Daily I hear my clients talk about “adrenal fatigue” and how they have to “fix” their adrenals. What I’ve discovered is that most people are confused about the true underlying cause of their adrenal fatigue or more accurately put, oxidative stress.
This week Dr. Mensah and I discuss Ashwagandha and the hidden dangers in his adaptogenic herb that you need to be aware of.
Ashwagandha is touted as a wonderful remedy for adrenal fatigue, but in our world, we see that adrenal fatigue is secondary to copper toxicity and systemic oxidative stress.
Many of our patients have admittedly tried various herbal remedies that they believe will enhance their recoveries. Ashwagandha, also known as winter cherry, is a powerful herb in Ayurvedic medicine. The herb grows in India, the Middle East, and northern Africa, and is in the same family as the tomato. Due to its increasing popularity in the west, is now also being grown in North America.
Ashwagandha proponents claim this herb can be used to alleviate stress, fatigue, low energy, improve problems with learning and concentration, reduce anxiety, stabilize brain-cell degeneration, lower cholesterol, and reduce inflammation. This popular herb is being touted as a fantastic immune booster and superfood. Ashwagandha is often called “Indian ginseng” because it is very energizing, but botanically speaking, ginseng and Ashwagandha are completely unrelated.
I urge you to be careful about buying into marketing claims. Ashwagandha can do a lot of damage to folks with abnormal methylation issues and copper toxicity.
Saliva-based adrenal stress index tests are the most common testing method to determine cortisol, DHEA, sex, and other hormone levels that impact energy production. Keep in mind that if your hormones are present but are not activated, then they are not doing their job even though they are present.
Hormone production needs a feedback mechanism. Hormone levels are not an indication of hormone activity. This is why we look at the methylation cycle. If this is not in balance, methylation disorders could hinder optimal functionality of hormones and feedback mechanisms that drive hormone production, especially those produced by the adrenal glands.
Proponents of Ashwagandha don’t understand the connection between elevated copper levels, methylation cycles, and adrenal fatigue. Hormone therapy, glandulars (such as desiccated glandular supplements), and/or herbal remedies may be problematic for you and may create adverse symptoms that can impair your progress, especially if you have a methylation disorder and/or copper toxicity.
This is because most adrenal supplements contain copper carrying and stimulatory ingredients (such as organs and glands, and adaptogenic herbs) that can be detrimental to the methylation cycle.
The first question one should ask is “what’s causing my adrenal fatigue to begin with?“
Excess copper, elevated kryptopyrroles, and undermethylation are classic underlying causes of chronic fatigue. Copper is especially insidious as it causes an increase in norepinephrine that puts stress on the adrenals, thus impairing hormone activity.
Our protocols for oxidative stress work at the root biochemical cause of your adrenal fatigue, making the need for potentially damaging herbal adaptogens unnecessary.
Do you have an experience you’d like to share about Ashwagandha with our community? I’d love to read about it in the comments below!