What Are Adaptogens—And Are They Actually Good For Us?
As a curious shopper with a weakness for good packaging design, I'm highly susceptible to impulse buys. In fact, this played out on a recent trip to Whole Foods when I came across Kin Euphorics (co-founded by none other than Bella Hadid). Beyond the aesthetically pleasing and serene branding that had me hooked, the label was full of intrigue: Nootropics, botanics, adaptogens. What are these mysterious little ingredients, I wondered.
I'd heard these terms more and more in online discussions about improving gut health and physical functions, but I still felt a little hazy on what it all meant. If you've also found yourself asking what are adaptogens, and are they actually good for us—keep reading. Because ahead, we're breaking down the science behind this trendy new wellness ingredient and sharing everything we know about the stress-relieving, mood-boosting supplement to date.
What are adaptogens?
Photo by Ksenia Chernaya / PEXELS
Adaptogens are the active ingredients most commonly found in plants and mushrooms that can help relax your mind and body. It can sound way too good to be true, but adaptogens can really aid in helping your system fight off physical and chemical stressors. Essentially, adaptogens are non-toxic compounds that even out your body’s stress levels and help you feel more balanced, through facilitating homeostasis.
“Medicinal mushrooms, or medicinal fungi, have been used for centuries,” says Jeff Stevens, CEO of Psyched Wellness, a Toronto-based life sciences company that focuses on the production and distribution of health and wellness products derived from the Amanita Muscaria mushroom. “These mushrooms share essential qualities and adaptogenic properties that restore balance to the body, relax muscles, repair injuries and promote healthy sleep.”
“Depending on personal preference, [adaptogens] can be taken with food, beverages or in the form of tinctures," says Stevens. "While lion's mane or chaga mushrooms are well-known adaptogens, research is advancing, and the spectrum of available options is growing for today’s mushroom-curious population.”
Most adaptogens are not FDA regulated or approved, but this doesn't always mean they aren’t safe to include in your routines.
What do adaptogens do?
Photo by Supplements On Demand / PEXELS
The herbals incorporated in adaptogens can positively affect the way your body handles stress and anxiety. Adding adaptogenic compounds into your supplement and diet routines can also improve focus and performance, aid in physical fatigue, and stabilize your mood. Some adaptogenic products can also help you sleep more soundly and reduce your body’s cortisol levels. Adaptogens are not a long-term solution to ongoing conditions like anxiety, but can still help aid in calming. It’s helpful to view adaptogens as supplements to your regular mental and physical health routines.
A lot of adaptogenic research is still ongoing, so we don’t know 100% about them yet. It’s also important to research the adaptogens you are interested in, to explore reviews from other users and get insights on the specific ingredients included for a safe intake.
Examples Of Adaptogens
- Asian ginseng
- Reishi mushrooms
- Holy basil (Tulsi)
- Lion’s mane mushrooms
Adaptogenic Foods, Drinks and Supplements
Hiyo Sparkling Social Tonic ($45)
Feel "the float" from the adaptogens in this sparkling tonic that's a great non-alcoholic beverage option. Aside from amazing package design, this sip tastes stunning, too.
Moon Juice Blue Beauty Adaptogenic Plant Protein ($50)
This plant-based protein blend also leverages adaptogens like Ashwagandha to help you manage stressors and combat accelerated aging.
Kin Euphorics Spritz ($39)
This ultra-trendy adaptogenic drink goes well by itself or in a delicious mocktail, to elevate your mood, diminish stress, and boost your energy.
Stamets 7® Capsules ($20)
This daily supplement draws from 7 different species of mushroom mycelium to support a balanced immune response, aid in stress factors, and promote physical immunity functions.
Recess Mood Sparkling Water ($30)
Recess' sip has mood-boosting benefits from magnesium, adaptogens, and more. It's a great drink for all the non-alcoholic babes to still get a healthy buzz, plus it looks great on the shelves.
MUD\WTR :rise Blend ($50)
This morning blend supplies you with an energized start to your day with Ayurvedic herbs, adaptogens, and cacao. Mix it with some hot water, and you won't have to worry about caffeine jitters or restless nights.
Psyched Wellness Calm Tincture ($50)
Get real good shut-eye and facilitate restorative sleep with this Psyched Wellness tincture that decreases muscle tension and reduces stress.
“Calm, our flagship tincture, is the first legal Amanita Muscaria extract available in the United States," says Jeff Stevens, CEO of Psyched Wellness. "Unlike other adaptogens, Calm contains muscimol which can promote feelings of relaxation and restoration but doesn’t cause hallucinations or other affects associated with psychedelic mushrooms. It’s the perfect adaptogen for those who want the restorative, relaxing benefits of mushrooms without the psychoactive effects.”
Toodaloo Adaptogenic Trail Mix ($50)
This trendy trail mix delivers multiple benefits to your skin, gut, and energy levels by way of adaptogens.
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