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What are Adaptogens and Why Should I Care?

  • 5 min read

“Adapto-what?”

Perhaps it's a new term or maybe you had an adaptogen in your morning smoothie (look at you!). Adaptogens are all-natural super herbs and mushrooms that help us adapt and combat everyday stressors. They are appropriately named adaptogens because they are believed to help us “adapt” to and manage the various sources of stress in our life. By the end of this article, you will be asking for all the adaptogens in your morning smoothie.

What are Adaptogens and How Do They Help Us Adapt

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Adaptogens have actually been around for thousands of years and used by various global cultures for their medicinal properties. However, the term “adaptogen” was coined by Dr. Nicolai Laravez in 1947. The Russians were researching natural performance enhancers and came across adaptogens as a way for the body to adapt to stress-related changes in its environment and restore balance. Stressors refer to more than just stress and include health issues and concerns like headaches, high blood pressure, and struggles focusing.

 

How Do Adaptogens Work?

Our friends at Healthline explain that adaptogens work at a molecular level by balancing the hypothalamic, pituitary, and adrenal glands, all of which are involved in the body’s response to stress. Yes, we went molecular, but what does it all mean?

Put another way, usually. when we get stressed, our bodies go through the three phases of stress: the alarm phase, the resistance phase, and finally, the exhaustion phase. Adaptogensprolong that resistance phase, allowing the body more time to fight the stressors. Pretty cool right?

Alarm phase

Ever heard of the term “fight or flight”? This usually refers to our body’s natural reaction when experiencing stress. Our body prepares ourselves for battle or to escape (girl run!) when encountering scenarios that may seem harmful for us. Physical signs during this phase include the elevation of our body’s cortisol levels, heart rate, and blood pressure.

Resistance Phase 

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The resistance phase comes after the alarm phase. In this stage, the body manages to deal with the stressor and repairs itself. This means even if the body is still on high alert from the alarm phase, vital signs of stress start to return to normal. 

This is where adaptogens do their work, extending this phase. Like working out, the body releases hormones like adrenaline that increase our ability to concentrate and pay attention to the task or challenge while in the resistance phase. The body is literally resisting the stressor, helping us to think clearly and feel more energized in order to battle the stressor.

Exhaustion Phase

Sadly, we can't stay in the resistance phase forever. Our body is doing serious work! Last is the exhaustion phase where our immune system is weakened and is just like enough already! Prolonged or chronic stress puts our body at risk for stress-related illnesses because the body no longer has the strength to fight it.

Meet the Adaptogens

Okay, I need ALL these adaptogens!

Before you add ALL the adaptogens to your life, pause because there are a lot of them.

Adaptogens are a group of over 70 plants that increase your energy when you're tired, and help you relax when you're restless (yes, it is that many!). There are different types of adaptogens to address different needs. 

Adaptogens: the Super Natural Heros We Need

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Now that we know how importantadaptogens are, let’s talk more about some of our favorites:rhodiola rosea,chlorella, lion's mane mushroom, Ashwagandha, and maca root. 

Ashwagandha is a known ancient medicinal herb andis one of the most important herbs in Ayurveda, an Indian alternative medicine focused on natural healing. Ashwagandha's health benefits include anxiety and stress reduction, helping to fight depression, boosting brain function, supporting fertility, and increasing testosterone levels in men.

Rhodiola rosea, also known as arctic root or golden root, is a type of herb that grows in the cold, mountain regions of Europe and Asia. Its root alone contains more than 140 active ingredients, with the two most potent being rosavin and salidroside. Rhiodiola contains a high concentration of antioxidants and can help increase circulation and skin renewal to help your glow shine even brighter. Other health benefits include stimulating reducing stress, fatigue, symptoms of depression, and improving brain function. 

Chlorella (also known as seaweed) is a single-celled, green freshwater algae. (Yes, it's algae and it’s awesome.) As a superfood, it boasts a profile of protein, Vitamin B12, Iron and Vitamin C, antioxidants, chlorophyll, Omega-3s, and fiber.Chlorella’s health benefits include enhancing the immune system, boosting cardiovascular health, improving cholesterol levels, acting as an antioxidant for the body, and keeping one's blood pressure in check.

One look at Lion’s mane mushroom, you will understand why it is named like that.Lion’s mane mushroom (also calledhou tou gu oryamabushitake) are large, white, shaggy mushrooms that look like a lion’s hair as they grow.Health benefits include boosting energy and immunity as well as helping to reduce anxiety and inflammation.

Maca Root (with the scientific name Lepidium meyenii) is sometimes referred to as Peruvian ginseng. Maca root, which has a long history of culinary and medicinal use in Peru, is a vegetable that’s related to broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale. Health benefits include boosting energy and stamina, improvement of learning and memory, and mood elevation. 

The Struggle is Real

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The demands of life from personal to professional are taxing. Adaptogens can help play a positive role in one’s health by helping us deal with our everyday stressors. However, they can not replace other pillars of a healthy lifestyle like eating nutritious foods and regular physical activity. Adaptogens are a complement, not a cure-all.

It is important to take adaptogens consistently to see the most benefits. Over time adaptogens can strengthen the body’s ability to resist stress (think of it as going to the gym and building your muscles through repetitive exercises).

Adaptogens + Fiber: A Perfect Match

You know we love fiber. And if you have been reading this blog, you know about fiber’s numerous benefits including weight management, improving regularity, helping regulate blood sugar level,s and boosting immunity.

The good news is you can now get both the fabulousness offiber andadaptogens in Bonny. Our new and improved formula contains all the fiber you love, new AMAZING flavors and adaptogens!

Matcha Magic is here to boost your energy with Chlorella and Lion’s Mane mushroom.  

Amplified Apple Pie has metabolism-boosting Maca Root and of course grandma’s love. 

Berry Beauty will make you shine like a diamond with Rhodiola. 

Strawberry Serenity will bring you all the relaxing good vibes with Ashwagandha.

It’s always a great time to start taking charge of your health. And remember when starting a new health regimen, check in with your doctor.

As always, we wish you pleasant poops and relaxing days.

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