Long known for their healing powers, adaptogens are suddenly experiencing a surge in popularity in the United States. But does that mean that everyone should add adaptogens to their nutrition plan? And what do you need to know for personalizing adaptogen recommendations for each client? Read on to learn more…
In this article, you’ll learn:
- How to use adaptogens for better client outcomes
- 7 tips for personalizing your adaptogen recommendations
- What to look for – and what to avoid – when incorporating adaptogens
Has the recent explosion of excitement surrounding plant medicine triggered an uptick in clients asking about supplements including ginseng, ashwagandha, and chaga mushrooms, to name just a few? There’s good reason. Adaptogens herbs and mushrooms have amazing abilities to help the body protect against and manage the physiological effects of stress. And you know stress tops the list of what most clients need help with today.
When did life get so stressful?
Stress isn’t a 21st century problem, but it seems like we are always looking for a 21st century solution. However, adaptogens have played a primary role in the medicine “bags” of healers all over the globe for centuries. While adaptogens may provide one or several essential nutrients (such as fatty acids, essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals), their “adaptogenic” properties come from delivering one or more plant chemicals that help the body adapt its current functioning to a healthier, more balanced state.
Here are 7 tips for personalizing adaptogen recommendations for better client results.
- Conduct a better assessment.
While many adaptogens come in the form of teas or dietary supplements, their popularity is driving food manufacturers to add them to everything from beverages, snacks and smoothies. This makes it essential that you assess each client’s total adaptogen intake. You will want to evaluate and discuss quality as not all adaptogens are created equally. Assessment is an essential first and repeat step in personalizing recommendations.
The BNP Toolkit™ is a proven system for nutrition business owners! Save time and make it easy to conduct a thorough adaptogen assessment using evaluations (fertility, cancer risk reduction, heart and digestive health). The adaptogen guide packs is done-for-you content to attract clients and show them how you personalize recommendations.
2. Get to the root cause of each client’s stress to personalize accordingly.
Most people experience stress on a daily basis, but not everyone responds to stress in the same way. The beautiful thing about adaptogens is they are beneficial for many different types of stress and can be personalized accordingly. The variety of adaptogens gives you different tools to use. Plants do not have just one discreet mechanism of action in the body. Some adaptogens may have immune modulating effects, while others can be more or less stimulating.
For example, one client may react to stress with heightened anxiety, experiencing major food cravings and feeling wired at bedtime. Help this patient type by adding a calming herb, like ashwagandha, to help restore them and rebuild their reserves over time. Another client experiencing stress may report feeling completely burned out, depressed and fatigued, so an herb like rhodiola could be more stimulating for them.
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3. Lookout for any pharmaceutical interactions.
Adaptogens are generally considered to be very non-toxic and are well tolerated, but it’s always important to have a clear picture of what medications, even over-the-counter, the client may be taking, as well as knowing if they are currently diagnosed with any significant diseases, undergoing treatment or recovering from surgery. For example, ashwagandha doesn’t have any known reactions, but rhodiola can cause side effects when combined with certain medications.
4. Show them your value!
We all have had those clients that self-diagnose on Google and then treat their symptoms via Amazon. The truth is that only by working with a practitioner (you!) will they see optimal results of adaptogens. Demonstrate your value. If it’s within your scope, order labs like cortisol and DHEAS levels and thyroid function. If not, conduct a pantry assessment and help them see where they are getting in adaptogens. They may not be aware that they are taking in more or a lesser quality option.
Your superpower, just like an adaptogen, is to show them what is better for their body. Help them discover how to get it in more often.Ashley Koff RD
5. Go beyond nutrition – their lifestyle matters.
You know how important a client’s lifestyle habits are in the success of their health plan. Adaptogen recommendations are no different. Trying to help a person whose job stress is amplified by her sitting at her computer all day? She may not need the energy boost of ginseng, whereas a kindergarten teacher trying to reduce caffeine intake may need not only that energy support, but immune support as well. For athletes, members of the military, or anyone who is drug tested, make sure they are aware of any of the supplements they may be taking, particularly any mass-marketed products that may contain one or several adaptogens, along with other ingredients that could be potentially problematic. Speaking of supplements…
6. Help clients find better adaptogen sources.
Adaptogens are susceptible to heavy metals in the soil, to air pollution, water pollutants and chemicals used in production. It’s crucial to find companies that are very clear on their farming practices, sourcing and cleanliness of their products. For adaptogens to be effective, they need to give the body enough of a quality source. Most adaptogen fortified foods and drinks do not contain effective doses. And as with any other supplement, it’s important to know what other additives, sugars and artificial sweeteners may, or may not, be included in the formulas that could potentially negate any positive benefits.
7. Inspire clients to incorporate adaptogens into their daily routines.
The key to success is making it easier for them! Customize the form of the adaptogen that works best for them. Maybe it’s a tea, a tincture or a capsule or maybe there’s something delicious. For some fun inspiration to help clients better incorporate adaptogens, check out these seven delicious, and healthful, recipes.
As with any other course of treatment, the best way to ensure success with your adaptogen recommendations is through personalization. To further your knowledge of adaptogens, join BNP! Your BNP membership includes an interview with our better nutrition adaptogens expert and licensed naturopathic physician, Dr. Kiran Khaira, ND. Get it and 180+ videos as part of BNP’s complete system for a successful nutrition business.