Best Adaptogen Combinations
Each and every one of us is bound to experience some measure of stress in our daily lives. To some extent, this is all good and natural; stress is a part of life. It can actually be helpful by urging our bodies and minds to focus on the most important tasks and goals in front of us.
However, when it gets too much, stress can achieve the opposite, restraining us and preventing us from being productive and feeling happy.
This is where adaptogens come in. Adaptogenic supplements consist of unique compounds and active ingredients that can actually help our bodies adapt to and cope with stress in a healthier way.
While the word “adaptogen” might not ring many bells at first glance, foods with adaptogenic properties are all around us! To really get the most out of their many health benefits, it’s all a matter of combining them effectively and incorporating them into your diet according to your needs.
This is exactly what we are going to discuss today! In this quick guide, we will go over some of the best adaptogen combinations for you to try to improve your mental and physical well-being.
What are Adaptogens?
Contrary to popular belief, stress isn’t a feature of our surroundings, daily lives, or work-life balance per se. Rather, stress is a biochemical reaction to these external factors, and the reason why it can be so debilitating sometimes is that being stressed actually costs the body a ton of energy.
In a vacuum, our body will strive to achieve what is called homeostasis – perfect biochemical balance. When external factors, stressors, prevent us from reaching that homeostasis, symptoms of stress start showing up.
This can be many things – tiredness, lack of energy, confusion, irritability, anxiety, and many other mental effects among physical ones have been noted.
Some might go for caffeine as a quick fix. This can temporarily wash away most of the common symptoms of stress, but that comes with its own problems, including fidgety nerves and mood swings. Not to mention that, once the effects wear off, you are bound to crash, making it likely to develop a dependency over the long term.
Adaptogens go around this problem entirely. Instead of fighting the aftereffects and symptoms of stress, adaptogens treat stress directly – by optimizing the internal processes that your body makes use of to prevent stress from becoming overwhelming in the first place.
This doesn’t just have immediate benefits to our mental health, energy levels, and productivity. Stress is a leading cause of a whole host of physical ailments, including cardiovascular disorders, chronic pain, insomnia, digestive problems, and more.
Best Adaptogen Combinations
Chances are that after reading up on some of the basic info on adaptogens above, you are feeling eager to try and incorporate them into your own routine.
The question is: which adaptogens do you choose? And how do you best take them for optimal results? That is exactly what we are going to lay out for you down below.
For Brain Fog
Perhaps one of the most commonly discussed complaints among people in fast-faced, high-stress lifestyles is brain fog. Brain fog can manifest in poor concentration, difficulty in maintaining mental focus, racing or fleeting thought patterns, and poor memory.
Most of the time, this fogginess is caused by elevated cortisol levels. Known as the stress hormone, cortisol has a huge impact on nearly every single part of our bodies.
Its release is largely controlled by the adrenal glands, located right above your kidneys. There are numerous adaptogens that can positively impact the functioning of the adrenals and thus reduce brain fog.
The Lion’s Mane mushroom is probably the most famous of these. Known also as the “Brain Mushroom”, among other nicknames, the lion’s mane interacts with our nervous system in some surprising and unique ways. Its effects have been shown to promote longevity and improve mental health, lowering the risks of chronic anxiety and depression.
But beyond that, lion’s mane has also been shown to moderate cortisol levels, improving our hormonal household and mitigating side effects such as brain fog.
Specifically for brain fog, we also recommend Rhodiola Rosea. This herb has been shown to promote healthy cell growth throughout the nervous system, even going so far as to encourage the repair of damaged neurons.
This doesn’t just improve mental functioning over the long term: it can also help prevent bouts of brain fog from occurring by bolstering our mental resources.
For Stress & Burnout
Feeling burnt out and like you can’t accomplish a single thing is one of the most consistent and common warning signs of extreme stress. Again, cortisol levels are the number-one way to test for the biochemical cause of this.
If you have been fighting burn-outs for a while, we recommend getting an assessment from your doctor. They can take your cortisol (and other hormonal) levels and compare them against the healthy average to figure out what’s causing your issue.
The reason why this step is essential is that symptoms of stress such as burning out can sometimes be caused by elevated cortisol – but the very same symptoms can also be due to a lack of cortisol in your system! The same goes for other hormones and chemicals that have an effect on your body’s handling of stress responses.
Identifying an imbalance as such can be quite easy, but tracking down its exact nature is something best left to a professional.
Once the root has been isolated, adding some of the best adaptogen combinations to your diet could be a great way to manage the symptoms.
Ashwagandha is one of the oldest known natural herbal remedies, and its effect on cortisol levels has been well-established. Ashwagandha has the ability to lower blood cortisol by up to 20-30% within a time frame of one to two months. For an even more powerful effect, combine this with a moderate amount of Schisandra.
If low cortisol is the main culprit, then consider a supplement based on Licorice. If you just can’t get along with that sour taste, then the aforementioned Rhodiola Rosea also has a proven ability to engage further cortisol production in the adrenal glands.
For Mood & Mental Well-Being
Stress is not just burning out: a biochemical imbalance can manifest itself in countless ways, including changes in mood. If you’ve been noticing strong mood swings or irritability in yourself lately, internal stress might be the cause.
As previously mentioned, the Lion’s Mane mushroom is famous for its strengths in keeping our hormonal and neurological household in check, helping to prevent and treat disorders like anxiety and depression. This also has a naturally pronounced effect on moods as well!
American Ginseng is also known for its neurological and adaptogenic effects. It has a proven ability to detangle mental knots that often lead to mood disorders or emotional instability.
For example, American Ginseng encourages production of GABA, an amino acid that is intimately connected to our ability to maintain relationships and function well in social environments.
Sometimes, the problem isn’t so much feeling frustrated or overwhelmed as it is feeling like you can’t move at all. Total exhaustion coupled with demotivation and mental sluggishness can be a telltale sign that your body is out of balance and asking for a readjustment.
Adaptogens can come in handy in a situation like this. For example, Maca has a long track record in managing symptoms of fatigue and lethargy. It’s been used as an herbal remedy for ailments like anemia since ancient times, and it also exhibits positive effects in lowering anxiety.
The aforementioned Rhodiola Rosea can also boost your energy levels. Its effects have been likened to coffee, though Rhodiola plants do not contain any actual caffeine and work along different lines within the brain.
There is evidence that Rhodiola can help regenerate damaged or broken cells, which can greatly improve energy levels over the long term.
Ginseng is also an excellent adaptogenic supplement for when you’re feeling out of steam. Like Rhodiola, the Ginseng root contains some adaptogenic chemicals which act in a similar manner to coffee in boosting your energy levels momentarily, but without the side effects usually associated with products high in caffeine.
Our sleep cycles do not just dominate our lives, taking up about half of our total living moments – they are also absolutely essential to the proper functioning of just about every bodily system.
If your sleep is out of whack, expect other problems to follow suit soon enough. This is why managing your sleep properly and getting enough healthy shut-eye every night should be a top priority for everyone, no matter your lifestyle.
Adaptogens such as the previously-mentioned Ashwagandha and Schisandra are perfect for improving your sleep quality because they can significantly lower cortisol levels. Often, elevated cortisol and the stress and panic that come with it can be what impedes our sleep quality in the long run.
Reishi mushrooms can also be beneficial in this regard. This fungus has some unique relaxing and sleep-promoting abilities that are all linked to how it interacts with and contacts specific neurotransmitters in the brain. In studies, people who take reishi regularly have been shown to feel more relaxed in day-to-day situations while also enjoying more, higher-quality sleep.
For Immune Function
Our immune system plays a huge role in our overall biochemical balance.
Without a strong immune system, our body is almost bound to submit to internal inflammation and oxidative damage over the long term.
This can have a huge effect on our overall quality of life and be a leading indicator of countless serious health problems. To help promote a strong and stable immune system, consider experimenting with adaptogens.
Ashwagandha is one of the strongest natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant remedies in the world. As it is also one of the most well-studied, you can rest assured that its effects will be largely predictable and measurable and that your physician will be able to assist you, for example in choosing the optimal dosage.
You may not have heard of Astragalus, but these herbs have made a name for themselves as excellent immunomodulating adaptogens. In particular, Astragalus helps flush the kidney of toxins, which is essential for a reliable and happy immune system in the long run.