An adaptogen energy supplement improves the body’s adrenal and immune function and ability to adapt to stress, trauma, anxiety and fatigue while having an overall normalizing and balancing effect.
Adaptogens are protective and raise an individual’s resistance to physical, chemical, or biological stresses. Over half a million people were given eleuthero (an adoptogen) after the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986, to help counteract the effects of radiation.
An adaptogen energy supplement boosts recovery and has the power to normalize the physiological functioning of organisms suffering from various physical problems (homeostasis). Although powerful, adaptogen herbal supplements must be harmless to the individual, disturbing natural bodily functions as little as possible.
Adaptogens have the most broad-spectrum healing properties of any herbal medicines. One of their primary values is that they specifically relieve stress. The main effects of adaptogens are an increased availability of energy during the day, a reduction of stress feelings, increased endurance, greater mental alertness, and deep and restful sleep. Adaptogens also significantly accelerate the recovery process after illness and sports activities.
Adaptogenic herbs include eleuthero, ginseng, agaricus blazei, ashwagandha, maca and jiaogulan. Adaptogens reduce stress and boost energy, while correcting hormonal imbalances in the body.
Dr. Hans Selye, (1907-1982), the “father of stress research,” discovered that hormones participate in the development of many degenerative diseases.
In general, the hormonal responses aid adaptation to environmental change or stimuli; but they are sometimes the cause of disease, especially if the state of stress is prolonged or intense.
When this occurs, the body goes through the three stages of what is called the “general adaptation syndrome.”
Stage One: Alarm
It is important for this stage to function normally as it generates a number of critical metabolic responses for any person.
Release of the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, occur in this stage. Valuable in the short term, these hormones become disruptive to effective cellular function over a long period of time. Cortisol is a hormone with wide ranging effects on tissues throughout the body. One of the most widely recognized is its immunosuppressive effect. It also has a negative impact on energy regulation. Cortisol decreases the movement of glucose from the bloodstream into muscle cells (and several other types of cell). This is meant to be a protective response, conserving blood glucose for essential functions, such as brain activity. However, during any prolonged stress, cortisol decreases the availability of this energy.
Stage Two: Resistance
This is the stage where adaptive changes take place. Increased fitness is a perfect example of an adaptive response to physical stress. When the adaptation occurs, the individual returns to “homeostasis” or normal equilibrium. However, each individual’s capacity to adapt is limited and completely unique. Overwhelm the individual’s adaptive capacity, and you risk illness or injury. That’s when you enter the final stage – exhaustion.
Stage Three: Exhaustion
This stage is characterized by the observed onset of symptoms of fatigue, including injury or illness.
With the addition of adaptogens, the first two stages are handled very differently. Adaptogens modify the alarm phase and increase the resistance phase. This is critical, as these benefits provide protection to a stressed person by helping to maintain optimal cellular function as long as possible before the onset of exhaustion.
When adaptogens are added, the person still mounts an appropriate response to a stressful event, but the changes in cell function that result are more moderate and have less of an adverse effect on the entire body. The general action of adaptogens is well demonstrated by looking at the effect of stress on blood glucose levels. Shortly after a person becomes stressed, the stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) cause a rapid increase in blood glucose. Once it peaks, the blood glucose rapidly falls to lower than normal levels. Adaptogens moderate this response.
In other words, adaptogens do not block the stress response; rather, they smooth out the roller coaster highs and lows associated with the stress response. This conserves valuable energy in the alarm phase for use in the resistance phase.
Adaptogens increase the function of healthy immune systems when taken over a period of time. Adaptogens help the adrenal glands which produce hormones to aid us in dealing with stress and help prevent adrenal exhaustion.