Adaptogens for Men's Health
With men’s mental health complaints on the rise and an increase in stress-related illness, overworked healthcare systems and long wait times for appointments, people are looking for early intervention when it comes to looking after our physical and mental health.
People now understand the importance of getting the basics right so they can manage the stress that life throws at them. When I work with clients, I kick off the sessions by using a framework I call MENS (mindset, exercise, nutrition and sleep). Initially, we put aside the ‘M’ and head to ‘ENS’ and work out which one will have the most positive impact on the others.
My husband for example works optimally when he addresses his sleep. When he sleeps well, he has the energy to train and is more likely to eat nutrient-dense food, which in turn helps keep his mind sharp, focused, and positive. On the weeks when sleep is disrupted, he tends to feel lethargic which makes him less inclined to exercise and more likely to reach for the biscuits and caffeine during the afternoon slump.
"I kick off the sessions by using a framework I call MENS (mindset, exercise, nutrition and sleep)."
On the other hand, if I miss my morning walk or time in the gym, I quickly fall into the trap of eating sugary foods, spending more time in my head and going to bed later.
By addressing these fundamental basics and focusing on just one area to improve, people notice a rapid change in their constitution and their mind and body without feeling overwhelmed, like they must tackle everything at once.
Over time, they notice that relationships start to change and their ability to see life through a fresh set of eyes means they are more open to possibility and growth rather than feeling stuck.
So, what does all of this have to do with adaptogens? Well, these incredible plants and herbs play a big part in regulating our homeostasis and used in the right way, can greatly improve our health and wellbeing.
Adaptogens have been used in ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries to help reduce stress and improve mental function and focus. They have become increasingly popular over the last few years and for good reason.
"Adaptogens have been used in ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries to help reduce stress and improve mental function and focus."
They are fascinating in the fact that they meet your body where it’s at. Incorporating them into your daily routine can help improve well-being by helping your body adapt to stress.
If you are wondering where to start, Ashwagandha is one of my go to’s and here is why.
It assists sleep:
We know now that lack of sleep dramatically affects our brain health and so the idea of pulling an all-nighter to get work done and the badge of honour that comes with being able to survive on little sleep is a concerning social contagion that dramatically affects not only the quality of our lives but our longevity too.
All the science is leaning us towards putting sleep at the top of our list of priorities.
Clinical trials have shown that Ashwagandha aids deep sleep due to its calming ability on the nervous system, namely helping regulate our stress hormone cortisol.
A little stress is natural. It helps us meet everyday challenges and keeps our mind sharp and goal focused. Stress used in the right context can be very helpful to us.
Chronic stress however comes with problematic symptoms such as:
· Loss of libido
· High blood pressure
· Muscle tension
· Anxiety and depression
· Digestive disorders and constipation
· Weight gain
· Isolation and withdrawal from the things you usually enjoy
· Tiredness and fatigue
· Lack of focus and inability to concentrate
It’s no wonder that stress has been labelled the biggest cause of disease, and steals joy from our lives. Even if you present with only one or two symptoms from the above list, your ability to live life with energy and passion is still significantly reduced.
Ashwagandha helps regulate the stress hormone, cortisol and reduces the activity of our sensitive hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis which helps regulate the stress response in our body,
May improve libido:
Ashwagandha has historically been known for its aid in fertility and is popular for its use in improving libido. Stress often reduces the desire for intimacy and can affect confidence, communication with our loved ones and the closeness that comes with having a loving partner. Although more research is being done in this space, there certainly seems to be a link between the increase of testosterone, regulation of our sex hormones and improved libido when taking this popular adaptogen.
With our busy lifestyles and our attention being pulled from one direction to another, it’s no wonder that we feel exhausted and foggy in the head. Ashwagandha when used regularly helps regulate our system and as a result, gives us the ability to concentrate and focus our attention for efficiently.
Like anything, there’s no one size fits all but ashwagandha is a staple in my pantry and it’s a starting point if you are curious about what adaptogens will do for you.
Most people notice a positive difference in their constitution within a matter of weeks, so if you have been sitting on the fence, perhaps it’s time to try!
It is important that you check that adaptogens are suitable for your constitution. Always check with a trained medical practitioner before taking them.
- Anna Veale
If you would like to know more about how to reduce stress, build healthy habits into your life and connect more deeply with yourself and others, you can pre-order Annas book, Only Human here:
To learn more about Anna and the important work she does, visit