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Ashwagandha for Weight Loss: Does It Really Work?

by Jason | June 12, 2024

Losing weight can be really hard. Sometimes it’s because you lead a busy life, have health problems, or find it difficult to stick to a routine. Trust us, we get it. As you get older, it becomes even more challenging because those extra pounds seem to hang on for dear life.

You’ve tried extreme diets, juice fasts, and everything in between. Maybe it’s time to try ashwagandha, a plant used for centuries in traditional Indian medicine. It’s quickly becoming a popular supplement to incorporate into weight loss efforts, and it’s backed by science.

Let’s explore the advantages and potential drawbacks so you can decide if it’s worth a shot.

Ashwagandha for Weight Loss

Ashwagandha and Weight Loss: The Connection

Alright, so we know ashwagandha is a pretty cool herb, but how exactly does it tie into weight loss? Here’s the science behind how ashwagandha could help you get rid of those extra pounds.

Stress Reduction

When you’re stressed, your body pumps out cortisol, which can lead to all sorts of problems like increased appetite, cravings for sugary junk food, and the dreaded belly fat.

That’s where Ashwagandha comes in; it helps to lower cortisol levels and manage stress while preventing those hormonal surges that pack on the pounds. So, less stress could mean less of that stubborn belly fat.

Gaining Weight Because You’re Stressed 

Don’t just take our word for it – the science backs up the link between ashwagandha, stress reduction, and weight management. Studies have shown that ashwagandha supplementation significantly reduces cortisol levels, the hormone responsible for belly fat and late-night junk food cravings. 

For example, a 2017 study published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine found that participants who took ashwagandha experienced significant reductions in both perceived stress and cortisol levels.

Another study, published in the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine in 2012, discusses the effects of ashwagandha on adults dealing with chronic stress. The results were impressive, with participants experiencing a reduction in not only cortisol but also body weight and body mass index (BMI). 

This finding suggests that ashwagandha’s stress-busting properties can have a real impact on weight management, particularly for those struggling with stress-related weight gain.

Appetite Control

If you’re the type who reaches for a pint of ice cream when you’re feeling stressed or down, you’re not alone. Emotional eating is a real struggle for many of us, and it can sabotage our weight loss efforts.

But ashwagandha might just be your new secret weapon for curbing those cravings. Some studies suggest that it may help regulate appetite and reduce those pesky urges to snack on junk food. And let’s face it, who doesn’t want a little help resisting the siren call of the cookie jar?

Some users have shared their experiences with ashwagandha and its impact on their cravings:

  • “I used to struggle with late-night snacking, but since taking ashwagandha, I’ve noticed a significant decrease in my cravings. I feel more in control of my eating habits.” – Sarah L.
  • “I was skeptical at first, but ashwagandha has really helped me manage my stress eating. I don’t feel the urge to binge on junk food like I used to.” – Michael T.
  • “Ashwagandha has been a game-changer for me in terms of appetite control. I’m no longer a slave to my cravings, and I’m finally making progress on my weight loss journey.” – Jessica R.

How To Use Ashwagandha for Weight Loss

If you’re down for using Ashwagandha to help you lose weight, pump the brakes before you start adding it to your morning smoothie or taking the capsules. 

Finding Your Dosage Sweet Spot

There’s no one-size-fits-all dosage for ashwagandha, as everyone’s body is different. Most studies on weight loss have used doses ranging from 300 to 500 mg of ashwagandha root extract per day. However, it’s always a smart move to start with a lower dose and gradually increase it to see how your body reacts.

It’s important to note that ashwagandha supplements come in different forms, like capsules, powders, and tinctures. Each form may have varying concentrations of the active compounds, so be sure to follow the instructions on the label and consult with your healthcare provider for personalized dosage recommendations.

Don’t Skip the Doctor’s Visit

Speaking of your healthcare provider, it’s crucial to chat with them before starting any new supplement, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications. They can help you determine the right dosage and ensure that ashwagandha is a safe and suitable option for you.

Remember, ashwagandha is not a quick fix or a substitute for a healthy lifestyle. It’s most effective when combined with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management techniques. Consider ashwagandha as a supportive tool on your weight loss journey, not a magic bullet.

Best Forms of Ashwagandha 

Now that you’re ready to join the revolution, you might be wondering what form is best for your specific weight loss journey. Should you go for the convenience of capsules, the versatility of powder, or the potency of a liquid extract?

Capsules: The Convenient Choice

Ashwagandha capsules are a popular option for their ease of use and precise dosage. They’re perfect for people who are always on the go or prefer not to fuss with measuring out powders. Just pop a capsule with water, and you’re good to go! Additionally, they often contain standardized extracts, ensuring a consistent amount of active ingredients in each dose.

Powder: The Versatile Option

Ashwagandha powder offers flexibility and you can easily incorporate it into your daily routine. You can mix it into smoothies, yogurt, or even sprinkle it on your cereal. It’s a great choice for those who enjoy experimenting in the kitchen and prefer to customize their intake. Keep in mind, the taste and smell of ashwagandha can be quite earthy and bitter, so it might not be for everyone.

Liquid Extract: The Potent Elixir

If you’re looking for a more concentrated dose of ashwagandha, a liquid extract might be the way to go. Extracts are typically more potent than capsules or powders, offering a higher concentration of active ingredients. Consumers  can take it directly or mix it into beverages. Another consideration for the liquid extract is that it can be more expensive and may have a stronger taste than other forms.

Which One Is Right for You?

In the end, the best form of ashwagandha is the one that you’ll consistently take. If you value convenience, capsules might be your best bet. If you enjoy adding supplements to your food or drinks, powder could be a good option. And if you want a potent dose, consider a liquid extract.

The most important factor is to choose a high-quality ashwagandha supplement from a reputable brand, regardless of the form. Look for products that are standardized to ensure a consistent amount of active ingredients. And as always, consult with your healthcare provider to determine the best dosage and form for your individual needs.

Combining Ashwagandha with Other Weight Loss Strategies

Ashwagandha can be a valuable addition to your weight loss toolkit, but let’s be real, it’s not a magic wand. To truly maximize its potential and achieve your goals, it’s essential to pair it with other healthy lifestyle habits. Think of ashwagandha as your trusty sidekick, while these other strategies are your main characters in the epic tale of your weight loss journey.

Give Your Body the Right Fuel

You’ve probably heard the saying, “You can’t out-exercise a bad diet.” Well, it’s true! What you eat plays a massive role in your weight loss success. Concentrate on whole, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. These nutrient-dense options will keep you feeling full and satisfied, while also providing your body with the energy it needs to thrive.

Get rid of the processed junk, sugary drinks, and refined carbs. They can obliterate your blood sugar levels, trigger cravings, and sabotage your weight loss efforts. Instead, choose complex carbs like whole grains, sweet potatoes, and legumes, which provide sustained energy.

Exercise Your Way to a Healthier Weight

Don’t worry, we’re not talking about grueling hours at the gym. You’d be surprised at how much just getting your body moving can make a world of difference. Find activities you genuinely enjoy, whether it’s dancing, hiking, swimming, or playing a sport. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.

Exercise burns calories and helps to build muscle, boosting your metabolism and making weight loss even easier. It also releases endorphins, those feel-good chemicals that can help reduce stress and improve your mood. And as we’ve already discussed, stress reduction is a key factor in achieving your weight loss goals.

The Perfect Addition to Your Wellness Routine

Ashwagandha can complement your diet and exercise efforts by:

  • Managing stress: Ashwagandha helps to lower cortisol levels, reducing stress-related weight gain and cravings.
  • Boosting metabolism: It may enhance your body’s ability to burn calories, especially when combined with exercise.
  • Curbing cravings: Ashwagandha can help you resist those tempting treats and stick to your healthy eating plan.
  • Increasing energy: It may give you the extra pep you need to stay active and motivated on your weight loss journey.

By incorporating ashwagandha into a holistic approach that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, and stress management techniques, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your weight loss goals and feeling your best.

Potential Side Effects and Precautions

No supplement is perfect, and even natural remedies like ashwagandha can have side effects. While most folks tolerate it well, it’s important to be aware of what to watch out for and how to play it safe, especially if you have certain conditions or are in specific situations.

The Downsides

Here’s the deal:

  • Tummy Troubles: Some people experience mild stomach upset, diarrhea, or nausea, especially when they first start taking ashwagandha or if they take high doses.
  • Sleepy Time: Ashwagandha can have a calming effect, which might make some people feel a little drowsy.
  • Hormone Imbalances: While rare, ashwagandha could potentially affect thyroid hormone levels. If you have a thyroid condition, it’s extra important to chat with your doctor before taking ashwagandha.
  • Medication Mix-Ups: Ashwagandha can interact with certain medications, such as those for blood pressure, diabetes, and thyroid issues. Always check with your healthcare provider if you’re taking any prescriptions.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: If you’re expecting or breastfeeding, it’s best to avoid ashwagandha altogether, just to be on the safe side.

When To Steer Clear

In addition to the side effects mentioned above, there are certain groups of people who should steer clear of ashwagandha or use it with extreme caution:

  • Autoimmune Conditions: If you have an autoimmune disease like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or multiple sclerosis, ashwagandha could potentially stimulate the immune system and worsen symptoms.
  • Upcoming Surgery: It’s recommended to stop taking ashwagandha at least two weeks before any scheduled surgery, as it may interact with anesthesia and other medications.
  • Low Blood Pressure or Blood Sugar: Ashwagandha may lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels, so if you already have low readings, it’s best to avoid it.
  • Stomach Ulcers: Ashwagandha can irritate the stomach lining, so if you have ulcers, it’s wise to steer clear.

Tips for a Smooth Experience

Don’t worry, though! There are ways to minimize these potential side effects and ensure you’re using ashwagandha safely:

  • Start Low, Go Slow: Begin with a lower dose and gradually increase it to see how your body reacts. This can help your system adjust and reduce the chance of tummy troubles.
  • Mealtime Companion: Taking ashwagandha with food can help prevent any digestive discomfort.
  • Timing is Everything: If you notice ashwagandha making you drowsy, try taking it in the evening. If it gives you a little too much pep, switch to a morning dose.
  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how you feel. If you experience any unusual or persistent side effects, stop taking ashwagandha and talk to your doctor.
  • Choose Wisely: Opt for high-quality, reputable brands of ashwagandha supplements to ensure you’re getting a pure and standardized product.

Everyone’s body is unique. What works for your friend might not work for you. By being mindful of these potential side effects and taking precautions, you can safely enjoy the benefits of ashwagandha and support your weight loss journey.

Is It the Right Fit for Your Weight Loss Journey?

Let’s recap:

  • Ashwagandha: Ancient herb with modern weight loss potential.
  • Stress Reduction: Lowers cortisol, the “stress hormone” linked to weight gain.
  • Metabolism Boost: May increase muscle mass and calorie burning.
  • Appetite Control: Helps curb cravings and emotional eating.

Key points:

  • Ashwagandha is a tool, not a magic bullet.
  • Works best with a healthy lifestyle: diet, exercise, sleep.
  • Consult your doctor before starting any new supplement.
  • Choose high-quality, reputable brands.

Ready To Try Ashwagandha?

If you’re looking for a natural way to support your weight loss goals, ashwagandha could be a valuable ally. It’s a safe and effective option for most people when used correctly.

Remember, sustainable weight loss is a journey. With the right tools and support, you can achieve your goals and feel your best.


You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers! Let’s tackle some common curiosities about ashwagandha and its weight loss potential.

How Long Does It Take to See Weight Loss Results with Ashwagandha?

Everyone’s body is different, so there’s no magic number. Some folks notice changes within weeks, while others take a few months. Patience is key! Ashwagandha works gradually, alongside a healthy lifestyle.

Can Ashwagandha Be Used as a Standalone Weight Loss Supplement?

Think of ashwagandha as a helpful nudge, not a magic bullet. While it can support weight loss, it works best hand-in-hand with eating correctly, exercising regularly, and managing your stress levels.