Ashwagandha Mimics Longevity Strategy
Ashwagandha is one of most revered adaptogenic herbs in the world, termed a rasayana in Ayurveda. Emerging research finds withaferin A, a main constituent of ashwagandha, supports prevention of age-related protein damage and healthy weight.
A decade of research on these pathways has been performed on the blood sugar drug metformin. Ashwagandha’s withaferin A has been shown to mimic metformin’s longevity properties.
Note: Ashwagandha is not a replacement for metformin. If you are taking metformin, or any other prescribed medication, do not discontinue use and check with your doctor before making any changes to your regimen.
Lengthen Lifespan with AMPK + mTOR
Based on numerous studies over the past decade on metformin’s ability to lengthen lifespan, a massive study called the TAME Trial (Targeting Aging with Metformin) is underway to determine if metformin can be prescribed as a longevity (as well as a blood sugar) agent.6
Researchers are investigating possible mechanisms for metformin’s effectiveness. The cellular enzyme AMPK (adenosine monophosphate-activated protein), considered one of the body’s master regulators of cell metabolism, is responsible for metformin’s ability to increase insulin sensitivity, support healthy blood sugar, and increase longevity.1,7
AMPK has also been shown to sustain autophagy (cellular nutrient conservation and repair) while inhibiting mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin), linked to cellular growth, obesity, and higher levels of the growth hormone insulin.5,7
Ashwagandha + AMPK Activation
In one study, an artificial intelligence mainframe scanned over 800 natural compounds to evaluate their ability to maintain these slower aging signaling pathways—and ashwagandha was at the top of the list.8
The active constituent in ashwagandha, withaferin A, has also been shown to mimic metformin in increasing AMPK and inhibiting mTOR—the two major pathways linked to longevity.2-4
One of the major causes of aging is breakdown of protein in the body. This is seen commonly with aging when the protein collagen breaks down and the skin becomes thin and wrinkled.
Ashwagandha has been shown to activate a protein cleanup network that removes damaged proteins from the body through autophagy.9,10
Autophagy, activated by increased AMPK and inhibited mTOR, is seen from both metformin and ashwagandha. Studies on autophagy recently won the Nobel Prize as the body’s housecleaning and repair process that spontaneously happens during periods of starvation, calorie restriction, and fasting.11
We RecommendIntermittent Fasting, Autophagy + Ayurveda
Ashwagandha for Longevity + Healthy Weight
In mice, ashwagandha’s withaferin A demonstrated a 39% reduction of age-related protein damage in the spinal cord, and a 60% reduction in age-related protein damage in motor neuron cells—the cells that transmit movement signals from the brain, through the spinal cord, and to the muscles.
In the same study, mice with age-related protein breakdown in their nervous systems were supplemented with withaferin A and their lives were extended by 5.6%.12
Weight gain is also associated with breakdown of proteins in the body. In one study, overweight mice were fed a high-fat diet. The group that was supplemented with withaferin A saw a significant reduction in weight. Compared to the control group, there was a 23% reduction in weight and fat mass, while the placebo group saw no weight loss.13
The mechanism for weight reduction was reported to be that the group given withaferin A naturally ate 60% less food. This was due to an increase in the appetite suppression hormone leptin, which made them feel full from much less food. Weight gain has been linked to a decrease or insensitivity to leptin.
Withaferin A (ashwagandha) has been shown to boost leptin levels and leptin sensitivity.13 It does this by gobbling up damaged proteins (autophagy), which helps maintain normal signaling pathways.5
Have you tried ashwagandha for longevity, weight balancing, or other benefits? What have you noticed?