astragalus and dong quai make you run faster

Two traditional herbs not usually associated with sports or fitness may make you run like Superman.

This innovative study included 36 active men. Half of them took a placebo while the other half took 5g of a combination of astragalus and dong quai. They took the supplements for 11 days. On the eighth day, they ran 13km at maximum effort.

The astragalus and dong quai had three striking effects. The really surprising one is that the men who took the herbs ran 14% faster: their times were a full 12.3 minutes faster than the men in the placebo group.

The second is that the herbs repressed exercise-induced hepcidin levels. This action is important because exercise can elevate hepcidin, and hepcidin decreases iron transport and lowers iron levels. That means that astragalus and dong quai can have a beneficial effect on iron regulation after exercise. In this study, iron levels in the herb group were 63% higher after the run and 31% higher 72 hours after running.

The third benefit is that the men who took the astragalus and dong quai had significantly lower levels of a marker of free radical damage. This action is important because strenuous exercise can increase free radical damage.

Interestingly, dong quai has been traditionally used to treat anaemia.


Nutrients 2018, 10(9), 1318


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