The sports nutrition market was valued at nearly US$28 billion in 2015, and more than ever, fitness enthusiasts are searching for natural solutions to augment athletic endeavors. A growing pool of research suggests ashwagandha promotes better health and enhances physical performance, demonstrating the ability to improve the rate of recovery following strenuous exercise, increase endurance and boost muscular strength.
While scientific research supporting the use of ashwagandha in sports nutrition applications is in the formative stages, initial studies among healthy, high-level athletes such as hockey players and elite cyclists indicated positive results. Used for thousands of years as a stress-relieving rejuvenative herb that boosts energy, stamina and strength, the crossover to sports is a natural fit. Specifically, the adaptogen has been shown to decrease the breakdown of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), increase creatine levels, offer adrenal support, metabolize sugars and discourage body fat storage.
- As an adaptogen, the herb helps the body return to a state of normal functioning, or homeostasis.
- Ashwagandha increases energy production in muscles by helping mitochondria function more effectively.
- Sports formulations marketed to also support healthy testosterone levels may draw male customers.