Ashwagandha is a herb most commonly found in India, parts of Africa and the Middle East. Its healing properties have been used for hundreds of years, from strengthening the immune system to reducing inflammation and neurological stress1. Recently, it has been shown that the herb can also help improve day-to-day brain function and especially brain fog, by decreasing oxidative stress, improving memory and preventing nerve damage from developing2,3.
We all know that athletes in particular are frequently under a lot of stress – mentally drained from the pressures of the sport and physically exhausted from sports training and performance4,5,6. Often, these symptoms are accompanied by brain fog which can detrimentally affect decision making and cognitive performance7. Sounds like someone you know? Well, then, keep reading.
One of the many physiological downsides to stress is that it can reduce the expression of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), a protein that regenerates brain cells. In turn, this can detrimentally affect brain cell replication and cognitive function – or in less sciency terms: you stressing out will have you bugging out with brain fog and confusion. One way in which ashwagandha can help is by protecting this protein in your brain8. Another way is by preventing enzymes from blocking the activity of acetylcholine, a crucial neurotransmitter which the decline of has been associated with cognitive and memory issues9.
The ashwagandha found in CONKA’s supplement for athletes is an organic, whole-herb product that preserves the array of natural occurring elements found in its root. Unlike heated or processed forms, this ashwagandha retains all the beneficial microbes (missing in herbal extracts) that contribute significantly to activating its positive qualities through synergistic interactions. You may be thinking “Microbes? Yuck”, but in the natural world, the partnership between beneficial bacteria and their host is indispensable – plus, you’ve had kombucha, kimchi, kefir and other k-letter things that contain good bacteria, right? There you go, stop squirming.
Anyway, my message to you is this: ashwagandha has multiple benefits when it comes to improving brain performance and especially reducing brain fog, so definitely make the most of this powerful herb. However (why is there always a “but”?), beware of higher-concentration herbal extracts with increased potency as they lack these microbes and may not provide such natural herbal support for your brain. In other words, go for CONKA10.
Leticia Hosang, BSc
Leticia is a sports science, sports psychology and neuroscience researcher, previously working with Brunel London University and exploring the effects of exercise on brain activity.