalus, Ashwaganda, Nettle, and reishi mushrooms are also some of the heaviest hitters in the herbal adoptogenic world.

reishi

You can research til the cows come home all the numerous scientific studies about the pharmacological actions of adaptogens…but I warn you it can get really complex.  In the nutshell, here are a few of the abilities noted in those studies regarding ADAPTOGENIC HERBS. 

  • Increase Endurance
  • Reduce Fatigue
  • Build Resistance to non-specific stresses (chemicals in environment, overwork, poor diet and emotional stressors)
  • Immune Stimulants – boost resistance to pathogenic bacteria and viruses

astragalus

Let me tell you a little bit about just one adaptogen, astragalus.  Astragalus is an immune building powerhouse. In fact, U.S. institutions all over have conducted medical studies supporting the increase of white blood cells, strengthening the activity of macrophages and that it actually promotes immunity of the cells.  Here, in Texas where I live, the University of Texas at MD Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute did a study on T-cell function in cancer patients which were being lowered by the use of chemotherapy and radiation.  When the extracts from astragalus were administered, immune functions improved dramatically.  Even the National Cancer Institute in the U.S. has done their fair share of research concerning Astragalus and the increase total number of white blood cells and strengthening of macrophages.  This activity significantly promotes the healthy immune function on the cellular level. In addition, studies at the University of Texas MD Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute found that the t cell function in cancer patients was lowered by the use of chemotherapy and radiation, so to combat that effect astragalus extracts were administered.  Researchers found that immune functions improved dramatically. Currently astragalus is also being researched in HIV and aids related syndromes.

Adaptogens – Centuries Old Secrets Revealed

For too long, the secret of adaptogenic herbs has been” bottled up,” so to speak.  But the time has come for a new look and a new appreciation of the power of ancient healing.  So I, the great AdaptoGenie, have emerged from centuries of concealment carrying with me secrets from the past and timely advice for the future. (No, I’m not just blowing smoke.)

So, why now?

Because I believe adaptogens may very well hold the key to restoring health and vitality to a world that presently seems destined toward disease or fated to feel bad.  But before I tell you more about the secrets I bring, permit me to start with a little history lesson.  (When you have lived as long as I have, history is kind of your thing.)

ashwaganda

For millennia, man (and woman) has relied on the power of plants to heal from and ward off illness.  Traditional herbal philosophies such as ayurveda from India, traditional Chinese medicine, Tibetan medicine, Greco-Arabic medicine, kampo from Japan and Native American medicine were all based on the amazing healing effects of plants.  Many of the herbs held in highest esteem within these cultures were those with the broadest benefits.  In fact, all of these traditions speak of seemingly miraculous plants with the ability to restore physical and emotional balance and harmony.  Each of these cultures shared stories about the existence of certain plants with the astonishing ability to adjust their effects based on the individual needs of the person consuming them.

In Ayurveda, there is a class of herbs called “rasayana.”   These herbs were believed to strengthen tissues and organs throughout the body.  These herbs were said to revitalize and regenerate.  They were plants that would slow down the aging process and build up one’s resistance to disease.

chinese-herbs

Chinese herbal medicine, has for centuries, studied plants and recorded their effects on health and wellness.  The most cherished class of plants according to the Chinese philosophy is a group they labeled the Superior class.  These are herbs that can be taken in large quantities, over an extended period of time, with no risk of ill effects.  These superior plants are believed to enhance normal physiological functions rather than force a specific physical or emotional effect.

With the rise of allopathic medicine at or about the turn of the 20th century, the use of plant based remedies steadily declined and more and more health practitioners turned to synthetic drugs and surgical procedures to treat illness.  So, for more than a century now, the remarkable benefits of adaptogens have gone underutilized and unappreciated.  Well, I AdaptoGenie intend to change all of that.

stress-free

If you, or someone you know, may be interested in;

  • Increased energy
  • Stronger immunity
  • Improved performance (both athletic and sexual)
  • A more balanced mood
  • Stress management
  • Greater stamina
  • Improved digestion
  • Better sleep

then I encourage you to follow this blog and like my page @adaptogenie on Twitter or Facebook.  In the weeks to come I, and a prestigious list of guest contributors including renowned herbalists, acclaimed research scientists and knowledgeable health experts, will be sharing life changing information about adaptogens and mind body wellness. So, if you’ve been wishing for better health and vitality, I can grant that wish by giving you the power and knowledge you need to take control of your own health.

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