What is an Adaptogen?

Is this the health craze of the future?

According to the dictionary, adaptogens are an herbal medicine derived from certain plants and fungi that help the body adapt to stress, but this doesn't really provide the whole story. When we get stressed our cortisol levels rise, triggering the "famous flight or fight" response. Cortisol is important, as it give us energy when we're stressed or exercising, but if there is an excess of the hormone, it can contribute to weight gain and high blood pressure. Chronic stress, one of the main culprits behind high cortisol, has been tied to a number of issues including anxiety, fatigue, and sleep loss. While the science behind adaptogens isn't 100% clear, there is a strong contingent of loyal users who swear by these natural products and their abilities to combat the effects of high cortisol. Since adaptogens are dietary supplements, the FDA doesn't play a very active role in regulating them. This means there's a pretty high rate of fraudulent marketing in the field. Still, peddlers and users alike will rabidly defend the health benefits of taking these natural stress reducers.

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