When we think about women’s health, we can’t forget about hormones. The two go hand-in-hand, after all. Hormones play a vital role in ensuring our bodies run like clockwork, and even the slightest imbalance is enough to impact our day. Since hormonal imbalances come part and parcel with being a woman, many are turning to adaptogens to help them cope with the physical and mental stressors.
Why adaptogens? What are they and how do they help? Glad you asked. In this blog, we look at how adaptogens – such as ashwagandha and cordyceps – are helping women take back control of their health. And to make things easier, we’ll uncover which of these ancient medicines are great for alleviating troublesome PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome), period and menopause symptoms. Let’s go!
Why are adaptogens beneficial for Menstrual & menopause symptoms?
Adaptogens are plants and mushrooms that help the body and mind balance stressors and achieve homeostasis. They’re known to work in different systems in our body, helping us to reduce stress, anxiety and fatigue, as well as boosting our immune system – helping us to feel our best!
For many, this is a game changer. You can’t prevent menstruation and menopause. Just because they’re part of Mother Nature’s plan for us, it doesn’t mean the symptoms are any less debilitating.
Adaptogens are widely being acknowledged for their ability to alleviate PMS & menopause symptoms and they’re taking women’s health by storm. Just look at Duchess Meghan Markle and media mogul Oprah Winfrey. While the former has financially invested in adaptogens, the latter has acknowledged their ability to help her relax, concentrate and feel her best.
Adaptogens can help the body and mind adjust to PMS & Menopausal symptoms
Unlike the male hormone cycle that occurs every 24 hours, women’s hormones fluctuate for a month before they’re replaced. The result? A whopping 75% of women experience premenstrual symptoms, including mood swings, brain fog, anxiety, sugar cravings and difficulty sleeping, to name a few.
A lot of the time, extra hormonal imbalances can fire up these symptoms. You know when you’ve tossed and turned all night and up your caffeine intake to compensate? Or when you crack open a bottle of wine to unwind in the evening? All of these ‘quick fixes’ can worsen PMS symptoms, sending cortisol levels skyrocketing.
While adaptogens won’t prevent PMS or period symptoms, they’re said to help the body and mind naturally adjust to them. This is achieved by:
- Regulating cortisol levels
- Improving mental & physical endurance
- Decreasing stress & anxiety
- Supporting adrenal function
- Helping with mental clarity & focus
Take control of menopause with adaptogens
So, your monthly cycles are nearing their end, and you know what that means? Boom. It’s perimenopause and then menopause, typically starting in women aged 40 to 55. (In the UK, the average age is 51).
The symptoms can be more severe than PMS, and they can have a huge impact on a woman’s life. From low self-esteem to frequent migraines, menopause can cause rifts in just about anything, including relationships, social life, family life and work.
Menopausal women are the fastest-growing demographic in the workforce and with such severe symptoms that last over time, almost a quarter of women have left their jobs due to an inability to cope. These symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Hot flushes and night sweats
- Increased levels of anxiety and irritability
- Brain fog, poor memory and concentration
- Physical and mental fatigue
Just like PMS and periods, adaptogens are also known for alleviating menopause symptoms and helping you regain control by balancing hormone levels and naturally increasing our energy levels, giving us a physical and mental lift whilst helping us achieve homeostasis. Here are our top picks!
Which adaptogens are best for easing premenstrual and menopause symptoms?
Alleviate PMS and menopausal anxiety with Ashwagandha
If you regularly suffer from anxiety or insomnia in the days leading up to your period, or have menopausal anxiety, then ashwagandha can be a godsend. It’s a medicinal adaptogenic root extract that’s been used for over 2,500 years and is thought to evoke a deep sense of calm by balancing cortisol levels.
While one placebo-controlled study found that ashwagandha significantly reduced stress levels in individuals and improved the overall quality of life, another proved its sleep-inducing potential.
If we’re feeling physically and mentally fatigued, lots of us enjoy a coffee to give us a lift. However, if we already have a heightened level of stress, caffeine can further increase our cortisol levels – causing us anxiety and to feel on edge. Ashwagandha and coffee can be the perfect combination to enjoy the benefits of coffee in our day, whilst staying balanced and reducing PMS and menopausal anxiety. Our Zen adaptogenic coffee blend contains Ashwagandha & CBD and is our most balancing blend.
Reduce PMS or menopausal fatigue with Cordyceps
For most women, the ability to concentrate or be productive gets thrown, no, hurled out the window when PMS comes knocking. Even the smallest to-dos can feel like mammoth tasks. And with menopause, it’s pretty normal for women to feel exhausted and groggy. After all, they don’t call it ‘menopause fatigue’ for nothing!
Life doesn’t stop here; there are still things to do. Whether it’s work, childcare or relationships, women still need to work through their responsibilities – even though their body is telling them to hit the sack.
That’s why plenty of women fight fatigue with cordyceps, a medicinal mushroom prized for its energizing properties. It’s known for increasing aerobic capacity, oxygen flow around the body and boosting ATP, our energy molecule. In fact, a group of Chinese female runners broke several records, giving all the credit to cordyceps!
This powerful adaptogen is also known to support the immune system, which is great for when you’re experiencing PMS. This is because your immune system naturally declines just before you menstruate, making you more susceptible to picking up an irritating cold or the flu. Seriously, who wants the flu and your period at the same time?
We mentioned reaching for a coffee to give us a boost when we’re feeling physically and mentally fatigued, a pitfall here is caffeine is absorbed quickly and we can experience a spike and then a crash. Combining cordyceps with coffee, such as in our Mojo adaptogenic coffee, we can experience the benefits of coffee with sustained energy without a spike and crash.
Clear menopausal brain fog with Lion’s Mane
Menopausal brain fog can cause poor memory and cognitive function, meaning we don’t perform at our best. Lion’s Mane mushroom can help with mental clarity, focus and help us be our most productive selves. It’s a medicinal mushroom that’s been used for thousands of years in East Asian medicine and has been dubbed as “the brain mushroom”.
One study found that this powerful mushroom significantly decreased loss of concentration, irritability and heart palpitations in menopausal women. If that wasn’t enough, another study found that menopausal women who consumed lion’s mane daily experienced reduced feelings of anxiety.
Our Flow adaptogenic coffee blend is designed for mental clarity and focus, perfect if we’re experiencing menopausal brain fog. Flow contains +466mg of organic 8:1 dual-extracted lion’s mane from fruiting bodies with 25.0% beta-glucans* and also +83mg of Rhodiolife – a branded Rhodiola extract grown in the Siberian-Altai. What is Rhodiola we hear you ask?
Other adaptogens that can help us stay balanced through PMS & menopause:
Rhodiola is a root extract known for its incredible benefits for the mind & body, there is strong evidence that this mighty adaptogen can help us to reduce physical & mental fatigue and improve memory & cognitive health.
Chaga is a fungi exceptionally high in antioxidants and can help regulate the production of cytokines, making it a great immune-booster whenever we’re feeling like we’re coming down with something.
Reishi, known as the ‘mushroom of immortality’, can help us reduce stress, find balance and wind down for the deepest sleep.
Find your flow with our adaptogenic coffee
At London Nootropics, we’re on a mission to make the highest-quality adaptogen extracts accessible, convenient and delicious. Our adaptogenic coffee blends are made with an effective amount of adaptogens rich in active compounds to help you easily incorporate premium adaptogens into your daily diet.
The reason we’ve chosen coffee is quite simple, there are incredible synergies between adaptogens and caffeine. The UK is a nation of avid coffee drinkers, consuming an average of 95 million cups per day and just because women experience PMS and menopause doesn’t mean they should skip caffeine altogether.
With adaptogenic coffee, we can minimise any side-effects of caffeine – this means no jitters, no anxiety and no crash.
Take back control and find your flow with our three adaptogenic coffee blends. Have a Mojo with cordyceps and ginseng when you need a physical boost, endurance and immunity support. If you’re prone to anxiety, enjoy our Zen blend with CBD and ashwagandha for calming energy. Or, if you’re looking for a coffee that’ll help clear brain fog, improve cognitive performance and boost your productivity levels, try our Flow blend with lion’s mane and rhodiola.
*The active compounds noted above are for our latest batch of functional mushroom extracts, each batch is unique and has a slightly different amount of active compounds.
Our vision is to make the highest-quality adaptogens easily accessible, convenient & delicious, helping more people benefit from their balancing properties and find their flow.