Does Ashwagandha Increase or Suppress Appetite?

TL;DR Article Summary

In most people, Ashwagandha acts as an appetite suppressant. This is because of Ashwagandha’s cortisol-lowering effects. Lower cortisol means less stress, which in turn makes it easier to control food cravings and less likely for you to binge eat. Ashwagandha also helps to stabilize blood sugar levels, which further contributes to a reduction in food cravings and an improvement in energy levels. Although it is not common for Ashwagandha to increase appetite, it might happen in some cases. For instance, Ashwagandha helps to increase muscle mass and metabolism. In people who regularly exercise, this effect might lead to an increase in appetite.

Ashwagandha’s Effect on Appetite

Ashwagandha is a popular herb that has been used in Ayurveda for centuries. Only recently though studies have started to uncover how it works and its full spectrum of benefits.

Specifically, ashwagandha has been shown to have a positive effect on the body’s stress levels, which in turn helps you control appetite. The way it manages stress is by reducing cortisol levels which can lead to emotional binge eating.

Current evidence supports this notion, showing that ashwagandha’s adaptogenic effects led to less cravings and stabilized blood sugar.

To break it down further, here are three main ways in which Ashwagandha helps to regulate your appetite:

  1. It has been shown to reduce cravings for fatty and sugary foods. [2]
  2. It can help to stabilize blood sugar levels, making it easier for you to lose weight and control cravings by eating healthier foods.
  3. Ashwagandha can increase how much you feel full from small meals or snacks, therefore making it easier for you to control your appetite and eat less throughout the day when compared to other plants with appetite-suppressing effects such as Garcinia Cambogia.
Although it’s not common, Ashwagandha might increase appetite in those who exercise often.

Ashwagandha as Appetite Suppressant

It’s not uncommon for people to use Ashwagandha for digestive problems like constipation, indigestion, stomachache, and nausea. But for appetite specifically?

If current studies are anything to go by, yes, Ashwagandha works for that too. It may increase serotonin levels and decrease ghrelin, a hormone responsible for hunger pangs. A 2017 study found Ashwagandha specifically helps to curb your appetite when you’re under chronic stress. [1]

However, more research needs to be done before we can recommend Ashwagandha as one of the best appetite suppressants and belly fat burners. The most studied use of Ashwagandha is its possible use as an anti-stress and mood enhancer. Due to its cortisol-lowering bioactivities, it has a calming effect on your body and mind. 

Does Ashwagandha Increase Appetite?

Okay, there are also some reports of ashwagandha increasing appetite in people. More specifically, some users reported having hunger and sugar cravings after adding ashwagandha to their supplemental regimen.

However, there is no evidence that supports these claims. Absolutely zero human studies. Of course, studies don’t show us everything, and each person is different, but for most people, ashwagandha is unlikely to boost your appetite.

The only scenario where this might occur is in people who do intense exercises like weightlifting. In these individuals, Ashwagandha may lead to an increase in their muscle mass and basal metabolic rate, making them feel more hungry.

Ashwagandha Loss of Appetite – Is It Normal?

Some people may experience a loss of appetite when taking ashwagandha. The good news is that this “side effect,” if you want to call it that, is normal and usually something that helps people on their weight loss journey.

In a nutshell, cortisol can make you gain fat, but Ashwagandha helps to prevent this. That, alongside its appetite-suppressive effects, is why it’s so popular in the fitness community.

Most of these effects that we discussed today come from Ashwagandha’s adaptogenic compounds. Adaptogens help to increase resistance to various physical and psychological stresses, such as fatigue, depression, anxiety, and pain, to name a few. The people who will see the biggest benefit in regard to reduced appetite are those that suffer from any of the aforementioned symptoms.

Further Reading:

References

  1. Choudhary D, Bhattacharyya S, Joshi K. Body Weight Management in Adults Under Chronic Stress Through Treatment With Ashwagandha Root Extract: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2017 Jan;22(1):96-106. doi: 10.1177/2156587216641830. Epub 2016 Apr 6. PMID: 27055824; PMCID: PMC5871210.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871210/
  2. Chandrasekhar K, Kapoor J, Anishetty S. 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 J Psychol Med. 2012 Jul;34(3):255-62. doi: 10.4103/0253-7176.106022. PMID: 23439798; PMCID: PMC3573577.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573577/

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