T Nation

Ashwaghanda - How Does it Work?

Hey Coach,

hope you got off to a great start in 2020.

Could you speculate how Ashwagandha works?

I thought maybe it’s dopaminergic or increases dopamine because it raises testosterone and improves sexual function in studies which L-Dopa (Mucuna pruriens) does too.

Why I’m asking is because I got a few stressful weeks ahead of me and wanted to give Ashwagandha a second try but for that I’d need to know what it does, so I can lay out the best protocol.
If it’s just a stimulant like caffeine (ASW improves cognitive function in studies) then I’d take it only a few days and then drop it, if it’s a GABA mimetic id take it in the afternoon to slowly calm myself down, and so on.

Would be great if you could give some recommendations otherwise I’m left with trying out what works.

Thanks in advance. Have a good week!

Similarly to magnets.

Have you tried rhodiola?

Yes I don’t like it. I get erectile dysfunction from it haha

Okay just wanted to report back. Took 550 mg for 4 days. I had a big anxiety relief from it which I struggle with at a low level but the drawbacks were nasty:
Insomnia (took it in the morning!)
Low blood sugar -> was hungry all the time
Aggressiveness
Red eyes (probably lack of sleep)

Since it is known to increase thyroid hormones, I guess all these side effects stemmed from that.

It was a complete extract. No ksm-66.

Hey Coach,

hope you’re doing well.

I got this strong KSM-66 at home. I like the effects on the body, but I despise those on the brain. It makes me not care about anything and unable to concentrate.
I read that that’s because of high GABA/Serotonin and that a supplement that increases dopamine levels would work to reestablish motivation.

Do you have any advice on this front or another take on it?

Stay healthy guys!

I dont get why your supplementing yourself with thing that make you feel like shit…

The effects it has on the body, on anxiety and stress are tremendous and I love them. The problem is the side effects. I know there is never an effect without a side effect, that’s just the reality of drugs, but there might be something that alleviates them.

This post was about Ashwaghanda but another form. This is about ksm-66. So not a complete repeat of my old post.

but did you try something else like GABA / Glycine / CBD ? they are all good to reduce stress and anxiety !

i use glycine post workout and before bed time and my stress and anxiety are really low without any side effects.

Will try GABA, but it probably doesn’t cross the BBB. Glycine is ok, not that strong especially not for anxiety in my case and doesn’t have any of the good effects of Ashwagandha on me. I’m not a fan of CBD.

If you look at the chemical structure of Withanolide (the main type of phytochemical in Ashwaghanda) it is nothing like dopamine. It does have similar structure to a steroid so I imagine the body uses it as a steroid precursor depending of the individual it could be used to make testosterone, progesterone, estrogen, etc.

I can’t see which enzymes would produces one of these substances out of withanolide A. They could certainly be agonists at the receptor but that would not explain why sperm count goes up. That Effect is FSH like but FSH is a peptide hormone

Likely enzymes in the digestive tract and circulatory system where it is turned into sucrose, water and testosterone.

That sounds plausible. Is there a study where I can read up on that?
It does not explain the effects of it though

Molecular Biology of the Cell by Alberts, Bruce, Johnson,etc.

In that book is a part about Ashwaghanda? Haha wouldn’t have thought that