There are countless supplements on the market that tout their potential to lose weight. Ashwagandha is not one of these supplements. Ashwagandha is an herb with a long history of use as a depressant in Indian Ayurvedic medicine. While there is still a lot more research that needs to be done, modern science is starting to uncover the potential health benefits of Ashwagandha.
For instance, studies have shown that it may affect measures of stress and emotions, including anxiety, as well as sleep quality, all of which may affect your weight. So, Ashwagandha can support weight loss by helping manage stress.
Let us dive into it a bit deeper.
So Does Ashwagandha Suppress Appetite?
Yes, Ashwagandha could help suppress appetite slightly due to its ability to balance cortisol levels, which in turn has an affect on appetite. To understand how Ashwagandha can aid in suppressing appetite, first, you must know what Ashwagandha is, and how it can impact your stress hormone, cortisol. Ashwagandha, known in science as withania somnifera, is a stress adaptogen, and one of the best-studied adaptogens. Adaptogens are herbs that help enhance your body’s capacity to adapt and deal with stress.
One way of measuring your body’s stress levels is with your hormone, cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone, often known as the “fight or flight” hormone.
It is highest during times of emotional and physical stress. When cortisol rises during these brief, rare scenarios, it is helpful for keeping you alert, as well as raising glucose, or blood sugar, at that time, giving you the boost you need for energy. But when cortisol is elevated consistently, it may change the body’s metabolism so that more fat is stored, lowers energy levels, weakens your immune system, increases the risk of heart disease, and increases your blood pressure.
Studies show that supplements with ashwagandha can lower cortisol levels and decrease levels of perceived stress. In one study involving 61 adults, researchers found that a group receiving 300 mg of ashwagandha supplements twice a day experienced an average 44% decrease in perceived stress scores two-and-a-half months later. Ashwagandha supplementation also reduced blood cortisol levels by about 27%, while the placebo group saw just an 8% decrease in scores.
So, Ashwagandha seems to be improving stress levels for some, but does this translate into helping appetite suppression and weight loss? Ashwagandha and weight loss is a new field of study. And the one major study so far has looked specifically at the link.
The study looked at the effects of ashwagandha supplementation over an eight-week period for stressed individuals who were overweight or obese and had body mass indexes between 25 and 39.9 kg/m2. Participants were placed in the ashwagandha group and took two, 300-mg doses of ashwagandha a day, or the control group, taking two pills containing a placebo daily.
While there was about a 3 percent weight loss over eight weeks in the ashwagandha group, the control group also experienced about 1.5% average weight loss, not much of a difference. Although supplementation did not lead to a large change in body weight during the two months, participants were still able to shed a bit of weight over a shorter period without making other changes in their diet.
More studies are needed to better decipher this link. For instance, does Ashwagandha function best as a solution for managing stress and prevent weight gain, or does it function best as a strategy to lose weight. Ashwagandha specifically for weight loss will probably make the biggest difference if combined with a caloric deficit diet.
Ashwagandha is considered to be generally safe. It can be found in the form of capsules, powdered supplements, or tea. It has been studied at dosages of 250-600 mg per day for combating stress, anxiety, and promoting sleep and weight loss. However, the most potent effects of ashwagandha were seen in the 600 mg per day range. These doses are usually divided up and consumed at different times, with one dose taken after breakfast, and another taken at noon or night.
Because Ashwagandha can help with weight loss or weight maintenance for chronically stressed individuals, this supplement might not meet your needs unless you are not chronically stressed. Talk with a health care professional if you think you are experiencing weight gain or loss related to stress.
You can learn more about the benefits of ashwagandha here: