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Nutrition
Marisa HeinzeJanuary 3, 2023

Does Ashwagandha promote muscle growth and regeneration?

Today we would like to introduce you to a superfood from India, which is said to support muscle growth and regeneration, as well as having numerous positive effects for athletes. We have collected the most frequently asked questions about the superfood and provide you with reliable facts based on clinical studies. Find out here whether this potential miracle weapon really delivers what it promises.

What effects of Ashwagandha have been proven in studies?

According to one study, the following athletic successes are possible in only eight weeks:
  • Increase in chest circumference by 4
  • 17% more muscular arms
  • 139% increase in maximum bench press strength
  • Reduction of body fat by 4%
  • Faster healing of sore muscles
  • Faster recovery

But what is Ashwagandha?

Also known as Indian ginseng, winter cherry or sleeping berry, the plant has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for several thousand years. Natural healers are convinced of the wide-ranging effects of Ashwagandha and use this super plant for sleep problems, stress relief, strengthening vitality and life force.
In addition, Indian alternative medicine is convinced of the life-prolonging, rejuvenating and aphrodisiac properties of this medicinal herb.The positive effects of Ashwagandha on health, also in connection with sports, have already been proven many times by studies.

What is the effect of Ashwagandha on muscle mass, strength, and endurance?

Study by Raut:
In the study conducted in 2012, elderly male and female subjects took between 750 mg and 1250 mg of winter cherry, Ashwagandha, extract for 30 days.
The test subjects recorded a 15.1 percent increase in strength in the lower back, even without exercising! Likewise, the strength in the quadriceps increased by an average of 21.5 %.
Wankhede study:
This study looked at young men in 2015 who had no previous experience with strength training. The male subjects exercised regularly and received 400 mg of the Ashwagandha extract. There was also a placebo group as a control. The study was able to show that Ashwagandha positively influences muscle growth, which was measured by the following factors:
Increase in max bench press weight (1RepMax):
  • Placebo group: increase of 87
  • Ashwagandha group: 139 % increase
Increase in max leg extension weight (1RepMax):
  • Placebo group: increase by 40
  • Ashwagandha group: increase of 50
Increase in chest circumference:
  • Placebo group: increase by 2
  • Ashwagandha group: increase of 4
Increase in cross-sectional area of arms:
  • Placebo group: 9.4 % increase
  • Ashwagandha group: increase of 17
Decrease in body fat percentage:
Those test subjects who not only exercised but also took Indian ginseng in the form of Ashwagandha were able to reduce more fat. In the Ashwagandha group, the body fat percentage dropped from 22 to 18% on average. In contrast, the body fat percentage of the placebo subjects only decreased from 22 to 20 %.
Malik study:
In 2014, a test group of hockey players took 1000 mg of Ashwagandha every day. After eight weeks, the CMSS value was measured again. The result was a 35% improvement, while the placebo subjects showed an improvement of only 5%.

What are the benefits of this superfood for exercise?

Improvement of hormone levels:
The positive effects are based on several mechanisms of action. Indian ginseng has been proven to increase testosterone levels, while cortisol levels are reduced. Testosterone has an anabolic effect, i.e., it builds muscle. Thus, you can support your muscle building in a natural way thanks to the effect of Ashwagandha. In contrast, cortisol is a catabolic hormone that promotes the breakdown of muscle mass.
Faster regeneration:
If you take Ashwagandha regularly, you will benefit from improved sleep. It is not for nothing that this plant is also called “sleep berry”. Sleep is not only highly relevant for the untrained, but also for endurance and competitive athletes, so that performance is maintained during the day.
Relieving inflammation:
This natural wonder weapon can counteract inflammation - an aspect that is beneficial in terms of muscle soreness recovery. If you feel sore muscles after a hard workout, the fibres of your muscles are damaged. By taking this supplement regularly, you can speed up the healing of damaged muscle fibres.
Therefore, when taking Ashwaganda, you will benefit from a reduction in the muscle damage caused by your workout. As a result, your body will take a shorter time to recover, and you can start your next training session sooner - which also means that you can train more often. So, taking Ashwagandha will help build muscle twice as much.
Stress reduction:
When you sleep well and deeply, you feel noticeably more balanced and there is a reduction in stress.
Increased secretion of creatine:
When taking Indian ginseng regularly, your creatine levels increase, you feel more energetic and want to build muscle thanks to Ashwagandha.
Increase of well-being:
The adaptogen supports you in dealing with mental and physical stress. Subjective well-being can improve, worries and fears are demonstrably reduced, and depression can be alleviated to a certain extent.
Cholesterol:
Ashwagandha is a natural supplement that can help reduce total cholesterol levels a little.

How and when to take it?

The full effect can only be achieved with regular intake. Therefore, it is recommended to take it over several months. Whether you take the purely organic supplement before, during or after a meal is entirely up to you. The superfood is quickly absorbed by the body and thus this dietary supplement can quickly ignite its effect.
If you want to improve your sleep, it is recommended to take it shortly before going to bed, as the effect of Ashwagandha is very fast. If you are facing a stressful day or wake up irritable in the morning, it is recommended to take it in the morning.
As an athlete, you can take the natural wonder weapon directly before an intensive workout, so that you can already benefit from the positive effects during your workout.

What dosage is advisable?

In empirical studies, between 300 and 1250 mg of the superfood are usually administered. Per kilogram of body weight, 8mg Ashwagandha per day is recommended. For a body weight of 60kg, this corresponds to just under 500 mg in order to benefit from the effects of Ashwangandha. If you need a sleep aid, higher dosages between two and four grams are recommended.

What does Ashwagandha taste like?

The dietary supplement tends to have a bitter taste in powder form. In India, the root powder is therefore taken as a decoction together with milk and a little honey.

What side effects are known?

In general, winter cherry is considered to be very well tolerated and non-toxic, provided the recommended dosages are followed. An overdose could, however, lead to nausea and digestive problems. Certain groups, such as pregnant women, are advised not to take it. If other medications are prescribed or taken, it is advisable to consult a doctor.

What dosage forms are available?

You can choose between capsules, powders, and teas.
Capsules:
You can swallow capsules quickly and easily with a little water. Most capsules have an effect of 1500 to 2000 mg, but higher-dose versions with 2500 mg are also available. Please find out in advance what is a good amount for your body weight.
Powder:
If you opt for the powder, you can control the dosage individually. You can start with a small dose and increase it over the weeks. Unlike capsules, powder is cheaper. You can also add the powder of Ashwagandha to a fruit juice or milk shake and assist muscle growth.
Tea:
Alternatively, you can take the superfood as a tea and adjust the dosage individually. If you want to benefit from the positive effects of Ashwagandha in the form of a tea, you are opting for the most expensive form of administration. However, it is advantageous that you can also combine this tea with other herbs.

Conclusion

The positive effect of Ashwagandha is scientifically proven and it is not for nothing that the natural physicians of Ayurvedic medicine have relied on this superfood for several thousand years. Due to its wide range of benefits, this super plant is recommended for anyone who wants to maximize their physical and mental fitness and reduce stress.
We recommend Ashwagandha for muscle building, as it is a natural preparation, and the side effects are minimal. However, you should find out in advance what your individual ideal amount of the preparation is and in certain cases (pregnancy, previous illness, or prescribed medication) you should consult your family doctor. Apart from that, Ashwagandha has a number of benefits that can support you in your training!
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