Adaptogens: Foundational Support
Natura’s line of adaptogens was formulated on the applied research of a Russian sport scientist and the clinical expertise of a clinical nutritionist and herbalist specializing in wellness and healthy aging. Our adaptogenic formulations were the genesis of Natura Health Products and are, to this day, the foundation of our botanical work.
They have profound effects on stress adaptation.
Cheetahs are the fastest animals on earth, but they can only go for a short while, a few miles at most. And then, they have to rest. It’s an incredible demand on the body to be in a state of full output. The cheetah enters a completely different physical structure when it’s in full sprint. It takes every bit of juice for that animal to maintain that energy output.
We induce chronic stress when we push our bodies into high performance states and expect to maintain it over extended time. The body goes into an altered state of high output for a long period of time to deliver. Then, the body starts to break down under the demands. Prolonged stress hormone activity in the body drives too much cortisol and adrenaline, leading to tissue damage over time, and eventual exhaustion, hormonal depletion, and dysregulated systems.
This is when the spots fall off the cheetah, so to speak, and our systems of adaptation start to break down. Our stability deteriorates, and we become imbalanced. In this state, our body’s attention turns to seeking homeostasis (or balance) rather maintaining control over seasonal and environmental stressors. These, then, begin to find their hold in niches and suppress your vital force.
We enter a cycle of chronic stress where the body attempts to adapt and requires more cortisol. We push energy away from rebuilding and regenerating ourselves. We experience fatigue, mood changes, restlessness, loss of libido and function, altered cognition, and forgetfulness. This state of fight or flight alters immune function and, over time, can suppress it. This ultimately leads to a shorten lifespan, and even more importantly, diminished quality of life.
This is often when we seek medical intervention, and the focus turns to the alleviating symptoms. But the root cause of chronic stress and the breakdown of the body’s adaptive responsive system is never addressed. The issues are masked because our acute symptoms dissipate, and the body falls deeper into its deficits.
Plants don’t have the ability to avoid stressors in their environment. They can’t move to escape a hard frost, an invasion by pests, or a fungal attack. Instead, evolution has afforded them the ability to produce protective chemical compounds called secondary metabolites. These compounds help them successfully adapt to their changing environment by fortifying their natural stress resistance. And, we’ve found a particular group of plants that pass along those benefits to us.
Adaptogens are plants that help your body deal with stress. They are typically herbs or roots, such as ginseng, ashwagandha, eleuthero, and schisandra, that help us “adapt” to meet the demands of stressors and return to homeostasis. Adaptogens modulate the neuroendocrine system, which orchestrates the adaptive response to stress, helping to calm the system. By enhancing the body’s stress response and reinforcing equilibrium, adaptogens promote the greatest potential for wellness and longevity.
Whenever we treat a person we must first approach the root, or source. Every stream on earth has a source, every plant has a root, and every person has an origin, a core essence—a ‘Life Force.’
– Donald Yance, MH, CN
Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic herbalists identified this group of botanicals possessing these unique and special attributes. They found these herbs to be restorative and even rejuvenative to the tissues, organs, and systems of the body. Appropriate for long-term use with no toxicity, adaptogens have been used for thousands of years to restore vitality and physiological function after illness. They are powerful herbs valued to build and protect health, foster well-being, and promote longevity. These plants function to support the body in a similar way to how cortisol is useful to the body under stressful conditions.
In the 1950s, Russian scientists studied some of these elite herbs and termed them “adaptogenic” because of their ability to enhance adaptive capacity. They conducted research to find ways to keep their astronauts, military personnel, and athletes awake, alert and healthy during extreme conditions. They tried small amounts of stimulants and found that no matter what they tried, there was always a breaking point. They could push the body to a certain place, but it would always fall apart and the person would lose stability. So, they searched for other areas and began giving participants in the study ginseng, an adaptogen commonly used in Chinese medicine. The results of their studies indicated that that those taking the adaptogens outperformed the people in the control group, and that the longer they were on it, the more their bodies benefitted.
These studies were a starting point for Natura’s formulator Donnie Yance and co-formulator Ben Tabachnik, who had dedicated over 30 years to the pursuit of sports science and to coaching elite professional and collegiate athletes. Dr. Tabachnik implemented his scientific discoveries in physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, and nutrition into the training programs of top-level athletes, which included the use of herbal adaptogens. Donnie Yance was a practicing clinical master herbalist and certified nutritionist, trained in the Eclectic Herbal Tradition, and well-known for his knowledge of modern herbal research in nutritional and herbal approaches to wellness and healthy aging. Their collaboration inspired research that led to the creation of a new generation of adaptogenic formulas modeled on traditional medical system concepts.
Herbal adaptogens buffer the effects of stress by restoring homeostasis (balance), optimizing metabolism, and encouraging healthy immune response. All of these actions help to reestablish physiological balance, allowing health and vitality to flourish. These herbs are safe and gentle and provide foundational support for any health-promoting supplementation protocol.
Proven to increase the body’s ability to withstand adverse physical conditions. Eleuthero is perhaps the most widely-researched adaptogenic herb, found to enhance job productivity, mental performance, concentration, and alertness.*
Schisandra has a long history of use in China, Japan, Korea, Tibet, and Russia. The seed extract paired with the fruit extract offers the unique property of stimulating the central nervous system without causing over-excitation. This translates into a balanced, strong, and enduring sense of mental and physical vitality.*
Rhodiola is a popular adaptogenic tonic that promotes health and vitality. Rhodiola extract helps promote a calm emotional state and supports strong mental performance. It contains an assortment of constituents that encourage a healthy brain, optimal immune system function, and hormonal balance. Used regularly, it enhances the body’s natural resistance and adaptation to stressful influences while promoting mental endurance and metabolic efficiency.*
Referred to as “Indian Ginseng,” Ashwagandha is revered in Ayurvedic medicine for its remarkable ability to promote mental and physical vitality and stamina. Ashwagandha promotes metabolic efficiency and a general sense of well-being when combined with the synergistic herbal ingredients found in Vital Adapt.*
CORDYCEPS AND REISHI
These mushrooms are both highly regarded in Chinese medicine to nourish the kidney energy system and support adrenal function. Both Reishi and Cordyceps also help to protect the body when it is subject to environmental challenges.*
Panax ginseng has been revered in Asia for thousands of years as an herbal elixir and restorative tonic that promotes longevity. In modern times, Panax ginseng is known as an adaptogenic herb that supports healthy energy levels, increases muscular strength, optimizes immune function and promotes the body’s healthy removal of cellular waste.*
Rhaponticum is an adaptogenic herb that possesses a wide spectrum of anabolic action. Its unique anabolic properties include the formation of protein, glycogen, and fats. It increases physical performance and speeds recovery from muscle fatigue after exercise by building lean muscle mass and by increasing blood supply to the muscles and brain. Rhaponticum increases stress resistance, optimizes energy levels, and protects cells from free radical damage. The principal constituents of the whole plant are ecdysteroids and flavonoids
Humans take between 12,000 and 25,000 breaths a day but we hardly notice any breaths we take We just get swept away
We're stressed out by everything we have to do and say
We rarely ever stop
and make the time to simply be
To take a breath
And remind ourselves that we are free