What Are Adaptogens? | Are They Good For Weight Loss?

Are you looking for a way to ease stress and even lose weight? Read this post to learn how you can use adaptogens for weight loss. Spoiler: You may already be benefiting from some adaptogens!

Are you looking for a way to ease stress and even lose weight? Read this post to learn all about adaptogens and how they can benefit you. Spoiler: You may already be benefiting from some adaptogens!

Being in the field I am in, I always look to keep on top of the latest health trends. It’s important to me to be in the know and to make sure that I inform my readers about what’s healthy and what’s not.

Right now, I’m talking adaptogens. And it’s been super intriguing!

I’ll admit, it was a new term for me but once I started reading up on exactly what adaptogens are, I discovered I already knew a little about them. Well, some of them anyway – just under a different name.

What do I mean? Well, turmeric and goji berries are adaptogens, for instance, and we’ve been hearing about their properties for a while now.

I’ve written a post on the power of turmeric for example (see it here). And I’ve got an ultimate smoothie guide that explains that adding goji berries makes complete sense for extra nutrition.

Let’s get started – you’ll soon be an expert on adaptogens and what they can do for you!

But before we begin, I want to point out that as with any supplement, drug, or herb, there can be contraindications that are essential to be aware of.

Speak to your healthcare provider before taking adaptogens regarding side effects or contraindications with medications (particularly if you are trying a combo regimen). They may also have tips on dosage in relation to your personal health status. It’s always best to double-check first!

Overhead image of a woman in white pajamas lying on her side asleep on white sheets.

What Are Adaptogens?

Adaptogens are compounds in certain plants that, when implemented into your self-care regimen, can have positive effects on things like stressors (think physical, emotional and environmental) and fatigue. They are a natural aid of sorts, aimed at restoring balance to the body.

The roots of adaptogens are in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine, and more recently, scientific studies are looking at the wonders of adaptogens, too.

Adaptogens are herbs that moderate your stress response, which in turn, has an amazing overall effect on your energy levels, your glucose metabolism, and even your immune function.

Close up view of a bowl of Lemon Chicken Orzo Soup; adaptogens can be added to soup.

How Do You Take Adaptogens For Weight Loss?

It’s best to take adaptogens for a few weeks every day. Then, you’ll start to feel the benefits. They are most often taken as liquid or powder (for example an adaptogen tincture can be taken in water). 

Typically, taking adaptogens is a morning ritual because that is when your cortisol level is the highest (more about cortisol below). However, Ashwagandha can be taken morning (as an immune system boost for instance) or at night (to help you sleep).

It’s recommended by some that you rotate the adaptogen regimen for full benefits. Never take a dose more than is suggested, and you may want to consider the help of a naturopath to really get the results you want.

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Let’s Look At A Few Adaptogens And Learn More

Turmeric: You gotta love turmeric! You’ll find all the benefits here, but in a nutshell, turmeric is amazing when it comes to fighting inflammation and diseases that can be caused by it. Find it in some of my 5 Day Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Plan recipes.

Schisandra berry: Looking to improve physical endurance? How about your mental health? The Schisandra berry is known to have a ton of benefits, including having anti-cancer and anti-obesity effects. Studies back up the claims, too.

Licorice root: Licorice root is another anti-inflammatory powerhouse. This adaptogen also helps aid your memory, protects the liver, may aid in fertility and a whole lot more. Check with your doctor first, as mentioned, as hypertensive patients should not take licorice root. But studies do show that it can help with body mass index and the reduction of visceral fat.

Goji berry: That’s right, this wonder berry is an adaptogen. What don’t Goji berries do? They protect the vision and have anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects. (As we know, inflammation causes weight gain).

Ashwagandha: Do you have anxiety? This adaptogen may be the one for you. It’s known to help lessen anxiety. It’s a proven stress buster and has anti-cancer and antioxidant effects.

American Ginseng: Along with other types of ginseng (Asian ginseng and Siberian ginseng for example), American Ginseng has been long touted as a great calming agent and energizes you as well. Not only that, but this adaptogen may help manage depression, boost libido and relieve stress.

Close up view of a person standing on a scale, looking down at their bare feet as they check the weight.

How Do Adaptogens Work?

Adaptogens tackle symptoms of stress. That’s the easiest way to put it. They take our stress response and make it stronger. Scientifically, they help the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system which balances stress response.

  • Adaptogens increase our resistance to stress: When you are in fight or flight mode facing stress, adaptogens keep us in the resistance to stress phase longer, enabling us to fight it better.
  • They fight fatigue: Feeling stressed – and therefore, fatigued? Adaptogens work to stimulate and fight exhaustion.
  • Work against weight gain: This is what you’ve been hoping right? This is how it works – we all know that stress does a lot to the body, including an increase in weight in the abdomen and causing imbalances in insulin levels. Taking adaptogens reduces the stress and thus the weight-gaining effects.

What About Adaptogens And Cortisol?

This answer ties in with weight gain around the belly. The stress hormone cortisol can cause weight gain, around the middle in particular. Cortisol is released when you are stressed to give you the energy you need to get through a situation. But too much can lead to extra pounds. 

Cortisol also affects your immune system and your inflammatory response.

These systems are affected, too:

  • Cardiovascular
  • Respiratory
  • Reproductive
  • Nervous 
  • Integumentary (skin, nails)
  • Musculoskeletal

This is just the tip of the iceberg, though. This busy hormone has a lot to do with many functions of the body. Too much cortisol is bad for the body, and may also cause trouble concentrating, moodiness and increased appetite. You know, all of the things that happen when you’re stressed.

And because adaptogens help to lessen the release of cortisol by reducing your stress, a lot of good can happen!

Close up view of a mason jar filled with infused water; blackberries and oranges are added to the water.

Which Herb Is Best For Weight Loss?

Deciding which adaptogenic herbs are best for weight loss is a tough call. Utilizing adaptogens for weight loss is a no-brainer to me because they tackle so many day-to-day issues that cause weight gain.

Regulating your body’s stress response and blood sugar levels are just two of the day-to-day things I’m referring to.

A familiar herb to start with that also is considered an adaptogen? Try turmeric! This video shows you how to make a fabulous ginger/ turmeric/ lemon tea.

Remember: You’ve got to combine herbs with physical activity and a healthy diet to see maximum results with body fat loss and muscle gain.

Don’t give in to that feeling that you’re too tired. Exercise boosts energy, really! If you’d like help with getting yourself on track to fitness, wellness and feeling amazing about yourself, join my 30 Day Healthy Program.

I’ll help you take positive steps toward a better you.

adaptogens for weight loss.

Do Adaptogens Work Immediately?

No, adaptogens do not work immediately. You’ll most likely feel the benefits and full effects around week three. That being said, when you stop taking them, you may notice that you miss the extra boost from them after about 3-4 days of not taking the adaptogens.

Is Ashwagandha Good For Belly Fat?

Yes, ashwagandha is good for belly fat and BMI in general, especially when combined with exercise and a healthy diet. Antioxidants found in this adaptogen make you feel better overall and it helps to curb food cravings too. This feeling of wellness translates to being able to do everything better, including having the energy to get out there and move.

Here are some of the ways that study participants saw ashwagandha work in their bodies as one of the adaptogens

  • Ashwagandha supports the nervous system and enhances the body’s ability to fight stress. And as I’ve mentioned, stress is a big part of body weight gain.
  • Your cortisol levels are reduced by taking this adaptogen, too. This circles back to dropping pounds (and stubborn belly fat). Taking adaptogens for weight loss is sounding better and better!
  • When you exercise, there is a certain amount of stress placed on the body. Ashwagandha can fight the effects of the strain.
adaptogens for weight loss.

What Is The Best Adaptogen For Stress?

The best adaptogen for stress is the one that fits your lifestyle. Seriously! A lot of adaptogens have stress-reducing properties. And that’s why adaptogens for work for weight loss. Life – stress = a healthy weight.

Because when you take the stress out of your life as much as you can, it’s easier to focus on yourself – taking time to exercise, cook healthy food, eat clean, and let go of mommy guilt and all that stuff we carry around with us.

But to give a more detailed answer, I think that these adaptogens may do the trick:

  • Schisandra is a pro against stress because it lowers both physical strain and the mental heavies that bring you down. They are convenient to use, so that is a bonus. You can take them dried in tea or use the berries in a yummy smoothie.
  • American Ginseng boosts your mood and can also be easily added to your daily regimen. Try it in soup or in tea.
  • Ashwagandha is a superstar for regulating cortisol levels – and so reduces stress big time. This is why it’s the most commonly referenced adaptogen for weight loss.
Overhead view of the prepped meals for the meal plan for weight loss, all ready to refrigerate in meal prep containers and mason jars.

Adaptogens Takeaway

So you’ve got a bit more info on these natural herbs, and are informed as to whether adaptogens for weight loss can work for you. Just remember that while adaptogens can do a LOT for you, you’ve got to put other things in place too.

What can you do to feel amazing along with the use of adaptogens?

1. Get adequate sleep: I cannot stress this enough! If you are someone who struggles with getting the shut-eye you need, take a look at my post on sleep. (Sleep can help you lose weight and you’ll see how in the post!)

2. Drink lots of water: Water is key to a healthy digestive system, great skin, and energy! You won’t have an issue drinking water if you try these infused water recipes.

3. Walk and walk: Putting in 10,000 steps a day is a great way to get in shape. But any movement at all is one foot forward! So start where you are and work your way up.

Fit some self-care into your life as well. All of these components will make you feel amazing.

This post contains affiliate links to products I use regularly and highly recommend. 

Lacey Baier

Hey there! I’m Lacey Baier and I’d like to welcome you! I’m a healthy lifestyle influencer and the creator of this clean-eating blog and YouTube channel, as well as cleanish, my clean-eating supplement brand. My recipes have been published on Food Network, Good Morning America, FoxNews, Tastemade, Fitness Magazine, and much more. I live in Austin, Texas with my husband and four kiddos. Let’s get started!

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