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Best health supplements: Ashwagandha shown to reduce stress and cholesterol levels

Dr Zoe reveals which supplements to take

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Cancer and high cholesterol are some of the biggest impacts on life expectancy. Alongside these conditions, stress is known to further perpetuate any illness. Could one daily pill help to eradicate them all?

When the body is undergoing stressful moments, cortisol levels in the body become elevated, and this causes your heart to pump harder and faster.

A person’s breath becomes more rapid, and their body generates more glucose for a quick burst of energy.

The mind becomes hyper-focused on any threats, and the body goes into fight or flight mode.

When the stressful event is over, cortisol levels normalise, and the associated symptoms resolve.

Over time, long-term stress can contribute to persistent inflammation and increases the risk for developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, cancer, osteoporosis and fibromyalgia.

Research has shown that ashwagandha can help normalise cortisol levels, thus reducing the stress response.

In addition, ashwagandha has also been associated with reduced inflammation, reduced cancer risks, improved memory, improved immune function and anti-ageing properties.

This is why people who are stressed or anxious, or people with chronic conditions might turn to ashwagandha to help ease their conditions.

A study published in the National Library of Medicine looked at Withania Somnifera (WS) as a therapy for stroke.

WS is also commonly known as ashwagandha or winter cherry and has been used for centuries to treat ailments in the Ayurvedic as well as indigenous systems of medicine as an aphrodisiac, nerve-tonic, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agent.

Researchers found that in addition to stroke, extracts and individual components of WS have been tested in various models of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease (PD), Huntington’s disease, epilepsy, and stress disorders with successful results.

Animal and test-tube studies have found that withaferin — a compound in ashwagandha — helps induce apoptosis, which is the programmed death of cancer cells.

“The plants used in Ayurvedic medicine, which has been practised in India for thousands of years for the treatment of a variety of disorders, are rich in chemicals potentially useful for prevention and treatment of cancer,” noted the study.

It added: “Withania Somnifera is one such medicinal plant whose anticancer value was realised over four decades ago after isolation of a crystalline steroidal compound from the leaves of this shrub.”

It concluded: “The root and leaf extracts of WS are shown to confer protection against chemically-induced cancers in experimental rodents.”

Ashwagandha supplements are said to also help with both cholesterol imbalances and diabetes.

Having an irregularity in cholesterol levels is often found in those suffering from type 2 diabetes.

Ashwagandha helps to enhance diabetes side effects, decreasing blood glucose levels by 12.5 percent.

Ashwagandha keeps up insulin creation and expands insulin affectability which enables the body to go through glucose productively.

This makes the supplements a one-stop answer for individuals with both diabetes and elevated cholesterol.

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