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Jennifer Grebow is editor-in-chief of Nutritional Outlook.
The subjects in the study, recreationally active men, saw improvements in both upper and lower body strength when supplementing with Sensoril.
Brand name ashwagandha ingredient, Sensoril, improved body strength and recovery following resistance training in a study1 published in Nutrients. The subjects in the study, recreationally active men, saw improvements in both upper and lower body strength when supplementing with Sensoril.
The study, dubbed the S.T.A.R. trial (Strength Training Adaptations and Recovery), was a 12-week, randomized, parallel-group, placebo-controlled study. Thirty-eight healthy males between the ages of 18 and 45 were randomized to supplement with either 500 mg/day of Sensoril ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) or a placebo. The subjects in the study were trained recreationally, meaning they had been training no more than 2-3 days/week.
The following measures were taken at baseline and after 12 weeks of supplementation and training: body composition, muscular strength, power, and endurance. During the study, subjects were prescribed a weekly exercise program, performed 4 days/week, during which they were faced with workout tasks of gradually increasing volume and intensity. Workouts included bench press, lat pulldown, shoulder press, seated row, shoulder shrug, dip, bicep curl, triceps pushdown, leg press, squat deadlift, lunge, leg curl, leg extension, and calf raise. Study investigators did not supervise the daily workouts; subjects completed a training log. Workout logs were signed by a training partner or fitness taff, and subjects were monitored via weekly phone calls.
According to researchers, Sensoril subjects saw significantly greater improvements compared to placebo in both lower-body and upper-body maximal strength, and only the Sensoril group saw statistically significant improvements in average squat power, peak bench press power, time during the cycling test, and in perceived recovery scores compared to the placebo group. Researchers did not find between-group differences related to body composition, body fat percentage, fat-free mass, or fat mass-although researchers noted other ashwagandha studies in which subjects have seen improvements in body composition. Sensoril was also found to be well tolerated by the subjects.
The researchers noted that this study’s “12-week supplementation and resistance-training program is one of the longest studies to date with any ashwagandha product.” They also noted another strength of the study: that the study participants were already active and athletically trained. “This is important,” they noted, “as several researchers have identified the impact of training status on adaptations seen from resistance training and other forms of exercise.”
The study was conducted by The Center for Applied Health Sciences (Stow, OH). Sensoril is an ingredient from Natreon Inc. (New Brunswick, NJ), which provided funding for the study. In a press release, Tim Ziegenfuss, the study’s lead researcher and CEO of The Center for Applied Health Sciences, said, “The results of our study help establish an evidence base for this impressive Ayurvedic herb in sports nutrition. The Center for Applied Health Sciences is eager to continue its strategic partnership with Natreon to continue bringing high-quality research to consumers.”