Stimulants vs. Adaptogens (And The Real Secret to Lasting Energy)
Are you tired all the time? Incredibly, most of the patients I see complain of persistent, ongoing fatigue. Sometimes lack of sleep is a factor, but in almost all cases, there is another, often overlooked factor at play.
If you rely on coffee or other caffeinated beverages, sugary foods or medication to provide you with the energy you need to make it through the day, please keep reading. I’m going to explain why you’re so tired all the time, and how you can fix the problem and restore your natural energy levels safely and quickly.
Research shows that an astounding 80% of Americans use caffeinated beverages every morning for an energy boost. The fact is, we have become accustomed to consuming huge amounts of caffeine to keep pace with our busy lifestyles and stressful schedules.
The Dark Side of Caffeine
Although caffeine (along with sugar and stimulants like medication for Attention Deficit Disorder) can help boost energy temporarily, it does so at a significant expense. For example, research from Duke Medical School found that the average daily caffeine consumption of many Americans may raise heart attack and stroke risk by up to 20-30%, due to caffeine’s effects in raising blood pressure and increasing blood flow.
Additionally, and importantly in the case of those struggling with fatigue, caffeine pushes the body to release more stress hormones, which can leave you feeling burned out and fatigued in the short and long term.
The Hidden Cause of Energy Burnout, Weight Gain
and Health Problems
Two small glands near your kidneys, called the adrenal glands, play a large role in producing energy and helping the body to manage stress. Caffeine, sugar and stimulant medications have a significant impact on these glands and drive them to release more of the body’s primary stress hormones, including epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol.[3,4,5]
Chronic elevations in cortisol levels can lower your immunity, disrupt your sleep, make you anxious, lower your energy, accelerate the aging process, affect your fertility, kill your sex drive, cause food cravings and increase your weight even if you manage to resist the cravings.[9,10]
Even worse, when the adrenal glands have been artificially pushed by caffeine and stimulants for too long, they can become exhausted. The ability of the gland to produce even adequate levels of cortisol becomes compromised, and that’s when you may start to experience fatigue, brain fog, decreased ability to handle stress, poor immunity or auto-immune conditions, low body temperature and a general feeling of burnout. This state, called adrenal fatigue, has become epidemic in our society due to hectic lifestyles, poor nutrition and the overconsumption of stimulants like coffee, sugar and certain medications.
If you are among the majority with adrenal fatigue, what can you do? First, you’ll want to get more sleep if at all possible and reduce or eliminate your consumption of sugar, caffeine and stimulant medications (working with your doctor). Second, you’ll want to support your adrenals to coax them back to full vitality.
Unfortunately, modern medicine does not offer us many solutions to being burned out and tired. Anti-anxiety drugs or antidepressants may be suggested if your mood is starting to suffer. Or stimulant medications, which only make the matter worse, are recommended if the fatigue is persistent. Of course, none of these pharmaceutical interventions address the issue of stressed adrenal glands or help to restore balance to the output of adrenal-related stress hormones.
Is There a Natural Solution for Increased Energy and Vitality?
Luckily, nature has provided us with tools that can improve our energy levels by supporting our natural stress response and boosting our body’s natural energy production without depleting us. As a holistic physician and pioneer in the natural health industry, I have spent years studying and researching nature’s pharmacopeia to bring you a safe, effective and healthy way to boost your energy.
It’s important to understand that certain nutrients in the B vitamin family are closely linked to supporting the body’s response to stress and assisting the adrenal system in increasing energy and stamina. Vitamins B12, B6 and B5 in particular play critical roles in energy production and have all been shown to enhance adrenal function and cortisol balance during times of stress. Vitamin B12 also facilitates a biochemical reaction in the body necessary for the production of energy while vitamin B6 is vital to over 100 enzymes that catalyze energy producing reactions in the body.[11,12] Vitamin B5 is part of a co-enzyme complex that is required by the body in order to make energy from food.
Many people are deficient in these vitamins and notice considerable increases in their energy level once they begin taking them in supplemental form. I always recommend B vitamins to my patients with adrenal fatigue, as well as vitamin C and calcium, which are also helpful when someone has been dealing with prolonged stress.
Adaptogens: Plants That Help You Adapt to Stress
Over the past 50 years, medical research has been investigating a group of plants known for their ability to improve energy levels by modulating the body’s response to stress. They belong to a family known as the adaptogens. According to the scientific literature, adaptogens have been defined as a pharmacological group of herbal preparations that increase tolerance to mental and physical exhaustion and enhance attention and mental endurance in situations of decreased performance.
Based on my experience, these are the top 3 adaptogens for boosting energy and supporting the adrenal glands:
Numerous studies have shown that extracts of the ashwaganda plant, which plays an important role in Ayurvedic medicine, can reduce feelings of stress in highly stressed individuals and balance cortisol abnormalities induced by stress.[14,15,16,17,18]
In a 2012 double blind, randomized, placebo controlled study, highly stressed patients receiving ashwaganda extract had significantly lower stress assessment scores vs. their placebo controlled counterparts after 60 days. Additional findings also showed significantly lower levels of circulating blood cortisol levels in the patients treated with ashwaganda extract demonstrating its ability to modulate the physiologic stress response.
Eleutherococcus senticosus, sometimes referred to as eleuthero or Siberian ginseng (although it technically is not in the ginseng family), has been shown to reduce symptoms of fatigue and improve exercise tolerance.[20,21] Studies also show healthy aging benefits due to its abilities to reduce damage to DNA. It supports the body by balancing cortisol production and helping the adrenal glands cope with the stress response.
Rhodiola rosea is one of the most well studied and highly revered of the adaptogenic herbs. The scientific literature demonstrating rhodiola’s ability to enhance the body’s response to physical and emotional stress is voluminous and irrefutable. Its ability to improve physical and mental fatigue associated with stress and overwork is well documented in many clinical trials dating all the way back to the 1950s.[23,24,25,26,27,28,29]
It is important to remember that the phytonutrients in these plants increase your physical and mental energy WITHOUT the detrimental side effects associated with caffeine and other stimulants. They work to nurture your body and protect it from the ill effects of stress while caffeine, sugar and stimulants just wear your body down further.
The Solution for All-Day Energy, Adrenal Health and Vitality
In working with my patients, I found that there wasn’t a good “all-in-one” solution with the right doses of both the B vitamins you need to combat adrenal fatigue as well as the best adaptogenic herbs. That’s why I decided to partner with Stop Aging Now to develop a breakthrough new formula called PurVitality®.
It includes 12 key nutritional factors, including the 7 important B vitamins and my top 3 adaptogenic herbs in a unique, synergistic blend designed to boost energy and adrenal health safely and naturally. This formula is the culmination of over 10 years of clinical practice and intensive research resulting in the safest, most effective natural energy and vitality booster on the market today.
What’s in PurVitality that makes it so beneficial?
- High levels of 7 B vitamins: PurVitality includes B1, B2, B6 and B12, as well as niacin (B3), biotin (B7) and pantothenic acid (B5), which all work together to provide numerous health benefits. Research has shown that B vitamins combat the negative effects of stress by correcting levels of stress hormones like cortisol. The B vitamins also protect heart and brain health, support balanced moods and increase energy levels. As a testament to our commitment to quality and purity, we have chosen to use the active co-enzyme forms of B6 and B12 to ensure maximum utilization by the body. These represent the absolute highest quality of b-vitamin supplementation and are rarely used by our competitors due to their higher cost. We included them at no extra cost to our customers as a reflection of our commitment to quality.
- Sensoril® ashwagandha (250 mg): This standardized and patented ashwaganda extract has been proven in a gold-standard clinical study to reduce feelings of stress by up to 70%. In the same randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled study, Sensoril showed the ability to increase energy levels, balance blood cortisol levels, promote a healthy inflammatory response by lowering an inflammatory chemical called c-reactive protein, decrease pulse rate and blood pressure, improve fasting blood sugar levels and balance blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. I selected this unique, patented ashwaganda extract because of its excellent performance in human clinical trials. Sensoril is considered the best ashwaganda extract in the natural products industry today.
- Standardized extracts of eleuthero (250 mg) and rhodiola rosea (150 mg): I added these excellent adaptogenic herbs for extra energy boosting power. As I detailed above, these herbs are now proven by science to boost mood, energy, stamina, fertility and sexual performance while decreasing the negative effects of physical and mental stress.
- Vitamin C: Chronic stress can cause the body to use up its stores of vitamin C, which can actually contribute to feelings of anxiousness and irritability. Vitamin C is included in PurVitality to replenish depleted stores, which can boost mood and energy. Unlike many supplements, the vitamin C in PurVitality is made from a GMO-free source.
- Calcium: This essential mineral is included in an optimal form and dose for healthy cellular energy production and optimal adrenal function.
PurVitality: A Natural Energy Solution That Really Works
PurVitality is designed to nourish and protect the energy boosting glands of your body, so not only will you feel better, you will also be contributing to overall better health. Just two tablets a day will give you an immediate energy boost and make you feel more energized all day long without jitteriness, side effects, dependency or crashing later. You’ll also experience better mood balance, relief from everyday stress and strain, improvements in the quality of your sleep and better immune health. The maximum effects of the adaptogenic herbs in the formula are typically realized after 30 to 60 days of use, so although you will likely experience some noticeable improvements immediately, if you are patient, the results will build with time.
Unfortunately, many supplements sound great on paper but fall short in execution, using cheap ingredients like silica (sand) and not including therapeutic doses of the active ingredients. You can rest assured that PurVitality meets your quality standards. Here’s why:
- High Levels of B Vitamins: PurVitality includes the full spectrum of B vitamins in their optimal forms. To assure the highest quality and purity, we chose to use the active coenzyme forms of B6 and B12 to ensure maximum utilization by the body.
- Sensoril® Ashwagandha (250 mg):This patented ashwaganda extract has been proven in a gold-standard clinical study to reduce feelings of stress by up to 70%. Sensoril has also shown the ability to increase energy levels, promote a healthy inflammatory response, decrease blood pressure, improve blood sugar levels and balance cholesterol.
- Standardized Eleuthero (250 mg) and Rhodiola (150 mg): I added potent doses of these excellent adaptogenic herbs for extra energy-boosting and stress-fighting power. These herbs are proven by science to boost mood, energy, stamina, fertility and sexual performance while decreasing the negative effects of physical and mental stress.
- Vitamin C and Calcium: Vitamin C is included to boost your energy and elevate your mood. Unlike many supplements, PurVitality contains GMO-free vitamin C. Calcium is included in an optimal form and dose for healthy cellular energy production and adrenal function.
- Fast Acting, Long Lasting and You’ll Still Sleep Great: Just take 2 tablets in the morning or anytime you feel sluggish, and you’ll get a rapid boost of energy that lasts all day long. And best of all, it’s non-habit forming, won’t make you jittery and won’t disrupt your sleep.
- Safe and Effective: PurVitality is made in the USA in a state-of-the-art FDA-inspected facility to meet the stringent USP standards for quality, purity and potency. Each ingredient is backed by strong clinical evidence supporting its safety and effectiveness.
- Affordable, Convenient and Risk-Free: PurVitality is available for as low as $14.99 per bottle, which is a great value, considering what you would spend for each ingredient separately. It also ships to you for free, is tax-free and comes with an “any reason” 365-day money-back guarantee.
One of the reasons I chose to work with Stop Aging Now is that their products are all manufactured in the U.S. in FDA-inspected facilities that meet or exceed Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). This ensures that all raw materials are carefully tested and handled before production and that all finished products are free of contaminants and guaranteed to meet all label claims.
I have been working with the owner of Stop Aging Now for over 5 years and can personally attest to his commitment to quality and mission to produce top-notch supplements. They also offer an industry best 365-day “any reason” money-back guarantee.
If you’re looking for a natural way to boost your energy and support your adrenal health, I invite you to try PurVitality at a special discounted price that includes free shipping. We’re only offering this special pricing to Live in the Now readers, and it will only be available for a limited time.
Dr. Passero completed four years of post-graduate medical education at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon after receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Biology from the University of Colorado. Dr. Passero has trained with some of the nation’s leading doctors in the field of natural medicine. In his practice, Dr. Passero focuses on restoring harmony to both the body and mind using advanced protocols that incorporate herbal therapy, homeopathy, vitamin therapy and nutritional programs. Through education and guidance patients are able to unlock the natural healing power contained within each one of us. For more information, visit his website, Green Healing Wellness, or follow him on Facebook.
- Neal, Rome- CBS News report February 11 2009
- Lane JD, Phillips-Bute BG, Pieper CF. Caffeine raises blood pressure at work. Psychosom Med. 1998 May-Jun;60(3):327-30.
- Lane JD, Adcock RA, Williams RB, Kuhn CM. Caffeine effects on cardiovascular and neuroendocrine responses to acute psychosocial stress and their relationship to level of habitual caffeine consumption. Psychosom Med. 1990 May-Jun;52(3):320-36.
- Lane JD. Neuroendocrine responses to caffeine in the work environment. Psychosom Med. 1994 May-Jun;56(3):267-70.
- Lane JD, Pieper CF, Phillips-Bute BG, Bryant JE, Kuhn CM. Caffeine affects cardiovascular and neuroendocrine activation at work and home. Psychosom Med. 2002 Jul-Aug;64(4):595-603.
- Palacios R, Sugawara I. Hydrocortisone abrogates proliferation of T cells in autologous mixed lymphocyte reaction by rendering the interleukin-2 Producer T cells unresponsive to interleukin-1 and unable to synthesize the T-cell growth factor. Scand J Immunol. 1982 Jan;15(1):25-31.
- Prinz PN, Bailey SL, Woods DL. Sleep impairments in healthy seniors: roles of stress, cortisol, and interleukin-1 beta. Chronobiol Int. 2000 May;17(3):391-404
- Damti OB, Sarid O, Sheiner E, Zilberstein T, Cwikel J. Stress and distress in infertility among women. Harefuah. 2008 Mar;147(3):256-60, 276.
- Epel E, Lapidus R, McEwen B, Brownell K. Stress may add bite to appetite in women: a laboratory study of stress-induced cortisol and eating behavior. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2001 Jan;26(1):37-49.
- Wallerius, S., R. Rosmond, T. Ljung, et al. Rise in morning saliva cortisol is associated with abdominal obesity in men: a preliminary report. Journal of Endocrinology Investigation 26: 616-619, 2003.
- Higdon, Jane. Micronutrient Information Center B12. Linus Pauling Institute website www.lpi.oregonstate.edu 2003
- Higdon, Jane. Micronutrient Information Center B6. Linus Pauling Institute website www.lpi.oregonstate.edu 2002
- Higdon, Jane. Micronutrient Information Center B5. Linus Pauling Institute website www.lip.oregonstate.edu 2004
- Abbas SS, Singh N. Anti-stress Agents (Herbs) of Indian Origin – Herbal Drugs, A twenty first century perspective. Delhi: Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences, Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), Govt. of India; 2006. pp. 578?591.
- Kalsi R, Singh N, Gupta GP. Physiology of Human Performance. Delhi: Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences, Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO), Govt. of India; 1987. Effects of stress and anti-stress drugs on succinate dehydrogenase enzyme (SDH) in rat brain (A possible role of SDH in stress adaptation phenomenon) pp. 114?117.
- Singh N, Agarwal AK, Lata A, Kohli RP. Evaluation of ‘adaptogenic’ properties of Withania somnifera. Proc Indian Pharmacological Society. 1976;17
- Singh N, Agarwal AK, Lata A, Kohli RP. XIIth Scientific Seminar on Indian Medicine. Vol. 4. Varanasi: Institute of Medical Sciences; 1977. Experimental evaluation of ?adaptogenic? properties ofWithania somnifera.
- Singh N, Singh SP, Sinha JN, Shanker K, Kohli RP. Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) A rejuvenator herbal drug which enhances survival during stress (An adaptogen) Int J Crude Drug Res.1982;3:29?35. 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.
- Kuo J, Chen KW, Cheng IS, Tsai PH, Lu YJ, Lee NY. The effect of eight weeks of supplementation with Eleutherococcus senticosus on endurance capacity and metabolism in human. Chin J Physiol. 2010 Apr 30;53(2):105-11.
- Asano K, Takahashi T, Miyashita M, Matsuzaka A, Muramatsu S, Kuboyama M, Kugo H, Imai J. Effect of Eleutherococcus senticosus extract on human physical working capacity. Planta Med. 1986 Jun;(3):175-7.
- Lee YJ, Chung HY, Kwak HK, Yoon S.The effects of A. senticosus supplementation on serum lipid profiles, biomarkers of oxidative stress, and lymphocyte DNA damage in postmenopausal women. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2008 Oct 10;375(1):44-8.
- Hung SK, Perry R, Ernst E. The effectiveness and efficacy of Rhodiola rosea L.: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. Phytomedicine. 2011 Feb 15;18(4):235-44.
- Edwards D, Heufelder A, Zimmermann A. Therapeutic effects and safety of Rhodiola rosea extract WS® 1375 in subjects with life-stress symptoms–results of an open-label study. Phytother Res. 2012 Aug;26(8):1220-5
- De Bock K, Eijnde BO, Ramaekers M, Hespel P. Acute Rhodiola rosea intake can improve endurance exercise performance. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2004 Jun;14(3):298-307.
- Spasov AA, Wikman GK, Mandrikov VB, Mironova IA, Neumoin VV. A double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of the stimulating and adaptogenic effect of Rhodiola rosea SHR-5 extract on the fatigue of students caused by stress during an examination period with a repeated low-dose regimen. Phytomedicine. 2000 Apr;7(2):85-9.
- Shevtsov VA, Zholus BI, Shervarly VI, Vol’skij VB, Korovin YP, Khristich MP, Roslyakova NA, Wikman G. A randomized trial of two different doses of a SHR-5 Rhodiola rosea extract versus placebo and control of capacity for mental work. Phytomedicine. 2003 Mar;10(2-3):95-105.
- Darbinyan V, Kteyan A, Panossian A, Gabrielian E, Wikman G, Wagner H. Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue–a double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty. Phytomedicine. 2000 Oct;7(5):365-71.
- Schutgens FW, Neogi P, van Wijk EP, van Wijk R, Wikman G, Wiegant FA. The influence of adaptogens on ultraweak biophoton emission: a pilot-experiment. Phytother Res. 2009 Aug;23(8):1103-8.
- Biswajit Auddy, PhD; Jayaram Hazra, PhD; Achintya Mitra, MD; Bruce Abedon, PhD; Shibnath Ghosal, PhD. A Standardized Withania Somnifera Extract Significantly Reduces Stress-Related Parameters in Chronically Stressed Humans: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study. The Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association Vol. 11, No. 1, 2008
Share the knowledge!
Article updated on: November 12th, 2014