The herb ashwagandha is a plant that is native to the Indian subcontinent and other parts of Asia.
It is typically found in damp and shady areas, and also grows in moist soil.
Also known as Withania somnifera or Indian ginseng, the ashwagandha root is the most frequently consumed part although the fruit or even leaves are sometimes used.
It has been traditionally used as a treatment for various types of illnesses, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, chronic fatigue syndrome, anxiety, stress, etc.
It is popularly consumed by people from many religious backgrounds for its health benefits.
Ashwagandha is an herb used in ayurvedic medicine that has been shown to have a broad range of health benefits.
Today, however, the use of ashwagandha in alternative medicine is on the increase throughout the West, where its potential for helping to enhance aspects of male health is starting to be understood and utilized.
Wondering what some of these benefits of using organic ashwagandha for the modern man include?
Read on below to find out what the most notable benefits are in men.
19 Benefits of Ashwagandha For Men
1) Ashwagandha Can Increase Muscle Mass And Muscle Strength
It almost feels like if every other day a new supplement pops up that promises muscle strength and muscle mass that rival even the most potent anabolic steroids.
Not surprisingly, most of these claims are just hot air and don’t deliver anything worth mentioning.
Ashwagandha root extract, however, is very different.
It is not even remotely marketed as the newest trendy thing in a pill, but quite the opposite.It is promoted as a centuries-old herb, but one which could help you make the progress you deserve in the gym.
One study conducted over the course of 8 weeks sought to compare men given 500mg standardized ashwagandha extract daily to men given a placebo.
Compared to the placebo group, men that were given 500 mg of the extract improved their speed and had enhanced lower muscular strength over the 8-week period.
Yet another randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study, this time comprising 57 men ranging in ages from 18-50, sought to determine ashwagandha’s benefits on several aspects related to exercise.
Participants of the control group were administered ashwagandha 300mg twice daily, while the other group was given a placebo.
They then embarked on a training regimen, and after 8 weeks measurements were taken.
Compared to the group given a placebo, the ashwagandha group made several improvements such as:
- Increased maximums on the bench press and leg extension
- Increased muscle hypertrophy
2) Ashwagandha Root Can Boost Testosterone Levels
Ashwagandha plant has garnered much interest if recent thanks to its potential testosterone boosting effect.
Not surprisingly, it has been used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to support male fertility.
New research has confirmed these findings, even if only in limited circumstances.
For example, the testosterone boosting effect of ashwagandha-based dietary supplements shows the greatest therapeutic efficacy in men that were hypogonadal before embarking on the treatment.
Low testosterone production is generally associated with poor sexual performance
Indeed, many supplements that offer anti-oxidant benefits to the testes show good potential for boosting testosterone levels, as is the case with ashwagandha extract as well, but it also increases it independently as well.
Oxidative stress negatively affects reproductive hormone levels and health.
In healthy men, the effect on regulating reproductive hormone levels is negligible.
However, modest increases of about 15% have been observed when weight training is simultaneously performed.
3) May Improve Sperm Count And Fertility
Wanting to have a baby and not being able to conceive is a major source of frustration for couples all over the world.
Not surprisingly, it is not uncommon for these couples to spend thousands of dollars in an effort to find something that would help.
Unfortunately, this is usually an expensive endeavor and one that bankrupts families before success can be achieved.
From the battery of tests necessary to properly diagnose the condition, to prescriptions for medication that cost thousands of dollars monthly, men are often in search of something more financially comfortable.
Ashwagandha tablets might be the solution they are looking for.
It appears to work especially well when dealing with a reduction in sperm count due to a high-stress burden.
Ashwagandha root, thanks to the presence of compounds known as withanolides, can improve aspects of sexual health and fertility such as sperm motility, semen volume, and sperm count.
In otherwise normal men, chronic stress can have a profound impact on spermatogenesis (sperm production) by having an inhibitory effect on the hormone testosterone.
Ashwagandha specializes in helping to reduce this stress burden- in turn allowing systems to work normally once more.
4) Can Promote Recovery
If you are a hard training athlete, the pain following your workout can be oh so familiar.
While this may seem like a normal part of the recovery process, it doesn’t have to be-at least not to the extent that you feel unable to perform mundane tasks.
An herbal supplement such as ashwagandha may be able to help.
Ashwagandha may not just only increase your body’s muscle-building potential, but could also speed up your recovery time following exercise and reduce the amount of pain you feel as a consequence.
This is because cortisol levels increase in the hours to days after your workout.
By the next day, testosterone levels return to a somewhat normal state, while cortisol is elevated.
By reducing the impact of the stress hormone cortisol on the recuperation process, you can hit the gym sooner and experience less pain.
5) Reduces Chronic Stress Levels
We’ve spoken about stress and cortisol a few times throughout this article, but have deliberately held off discussing it too much until now.
You see, every supplement and their uncle claim to be able to help reduce your stress levels.
In truth, a couple does have a modest effect on this.
A larger number does absolutely nothing.
Ashwagandha, however, shows significant improvements in reducing cortisol levels, with a reduction of up to 27% being reported in studies.
6) Ashwagandha Can Help Promote Weight Loss
Many people struggle with weight loss for years at a time and are not the wiser at the end of it all.
This is no fault of the individual, as they could have truly tried everything within their power to bring about meaningful weight loss.
However, anytime weight loss appears extremely slow and difficult to come by when you believe you have optimized diet and exercise sufficiently, there is probably an endocrine or hormonal factor at play.
Body fat levels that seem to go up for no apparent reason might be an indicator that dysfunction is at play.
Ashwagandha is different in the sense that it is not explicitly regarded as a fat loss supplement.
Rather, it is capable of helping to restore the natural balance in many ways.
With regards to your weight, it can help increase the levels of the thyroid hormones T3 and T4.
The thyroid hormone plays an extremely important role in your body weight management, helping to regulate metabolic processes which ensure that you do not easily accrue excessive fat.
Many people are actually hypothyroid or possess a level that is below what is optimal or considered to be normal.
Hypothyroidism manifests with symptoms such as mild fatigue, sensitivity to cold, or just poor energy levels and mood.
Ashwagandha shows the most promise in this group.
This way, given that you have a solid nutritional base under your feet, hopefully, the body is able to resume normal production of this hormone.
The use of ashwagandha is not advised in an effort to elevate thyroid levels beyond what is normal, as this might have unpredictable repercussions.
It might also just be a waste of time to use an ashwagandha supplement if your levels are already within the normal range.
7) Ashwagandha May Improve Blood Flow and Combat Erectile Dysfunction
Nitric oxide is a compound produced in the body which enhances blood flow and causes dilation of blood vessels.
It helps contribute to healthy blood pressure levels, but in men, can also help determine erectile potency.
Men that have low levels of the circulating compound may experience erectile dysfunction, a major source of insecurity.
The use of an ashwagandha supplement can help deviate this, as it stimulates the production of a greater amount of nitric oxide.
There is evidence of ashwagandha being referenced in the legendary Kama Sutra as an aphrodisiac and to enhance male sexual desire and prowess.
8) May Help Reduce Anxiety
As a man, you are probably under immense pressure and suffer from debilitating anxiety.
However, society probably makes it so that you have to deal with it and it’s the normal part of being the man.
Ashwagandha seems to work best when dealing with chronic anxiety, such as that associated with a demanding job or even sexual anxiety.
This does not mean that it will not help to deal with acute manifestations of anxiety, it just means it is not an on the spot type of treatment
9) Improves Male Sexual Pleasure
You may have noticed by now that ashwagandha prides itself on its ability to help reduce cortisol levels.
The damaging effects of cortisol on so many body processes are not well understood.
However, it clearly manifests in subversive ways.
One such way is the inability of a man to experience true sexual pleasure.
The pressure to perform and please may be so high that it takes away from his experience.
Not only will this affect his mental well-being, but it can also contribute to psychogenic erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, or complete loss of interest in sex.
Ashwagandha can help take the edge off of intimacy, making it easier for both partners to enjoy the session and for you to regain inhibited sexual function.
10) Enhances Endurance
Our endurance refers to the ability of the body to maintain performance for an extended period of time.
Of course, you can see this being very important to athletes who may wish to improve their personal while training for a marathon or competition.
Insurance is also a good indicator of your body’s overall cardiopulmonary health since it takes very good oxygen and blood supply to maintain performance for an extended period of time.
Men may also see an improvement of endurance in the bedroom, which manifests as longer lovemaking sessions.
This, combined with other beneficial effects on male health make ashwagandha indispensable.
11) Health Benefits For The Heart
Cardiovascular disease is one of the primary causes of death in men of productive working age, owing largely to poor diets and lifestyle choices.
The abundance of cheap processed food and lack of exercise contribute greatly to this problem.
Combined with an increase in stress-related parameters, coronary risk explodes.
Consumption of ashwagandha can help to an extent by reducing levels of circulating cholesterol and triglycerides.
Studies conducted in animals have observed dramatic reductions in circulating lipids, while in humans the effect is less pronounced but nevertheless very important.
For instance, one study found that over the course of 60 days ashwagandha resulted in an average reduction of over 17% and 11% to LDL and triglyceride levels respectively.
This reduction in cholesterol levels can have a very positive impact on lowering the risk of heart disease in men.
12) May Promote Brain Health
The health of the male brain is often underappreciated.
Men, by nature, are believed to be strong and unwavering, with a show of emotions considered weak.
However, it is beginning to be appreciated just how extensive the damaging effects of stress can be on the brain.
For instance, the effect of chronically elevated levels of cortisol on the brain can predispose to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Likewise, changes to the brain can result in diminished ability to learn or cognitive function.
Not only that, but stress also alters the chemical makeup of the brain, to the extent that neurotransmitters may become unbalanced.
Depression, for example, results when there is an imbalance in serotonin levels, or some mechanism is at play that depletes it.
This is why it is of utmost importance to develop healthy ways of reducing stress.
Regular daily consumption of ashwagandha in the vicinity of 500 mg is usually enough to significantly reduce brain deficits from occurring.
13) Helps Support A Strong Immune System
Here’s another fun fact about stress: it also takes a hit on your immune system.
Yes, as if dealing with the numerous threats to your immune system is not enough, the stress hormone cortisol lies there in the shadows slowly chipping away at your body’s ability to defend itself.
Not only does the higher rate of inflammation lead to greater recruitment of white blood cells, but it subsequently depletes their stores from the body.
Do you see where this is going?
When the body finally encounters a serious threat, the immune response may not be sufficient to overcome invaders.
One study demonstrated the fact that over just the course of four days, ashwagandha was able to elevate the expression of immune mediators such as T cells and natural killer cell activity significantly over baseline.
Although this is a very short-term study, it is likely that daily long-term supplementation of ashwagandha with likely yield the same, if not greater effect.
Be sure to support ashwagandha’s effects with an immune-boosting diet rich in nutrients such as vitamin C, zinc, and vitamin D.
14) May Improve Exercise Capacity
Every man that works out has the goal of improving performance, whether that be bettering the previous best time, or being able to do more before hitting muscular failure.
500 mg daily ashwagandha can help you do just that, as it was found to benefit men who run but absolutely no prior experience.
Improved exercise capacity also means the better adaptation of the lungs, heart, and muscles to the stresses placed on the body and associated requirements for oxygen and higher energy levels.
15) Can Improve Digestion And Nutritional State
Even in the absence of a digestive disorder, the absorption of nutrients can be poor as a result of chronic stress.
You see, digestion is an energy-intensive process, one which requires blood flow to be diverted to.
This is why it is not advised to consume the meal too close to your workout time, as competition will be created between the muscles, heart, and lungs, versus the digestive system.
In a lot of ways, it depends on which system mandated the increased blood flow in the first place.
When chronically stressed adults lack sleep, the adrenal glands increase their production of the hormone cortisol, along with the neurotransmitters epinephrine and norepinephrine.
The effect these have is to increase heart rate, respiration, and an increasing body temperature.
As a result, blood is diverted away from the digestive tract towards those other organ systems.
As you can see, the digestive process is adversely affected.
The end result is malabsorption of the food you eat, leading to much of the beneficial compounds just being excreted without value.
Ashwagandha, thanks to its ability to reduce stress can allow processes to be optimized at times when they are needed most.
16) May Help Improve Sleep
Ashwagandha is not a sedative by any means but is yet often associated with improved sleep patterns.
In fact, part of its actual name, Somnifera, actually translates to mean sleep-inducing.
Its ability to help promote sleep is largely due to its anxiety-reducing properties and ability to promote calm.
It is often included in over-the-counter sleep-promoting herbal supplements that also contain melatonin, as the two are believed to have a synergistic effect on regulating and restoring normal circadian sleep patterns.
It does not necessarily cause sleepiness except when used in extremely high doses according to anecdotal reports.
Studies have shown that chronically stressed humans need to overcome a sleep deficit to regain normal brain function.
As you might have observed by now, the vast majority of ashwagandha’s benefits are derived from its ability to reduce cortisol levels.
This just goes to show just how severely stress can impact several aspects of our well-being.
It has proven itself to be able to improve testosterone levels in more than one randomized controlled trial, fertility, and also support the process of hypertrophy and strength gain.
The ability to boost brain function is also nothing to discount, as it can help ward off mental health concerns and prevent burnout.
Once you are given a clean bill of health by your physician, we don’t see why you shouldn’t start incorporating an ashwagandha supplement into your daily regimen.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Ashwagandha
How Much Ashwagandha Should I Take Daily?
The recommended dose of ashwagandha that you should take daily is not set in stone. According to multiple studies conducted, this range can start as low as 500 mg daily, and go all the way up to 5000 mg. In general, a note should be made about the benefits you are expecting to see and compared to the reference dose for existing studies.
It is always advised to consume as little of the supplement that you need to see the beneficial effect, meaning that starting at 500 mg daily and slowly increasing is definitely the best approach.
How Long Do The Benefits Of Ashwagandha Supplementation Take To Manifest?
Again, it depends on the specific usage. For instance, as previously mentioned the immune-boosting properties of ashwagandha supplements might be seen in as little as four days, while noticeably increased sperm count or testosterone levels may take several weeks to manifest.
You may first observe an improved sense of well-being about four weeks after starting usage, with that period generally considered the onset of long-term benefits.
Are There Any Adverse Effects Of Ashwagandha Powder Consumption?
In the vast majority of men that consume ashwagandha, though adverse effects are observable in moderate quantities. There are reports of drowsiness in a small number of study participants and for the report of hallucinations and vertigo.
It is not advised for usage in anyone with autoimmune diseases or disorders or using medication that affects the same.
Your doctor can provide medical advice about this.
All in all, it does not have a noticeable side effect profile so taking ashwagandha should be fine for consumption by anyone in good health and given the all-clear by their attending physician.