Ashwagandha is an herbal supplement that has become increasingly popular in recent years for its numerous health benefits. It is commonly used in Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India, for its adaptogenic properties, which are believed to help the body cope with stress and promote overall well-being.
One question that often comes up regarding ashwagandha is whether or not it can promote weight gain. While some people may be looking to bulk up with this supplement, others may be concerned about potential weight gain as a side effect. So, what does the research say?
The Evidence Behind the Claims
Despite its popularity, there is a lack of large-scale studies on the effects of ashwagandha on weight in humans. However, a few small studies have been conducted, with somewhat mixed results.
One study published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine looked at the effects of ashwagandha supplementation on body weight in healthy adults. Participants took either 300 milligrams or 600 milligrams of ashwagandha extract per day for eight weeks. At the end of the study, there was no significant difference in body weight between the two groups.
Another study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine looked at the effects of ashwagandha on body composition in overweight adults. Participants took 300 milligrams of ashwagandha extract per day for eight weeks. While there was no significant change in body weight, there was a significant decrease in body fat percentage and an increase in muscle mass.
Similarly, a third study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology looked at the effects of ashwagandha on body composition in healthy adults. Participants took 750 milligrams of ashwagandha extract per day for eight weeks. Though there was no significant change in body weight, there was a significant decrease in body fat percentage and an increase in muscle mass.
Potential Explanations for Weight Changes
While there is no clear evidence that ashwagandha causes weight gain, there are potential mechanisms by which it could contribute to weight changes. For example, ashwagandha’s adaptogenic properties may help reduce stress levels, which can help to regulate the body’s levels of cortisol, a hormone that plays a role in weight gain. Additionally, ashwagandha may help improve sleep quality, which can in turn have an impact on weight regulation.
It is also worth noting that the studies referenced above looked at the effects of ashwagandha in combination with lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise. Therefore, any observed changes in body composition could potentially be attributed to these other factors rather than the ashwagandha itself.
So, does ashwagandha increase weight? Based on the available research, the answer appears to be no. While some studies have shown changes in body composition in response to ashwagandha supplementation, there is no clear evidence that it leads to weight gain.
However, it is important to note that the research on the effects of ashwagandha on weight is still somewhat limited, and more large-scale studies are needed to fully understand its impact. Furthermore, as with any supplement or medication, individual experiences may vary and it is important to speak with a healthcare professional before starting ashwagandha or any other new supplement.