Ashwagandha and Omega-3s: A Dynamic Duo for Brain Health
Article by Arnie Gitomer Mar 20, 2023While the importance of getting adequate physical exercise has been known for decades, the importance of brain health has been overlooked until recently. However, adequate brain health and function are as important as physical health. And taking good care of the mind can preserve your mental health for decades.
While there are multiple supplements and vitamins that claim to promote brain health, the combination of ashwagandha and omega-3 delivers results that are hard to surpass.
What is Ashwagandha?Ashwagandha is found in India, Africa, and parts of the Middle East. It is sometimes also referred to as Indian Winter Cherry or Indian Ginseng. It is a small shrub with yellow flowers. The roots and leaves can be ground into a powder or extracted to treat various conditions.
Due to its health benefits, Ashwagandha has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for millennia to relieve stress, increase energy, and improve concentration. It can improve overall health by offering the following benefits:
- Increased energy levels
- Reduce pain and inflammation
- Reduced anxiety and alleviation of symptoms of depression or bipolar disorder
- Normalization of cortisol levels, which reduces the body’s stress response
- Reduced risk of cancer
- Improved memory and cognitive function
- Improved immunity and anti-aging properties
- Reduced blood sugar levels, which can help prevent diabetes
- Improved sleeping patterns, resulting in more restful sleep
- Increased testosterone levels and fertility for men
One study found that a single dose of ashwagandha improved executive function, attention, and short-term and working memory compared to participants who had taken a placebo. In addition to the benefits related directly to the brain, Ashwagandha can promote better mental and physical health.
The vast majority of people taking Ashwagandha experience no side effects. However, there is a small risk of side effects, as some people experience gastrointestinal problems, diarrhea, vomiting, or nausea. It is also vital to check with your primary care physician before taking Ashwagandha if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have an autoimmune disorder.
The standard dose for Ashwagandha is usually 500 milligrams twice a day. This supplement can be found in gummies, capsules, liquid drops, and powders.
What are Omega-3 Fatty Acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids important for several body functions. There are multiple types of Omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found naturally in certain foods. For instance, EPA and DHA are found in seafood, particularly fatty fish like tuna and salmon, and shellfish. ALA is found in other foods, such as some vegetable oils. In addition to consuming foods naturally high in Omega-3 fatty acids, you can add fish oil supplements to your diet.
There are very few nutrients that have been as widely studied as Omega-3 fatty acids, which provide many health benefits, including:
- Alleviation of symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Improved eye health
- The promotion of brain health, especially during pregnancy and early childhood
- Reduced risk for heart disease
- Reduced symptoms of ADHD in children
- Reduced symptoms of metabolic syndromes, including lowering blood pressure, triglyceride levels, and high blood sugar levels
- Reducing inflammation
- Use in the treatment and prevention of several autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and psoriasis
- Alleviation of mental disorders
- Aiding in the prevention of age-related mental decline and Alzheimer’s disease
- Working to prevent cancer
- Reduced asthma rates and symptoms in children
- Reduced fat in the liver
- Improved joint and bone health
- Alleviation of menstrual pain
- Improved sleep
- Slowing of the development of plaque in the arteries
- Reduced chance of abnormal heart rhythms
Even at younger ages, Omega-3 fatty acids can protect against brain-aging factors. For example, one study showed that Omega-3 levels were linked to better abstract reasoning and larger volumes of the hippocampus, which is critical to learning and memory. In addition to this benefit, Omega-3 fatty acids are critical in maintaining heart health and preventing heart disease. This supplement can work to keep your mind and body in peak form.
Similar to Ashwagandha, fish oil supplements have very few side effects. However, some individuals may experience the following:
- A fishy taste in their mouth or fishy breath after taking the supplement
- An upset stomach
- Loose stools
- Increased risk of bleeding if you take more than 3 grams per day
Taking Ashwagandha and Omega-3 together can provide a huge boost to your brain health and functioning. Both of these supplements also have physical benefits, which means they can promote physical health and alleviate the symptoms of many mental health disorders. Given the tremendous benefits that can come with taking these supplements, adding Ashwagandha and omega-3s to your daily routine is one of the best things you can do. It’s a great step toward promoting and preserving healthy brain function for years to come.
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