What is the best brand of ashwagandha? What is the best ashwagandha supplement you can take? Which ashwagandha is best? There are a fair amount of ashwagandha supplements available on Amazon, and new DTC brands like Moon Juice are getting in on the fun as well. But when you’re looking for the best ashwagandha to buy, one thing is crucial: look for supplements that list withanolides content. If you don’t see withanolides mentioned on the label, then the supplement probably isn’t going to do what the brand is claiming. In this review, we dive into ashwaganhda withanolides, explain why you need to pay attention to them, and then recommend the best ashwagandha brands containing at least 3% withanolides content.
Why Withanolides Are Crucial To Getting The Best Ashwagandha Supplement
- Withanolides are the active ingredient in ashwagandha, a popular adaptogen that recently hit the DTC market.
- Many ashwagandha brands fail to list how much withanolides content is in their ashwagandha supplements.
- Instead, some products will list ultra-high milligram counts while failing to mention withanolides content at all.
- If you don’t see a percentage of withanolides on the ashwagandha supplement or there are no credible certificates, then it’s probably not worth your money.
What are withanolides?
Withanolides are the active ingredient in ashwagandha, a popular adaptogen sold in supplement form. Ashwagandha’s benefits work best when it includes a high concentration of withanolides, which research shows can be beneficial in inhibiting tumor growth and fighting inflammation.
Let’s back up. Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal herb that provides benefits to your body and brain over time. Its botanical name is Withania somnifera as it comes from a small shrub with yellow leaves that’s native to India. The powder extracted from its roots and leaves supplies healing benefits such as reducing stress and cortisol levels. And within the powder, there should be a high concentration of withanolides—the active ingredient that gives ashwagandha its ability to help the body with mental and physical stress.
Withanolides can also be called steroidal lactones, which are the biologically active chemical constituents of Withania somnifera. The root of the plant is believed to account for its exceptional medicinal properties because it contains a high concentration of bioactive compounds that reduce inflammation and stress and modulate metabolic processes. It’s important to look for withanolide potency in ashwagandha supplements because the withanolide concentration dictates the strength of its effects. But we’ll get to that in a bit.
Withanolides And Their Interaction With The Body
Withanolides are steroidal, meaning they have a physiological action. There are about 40 withanolides in Withania somnifera, each with a different neurochemical effect on the body. You’ll get a different mix of withanolides depending on whether you extract from the root or the plant’s leaf.
- Withanolide A, extracted from the root, has been tested on mice to show its role in stress management, including immune function regulation. When it’s extracted from the leaf, it has been shown to have anticarcinogenic effects in human cells, meaning it may inhibit the development of cancer.
- Withaferin A, as an active compound in ashwagandha, has been shown to have significant anti-stress activity. It’s also studied for its anti-cancer properties.
- And then there’s Glycowithanolide, which can be extracted from the root or the whole plant and plays a role in anti-stress activity and may help to reverse the cognitive defects of Alzheimer’s disease.
Withanolides interact with the body in different ways depending on where they’re extracted from in the Withania somnifera plant. So let’s narrow this down and talk about withanolides in ashwagandha.
Withanolides And Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha contains withanolides and includes alkaloids, salts, steroidal lactones, and flavonoids. Research shows that the withanolides help to regulate metabolic hormone levels. It is beneficial in reducing stress and cortisol levels, but it may also mildly enhance sprinting capacity, increase motivation, and speed up one’s metabolism via increased thyroid hormone secretion over time.
Purchasing ashwagandha based on withanolide content will actually make the supplement worth your while. Here’s a little extra info to help you learn why.
Are Withanolides Only Found In Ashwagandha?
You can find Withanolides in plants in the Solanaceous family. There are about 40 ashwagandha withanolides in the roots and leaves of Withania somnifera. The different chemical compounds of ashwagandha work together to produce benefits that are believed to reduce inflammation, reduce stress and anxiety, increase muscle mass, and contain anti-cancer properties.
Why Does Withanolide Content Differ By Ashwagandha Product?
Withanolides don’t make up the entire ashwagandha supplement. There are other chemical constituents involved, such as alkaloids, steroidal lactones, salts, and flavonoids. Depending on the product or brand, you’re going to find different concentrations of withanolides in ashwagandha.
Withanolide content also depends on where the ashwagandha is extracted from in the Withania somnifera plant (root or leaf). For instance, a product like Daily Nutra KSM-66 Ashwagandha is extracted and standardized from the root, creating a safe, low-toxicity form of ashwagandha. When a product has a high withanolide content, such as Toniiq Ashwagandha, the extract is likely to be from the whole plant.
As mentioned earlier, withanolides interact with the body in different ways depending on where they’re extracted from in the Withania somnifera plant. The leaves have different concentrations and types of withanolides than the root. For instance, leaf extracts contain high levels of Withaferin A, which acts as a cytotoxic. But the root has high levels of Withanolide A, which helps reduce stress and promote immune function. It’s important to read the labels of ashwagandha products so you know where it’s extracted from and what benefits you’re getting out of the active ingredients.
Where Can You Find Withanolide Content Listed In Any Particular Ashwagandha Supplement?
After all this talk about withanolides, of course, we’re going to give you the tools to find the withanolide content listed on an ashwagandha supplement. It’s pretty simple. If you’re purchasing a product online, zoom over the “supplement facts” label of the ashwagandha product. Under the words “ashwagandha extract” you should see a percentage of withanolides.
In some cases, it might also be listed on the front label However, you should still read the “supplement facts” on the back for more detail.
The label should also tell you where the supplement is extracted from (roots or leaves), and the product should be accompanied with a certificate of analysis so that you know the source was thoroughly examined before purchase.
If you don’t see a percentage of withanolides on the ashwagandha supplement or there are no credible certificates, take the product out of your cart. It’s not worth your money. Read those labels!
How Much Withanolide Content Should You Look For In Ashwagandha?
You want a high(ish) concentration of withanolides in ashwagandha because it’s the active ingredient that provides the worthwhile, long term benefits. So an increase in withanolide concentration dictates the strength of its effects.
Ashwagandha dosage is usually in milligrams—the most common dose is about 300 mg-600 mg per capsule. But remember, it’s not just the amount of ashwagandha in a product that’s important, it’s the potency (or percentage of withanolides) of the ashwagandha that makes the difference. You want to look for about 2.5%-10% withanolides in your ashwagandha product, or about 10-50 milligrams of them, depending on the benefits you want to get out of the supplement.
Now that we understand why withanolide content is essential when choosing an ashwagandha product, we reviewed four supplements that are actually worth your money.
It’s important to note that although ashwagandha is safe for most people, certain individuals (women who are pregnant or breastfeeding or those with an autoimmune disease) should consult their healthcare provider before taking it.
4 Of The Best Ashwagandha Supplements With Sufficient Withanolides
Tribe Organics partners with KSM-66—an award-winning ashwagandha product that’s sourced from a proprietary extraction process—to produce an effective supplement. We like this ashwagandha supplement because of the brand’s clear transparency with ingredients, the extraction process, and peer-reviewed support. At just under $25 for 120 capsules (300mg per capsule), we find that it also provides great value for a product with high potency.
- 5% withanolides (15 mg)
- GMP certified, 100% organic
- Non-GMO, gluten-free, vegetarian-friendly
- No additives
- Third-party lab tested
- Made in the USA
- Relies on KSM-66 ashwagandha
- 10% subscribe discount on their website and “subscribe and save” on Amazon
- For every sale, the company donates $1 to an NGO that works with disadvantaged families
Tribe Organics KSM-66 Ashwagandha is a root-only extract with a balanced and high concentration of withanolides. Over time, these capsules are meant to promote less stress and anxiety and enhance awareness, support hormone balance, and regulate sleep.
This ashwagandha supplement is produced using an extraction process based on “Green-Chemistry” principles, meaning it’s made without using alcohol or other chemical solvents. Tribe Organics KSM-66 Ashwagandha claims to have the highest number of certifications of all ashwagandha extracts available on the market today. It’s recommended to take 300 mg capsules twice daily over eight weeks to experience results.
Daily Nutra also partners with KSM-66 Ashwagandha to produce a full-spectrum root extract with 5% withanolides. Each capsule contains 600mg KSM-66 Ashwagandha. At $30 for 90 capsules (600mg per capsule), it’s also a great value. We also like that it’s an all-natural formula made in a United States inspected facility with 12 clinical studies to back it up.
- 5% withanolides (30mg)
- 100% organic
- Non-GMO, vegetarian-friendly
- Third-party lab tested
- Manufactured in a GMP facility
- Sustainably sourced
- Offers a 60-day money-back guarantee
Daily Nutra KSM-66 Ashwagandha is a transparent brand that delivers high potency active ingredients in each capsule. Ixoreal Inc., the developer of KSM-66 Ashwagandha, is the industry leader in clinical trials investigating the effectiveness of ashwagandha.
This particular product has undergone 12 clinical studies that follow gold standards of substantiation: randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled designs. While it’s not vegan, this all-natural formula is completely free from fillers, preservatives, or synthetics. Customer reviews of Daily Nutra KSM-66 Ashwagandha are positive, with people recommending it for reducing anxiety and balancing hormones.
Best value and highest potency
Toniiq Ashwagandha offers one of the most potent ashwagandha supplements on the market, with 10% withanolides. The recommended dose of two capsules (1,300mg) provides the equivalent of 15 generic ashwagandha capsules. At around $17 for 90 capsules, this product is reasonably priced, potent, and vegan, which is well rounded for an ashwagandha supplement.
- 10% withanolides per two capsules (130mg)
- Wild harvested
- No additional preservatives
- Discount for subscribing
Toniiq Ashwagandha root is grown naturally and harvested from the foothills of Central India. It claims to be produced using an extraction process that ensures purity, quality, and potency. The powder is combined with black pepper extract to increase its bioavailability. Each batch is tested for solvent residues, heavy metals, and toxins both during and after manufacturing. This product is produced in a GMP-certified and NSF-approved manufacturing facility in Miami, Florida.
LES Labs is an excellent place to start if it’s your first time taking ashwagandha supplements. Each capsule is 750mg dose and low potency (18.75mg of withanolides), it’s a good option for working up to a dose that you feel comfortable with while experiencing the benefits. NOTE as of 7/29/2020: this item is currently out of stock on Amazon. We will update this review when it becomes available again.
- 2.5% withanolides (18.75mg)
- Made in the USA
- Offers a 60-day money-back guarantee
- Subscribe and save
LES Labs Ashwagandha supplements have great reviews. Customers like that it improves sleep quality, improves focus, and decreases anxiety. LES Labs stresses quality in its ingredients. While this ashwagandha supplement contains 2.5% withanolides, it still helps support body processes during periods of physical or mental stress. Starting with a low potency will help you work up to the right dose for you.
In summary: Withanolides are the active ingredient that gives ashwagandha its ability to help the body with mental and physical stress. It’s important to look for withanolide content when purchasing ashwagandha products so you get the most out of the supplement in the long term.
Editor’s note: we are regularly updating this review. If you see any problems, weird interpretations of the data, or just want to say hi, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.