How To Choose an Ashwagandha Supplement
Ashwagandha, the famous Indian herb, offers some amazing health benefits. Learn how to choose a safe and effective ashwagandha supplement. Also - go through our review of top ashwagandha products and decide which one best suits your needs.
What to Look For in an Ashwagandha Supplement?
There are so many ahswagandha supplements available today that it can be quite hard to choose which one to buy.
Here are just a couple of things to look for in an ashwagandha supplement:
1. The Supplement Must be Free From Harmful Contaminants
Ashwagandha supplements are typically made from the roots of the plant. These roots are harvested, grounded into fine powder, and packaged into capsules.
The main concern with root powder is contamination with heavy metals from the soil – specifically, these metals include lead, cadmium, arsenic, and mercury. The contamination levels tend to be higher in polluted areas.
If you are getting ashwagandha in ayurvedic preparations, you need to be extra careful – many ayurvedic medicines contain heavy metals, which are deliberately added to enhance efficiency!
How do you know if your supplement is free from heavy metals and other environmental pollutants? First off - look for certified organic supplements. It is also a good sign if the manufacturer can show that their facilities are in compliance with GMP standards.
If possible, choose a manufacturer that sends every batch of their products for testing into third party, independent laboratories.
These laboratories usually screen for heavy metals, pesticides and solvent residuals, aflatoxins, and microbiological pathogens (for example bacteria, such as Salmonella and E. Coli).
If the test results are consistently within the acceptable limits (or even below detection levels), you can be fairly sure that the supplement is safe to take.
2. In Order to be Effective the Supplement Needs to Contain Enough Active Ingredients
Ashwagandha has plenty of proven health benefits. These benefits come from the active ingredients in the root, which include alkaloids, saponins, and withanolides.
When you are reading the label on the supplement package, you should look beyond the amount of the ashwagandha powder per serving.
The thing that is most relevant is the percentage of active ingredients. Typically, you will see written something like: 'standardized to min X percent of withanolides'.
3. Find Supplements that are Low on Fillers and Additives
Stay away from supplements that have words like 'other ingredients' cited on the label. It is best if you know exactly what you are taking – especially if you are planning to take a supplement on the long term. Minimize fillers and additives since they don't bring any added value, while being potentially harmful to health.
Popular Ashwagandha Supplements – A Review
Organic India Ashwagandha Capsules
Organic India is a reputable manufacturer that produces a range of herbal supplements, ayurvedic medicine, and Tulsi teas. Even though the manufacturer is a member of American Herbal Products Association, most of their products come from plants grown and produced in India.
The ashwagandha powder in Organic India capsules comes from the Indian region, known as Bundelkhand (one of the most well known regions where ashwagandha is being grown).
Organic India uses ashwagandha, which is organically grown (3rd party certified) and takes special care that no harmful chemicals are added during the process of drying and production.
The Organic India ashwagandha powder is made by grounding whole roots (no extracts), so that it provides a complete blend of all beneficial ingredients from ashwagandha.
400 mg ashwagandha root powder per capsule; 180 capsules
Capsule from vegetable cellulose
Gluten free and vegan
USDA – certified organic ashwagandha
Kosher & Halal certified
Produced in GMP facility and regularly tested for heavy metals.
See the product on Amazon: Organic India Ashwagandha Capsules
NOW Foods Ashwagandha Capsules
NOW Foods is a manufacturer of health supplements with long history – they’ve started in the business in 1940s. Still a family owned company, they currently offer more than 1.400 nutrition products.
Ashwagandha in NOW Foods capsules is an extract – this means that the whole roots are grounded and then, using a special production process, the end product is standardized to contain 2.5% of withanolides (chemical compounds found in ashwagandha roots).
NOW Foods Ashwagandha supplements are regularly tested for potency, heavy metals, and microbiological contamination.
450 mg ashwagandha extract; 90 capsules
Standardized to 2.5% withanolides
Capsule from cellulose
Contains rice flour and magnesium stearate from vegetable source
Produced in GMP facility.
See the product on Amazon: NOW Foods Ashwagandha Extract Capsules
NutriGold Ashwagandha Gold
NutriGold Ashwagandha Gold contains certified organic extract from ashwagandha roots. This is the so-called KSM 66 ashwagandha extract, which is produced with a unique, patented extraction process that doesn’t use any synthetic solvents or alcohol.
NutriGold Ashwwagandha is standardized to a 5% of withanolides, which is currently the highest concentration powder available.
NutriGold also emphasize that their ashwagandha extract contains negligible levels (less than 0.1 %) of Withaferin A.
Withaferin A is a compound from the withanolides group.
Several studies have shown that it has powerful anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory actions.
In extremely large doses, isolated Withaferin A may be toxic (doses that are much higher than the ones used for achieving its anti-cancer effect, though).
There is also some evidence of withaferin A being teratogenic – it may disturb the development of the embrio and trigger miscarriage.
The amount of active Withaferin A in unstandardized Ashwagandha leaves powder is typically around 1%, while the content of Withaferin A in ashwagandha roots is negligible.
NutriGold is dedicated to quality and each lot of their Ashwagandha Gold products go through rigorous third party testing (150+ different tests). They perform analysis for allergens, microbiological contamination, heavy metals, aflatoxins, pesticides, and more.
Per capsule: 200mg organic powder from whole ashwagandha roots + 300 mg KSM 66 Ashwagandha extract
Vegetable capsule; the KSM 66 extract contains lactic acid (a milk derivative)
Non GMO certified
Kosher and Halal certified
Verified free of corn, egg, gluten, peanut, shellfish, and soy
Produced in the GMP facility.
See the product on Amazon: NutriGold Organic Ashwagandha Gold