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Adaptogens are one of my favourite topics in herbalism. I think we're going to see a lot more research on adaptogens in the future, but for now there's still a lot of confusion about how to use them effectively.
Here's a little introduction:
Adaptogens are natural herbs and plants that can help your body cope with stress.
You may have read that you should be taking them daily to reap their benefits, but how often should you actually be taking them?
Daily Dosage of Adaptogens:
There is no one correct way or amount to take an adaptogen. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when deciding how often you want to take your adaptogen of choice:
- Some people find it easier to remember to take adaptogens every morning with breakfast or lunch. It really depends on what works best for each individual person based on their own circumstances. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when deciding how often you want to take your adaptogen of choice. Some herbs need more time than others for their effects on your body. Generally speaking, the longer something takes for its effects to manifest (like rhodiola), the longer time period between doses should be. Likewise, with shorter-acting herbs (like ashwagandha), taking them once or twice daily might work better for some individuals.
- You may also consider whether or not it matters if one dose is taken before bed (because some people find that helps with sleep) versus during waking hours; or whether two doses would be necessary throughout the day (depending upon which type of supplement is being used).
The answer is all about balance. Although many supplements come with a one-size-fits-all dosage suggestion on the package, adaptogens are different. They work naturally inside your body, so they aren't a good fit for a blanket recommendation like most supplements are.
The best way to find out how much of an adaptogen you need is by measuring your stress levels and paying attention to how you feel after taking it. You should be able to notice when the supplement kicks in, or if it's doing nothing at all for you—that will give you an idea of whether or not that particular brand or dose is working for you!
"There is no one correct way or amount to take an adaptogen," says clinical herbalist and wellness expert Stephen Cabral . "We want to focus on getting our adaptogen back in balance based on our current health situation."
Adaptogens are compounds that help the body adapt to stress, but they're not a one-size-fits-all solution. That's because they work on a cellular level, helping cells adapt and survive in the face of stressors like poor diet or environmental toxins.
They also help regulate hormones and neurotransmitters, which regulate moods like depression or anxiety. And they can even affect genetic expression by activating DNA repair mechanisms that may reduce cancer risk in people with high genetic risk for certain cancers (cancers associated with smoking or asbestos exposure).
In other words: You can't just start taking any adaptogen at any dosage and expect it to have a specific effect on your body—you need to figure out what's going on in your life right now first so you know what kind of adaptation you need!
According to Cabral, there are three main categories of how often and in what amounts to take your adaptogens: every day, every other day, and only when absolutely needed.
You can also choose to take adaptogens every day for two weeks, then step away from your supplement for two days. This pattern will normalise your cortisol levels and help you reduce fatigue or burnout. You may also notice that you feel more focused and alert when taking adaptogens in this way.
Listening to Your Body...
The best way to find out how much of an adaptogen you need is by measuring your stress levels and paying attention to how you feel after taking it. You should be able to notice when the supplement kicks in, or if it's doing nothing at all for you. It's important to find an adaptogen that works for you and to pay attention to what your body is telling you.
Adaptogens are not a one-size-fits-all solution, and the best way to take them is by finding the right balance for your individual needs. Whether you choose to take them daily, every other day, or as needed, listening to your body and adjusting your dosage accordingly is key. Remember, adaptogens are a natural way to help your body cope with stress, and finding the right balance of how often to take them can lead to a happier and healthier you.