Shakeology Ingredients – Adaptogen Blend
What’s an “Adapt-O-Gen”?
According to the Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine an adaptogen is substance that improves the body’s ability to adapt to stress, while Mosby’s Dictionary of Complementary and Alternative Medicine defines it as a substance that helps the body regenerate after being fatigued or stressed.
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The term “Adaptogen” was first introduced in 1947 by Russian scientist N.V. Lazarev to describe the unique action of a material claimed to increase nonspecific resistance of an organism to an adverse influence. A later definition of an adaptogen read: It “must be innocuous and cause minimal disorders in the physiological functions of an organism, it must have a nonspecific action, and it usually has a normalizing action irrespective of the direction of the pathological state.” There are many herbs that have these effects, adaptogenic herbs are plants with properties that exert a normalizing influence on the body, neither over-stimulating nor inhibiting normal body function, but rather exerting an equalizing effect.
Shakeology Ingredients – Adaptogen Blend contains many of these herbs. This blend includes: Ashwagandha, Astralagus, Coryceps, Gingko, Maca, Maitake Mushroom, Reishi Mushroom, Schisandra, Tulsi (Holy Basil). These adaptogens help to protect the body from stress, they support the immune system, and balances the endocrine system. Let’s look at these adaptogenic herbs and see what specific effects they have on the body.
Ashwagandha is often called “Indian Ginseng”, not because the two herbs are relatedbotanically, but because they have similar effects on the body. According to WebMD, “Ashwagandha is used for arthritis, anxiety, trouble sleeping (insomnia), tumors, tuberculosis, asthma, a skin condition marked by white patchiness (leukoderma), bronchitis, backache, fibromyalgia, menstrual problems, hiccups, and chronic liver disease.” Ashwagandha offers a number of benefits: It supports a healthy immune system, it calms mental processes, fosters healthy sleep patterns, it benefits a healthy reproductive system in both males and females, sustains energy levels, strength, and vitality, including with physical activity and it supports healthy back and joints. There are some side effects to using ashwagandha in large doses. It is known to have a spasmolytic effect on the uterus, therefore pregnant women should avoid it unless they have spoken to their doctor first. The amount of this herb in Shakeology is not considered high, but to be on the safe side talk to your doctor first.
Shakeology Ingredients – Astralagus
Astralagus root is used not only as an adaptogen, but also as an immune system booster. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Modern research has shown that astragalus has antiviral properties and stimulates the immune system, it also suggests taking astragalus long-term might help prevent colds. There is also some evidence that taking astragalus may improve symptoms such as running nose, itching, and sneezing in people with seasonal allergies. Astragalus may help protect the body from diseases such as cancer and diabetes. It contains antioxidants, which protect cells against damage caused by free radicals, byproducts of cellular energy. It is used to to treat diabetes, lower blood pressure, and to protect the liver. Astragalus also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
In the United States, researchers have looked at astragalus as a possible treatment for people whose immune systems have been weakened by chemotherapy or radiation. In these studies, astragalus supplements seem to help people recover faster and live longer.
Shakeology Ingredients – Coryceps (Cordyceps)
This is one of the most interesting ingredient Shakeology Ingredients – Adaptogen Blend Coryceps, or cordyceps (Cordyceps sinesis) is a fungus closely related to mushrooms. Though not actually a mushroom, it has been described as an exotic medicinal mushroom in traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine. The name cordyceps in Latin means “club head”. It grows natively in high-altitude alpine meadows of the Himalayan mountains.
The fungus is parasitic in nature. The base of the mushroom first originates from an insect larval – a caterpillar, and ends at the club-like cap. The fruit body is dark brown to black, and the root of the organism, the caterpillar body invaded by the fungus “roots”, is yellowish to brown color. The caterpillar on which cordyceps grows usually lies about 6 inches below the surface of the ground. As the fungus approaches maturity, it consumes more than 90% of the infected insect effectively mummifying its host.
Some polysaccharide components and and a chemical called cordycepin, which have some anticancer activity in preliminary lab and animal studies, have been isolated from two species of Cordyceps. This polysaccharide (long-chain carbohydrate) isolated from Cordyceps sinensis has a hypoglycemic effect and may be beneficial for people with insulin resistance. This polysaccharide helps in maintaining blood glucose level during prolonged exercise in athletes, thereby increasing endurance. Some work has been published in which Cordyceps sinensis has been used to protect the bone marrow and digestive systems of mice from whole body irradiation, suggesting that it may help those undergoing radiation therapy. An experiment noted a chemical compound isolated from Cordyceps sinensis may protect the liver from damage. Another experiment with mice noted that Cordyceps sinensis may have an anti-depressant effect. The Cordyceps mushroom also has potent antioxidant properties.
Ginkgo also known as known as the maidenhair tree is classified as a “living fossil”, showing up in fossils as old as 270 million years.
Ginkgo, found in the Shakeology Ingredients – Adaptogen Blend, has been used in traditional medicine for years to treat blood disorders and enhance memory. Modern scientific studies show conflicting results; however, some studies have found evidence that supports these claims. Some studies show that ginkgo may indeed help treat dementia including Alzheimer’s disease, and poor circulation in the legs. It also shows promise for enhancing memory in older adults. Studies have shown that ginkgo helps improves blood circulation by dilating blood vessels and reducing the stickiness of blood platelets.
Ginkgo leaf extracts contain flavonoid glycosides and terpenoids which are known for their potent antioxidant properties. As you recall from a previous post on the Shakeology Ingredients – Super Fruit/Antioxidant Blend, Antioxidants are are substances that are capable of preventing or even reversing the damaging effects of oxidation in our tissues.
Shakeology Ingredients – Maca
Maca comes from Peru, where it is considered a natural aphrodesiac. Historically, Maca was consumed by Incan warriors before they went into battle to enhance their strength. Also, after a city was conquered, the women were protected from the conquering Incans because they became extremely virile due to the large amounts of Maca they consumed.
Maca’s reported effects as a natural aphrodesiac could be due to its high concentration of proteins and vital nutrients. Maca also contains p-methoxybenzyl isothiocyanate, which reputedly has aphrodisiac properties. Maca has nutritional properties similar to cereal grains, and also contains selenium and magnesium.
Shakeology Ingredients – Maitake Mushroom
Maitake is Japanese means “Dancing Mushroom”. In English it is called hen-of-the-woods, ram’s head and sheep’s head. It is native to Japan and North America, and is prized in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine It is taken as an aid to balance out altered body systems to a normal level. Also to build the immune system.
Maitake mushrooms are rich in calcium, magnesium, and potassium, vitamins B2, D2 and niacin, fibers and amino acids.
Researchers have also indicated that whole maitake has the ability to regulate blood pressure, glucose, insulin, and both serum and liver lipids, such as cholesterol, triglycerides, and phospholipids, and may also be useful for weight loss. Maitake mushrooms and extracts prepared from them contain a polysaccharide called beta glucan (also called beta glycan). Beta glucan is found in several mushrooms, yeasts, and other foods. Beta glucan is believed to stimulate the immune system and activate certain cells and proteins that attack cancer, including macrophages, T-cells, natural killer cells, and interleukin-1 and -2.
Reishi Mushroom, or Ling Zhi as it is called in China where it has been used in traditional medicine for over 2,000 years, making it one of the oldest mushrooms known to have been used medicinally.Reishi also contain many water-soluble polysaccharides, triterpeniods, proteins and amino acids. These chemicals have anti-tumour, immune modulating and blood pressure lowering effects. It also contains ganoderic acid which studies indicate has some protective effects against liver injury by viruses and other toxic agents. Reishi mushroom is also used for boosting the immune system, regulating blood sugar, reducing anxiety, helping with insomnia. To demonstrate its adaptogenic effects, Reishi is used to treat insomnia, anxiety as well as the opposite fatigue.
Shakeology Ingredients – Schisandra
Schisandra is a hardy deciduous vine which thrives in virtually any soil. The berries of Shisandra chinensis are what is used as an adaptogen. In Chinese they are called wu wei zi or “five flavor fruit” because they possess all five basic flavors in Chinese herbal medicine: salty, sweet, sour, pungent (spicy), and bitter. This fruit has been used to decrease stress, enhance disease resistance and improve physical performance and endurance. It also has been used to increase skin health, reduce hunger and thirst, help with insomnia, and normalize blood sugar and blood pressure. Shisandra also provides protection to the liver from damage caused by viral infections and toxins by stimulating enzymes in the liver and promoting liver cell growth. It also regulates cholesterol and helps improve vision.
Shakeology Ingredients – Tulsi (Holy Basil)
Tulsi or Holy Basil is a weed cultivated in eastern Asia and used in religious ceremonies as well as for making tea, and also used as a seasoning in cooking.
Tulsi has been shown to have strong antiviral, antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties. It is used as a pain killer, and a general tonic. Some studies have shown that it has beneficial effects on regulating blood sugar. Tulsi is also high in antioxidants.
So whether you’re looking for something to relieve stress, or to rev up your energy, or you want to build up your immune systems, and reduce the damage caused by disease and the build up of toxins in the body adaptogens are the key, and the Shakeology Ingredients – Adaptogen Blend has more of its share of these vital nutrients, and it tastes great too!
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