Adaptogens continue to prove promising in sports nutrition, as a recently published study found taking a patented composition of ashwagandha leaf and root may improve upper and lower body strength in exercising adults. Results of the Strength Training Adaptations and Recovery (STAR) trial were published in the November issue of journal Nutrients (2018; 10(11):1807).
The 12-week, randomized, parallel-group, placebo-controlled, clinical trial involved 38 recreationally active men (18 to 45 years old) who took either 500 mg/d of ashwagandha (as Sensoril®, from Natreon) or placebo and undertook a training protocol, including both resistance and cycling exercises. The men were analyzed for body composition, muscular strength, power and endurance at both baseline and 12 weeks; researchers also used recovery and visual analog scales to assess fatigue/energy, mood, quality of training, and motivation to exercise.
Results showed a significant increase in 1RM (one repetition maximum) squats and bench press in the Sensoril group at 12 weeks, compared to the placebo group. Researchers noted a 60 percent increase in upper body strength (bench press) and a 90 percent boost in leg strength (leg press) for the men taking Sensoril. They also found significant improvements in both 7.5km cycling time trial performance and perceived recovery scores in the Sensoril group, compared to placebo takers.
There was also a significant rise in android/gynoid ratio among those taking placebo, but not in those taking Sensoril. Increased android fat is linked to a higher risk of metabolic and cardiovascular diseases, while gynoid fat is considered protective.
No other significant differences between the groups were found for body composition, visual analog scales for recovery and affect, or systemic hemodynamics.
“The significant increases in upper and lower body strength with Sensoril® continues to add to the successful clinical substantiation supporting Sensoril’s® ability to enhance performance, improve energy, reduce symptoms of everyday stress and enhance focus,” said Tim Ziegenfuss, Ph.D., lead researcher and CEO of The Center for Applied Health Sciences. “The results of our study help establish an evidence base for this impressive Ayurvedic herb in sports nutrition.”
Sanni Raju, Ph.D., CEO of Natreon, expressed his satisfaction with this study and the growing evidence on Sensoril, noting there are two investigator-initiated studies of Sensoril underway at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and a third study in progress at UCLA and University of Maryland.