Want to turn your body into a stress-resilient machine hellbent on being more energetic, focused, and driven? This guide to adaptogens teaches you how to use nature’s stress terminators to become more resilient and improve your sex life, anxiety, and fatigue.
Stress is a killer, but it doesn’t have to be a death sentence. *Arnold accent* Come with us if you want to live….
Are You Always Feeling Tired, Low, and Unfocused? It Could Be Chronic Stress
BAD NEWS: The modern world is designed to stress you out.
Your 9-5, 24/7 media, constant connection, processed foods—they are all tricking your brain into being on high alert at all times. This is a condition known as chronic stress.
Chronic exposure to stress can leave you numb, fatigued, infertile, and mentally unstable, especially if you’re a stressed student, parent, or young professional. You have only one choice if you want to take your life back: adapt.
Growing research is starting to prove what the Ancient Chinese and Indians have known for centuries: the balancing powers of adaptogens. And no, they aren’t actually cyborgs sent back in time to save us from stress :(.
This guide contains everything you need to know about adaptogens and how they can make you more energetic, happier, and virile. It includes how they work, how to take them properly, and which ones will finally put an end to your symptoms
Begin termination sequence in T - 3, 2, 1….
What Are Adaptogens?
Adaptogens or adaptogenic substances are plants or herbs that help your body adapt to stress and achieve homeostasis when there’s an imbalance. They are “non-specific” stress resistors that enhance your body’s natural stress-coping mechanism by influencing the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.
There’s fascinating scientific evidence that shows adaptogens actually change your physiology at a molecular level to deliver powerful stress-protective benefits .
Hypothalafragilistic What? - The HPA axis is your body’s central stress response system. This eloquent, fascinating intertwining of feedback interactions between 3 components regulates everything from digestion and immunity to sexuality and energy expenditure.
It may sound like science fiction, but adaptogens have a “nonspecific” stress control response in all the major systems in your body, meaning they can adapt to any situation. It’s really like The Matrix: once they’re plugged into your body, they can be programmed to perform any anti-stress function depending on the situation.
Are you ready to see how deep the rabbit hole goes?
You know stem cells? The blank cells in your brain stem that can become ANY cell your body needs? Adaptogens are your anti-stress stem cells. They wait to see if your body needs to calm down, produce more energy, fight off a disease, or burn food stores, and they spring into action.
A List of Most Common Adaptogens
This is nowhere near all of the adaptogens available in nature! If you want to get the full benefit of all of these herbs, consider taking a supplement that combines them together.
Why Are Adaptogens Generating so Much Buzz in the Biohacking Community?
Adaptogens are not only highly adaptable within the body but they can adapt to any diet too. Want to flood your body with stress-fighting adaptogens and antioxidants?
Chow down on some Thai holy basil chicken, sip ginseng tea as you ponder existence, or melt some butter, add it to coffee, and mix in mucuna pruriens to get the ultimate keto-adaptogenic symphony in a cup.
OK…let’s get back to how this all works.
How do Adaptogens Work in the Body?
Adaptogens are your body’s natural way of supporting balanced hormone production to keep everything from your immune system to your brain functioning the way it was meant to.
Think of them like the smart thermostat in your home, except for your hormone production. Your body sets the temperature to “stable” and adaptogens sense when it’s either too hot or too cold. They then adjust hormone secretion to keep you at balanced levels. And when you’re balanced it may reverse the effects of chronic stress, meaning you feel more energetic, focused, or invigorated.
To help you better understand how adaptogens fight stress, let’s cover what cortisol is and why it’s the cause of chronic symptoms.
What is Cortisol and How do Adaptogens Help?
What makes adaptogens the badass stress-fighting terminators that they are is that they reduce cortisol in the body by aiding your body’s relaxation response when you’re overstressed.
Cortisol is your body’s main stress hormone. It has a powerful effect on glucose metabolism, blood sugar regulation, your immune system, and inflammatory response. Basically, it gets your body ready to fight something trying to kill you or gives you enough energy to nope out of there before you’re turned into hors d’oeuvres for the next sabertooth tiger bacchanalia.
In the past, cortisol was great. It gave you that boost to save your life, then you found a cave somewhere, chilled, and let your body’s natural balancing act bring you back down slowly.
But our society is so high-stress now that our body’s relaxation response rarely has time to help us achieve equilibrium, resulting in a state of chronic stress. And chronic stress is what has led to the problems you’re facing right now (brain fog, fatigue, impotence, weight gain, poor immune function).
That’s why adaptogens are so promising. They aren’t a “quick fix” that alters your mind to reduce stress. They actually fight the root cause and affect your body’s physiology. Rather than just terminate your stress for you, they turn you into a stress terminator.
The Benefits of Adaptogens
Science has shown promising results for the REMARKABLE neuroprotective, anti-fatigue, mood-regulating, and nootropic benefits of adaptogenic herbs , and we’re only beginning to scratch the surface.
While more research needs to be done, results all point to adaptogens and adaptogen supplements helping people take their lives back from the stresses of modern society and reinvigorate their daily lives.
Adaptogens work at the molecular level to regulate:
If you aren’t already excited enough about adaptogens, they can also regulate stress management, promote healthy libido, and improve your athletic performance so you can get MAX results in the gym.
All of this begs the question—what’s the catch? Adaptogens seem too good to be true. An army of stress terminators that make you better in bed, bigger in the gym, and healthier and happier at home. That can’t be real…
Except science is starting to prove that they might actually be that good.
The Best Adaptogens for Stress, Endurance, Energy, Brain Power, and Weight Loss
OK, now let’s get you what you need to start fighting back against stress. There are no such things as the best adaptogens. There are only the best adaptogens for you.
Think of it like you would any medication—Tylenol is great, but you wouldn’t take it to cure your stomach pain right? You need to know what each one does, how to take it, and what science says about its supposed benefits.
If you take the right adaptogenic substances at the right doses, you’ll enjoy a healthier, more energetic life. You’ll look better, feel better, have more brain power, and start enjoying life again like you used to before your system was fried.
The Best Adaptogens for Stress and Anxiety - Ashwagandha
Constantly worrying about every little detail and making mountains out of molehills is no way to live. When your heart is racing and your muscles are tense, all you want is more smiling and less worrying.
Ashwagandha, known as “the king of Ayurvedic herbs,” has long been prized for its calming and mood-enhancing properties. Ayurvedic texts, animal studies, and now, growing research on humans have proven it may help soothe your worries, put things in perspective, and control your racing thoughts.
In a recent study, adults under stress who were given 300 mg of Ashwagandha extract showed lower levels of cortisol and scored significantly lower across the board on stress-assessment tests .
In another study on adults suffering from chronic stress, Ashwagandha extract significantly reduced cortisol (between 14.5%-24.2%) and resulted in marked improvements in wellbeing and anxiety .
GET THIS - Ashwagandha could make you a BEAST at the gym: Untrained men took 300 mg of ashwagandha root twice daily for 8 weeks and improved their max bench by 20 kg over the placebo group . Do you even ashwagandha, bro?
Benefits of Ashwagandha
How to Take Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is best taken as a powder or in capsule form. Add 3-6 g of powder per day to your diet for maximum benefit. Put it in your tea, add it to your coffee, or make a nice latte out of it! Some people complain about the smell, but you can’t taste it if you mix it. Most people prefer to take it in capsule form (there’s no bad smell or taste).
The Best Adaptogens for Energy and Brain Power - Rhodiola Rosea
Chronic stress zaps us of our mental and physical energy, leaving us coffee-dependent zombies. If you’re struggling to get through the day without caffeine, Rhodiola Rosea can provide that natural boost from within that your body craves. The result is a healthier, more focused, and more energetic you without the crash.
Studies are showing its amazing benefits to fight fatigue and improve your focus, stamina, and memory. In one study, physicians working overnight were given a low dose of Rhodiola Rosea extract (SHR/5) and then tested against a placebo group according to mental fatigue tests. The physicians who took R. Rosea scored significantly better than the placebo, suggesting that it fights fatigue under stressful situations .
ATTN: STRESSED STUDENTS - Students who supplemented with Rhodiola Rosea scored 8.4% higher than others on exams in one test conducted on highly stressed students .
The Benefits of Rhodiola Rosea
How to Take Rhodiola Rosea
Since it has a slightly stimulatory effect, it’s best taken in the mornings. But, if you’re burning the midnight oil at work or procrastinating (oops, “studying”) and under heavy stress, be our guest to boost your intake.
Take it in tea form or find a natural supplement and take it in capsule form. It’s important to keep track of your dosage though. Mega-dosing will the reverse effect of the one you want, so keep things under control.
Head-to-Head - Ashwagandha vs Rhodiola: Which is Better?
Which is better, the king of ayurvedic herbs or the nootropic monster that helps improve focus, memory, and cognition?
The better option depends on you. In our experience, heavy doses of ashwagandha have coincided with decreased anxiety, helping us feel less inhibited in social, romantic, and professional situations. Rhodiola may that effect too, but most studies have focused more on its brain enhancing characteristics rather than anxiety reduction.
Verdict: Both are effective at helping you cope with stress, but ashwagandha is unrivaled in the stress reduction department. Take it to feel less inhibited by anxiety in every situation. But if you’re under chronic stress and need a mental boost (students, overnight workers, etc.) we highly recommend Rhodiola.
The Best Adaptogen for Memory - Bacopa Monnieri
Having a few too many senior moments lately? Going crazy looking for your phone only to realize you’re using your phone as a flashlight to look under the passenger seat in your car (why would it be there…)?
Bacopa monnieri could actually slow cognitive decline and help produce clearer memories. This adaptogen has “notable” evidence of fighting cognitive decline and improving memory, attention, and cognition. Regular supplementation over a long period of time will help you organize your thoughts, remember where you put your keys (let’s be honest, they’re where your wife put them after she found them on the counter), and focus on work.
Unlike most supplements marketed to improve brain power, BM has actually been tested in the lab and produced real results.
A study conducted on participants over 65 produced fascinating results. One group was given 300 mg of Bacopa daily for 3 weeks while another was administered a placebo. The group taking Bacopa showed significant improvement in working memory, attention, and anxiety .
Bacopa isn’t just for the elderly, though. In another study involving 107 people aged 18-60, participants who took bacopa for 90 days performed significantly better on working memory tests, especially memory accuracy !
The Benefits of Bacopa Monnieri
How to Take Bacopa Monnieri
The recommended dose of Bacopa is 300 mg in capsule form. You can also take it in leaf or powder form with a meal. Note that you need to take a lot more of the powder to get the same effect as the capsule since the supplement is a more concentrated form.
Historically, Bacopa has been taken with ghee (a butter from India), but be our guest to experiment a bit. You can also boil water and splash it over some leaves. Let it steep for 10 minutes or more.
The Most Effective Adaptogen - Panax Ginseng
Chronic stress affects all of your systems—immune, endocrine, nervous, digestive, reproductive, musculoskeletal, etc.—so wouldn’t it be great if there was one cure-all adaptogen to support all of these systems AND help you feel less stressed and more virile, sharp, healthy, and energetic?
Actually, that’s exactly what Panax ginseng is proving to do in controlled studies on chronically stressed people!
Known as the “true ginseng” or “wellbeing herb,” this adaptogen’s name literally means “all-healing” or “cure-all.” P. ginseng has been in use since the dynasties of Ancient China and has been used for everything from boosting immunity to improving brain function and increasing libido.
We know we said there was no “best adaptogen,” but no other herb comes has close to the amount of peer-reviewed research as Panax ginseng.
How to Take Panax Ginseng for Maximum Effect
Most studies we reviewed recommended taking 200-400 mg per day, but studies on erectile dysfunction used as much as 1000 mg.
Panax is best taken in tea or capsule form.
Benefits of Panax Ginseng
Panax Ginseng and Rhodiola Rosea: If you want to save money and work at maximum efficiency, a supplement with both Panax ginseng and Rhodiola Rosea is a potent combo for menopausal women, athletes, people with high anxiety, and the general public. You could even get a supplement with all of the most potent adaptogens at optimal levels so you don’t have to experiment for yourself. Check out what we’ve got for you at the end of this article if that sounds like something you’re interested in.
The Best of the Rest
We personally use more than a dozen adaptogens between us for different purposes. Over the years, we’ve separated what actually works from what doesn’t. So, no matter if you want to cut fat and build muscle, improve focus under stress, or just chill without needing alcohol, tobacco, or medication, we’ve got an adaptogen for you.
Imagine how you’d feel digging into a plate of simmering Thai food—the aroma wafting across your nostrils and tingling the back of your ears. Each mouthful an ode to the rich culture of the Land of Smiles. Each contraction of the jaw muscle releasing tasteful notes of coriander, chilli, and lemongrass.
Now imagine this plate of basil chicken also helping you build muscle, improve your mood, protect your liver, and boost your libido for longer, louder nights with your best squeeze.
YES! Holy Basil is an herb popular in Ayurvedic medicine as a libido enhancer and stress reducer, and it’s commonly found in Asian cuisines like Thai and Indian (where it’s known as Tulsi).
As an adaptogen, it supports everything from liver health  and immunity  to helping build muscle  and drive. It could even aid as a contraceptive !
The verdict is in: Holy Basil = more Tinder matches. Point proven.
How to Take Holy Basil: Head down to the store and buy some. Start adding it to your dinner at night. Or, go to a Thai or Indian restaurant and pray that Visa upped your credit line.
Holy Basil and Ashwagandha - How Are They Different?
Wait, two herbs commonly used in Asian cooking that have powerful benefits for your health? Why should you bother taking one if you’re taking the other?
For one, ashwagandha literally means “smell of a horse,” so enjoy stuffing your face with that (unless you love bitter, vomit-inducing tastes). The other is a delicious herb used to make every mouthwatering dish you’ve ever eaten from the Indian restaurant in the center of town.
Ashwagandha is far more powerful and has more proven benefits for regulating stress, anxiety, fatigue, and exercise. The other is more of a supplementary adaptogen popular for how delicious it is to eat. Our best advice is to make ashwagandha a staple of your adaptogen intake and supplement it with holy basil in meals when possible (or get a supplement that contains both to save time and money).
Drink astragalus if you want to pay more taxes. Seriously, the IRS might get an extra tax season out of you if you start supplementing with this herb!
Long a staple of traditional Chinese medicine, astragalus was thrust into our collective conscious as the world watched China try to fight the effects of an aging society. Astragalus is the ONLY natural substance containing cycloastragenol, an agent that increases telomerase activity .
Imagine putting the DNA on your chromosomes under a microscope and zooming all the way in. You’d see a string of G-T-A-C in repeating patterns bookended by little regions of repetitive letters on each end. Behold, telomeres. These little “caps” on your chromosomes protect the interior regions (containing your genetic code) from damage.
The problem is that over time, they get worn down, you get wrinkly, and eventually, your money is dispersed to people that stopped caring about you in 1996. But does it have to be like that?
Sadly, yes, astragalus won’t make you Highlander, but it does have a marked effect on lengthening these “caps,” keeping you feeling younger and healthier for longer .
It also has remarkable anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, and vascular health benefits too.
How to Take Astragalus: Astragalus is one of the few “more is better” adaptogens, but 1,000-2,000 mg per day in 500 mg capsules is recommended. Feel free to take the pure dry root and add it to boiled water to make an anti-aging tea.
Bonus: Astragalus, aside from its adaptogenic benefits, is also REALLY healthy. It contains saponins, nutrients, and other healthy substances like polysaccharides to help keep you stay sharp and fresh. Drink astragalus tea. Live longer. Pay more taxes.
Did you know?
You can combine astragalus and ashwagandha (and other adaptogens like reishi mushrooms) together and benefit from the synergy between these two powerful adaptogens. Astragalus and ashwagandha make a potent immunity, anti-aging, and anti-stress cocktail.
Do you want an adaptogen that could help make you more focused and productive, feel happier and more sociable, AND regulate stress and fatigue?
Mucuna pruriens could be the dopamine-boosting, high-productivity supplement you need to take your life back from depleted dopamine storage. The modern world zaps your brain of dopamine by overstimulating you 24/7. Mucuna pruriens helps you replenish those stores by making your body better at producing and utilizing dopamine.
It contains high amounts of L-dopa, the direct precursor to dopamine. Aside from its ability to decrease stress , it has also shown to help improve memory .
How to Take Mucuna Pruriens: 100-200 mg per day is recommended. You can even add it to your coffee.
Here are a few more highly effective adaptogens you can start adding to your diet or supplement regimen today:
The Chinese have been using these mushrooms to detox for millennia. They contain powerful antioxidants and other vital nutrients that help bolster your immune system and clear your body of impurities while also protecting your cells from damage.
Looking for a way to get better results in the gym, work, and bedroom? Eat caterpillars covered in fungus.
…we aren’t kidding. Cordyceps is a rare fungus that grows on caterpillars in the depths of the Sikkim region of India along the border of Tibet and Bhutan.
How to Take Cordyceps
“Boil em,’ mash em,’ stick em’ in a stew” - Samwise Gamgee
Eat your slithery fungus any way you’d like.
Maca is a Peruvian root that’s becoming hugely popular as a libido-boosting sex supplement. It has shown to help everything from sperm count in men and hormonal balance in women. It may also boost a desire for sex in healthy individuals.
We’ve been using it for bedroom support for years. Our favorite benefit is how it… just kidding, you don’t want to know that (you’re sick in the head).
By Now, You’ve Noticed That Adaptogens Are Hard
Adaptogens are tough, even for us. Two people can take the exact same adaptogen with the exact same symptoms and have two totally different experiences.
The good news is that adaptogens are highly effective and can be easily blended together. The bad news is there are so many that it’s hard to know where to even start.
We found ourselves having to keep track of nearly a dozen supplements at different dosages. We missed days, mixed the wrong amounts together, and didn’t see much benefit at all.
The awesome thing about adaptogens is that they empower your body to balance itself. They aren’t drugs manufactured to fight symptoms. They are your private, life-optimizing mercenaries waiting on your beck and call to terminate stressors and keep you calm, focused, and happy.
Now you’re probably wondering “HOW DO I HIRE THE BEST, MOST BADASS MERCENARIES TO TERMINATE STRESS AND SAVE MANKIND FROM ITS SELF-INFLICTED DOPAMINE-ZAPPING DEATH?”
We’re so glad you asked….
AdaptoTrax™ - The Best Adaptogen Supplement for Laser Focus, High Libido, Energy, and Stress
AdaptoTrax™ is the result of years of experimentation, research, and calculation. Finally, there is one adaptogen mega-supplement complete with the optimal mixture of the most potent and bioavailable forms of each adaptogen.
Instead of buying a dozen different supplements, experimenting with dosage, and cringing every time tea mixed with the corpse of a fungus-covered caterpillar hits your tongue, you can take one capsule.
AdaptoTrax™ is designed to do just what its name says: help you adapt to ANY situation your body needs. Need more energy to get that extra push at the gym? Done. Need adrenal balance to calm you down when your thoughts are racing? It’s in this mix. Are you under stress and need something to help you organize your thoughts and remember information? This supplement can do just that.
The Ancient Chinese and Indians discovered adaptogens. VitaMonk perfected them.
This all-in-one adaptogen blend contains:
Plus other hormone-balancing adaptogens schizandra berry and Siberian ginseng.
This blend has been carefully formulated by our in-house team of doctors and researchers to provide maximum benefit and optimized hormonal balance. And it’s all available in just 2 capsules per day!