What Are the Benefits of Ashwagandha?

The popular adaptogenic herb is appearing in food and supplements. Here's what research says you can expect.

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Today’s Health Upgrade

  • What about Ashwagandha?

  • Snack time

  • On our radar: A new fertility study

  • Arnold’s weaknesses

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From The Village: What About Ashwagandha?

Adoptogens are having a moment. The broad category of supplements is popping up in everything from coffee and snacks to traditional pills and powders. The problem? Most adaptogens have been used for a long time in ayurvedic medicine but lack human trials to prove they work. But Ashwagandha could break the mold. 

Research suggests that ashwagandha might help you fall asleep, stay asleep, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve workout performance. 

One meta-analysis found that ashwandha helped people sleep nearly half an hour longer than those using a placebo. It also improved sleep quality and sleep efficiency. 

Another meta-analysis of 11 studies concluded that ashwagandha significantly reduces stress and anxiety compared to a placebo and is also effective at reducing cortisol levels. 

The research is promising, but more studies are still needed. Right now, the biggest limitation is that there isn’t much research on long-term use.

If you take any supplements, please only buy from companies that invest in third-party certifications. Making false label claims, using tainted supplements, or ingredients with impurities is too easy for supplement companies. Both NSF Certified for Sport and Informed Sport ensure the quality and purity of the products you take so you can have more peace of mind.

If you want to see if ashwagandha makes a difference for you, studies suggest 300 to 600 milligrams daily to unlock the benefits.

Snack Time

A note from Daniel: Recently, in a Pump Q and A, someone asked us our favorite snacks.

Here’s mine: Maui Nui Venison sticks (and sometimes a Granny Smith apple).

We’ve raved about Maui Nui’s lean, delicious, environmentally friendly meat, and I’ve shared recipes for my chili and bolognese with venison. They’re one of our favorite partners because they give back to their community, feeding people during Maui’s wildfires year-round, but they also send amazing, healthy meat to our doorsteps. Their process is so respected that Maui Nui was selected for Fast Company’s “Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Agriculture of 2023.”

We always tell you we won’t partner if something isn’t genuine. We are all Maui Nui customers, and my freezer is half a deer at this point because I’ve been traveling and not cooking enough.

I always keep the venison sticks in my work bag because they’re so quick and easy, and you can’t beat the protein punch. Besides being nutrient-dense from the volcanic soil in Maui, this venison packs 53% more protein per calorie than grass-fed beef and is low in saturated fat. Just look at these stats:

  • 10g Protein 

  • 55 Calories

  • 1g Total Fat

  • Produced in small batches and hardwood-smoked 

  • Super clean and easy to eat, no game at all

  • Take them anywhere and secure your protein goals.

We have a special deal for you. As a member of the positive corner, you get 20% OFF your first order. Be sure to use the code “PUMPCLUB” when checking out.

I am not joking. I have about 10 of these a week. Trust us, you’ll want to try them out.

On Our Radar: New Fertility Research

For decades, most research has focused on how women’s behaviors affect fertility and the health of children. However, new studies are helping paint a clearer picture.

Recent research suggests that male alcohol consumption could affect a fetus up to three months before conception.  

When it comes to diagnosing fetal alcohol syndrome and infertility, doctors typically focus on the lifestyle factors of the mom. The latest research suggests that it takes longer than previously believed for alcohol to leave the system. The new study found that moderate-to-heavy drinking can affect the RNA of sperm for up to three months and potentially harm detail development.

That’s because sperm are created over 60 days. So, to be in the clear and minimize risk, the scientists suggest significantly limiting or cutting off alcohol for several months. 

Before you panic, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, this was a mechanistic study based on models, meaning we can’t assume cause and effect. Just as important, the damage was based on someone regularly having several drinks per day. In other words, if you occasionally drink, it’s hard to say if it would negatively impact you. Instead, be aware of the potential impact of long-term alcohol use on sperm quality and child development.

Proof That Arnold Is Human

You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone more focused than Arnold. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have weaknesses. As he’s shared in a Q&A in the Pump app, Arnold’s two biggest struggles are drinking enough water and getting enough steps. And there’s a reason he cares about both. 

You likely know why hydration is important. But you might not realize that walking — along with hand grip strength — is one of the better indicators of longevity.

Research suggests that walking at least 8,000 steps once or twice weekly improves your longevity and heart health. 

The scientists analyzed data from more than 3,000 people over ten years. Some people never reached 8,000 steps, others did it once or twice, and a third group increased their step count more than three times per week. 

Even one day of more than 8,000 steps was associated with significantly lower all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease compared to those who didn’t hit the 8K threshold. While there were additional benefits for those walking more than 8,000 steps anywhere from three to seven days per week, the protective effect didn’t lead to as significant increases. 

That doesn’t mean you should walk less; it just means that if you’re not walking at all, committing to a habit of getting in more steps once or twice per week could offer significant health protection. 

If 8,000 steps feel like too big of a jump, aim for 5,000 steps per day. Another study found that health protection increases dramatically when you hit the 5,000-step mark. 

Publisher: Arnold Schwarzenegger

Editors-in-chief: Adam Bornstein and Daniel Ketchell