Ashwangandha may Improve Cardiovascular Endurance and Post-Exercise Recovery In Athletic Adults

ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Ashwagandha is a reputed herb in traditional Ayurveda, used for various ailments and improving general well-being. Improved cardiorespiratory endurance can aid in attaining better physiological, metabolic, and functional abilities in humans. According to Ayurveda, Ashwagandha has such potential to improve human health.

AIM OF THE STUDY: This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Ashwagandha root extract in enhancing cardiorespiratory endurance in healthy athletic adults.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Fifty healthy athletic adults were selected randomly and equally allocated to Ashwagandha and placebo groups. The Ashwagandha group received 300 mg of Ashwagandha root extract capsules, twice daily, for 8-weeks. Cardiorespiratory endurance was assessed by measuring the maximum aerobic capacity (VO2 max). Estimation of stress management was done through Total Quality Recovery Scores (TQR), Recovery-Stress Questionnaire for Athletes (RESTQ), and Daily Analysis of Life Demands for Athletes (DALDA) questionnaires along with the antioxidant level measurement.

RESULTS: At the end of the study, a statistically significant improvement in VO2 max outcome was observed in the Ashwagandha group when compared to the placebo group (P = 0.0074). The subjects in the Ashwagandha group also displayed a statistically significant increase at the end of the study when compared to the baseline (P < 0.0001). Significantly improved TQR scores were observed in the Ashwagandha group members compared to their placebo counterparts (P < 0.0001). DALDA questionnaire analysis in the Ashwagandha group was found statistically significant (P < 0.0001) compared to the placebo group. RESTQ assessment also yielded better outcomes, especially for fatigue recovery (P < 0.0001), lack of energy (P < 0.0001), and fitness analysis (P < 0.0001). The enhanced antioxidant level was significant (P < 0.0001) in the Ashwagandha group.

CONCLUSION: The present findings suggest that Ashwagandha root extract can successfully enhance cardiorespiratory endurance and improve the quality of life in healthy athletic adults. No adverse events were reported by any of the subjects in this study.

Tiwari S, et al. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial on the effect of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera dunal.) root extract in improving cardiorespiratory endurance and recovery in healthy athletic adults. J Ethnopharmacol. 2021 May 23;272:113929. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2021.113929. Epub 2021 Feb 15.