Feeling sleepy or sluggish? Stress and poor digestion are probably to blame, according to integrative neurologist Kulreet Chaudhary, author of The Prime: Prepare and Repair Your Body for Spontaneous Weight Loss (Harmony, January 2016).
"When it comes to energy, the challenges either fall into one of two categories: stress management or digestion," says Chaudhary, who is also trained in Ayurvedic medicine. "According to Ayurveda, agni, or digestive fire, is the basis for all health, and your energy level relates to how strong your agni level is."
Drinking water, in particular warm water with a little lemon, can help fuel the digestive fire, but when toxins become deeply lodged, supplements can play a key role in fighting fatigue, Chaudhary explains. "Choosing supplements that address the stress response in the body and the digestive issue are usually the biggest bang for your buck," she says. Here, 3 Ayurvedic supplements that can help you boost your energy level, according to Chaudhary.
Ashwagandha helps to coordinate the HPA (hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal) axis, or the main stress response axis in the body, Chaudhary explains. It's also one of the few herbs known to be an adaptogen, which means it helps your body adapt to stress, she notes. "A lot of people are starting to hear about adrenal fatigue and the whole connection of low energy and tapped adrenal glands. Ashwagandha helps to support the adrenal glands in response to stress," Chaudhary says.
Brahmi helps coordinate the brain's response to stress, or dampen the effect that stress has on the brain, so the brain is functioning optimally, Chaudhary says. Ashwagandha and Brahmi typically have the best effect when you take them together, she notes. Chaudhary recommends taking them twice a day, ideally in the morning and between 2 and 6 p.m. (Editor's note: Consult your doctor before taking any supplements.)
Triphala, one of the most commonly used digestive rasayanas or rejuvenating tonics, helps to promote healthy digestion, Chaudhary explains. "It's a simple blend of three dried, ground-up berries, so I look at it more as an extension of my diet than as a supplement per se," she says. "Each of the three berries has multiple benefits for the entire body." Both inflammation and toxins form a barrier in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, making the absorption of nutrients difficult—another cause of fatigue, Chaudhary says. "The way triphala works in the digestive system is to reduce inflammation in the GI tract. It also helps to remove ama, or toxins, from your body, which helps improve the absorption of nutrients from your food." The ideal time to take it as it at bedtime, Chaudhary recommends, in powder form with warm water or in pill form (note: triphala has a strong taste, so most people prefer to take it in pill form).
Don't forget to drink water.
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