As you walk through your local market or health food store, you might be bombarded with the idea that Americans are low on energy.
We drink countless cups of coffee and energy drinks each day, which over time, actually exhaust your adrenal system, leaving you more tired than ever.
Chemically speaking, caffeine inhibits a substance called ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, which can lead to sleep problems.
Less sleep and you’re more likely to be moodier and even more tired the next day. Thus a vicious cycle begins.
So where do we get energy from without our morning Starbucks fix?
A BRIEF CHEMISTRY LESSON
Every living thing must have something that gives it energy.
In humans, our power comes from the mitochondria, which exists in every cell in the body. Mitochondria are the cell’s power plant, so to speak.
Mitochondria produce adenosine triphosphate, our source of energy. ATP’s primary purpose is to transport chemical energy within cells for metabolism. Simply put, ATP converts energy from food to energy that our cells can use to allow them to function properly.
WHAT’S STRESS GOT TO DO WITH IT?.
So what’s the solution when you’re tired and stressed but no amount of sleep or caffeine can restore your energy levels?
In the 1990s, a group of scientists named Hildebert Wagner, George Wikman and Alexander Panossian, performed multiple studies on adaptogens and proposed the following definition: adaptogens are natural bioregulators that increase the ability to adapt environmental factors and avoid the damage caused by those factors.
Stress also causes a decline in ATP, and studies show that adaptogens induce the synthesis of ATP and help to “minimize the bodily response to stress, reduce negative reactions during the alarm phase and eliminate, or at least decrease, the onset of the exhaustion phase that is part of the so-called general adaptation syndrome,” according to a research paper published in the Journal of Chinese Medicine.
The paper then goes on to state that, “In 1998, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defined adaptogens as a new kind of metabolic regulator that has been proven to help in environmental adaptation and to prevent external harms.”
Yance, an American herbal doctor, held a view that adaptogens can improve our ability to recognize, respond, recover, and restore or regenerate.
In fact, “Adaptogens can reduce stress-induced impairments and improve stress-related disorders,” according to an article published in the American Botanical Council’s publication Herbalgram.
RHODIOLA ROSEA: ADAPTOGEN FOR ENERGY
One such plant in the adaptogenic class is called Rhodiola.
“Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb that grows at high altitudes in arctic areas of northern America, Europe and Asia. Also known as “golden root,” it’s commonly used in alternative medicine to decrease stress response and anxiety,” according to Healthline.
HOW RHODIOLA HELPS RESTORE ENERGY LEVELS
“Stress can be a serious energy killer, making you feel lethargic and tired. Rhodiola contains a compound known as rosavin that works with the body to decrease the stress hormone cortisol,” explains holistic nutritionist Lorraine Kearney in an article for PureWow written by Alexia Dellner.
RHODIOLA AND ATP
“Rhodiola works with the body by decreasing the stress response and increasing the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP)—the body’s main source of energy. When more ATP is produced, then the body can work out for longer,” Kearney tells us.
CORDYCEPS: MUSHROOMS THAT AREN’T MUSHROOMS
These are not the type of mushrooms that you put on your pizza. These are called adaptogenic mushrooms and include Reishi, Chaga, Lion’s Mane and Cordyceps.
Cordyceps is an “adaptogenic mushroom that works to support the adrenal glands and helps your body produce and maintain consistent energy levels by increasing the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which increases cellular oxygen absorption. Overall, it improves the flow of oxygen throughout the body, especially during exercise. Cordyceps have been used in Eastern medicine to reduce fatigue,” writes Elaine for Basq magazine.
Overall, adaptogens have been well studied it appears, and are now enjoying a comeback in the arena of health and wellness.
If you’re looking to boost energy levels without that caffeine crash, you may want to give adaptogens a look!