Ashwagandha may be useful during the aging process 

Aging is the slowing down of processes in the body and where the cell’s DNA and chromosomes begin to change. Telomeres are segments of the chromosomes that they have clearly observed that shorten with age. The herb Ashwagandha has demonstrated to help stimulate telomerase, which is an enzyme that promotes telomeres and keeps chromosomes healthy. 

  • Telomeres are segments of non-coding DNA found at the tips of chromosomes, that help protect the chromosome ends from weakening or from getting fused with other chromosomes.
  • Telomeres shorten with age and are considered to be one of the elements that determine aging and lifespan (Raguraman V, Subramaniam JR, 2016).
  • The enzyme, telomerase is a special protein that works to replicate telomeres. These enzymes are important for healthy cells. 

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an ancient Ayurvedic medicinal herb that is considered an adaptogen and used for over 3000 years to help diminish anxiety, improve cognitive function and increase energy. 

An adaptogen is a compound which helps handle stress and increases the resistance against chemical or other types of agents that could be harmful and brings about a normalizing effect to the body (Baliga MS et al, 2016). There are different plants that have adaptogenic properties. 

Ashwagandha has different benefits, but one is considered to be anti-aging properties. The reason for this is that it has been shown to increase telomerase activity (Raguraman V, Subramaniam JR, 2016). 

A laboratory study was performed with a highly concentrated Ashwagandha root extract increased telomerase activity by approximately 45%, which is significant. The scientists stated that it shows that Ashwagandha has great potential to increase lifespan. 

Ashwagandha contains bioactives called withanolides, which have been used for centuries for health and controlling stress and inflammation. 

One study was performed and showed that a concentrated form of Ashwagandha root helped to improve subject’s resistance toward stress, which helped to improve their quality of life (Chandrasekhar K et al, 2012). 

It has been observed that there is a decline in cognitive function, memory and neurological health during the aging process. 

Ashwagandha has been shown in research that it may enhance present and general memory, as well as improve mental function, focus and processing information (Choudhary D et al, 2017). A human study has shown that Ashwagandha may improve cognitive and psychomotor activity (Pingali U et al, 2014). It has been shown to have neuroprotective properties (Venkata Kurapati KR et al, 2013). 

If an individual has a health problem or is taking prescription medication, it is recommended to seek advice from their health care practitioner prior to taking any supplements. 

In summary, there is an association between aging and shortening of telomeres found on the ends of chromosomes. Ashwagandha, an Ayurvedic herb may increase longevity since it has been shown to stimulate telomerase, an enzyme that replicates telomeres. Ashwagandha is considered an adaptogen helping to handle stress. Research shows it may have a positive effect on cognitive function and memory, which are functions that decline with aging.

This article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. It is not for the purpose of marketing any products. 

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