More and more health experts are claiming that taking care of your gut health is important if you’re trying to lose weight. There are so many ways to nourish the microbiome, and recently, a new study published in the journal Gut showed that ginseng — a powerful adaptogen — could be super beneficial for the gut in a way that aids weight loss.
Ginseng is the fleshy root from the genus Panax family of plants, including American ginseng, Korean ginseng, Chinese ginseng, and several others. The root has been used as an herbal remedy for things like low energy, high blood sugar and cholesterol, stress, and even sexual dysfunction. Lately, however, it’s also been studied for its effects on weight.
Ginseng has been found to help with weight loss in the past, but scientists couldn’t pinpoint exactly how this happens. For the new study, researchers suspected that it could have something to do with the gut microbiome, and they aimed to identify the effect of ginseng on gut bacteria. Their results indicated that when ingested, ginseng alters the bacteria in the gut in a way that changes the way the body burns fat. These gut bugs specifically affect metabolism, and therefore, the researchers determined that ginseng could be an effective treatment option for those battling obesity.
Beyond the benefits of ginseng for weight loss, the changes it can produce in the gut are promising for other health concerns. Metabolic processes affect other bodily systems, and in the coming years, we’re bound to see researchers continue to study how they can alter gut microbiota in ways that could potentially benefit cardiovascular health, immune health, and cancer and diabetes prevention. That’s exciting news!
So how do you take ginseng for weight loss? First things first, always get your doctor’s OK before trying any new plan. Because ginseng could potentially lower your blood sugar or cholesterol levels, be sure to let your doctor know you’re trying it if you are on blood sugar or cholesterol medications.
What’s more, ginseng acts as a mild stimulant and may have side effects like dizziness, headaches, or nausea. If you feel these effects, try lowering your dose for a few days to allow your body to acclimate. Women may also experience irregular menstrual cycles when taking ginseng, so again, pay attention to how it affects you personally and consult regularly with your health care provider. To minimize the side effects of ginseng, it’s also recommended that you take it for two to three weeks at a time with a break of a week or two in between.
Otherwise, ginseng is pretty safe to take, and effective daily dosages range from 200 to 400 mg of extract, according to Healthline. For a trusted product we love, try this one from NutraChamps ($22.99, Amazon).
Here’s to a faster metabolism and healthier gut!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.