One’s appearance can be attractive due to height. Short people usually want to increase their height at least by a few inches to improve their personality.
In growing years, height increases by development of bones, joints and muscles (to support the body and keep it erect). There is a genetic limit, of course. But, food and other activities can play a big role in determining if the body grows to its full potential.
Once the body attains its maximum height, good nutrition and regular exercises can help maintain it. However, lifestyle factors, bad food habits, lack of exercise and natural aging can cause bones and muscles to weaken – in turn, affecting both height and strength of your body.
What Happens When You Start Aging?
As you age, you will lose bone mass or density. Bones will be more brittle and may break more easily. Overall height decreases, mainly because the trunk and spine shrink. The posture will be more bent.
Aging also leads to osteoporosis, compression fractures, muscle weakness, arthritis, gait changes, instability, and loss of balance fatigue.1
So the real question is, how can you increase the strength and health of your bones?
Ashwagandha For Bone Health
Ashwagandha Promotes Bone Strengthening
Withaferin A, a principal constituent of Ashwagandha, has been found to increase the proliferation of osteoblasts (cells that synthesize bone).
Ashwagandha has been found to increase expression of osteoblast-specific transcription factor and mineralizing genes, promote osteoblast survival and suppress inflammatory cytokines.2
Ashwagandha Prevents Bone Weakening
Acts Against Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis, characterized by reduction in bone density, is a significant source of mortality among the elderly, particularly in oestrogen-deficient women.
- increase in serum ALP levels and excretion of calcium and phosphorus in urine
- narrowing and disappearance of trabeculae (microscopic tisue elements with load-bearing properties) with widened medullary spaces (area that holds bone marrow)
- reduction in mineral levels (calcium, phosphorus and magnesium)
- loss of metaphyseal bone ( is the wide portion of a long bone that contains the growth plate – the part of the bone that grows during childhood and ossifies as you age)
- more severe effect on cancellous (spongy) bone than cortical (compact) bone
- reduction in biomechanical strength
Acts Against Stress
Stress produces cortisol, which has a damaging effect on bones.5 Ashwagandha is known to reduce cortisol levels and break the vicious cycle of stress and inflammation.
Ashwagandha Aids Bone Healing
It has been found that Withaferin A (one of the key constituents of Ashwagandha) is a proteasomal inhibitor that promotes healing after injury and exerts anabolic effect on osteoporotic bone.6
Treatment with Ashwagandha
- increased osteoprogenitor cells in the bone marrow and increased expression of osteogenic genes.
- improved trabecular micro-architecture of the long bones
- increased biomechanical strength parameters of the vertebra and femur
- decreased bone turnover markers (osteocalcin and TNFα)
- expression of skeletal osteoclastogenic genes
- increased new bone formation and expression of osteogenic genes in the femur bone
- promoted the process of cortical bone regeneration at drill-holes site in the femur bone
- bridged cortical gaps with woven bone
The above findings are in line with what a clinical study, published in 2010 from India’s University of Poona, found.7
- Researchers gave a combination of Ashwagandha and two other Ayurvedic herbs (Boswellia serrata and Curcuma longa), or a placebo, to 42 patients with osteoarthritis.
- After three months of treatment, the herbal treatment group had significantly less pain and better mobility than the placebo group.
How to Consume Ashwagandha?
Ayurveda recommends the following regular dosage (for all ages):
- Mix two tablespoons of Ashwagandha powder in a glass of warm cow’s milk.
- Add sugar or jaggery according to your taste and mix well.
- Drink it every night before going to bed.
There are no known side effects associated with consumption of Ashwagandha.
Ayurveda recommends regular consumption of Ashwagandha to improve overall vitality and strength, including bone strength. Modern research seems to be converging to a similar view. Stronger bones automatically lead to maximization of height, independent of age.
So, have a glass of milk with Ashwagandha every day, and stand as tall as you can!
|↑1||Aging changes in the bones – muscles – joints. US National Library of Medicine. May 2016.|
|↑2, ↑6||Khedgikar, V., P. Kushwaha, J. Gautam, A. Verma, B. Changkija, A. Kumar, S. Sharma et al. “Withaferin A: a proteasomal inhibitor promotes healing after injury and exerts anabolic effect on osteoporotic bone.” Cell death & disease 4, no. 8 (2013): e778.|
|↑3||Nagareddy, Prabhakara Reddy, and M. Lakshmana. “Withania somnifera improves bone calcification in calcium‐deficient ovariectomized rats.” Journal of pharmacy and pharmacology 58, no. 4 (2006): 513-519.|
|↑4||Mirakzehi, M. T., H. Kermanshahi, A. Golian, and A. R. Raji. “The effects of dietary 1, 25-dihydroxycholecalciferol and hydroalcoholic extract of Withania somnifera root on bone mineralisation, strength and histological characteristics in broiler chickens.” British poultry science 54, no. 6 (2013): 789-800.|
|↑5||Reynolds, R. M., E. M. Dennison, B. R. Walker, H. E. Syddall, P. J. Wood, R. Andrew, D. IW Phillips, and C. Cooper. “Cortisol secretion and rate of bone loss in a population-based cohort of elderly men and women.” Calcified tissue international 77, no. 3 (2005): 134-138.|
|↑7||Kulkarni, R. R., P. S. Patki, V. P. Jog, S. G. Gandage, and Bhushan Patwardhan. “Treatment of osteoarthritis with a herbomineral formulation: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 33, no. 1 (1991): 91-95.|