adaptogens 101

adaptation is critical.

adaptation is arguably the most important foundation to modern health and wellness. our environment is changing much faster than our mind-body can physiologically adjust or update. for example, stress is a biological response designed to help us fight or run from danger. stress response can't be updated as easily as computer software and is being smoked by the speed at which environment, technology, information and social structures are changing. this is why modern dysfunctions are dominated by anxiety, poor sleep quality, inflammation, toxicity, nutrient deficiency and weakened immune system.

adaptation at the rate we experience change requires mindfulness and work. there are many ways to help your mind-body adapt to the ever-evolving world we live in. a powerful way to promote adaptation is through supplementation with adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms that help decrease biological sensitivity to stress, helping maintain balance and efficiency. we will continue to experience internal and external stress, this is guaranteed. adaptogens help prevent a dramatic biological response to stress to protect our nervous system, cellular integrity, energy and resources. a 2009 pharmaceuticals journal publication on the effect of adaptogens on the central nervous system calls this protection the "stress protective effect".

there is no lasting progress in any health, wellness or performance goal without a balanced nervous system. stress management should be at the core of all holistic protocols to avoid maladaptive resource allocation.

to make things happen in life, you're going to experience stress, uncertainty, fear and curveballs. health, wellness and performance is largely influenced by our ability to navigate these inevitable obstacles and push forward without accumulating the damages of chronic stress.

stress pushes your mind-body into the sympathetic nervous system to respond to a perceived threat. if the stress response is consistently being triggered, the consequence becomes maladaptive as resources are literally diverted away from the processes that define health, wellness and performance. by design, stress changes the mind-body from a proactive to a reactive state. proactive (parasympathetic) processes like digestion, detoxification, cellular and tissue repair, learning, neurogenesis, etc. are given less resources in order to prioritize reactive (sympathetic) state. this is fight or flight or freeze and it's only designed to run for a short period of time in response to a perceived threat. when stress is chronic, your mind-body doesn't return to a proactive state of resource allocation. instead, more energy is used to fuel fight or flight (or freeze) and less is given to the immune system, building new brain cells, repairing tissues, absorbing and processing nutrition, learning, etc.

the mechanisms of adaptogens.

calming stress reponse. controlling cortisol.

adaptogens reduce cortisol and minimize time spent in the sympathetic state by preventing over reactions to stress. this is accomplished through modulating / calming the HPA axis (the system that coordinates fight or flight or freeze response). you will still deal with stressors on a regular basis, but adaptogens help “buffer” your stress response so pressures of daily life don’t trigger the release of stress hormone. this helps you stay calm and collected when dealing with adversity or pressure. this also applies to common daily stressors that perpetuate chronic activation of the sympathetic nervous system. calming the HPA axis reduces the your mind-body's unnecessary stress load, giving you more bandwidth to process more productive challenges.

conceptual graph by roots apothecary.

if you've studied stress, you have probably seen a graph like this. adaptogens act like a "buffer" to help keep stress response from pushing deep into the sympathetic state. this is called the "stress protective effect", and it's the most studied and published benefit of adaptogens.

adaptogens also keep the mind-body from dipping deep into exhaustion following a stressful event. basically, tension and exhaustion are not as dramatic with a therapeutic adaptogen routine.

notice the baseline of the adaptogen curve starts and ends higher than the baseline of the non-adaptogen response. this is the "stimulatory" effect of some adaptogens that helps increase baseline energy levels. you will see a lot of companies and research explaining this difference in baseline as the primary energy benefit of adaptogens, but this isn't true over time. the real benefit of adaptogens on energy levels are noticed with a consistent routine as the stress protective effects of adaptogens limit the amount of time the mind-body spends in the sympathetic state of resource allocation. the more time you spend in the sympathetic state, the more energy you're burning and resources are diverted to


conceptual graph by roots apothecary.

stress is energy intensive and hugely impactful on how the mood-body uses available resources. in this graph, you can start to see the cumulative impact of a repeated stress over a period of time. you can probably relate to a time in your life when things were significantly chaotic. maybe you got thrown to the wolves at a new job, or you went through a rocky period in a relationship, or you over trained through an injury, or you hustled through finals week. whatever the situation, you can probably relate to abnormally high periods of tension followed by fatigue. you can probably remember, instability in your energy, mood, mental capacity, etc.

stress response is often illustrated as a buffer that protects you from feeling high tension and the following exhaustion from a single stressful event, but this isn't super helpful for illustrating chronic stress over time which is the far more damaging form of stress. high stress in a single incident or a short period of time isn't that big of a deal, because that's how the system is designed to operate. the real problem comes with repetitive activation of stress from every day life. if this stress is not managed, it will push your mind-body to spend more time in states of high tension and exhaustion than a balanced state that also prioritizes parasympathetic processes.  


conceptual graph by roots apothecary.

this graph illustrates the increasing imbalance in tension and exhaustion from poorly managed stress over an extended period of time. this trend can be obvious to those experiencing it, but more often, our clients don't notice this trending imbalance until they're in a dysfunctional state. at this point, multiple mind-body processes are dysfunctional like digestion and vagus nerve connection, immune system, circadian rhythm, neurotransmitters and neurogenesis, protein synthesis and more. you can try to address all of these problems individually, but without a solid stress management protocol, any results will be short lived.

adaptogens and stress management practices play a critical role in maintaining balance and healthy resource allocation over time. the longer chronic stress goes without course correction, the more energy and resources are diverted to sympathetic state and less to proactive states. this erodes the health of all other systems. digestion suffers, inflammation increases, nutrient adsorption declines, sleep is disrupted, mood declines, mindset becomes less productive and more.

adaptogens are tools for creating more bandwidth.

states of high tension or exhaustion don't leave much mental or physical space to take on new challenges or even process each day's information through a productive lens. high tension and exhaustion is unsustainable and will wear on your quality of life. by reducing the time spent in states of high tension and exhaustion, adaptogens create more mental and physical bandwidth.

use this increased adaptogen bandwidth to make some lifestyle updates. don't just sit on this extra bandwidth, use it to cultivate mindset, implelemnt processes and organize in your daily life in a way that will reduce your stress load and increase productivity. this doesn't necessarily mean work harder at your job. increased bandwidth can be used to spend more time with friends and family, start training for that spartan race, carve out time to read each night, start meditating, start keeping a journal or do something that you feel will add value to your life. don't use adaptogens as a crutch, use them as a tool.

strengthening cellular resilience. stress inoculation.

with consistent use, adaptogens like ashwagandha act like a workout for your cells that strengthens resistance to oxidative stress, strengthens mitochondrial health and repairs damaged proteins that would otherwise weaken cellular function. this cellular workout, called stress inoculation, stimulates the production of molecular chaperones like HSP70 (70-kDa heat shock proteins) that protect the body from physical consequences of ongoing stress like inflammation, oxidation, and dna damage. this benefit, through stress inoculation, is called the hormetic effect of adaptogens and greatly improves endurance and resilience under stress.


popular adaptogens. IN DEVELOPMENT.

click for more information.

ashwagandha

master adaptogen. stress resilience. adrenal balance.

chaga, the mushroom of immortality, is one of the most anti-oxidant rich superfoods on the planet, topping the orac scale at approx. 140,000 and contains over 200 phytonutrients. chaga is used in functional medicine to boost immune system, reduce inflammation and mitigate oxidative stress. chaga is shown to strengthen beneficial cytokins while reducing damaging cytokins such as TNF-a (tumor necrosis factor - alpha). this immunomodulating effect improves the body’s ability to fight pathogens while reducing the damaging effects of acute and chronic inflammation. chaga’s high fiber and anti-oxidant properties are especially helpful in improving conditions of the gut.

reishi

master adaptogen. stress resilience. adrenal balance.

chaga, the mushroom of immortality, is one of the most anti-oxidant rich superfoods on the planet, topping the orac scale at approx. 140,000 and contains over 200 phytonutrients. chaga is used in functional medicine to boost immune system, reduce inflammation and mitigate oxidative stress. chaga is shown to strengthen beneficial cytokins while reducing damaging cytokins such as TNF-a (tumor necrosis factor - alpha). this immunomodulating effect improves the body’s ability to fight pathogens while reducing the damaging effects of acute and chronic inflammation. chaga’s high fiber and anti-oxidant properties are especially helpful in improving conditions of the gut.

rhodiola

master adaptogen. stress resilience. adrenal balance.

chaga, the mushroom of immortality, is one of the most anti-oxidant rich superfoods on the planet, topping the orac scale at approx. 140,000 and contains over 200 phytonutrients. chaga is used in functional medicine to boost immune system, reduce inflammation and mitigate oxidative stress. chaga is shown to strengthen beneficial cytokins while reducing damaging cytokins such as TNF-a (tumor necrosis factor - alpha). this immunomodulating effect improves the body’s ability to fight pathogens while reducing the damaging effects of acute and chronic inflammation. chaga’s high fiber and anti-oxidant properties are especially helpful in improving conditions of the gut.

schisandra

master adaptogen. stress resilience. adrenal balance.

chaga, the mushroom of immortality, is one of the most anti-oxidant rich superfoods on the planet, topping the orac scale at approx. 140,000 and contains over 200 phytonutrients. chaga is used in functional medicine to boost immune system, reduce inflammation and mitigate oxidative stress. chaga is shown to strengthen beneficial cytokins while reducing damaging cytokins such as TNF-a (tumor necrosis factor - alpha). this immunomodulating effect improves the body’s ability to fight pathogens while reducing the damaging effects of acute and chronic inflammation. chaga’s high fiber and anti-oxidant properties are especially helpful in improving conditions of the gut.

eleuthero

master adaptogen. stress resilience. adrenal balance.

chaga, the mushroom of immortality, is one of the most anti-oxidant rich superfoods on the planet, topping the orac scale at approx. 140,000 and contains over 200 phytonutrients. chaga is used in functional medicine to boost immune system, reduce inflammation and mitigate oxidative stress. chaga is shown to strengthen beneficial cytokins while reducing damaging cytokins such as TNF-a (tumor necrosis factor - alpha). this immunomodulating effect improves the body’s ability to fight pathogens while reducing the damaging effects of acute and chronic inflammation. chaga’s high fiber and anti-oxidant properties are especially helpful in improving conditions of the gut.

reishi

master adaptogen. stress resilience. adrenal balance.

chaga, the mushroom of immortality, is one of the most anti-oxidant rich superfoods on the planet, topping the orac scale at approx. 140,000 and contains over 200 phytonutrients. chaga is used in functional medicine to boost immune system, reduce inflammation and mitigate oxidative stress. chaga is shown to strengthen beneficial cytokins while reducing damaging cytokins such as TNF-a (tumor necrosis factor - alpha). this immunomodulating effect improves the body’s ability to fight pathogens while reducing the damaging effects of acute and chronic inflammation. chaga’s high fiber and anti-oxidant properties are especially helpful in improving conditions of the gut.

holy basil

master adaptogen. stress resilience. adrenal balance.

chaga, the mushroom of immortality, is one of the most anti-oxidant rich superfoods on the planet, topping the orac scale at approx. 140,000 and contains over 200 phytonutrients. chaga is used in functional medicine to boost immune system, reduce inflammation and mitigate oxidative stress. chaga is shown to strengthen beneficial cytokins while reducing damaging cytokins such as TNF-a (tumor necrosis factor - alpha). this immunomodulating effect improves the body’s ability to fight pathogens while reducing the damaging effects of acute and chronic inflammation. chaga’s high fiber and anti-oxidant properties are especially helpful in improving conditions of the gut.

stress and the reactive mind. IN DEVELOPMENT...

upper brain and lower brain.

living on the edge.

peaks & crashes. mental exhaustion.

hormonal imbalance.

roots products & stress. IN DEVELOPMENT

critical lifestyle improvements to make. IN DEVELOPMENT

better sleep practices.

let food be thy medicine.

movevent.

live for something.  

a deeper dive into stress pathways. IN DEVELOPMENT

coming soon


stress & adaptogen FAQ. IN DEVELOPMENT

coming soon