In today's world, an active lifestyle is not just a choice – it's a way of life.
From dedicated athletes training for their next competition to everyday fitness enthusiasts aiming for their personal best, sports and regular exercise have become essential. As the intensity of our physical activities increases, so does the demand for effective sports nutrition supplements.
The global surge in sports nutrition supplements
In 2022, the Global Sports Nutrition Market was valued at $42.12 billion and is projected to reach $77.95 billion by 2030.1 This unprecedented growth can be attributed to an increased understanding of how proper nutrition can enhance performance, recovery, and overall well-being. With more people engaged in regular workouts, marathons, and various sports, the demand for nutrition supplements is at an all-time high.
A shift to natural solutions
As we evolve, there is a noticeable shift in the trend from synthetic supplements to natural products. The modern athlete and health-conscious individual are leaning more towards herbs and botanicals that not only boost performance, but also offer a plethora of other health benefits. Enter ashwagandha.
Ashwagandha: Nature's elixir for active souls and athletic spirits
Ashwagandha is a revered herb in Ayurveda – the ancient Indian system of medicine. The root is specifically recommended for boosting ‘Bala’ – the Sanskrit term for ‘strength’ – and for centuries the ashwagandha root has been used to improve stamina, strength, libido, and performance.2
But it's not just about age-old texts or traditional use; modern science also backs the efficacy of ashwagandha. Among the different variations available, KSM-66 Ashwagandha stands out as the most clinically studied version for sports nutrition and active lifestyles.
KSM-66 Ashwagandha: At the forefront of sports nutrition
KSM-66 Ashwagandha is a standardized, high-quality, root-only extract on the market, backed by the most scientific research. Several studies have been conducted to understand the impact of KSM-66 Ashwagandha on sports performance including cardiorespiratory endurance, strength, recovery, weight management, memory, stress, and sleep.
For physical performance, recovery and cardiorespiratory endurance
A 2023 study explored the impact of KSM-66 Ashwagandha root extract supplementation (600mg/day) on male and female participants engaged in an eight week resistance training program. Both genders exhibited enhanced bench press capabilities – 23.5% in males and 22.8% in females.
Leg extension exercises saw a 15% increase in males and a 9.9% increase in females. Additionally, there was a significant increase in muscle size – 5.2% in the arms, 3.5% in the thighs, and 4.1% in the chest. Maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max) also increased by 9.51% in males and 7.15% in females, indicating a potential boost in cardiorespiratory endurance.3
Research published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (2015) demonstrated that an eight week supplementation with KSM-66 Ashwagandha root extract (600mg /day) improved muscle strength and size through resistance by increasing testosterone levels in the body by more than 15% and boosting strength by almost 75% in the upper body and 50% in the lower body in men. KSM-66 Ashwagandha root extract supplementation also reported a statistically significant decrease in exercise-induced muscle damage and a 3.5% decrease in the body.4
A 2021 study examined the effects of KSM-66 Ashwagandha root extract on cardiorespiratory endurance and recovery over eight weeks. The study found that participants who were supplemented with KSM-66 Ashwagandha root extract (600mg /day) demonstrated a 16.4% increase in maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 Max) and a statistically significant improvement in the Total Quality Recovery (TQR) scores.5
Another 2015 study investigated the effects of KSM-66 Ashwagandha root extract supplementation on cardiorespiratory endurance for 12 -weeks. The study found that participants who supplemented with KSM-66 Ashwagandha root extract (300mg /twice a day) demonstrated an 11.3% and 13.6% increase at the end of eight and 12 weeks in maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max) respectively (p<0.001).6
Testosterone enhancement in men
Many studies have demonstrated that resistance training augments testosterone levels, which aids in muscle growth, especially in men. Both the studies on the muscle-building properties of ashwagandha root mentioned above also noted significant testosterone levels when KSM-66 Ashwagandha root extract supplements were consumed.
A 2015 study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (2015), found that the consumption of KSM-66 Ashwagandha root extract (600mg/day) resulted in a 15% increase in the levels of testosterone.4
Another 2023 study in International Journal of Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Research (2023), demonstrated significant increases in levels of serum total and serum-free testosterone in male participants supplementing with KSM-66 Ashwagandha root extract.7
In a 2022 study published in Health Science Reports (2022) KSM-66 Ashwagandha root extract supplementation (600mg/day) resulted in a statistically significant increase in the level of testosterone.8
In 2023, another double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial of 46 men with low sperm count published in Evidence Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine (2023) found that KSM-66 Ashwagandha root extract supplementation increased the levels of testosterone by 17%.9
Body weight management is another component strongly related to the sports nutrition market. Stress-related food cravings can often lead people (even athletes) to eat in excess, leading to obesity. As an adaptogen, ashwagandha root can manage stress and negate the harmful effects of stress including the craving to binge -eat.
One study found that KSM-66 Ashwagandha root extract supplementation (600mg/day) resulted in a 22.2% reduction in the cortisol levels and a significant reduction in food cravings. It also resulted in a 3.0% and 2.9% reduction in body weight and BMI, respectively.10
The benefits of Ashwagandha root for athletes are not only limited to performance and strength but also for all the factors that affect the performance.
Memory, cognition and focus
Today's athletes are progressively exploring sports nutrition supplements that also offer nootropic benefits. Ashwagandha root has been continually acknowledged for its notable adaptogenic and anti-stress properties, which help to slow brain aging, enhance memory and improve cognitive responsiveness.
In an eight week study, KSM-66 Ashwagandha root extract supplementation (600mg/day) demonstrated significant improvement in sustained attention, information processing, and overall cognitive memory.11
Stress and sleep
KSM-66 Ashwagandha has been linked to reduced cortisol levels, the body's primary stress hormone. A calm mind can drastically enhance an athlete's focus, making those clutch moments more manageable and also a well-rested athlete is an athlete at peak performance.
Research from 2012 investigated the efficacy of KSM-66 Ashwagandha root extract supplementation (600mg/day) for eight weeks and found remarkable results in the reduction of stress and subjective measures of stress with a 28% reduction in cortisol levels and a 44% reduction on the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS).12
In a 2019 study, researchers investigated the effect of KSM-66 Ashwagandha root extract supplementation (600mg/day) for 10 weeks and found a 38% decrease in Perceived Stress Scale (PSS), 32% reduction in serum cortisol, and a 16% reduction in anxiety measured through Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAM-A).13
A 2020 study investigated the effect of KSM-66 Ashwagandha (600mg/day) in 80 individuals, with and without insomnia over eight weeks. KSM-66 Ashwagandha reduced sleep onset latency and wake after sleep onset by 15.58%-29.32% in healthy subjects, and 33.50%-22.70% in insomniac patients, respectively, while improving mental alertness.
Overall, it enhanced sleep quality by 31.57% in healthy and 45.30% in insomniac participants, with a notable 29% decrease in anxiety scores for insomnia patients, indicating improved sleep and life quality.14
A 2019 study published in Cureus (2019), showed that KSM-66 Ashwagandha root extract supplementation led to a significant improvement in sleep parameters and a significant reduction in anxiety.15
KSM-66 Ashwagandha for active lifestyles
For those leading an active lifestyle or participating in sports, the journey towards peak performance is constant. In this quest the most clinically-studied KSM-66 Ashwagandha root extract, emerges as a natural, potent ally. Backed by both tradition and modern science, it promises not just enhanced physical performance but a holistic boost to an athlete's overall wellbeing.
1. Vantage Market Research. Sport Nutrition Market – Global Industry Assessment & Forecast.
2. Wankhede, S.; Langade, D.; Joshi, k.; et al. (2022). Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
3. Verma, N.; Gupta, S.K.; Patil, S.; et al. (2023). Effects of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) standardized root extract on physical endurance and VO2max in healthy adults preforming resistance training: An eight-week, prospective, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study [version 1; peer review: awaiting peer review]. F1000Research 2023, 12:335.
4. Wankhede, S.; Langade, D.; Joshi, k.; et al. (2022). Examining the effect of Withania somnifera supplementation on muscle strength and recovery: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
5. Shashank, T.; Sandeep, K. G.; Anklesh K. P.; et al. (2021). A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial on the effect of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera dunal.) root extract in improving cardiorespiratory endurance and recovery in healthy athletic adults. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Volume 272.
6. Choudhary, B.; Shetty, A.; & Langade, D. G. (2015). Ayu, 36(1), 63–68.
7. Mikulska, P.; Malinowska, M.; Ignacyk, M.; et al. (2023). Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)—Current Research on the Health-Promoting Activities: A Narrative Review. Pharmaceutics. 15(4):1057.
8. Chauhan, S.; Srivastava, M. K.; & Pathak, A. K. (2022). Effect of standardized root extract of ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) on well-being and sexual performance in adult males: A randomized controlled trial. Health science reports, 5(4), e741.
9. Ambiye, V. R.; Langade, D.; Dongre, S.; et al. (2013). Clinical Evaluation of the Spermatogenic Activity of the Root Extract of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) in Oligospermic Males: A Pilot Study. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine.
10. Choudhary, D.; Bhattacharyya, S.; & Joshi, K. (2017). Body Weight Management in Adults Under Chronic Stress Through Treatment With Ashwagandha Root Extract: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Journal of evidence-based complementary & alternative medicine, 22(1), 96–106.
11. Choudhary, D., Bhattacharyya, S., & Bose, S. (2017). Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal) Root Extract in Improving Memory and Cognitive Functions. Journal of dietary supplements, 14(6), 599–612.
12. Chandrasekhar, K.; Kapoor, J.; & Anishetty, S. (2012). A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults. Indian journal of psychological medicine, 34(3), 255–262.
13. Salve, J.; Pate, S.; Debnath, K.; & et al. (2019). Adaptogenic and Anxiolytic Effects of Ashwagandha Root Extract in Healthy Adults: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Clinical Study. Cureus. 11(12), e6466.
14. Langade, D.; Thakare, V.; Kanchi, S.; et al. (2020). Clinical evaluation of the pharmacological impact of ashwagandha root extract on sleep in healthy volunteers and insomnia patients: A double-blind, randomized, parallel-group, placebo-controlled study. Journal of Ethnopharmacology: 264:113276.
16. Langade, D.; Kanchi, S.; Salve, J.; et al. (2019). Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Insomnia and Anxiety: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Study. Cureus, 11(9), e5797.