Ashwagandha root extract may boost cardiorespiratory endurance: RCT

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

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Supplements of ashwagandha (Withania somnifera [L.] Dunal) root extract may improve endurance during exercise, says a new study using the KSM-66 brand of Ashwagandha from Ixoreal Biomed.

Data from 50 healthy men and women showed that KSM-66 Ashwagandha supplementation increased cardiorespiratory endurance by 13%, compared with less than 5% in the placebo group.

“Findings of this study suggest that Ashwagandha root extract improves the cardiovascular dynamics by increasing the VO2 max levels thereby enhancing the cardiorespiratory endurance, and also brings an improvement in [quality of life] in healthy adults,”​ wrote the authors in AYU​, a PubMed indexed journal of research in Ayurveda.

Noteworthy

Commenting on the research, Kartikeya Baldwa, Director of Ixoreal Biomed, said: “There are other published studies documenting the effectiveness of ashwagandha in improving stamina. However, this is the first study using a standardized, branded ashwagandha root extract demonstrating significant positive effects on cardiorespiratory endurance.

“What is noteworthy is that this study looks not only at physical function but also at psychological and psychosocial well-being. Ashwagandha is known to promote mind-body balance, something of increasing interest to formulators in sports and active health. It is nice to see a study providing additional evidence on this valuable twin function of Ashwagandha.”

Study details

Indian researchers from the Hyderabad Spine Clinic, Zela Life Health Center, and the BVDU Dental College and Hospital performed a prospective, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study with 50 healthy adults. The participants were randomly assigned to receive either placebo or 600 mg of the Ashwagandha root extract (KSM-66) for 12 weeks. Cardiorespiratory endurance was evaluated by measuring VO2max (the oxygen consumption at peak physical exertion) during shuttle run tests.

Results showed that the people in the Ashwagandha group displayed greater increases from baseline in the mean VO2max, compared with placebo at both eight and 12 weeks.

The researchers also found that KSM-66 Ashwagandha supplementation led to statistically significant improvements in quality of life, especially in the domains related to physical health, psychological health and social interactions.

Commenting on the potential mechanism of action, the researchers note that Ashwagandha has previously been shown to improve energy levels and mitochondrial health, while other studies have reported that Ashwagandha may increase the red blood corpuscles (RBC) and hemoglobin count.

“The increase in RBC results in an increased capacity of the blood to transport oxygen directly to the exercising muscles; thus, enhancing the aerobic capacity of the athletes,” ​they wrote.

Sports nutrition

The study’s results have implications for sport nutrition, and Ixoreal’s Baldwa told NutraIngredients-USA that KSM-66 Ashwagandha is already being used heavily by sports nutrition formulators.

“KSM-66 today is used in pre-workout, post-workout, endurance and performance supplements ranging from capsules/tablets to food-beverages like nutritional bars, energy drinks, functional waters, meal replacements, shakes etc,” ​he said. “A few of the Sports nutrition brands that use KSM-66 are GNC, Cellucor, Weider, Beast Sports, bodybuilding.com, Force Factor and many more.”

Source: AYU
Volume: 36, Issue: 1, Pages 63-68, doi: 10.4103/0974-8520.169002
“Efficacy of Ashwagandha (​Withania somnifera [L.] Dunal) in improving cardiorespiratory endurance in healthy athletic adults”
Authors: B. Choudhary, A. Shetty, D.G. Langade

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