ASCP Skin Deep

MAY | JUNE 2019

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ascp now offers advanced modality insurance! 29 Maca: Reported benefi ts of maca include balancing female hormones and male and female fertility, boosting sex drive, and increasing energy levels and stamina. There isn't enough information to know how maca might work; however, it is considered "likely safe" for most people when consumed as food and "possibly safe" when taken orally as a supplement. Discuss with your doctor if taking with hormone-sensitive conditions such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fi broids. SUPPLEMENT SAFETY If you are on chronic medication, know that herbs and adaptogens can interact with prescription medication. It's always a good idea to discuss new supplements with your doctor before taking anything. Notes 1. Alexander Panossian and Georg Wikman, "Eff ects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress—Protective Activity," Pharmaceuticals 3, no. 1 (2010): 188–224. 2. K. Chandrasekhar, J. Kapoor, and S. Anishetty, "A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Effi cacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults," Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine 24, no. 3 (2012): 255–62. Adaptogens 101 These natural substances can reduce the effects of stress by Alex Caspero expertadvice FEED YOUR FACE Over the past few years, adaptogens have made their way into almost every grocery category imaginable—from single-herb supplements to lattes, granola, and hummus. If you've never heard of adaptogens, here's a quick overview of what they are and where to find them, plus a recipe for adaptogen-loaded mushroom hot cocoa. WHAT ARE ADAPTOGENS? Adaptogens are natural substances that work to "adapt" to your individual stress needs and help modify and reduce stressors. While they might be the latest trendy wellness topic in Western culture, they aren't new. Adaptogens have been used for centuries, especially in traditional Eastern medicinal practices. DO ADAPTOGENS WORK? There is science to support the claims around adaptogens and stress relief. The journal Pharmaceuticals published a study in 2010 that found adaptogens increased attention and endurance in situations of decreased performance caused by fatigue and reduced stress-induced impairment and disorders related to the function of stress.1 COMMON ADAPTOGENS Ashwagandha: Perhaps the most popular adaptogen (at least for the moment), ashwagandha has been shown to reduce stress, enhance relaxation, and support cognitive function. According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, taking 300 milligrams of a specifi c ashwagandha root extract twice daily, after food, for 60 days appears to improve symptoms of stress.² Chaga: Known as "the king of mushrooms," chaga contains phytonutrients said to stimulate the immune system to become more active and decrease infl ammation. Natural sources of chaga are nearly extinct, so researchers are now looking to develop cultivated substitutes. Note that chaga may increase the risk of bleeding and symptoms of autoimmune diseases—a good reason to speak with your health-care team before taking them. Cordyceps: This powerful fungus is thought to fi ght signs of aging, reduce fatigue and stress, increase libido, and improve cardiovascular health and athletic performance. Cordyceps may improve immunity by stimulating cells and specifi c chemicals in the immune system, but there is little evidence to support these claims. Cordyceps can interact with blood thinners and diabetes medications and should not be taken with prednisone or immunosuppressants. Ginseng: This familiar root has been used for centuries to improve memory and concentration and boost the immune system, thanks to chemical components called ginsenosides. The short-term use of Asian ginseng seems to be safe for most people; however, long-term use is questionable. If you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or are on a blood thinner, discuss it with your doctor before using. ASHWAGANDHA

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