Are you ready to try Ashwagandha but not sure how to choose the best Ashwagandha brand? It doesn’t help that there are dozens of brands on the market all claiming to heal everything from adrenal fatigue to “low vitality” (not vague in the slightest). Go to the end of this article to find out our overall winner.
Like most people who search for Ashwagandha, you probably have a real health concern that’s affecting your quality of life… and it needs to be fixed.
Some of the symptoms that might be affecting your quality of life include:
Any of these sound familiar?
If so, Ashwagandha can help relieve these symptoms. And best of all, it’s the most widely researched adaptogen herb on the market, so there’s objective evidence to support its usefulness.
However, the purpose of this blog post isn’t to discuss the benefits and uses of Ashwagandha. In this post, I’m assuming you already have some foundational knowledge about Ashwagandha—and you’re only looking to compare the best Ashwagandha brands.
So how are you suppose to know which Ashwagandha supplements are safe and effective? Truth be told, I’m going to confirm something about natural supplements you probably already suspect to be true:
There are people in the natural supplement industry who know full well their supplements are nowhere near as effective as they’re claiming them to be.
It’s sad…but true.
Because the natural supplement market isn’t regulated the same way as medicines requiring FDA approval, it’s up to you (the consumer) to figure out how to properly evaluate the natural supplements you’re buying and putting into your body.
While I’m not here to discuss the ethics of this type of regulation (or lack thereof), I feel it’s my duty to educate consumers on how to evaluate natural supplements like Ashwagandha so you can be confident you’re buying a quality product.
To help you find a high-quality Ashwagandha supplement, I’ve compiled 9 questions to ask yourself when evaluating the safety, purity, manufacturing, and clinically-effective dosing of Ashwagandha…so you can fully understand how to choose the best Ashwagandha brand for your money.
But I went further than that and actually put the top 11 Ashwagandha brands to the test with these same criteria questions…so the grunt work is already done for you.
(If you can’t wait, scroll down to the “Conclusion” section. But I encourage you to read the entire post for your own knowledge.)
Even if you decided to scrap my analysis and do your own, this blog post would equip you with a powerful set of questions to ask yourself about any Ashwagandha supplement…in case you wish to do so on your own later.
Before I get into the questions, I want to shift briefly and ask you to be honest—if a natural supplement works for you and you feel comfortable about its safety, wouldn’t you be more than happy to buy it if you’re getting noticeable relief?
On the flipside, if the supplement you thought was safe and effective turned out to be little more than a placebo hiding behind some false advertising, you’d be disappointed (more than anything else). You’d be left with the same symptoms you started off with and maybe out $25 or so…right?
Ultimately, you’d still be left with the same health issues you started out with…and no relief.
The reason I ask this is that, personally, I have no issues spending more money on a quality product that works for me once I know it passes the “smell test” (for lack of a better expression). Even if a product is priced higher than cheaper alternatives, I know—for the most part—they’re not cutting corners or skewing their advertising.
This is why it’s so important to know how to evaluate supplements like Ashwagandha before you buy them:
So you can be confident you’re getting your money’s worth with a product that’s going to work.
Living healthy and taking care of your body also requires knowing how to choose the best products.
Ok, let’s get a move on.
The following list of questions and their explanations are critical to helping you find the best Ashwagandha supplements:
Not all Ashwagandha supplements are created equal (newsflash…right?)
There are 2 different methods that manufacturers use to extract Ashwagandha for later use in supplements:
These methods lead to some pretty dramatic differences.
The “root and leaves” method of Ashwagandha extraction has little historical precedent and only mild and biased support. When extracting Ashwagandha from the leaves, what results is an extract that’s compositionally altered and less safe to consume compared to the “root only” method. This is because the leaves contain higher levels of Withaferin A, which is a known cytotoxic withanolide (and can be dangerous at high levels).
I’ll get into withanolides and why they’re important a bit later, but just know this:
Not all withanolides are beneficial.
Alternatively, the “ROOT ONLY” extraction method is SUPERIOR and in line with thousands of years of Ayurvedic medicine (which considers Ashwagandha to be a root extract) and has been widely researched in peer-reviewed journals, including numerous human clinical studies. (1, 2, 3)
KSM–66 is an extract of Ashwagandha that uses the “root only” method and is considered the most superior organic form of Ashwagandha available for optimal adaptogenic benefits. It took 14 years of research and development to create KSM–66 which is the highest concentration full spectrum root only extract in the world which maintains the natural of constituents found within the original herb.
Unlike Ashwagandha extract that comes from the leaves (which changes the ratios of the extract elements), KSM–66 is manufactured in a way that preserves its natural balance. This makes it as close to consuming the actual root as you can get (without actually eating the root!). KSM-66 Ashwaganhda also has a neutral taste unlike other ashwagandha extracts which are bitter making it ideal to add to tea, smoothies or juices in powder form.
While Withaferin A still exists in KSM–66, it’s a negligible amount that’s the same as the amount found in the original root—and thus safe to consume. The problem occurs when manufacturers extract Ashwagandha from the leaves, which dramatically heightens the amount of Withaferin A in the final product.
When evaluating Ashwagandha supplements, LOOK for products that are exclusively labeled “KSM–66 Ashwagandha.”
Taking a supplement doesn’t necessarily mean your body is going to absorb it all. This is where the topic of bioavailability comes in.
Briefly, Merriam Webster defines bioavailability as “the degree and rate at which a substance (such as a drug) is absorbed into a living system or is made available at the site of physiological activity.”
In other words, bioavailability is the rate at which a supplement or drug is effectively used by your body. Whatever isn’t used literally goes right down the drain.
When evaluating Ashwagandha supplements, make sure it has at least 10 mg of black pepper per serving for Maximum Absorption.
Withanolides are the naturally-occurring steroids found in substances such as Ashwagandha. There are many different types of withanolides and each has its own effect when taken as a supplement. Collectively, withanolides lead to the overall effects of Ashwagandha, such as stress reduction, lowering anxiety, and adrenal support (to name a few).
However, the manufacturing process of Ashwagandha root has a dramatic effect on the final concentration and balance of these withanolides. Without getting into the entire process (go here if you want more background on this), KSM–66 only extracts Ashwagandha from the root, then uses an analysis called HPLC to determine the final withanolide concentration of the Ashwagandha supplement. The optimal concentration using this method is > 5%.
Other manufacturers use a less discriminating process called gravimetric analysis, which leads to overestimations of the withanolide concentration. This leads to false concentration values such as 8–15%. This may lead you to think you’re getting more withanolides, but in reality, you’re actually getting less of the beneficial withanolides, more Withaferin A (the potentially harmful withanolide), and some other trace elements that are basically fillers.
When evaluating your Ashwagandha supplement, look for KSM–66 Ashwagandha because it’s the only form that uses the HPLC analysis for precise withanolide measurement.
Every health supplement should be 3rd-party tested for purity. This is because contaminants and unbalanced ratios of active ingredients carry the risk of toxicity.
The conflict of interest in having a supplement company do its own testing for contamination and toxicity should be obvious. Without 3rd-party testing, you’d have to take the manufacturer at their word that their supplement is free of contaminants, contains non-toxic levels of the active ingredients, but also has enough of the active ingredients to reach clinical effectiveness.
I wouldn’t mess with supplements that aren’t 3rd-party tested, regardless of how trustworthy the company sounds. Even honest people make mistakes.
When looking for quality Ashwagandha supplements, make sure the supplement explicitly states the product has been 3rd-party lab tested.
For the same reasons you want a 3rd-party tested product, you’ll also want to find a supplement that’s Certified Organic.
In case you didn’t know, the Organic Certification Process requires manufacturers to follow strict guidelines related to:
Basically, organic certification requires a strict process for documenting the entire process from seed to sale. This level of regulation ultimately benefits you, the consumer, because it gives you an objective way to evaluate the quality and safety of the products you’re buying.
Always buy Ashwagandha supplements that are “Certified Organic” to have the safest and most natural form of the root.
N.B. Many supplements claim to be made with “Organically Grown” ingredients. This is NOT THE SAME as an “Organic Certified” supplement which requires MUCH STRICTER requirements which guarantees the purity of end product against contamination with GMO and non-Organic ingredients.
Genetically modified products are about as unnatural as you can get. The result of this process is a product that was not found that way in nature. Since this process is relatively new, we still don’t know the long-term effects of eating products that have been genetically modified.
There are a number of reasons why avoiding GMO products is a smart decision for your health, which I won’t get into in this blog post. But suffice it to say that it goes well beyond health and includes environmental and social concerns.
Make sure your Ashwagandha supplement (all supplements for that matter) is GMO-free.
While this may not be important to everyone, many people are seeing the benefit of lowering your total intake of animal products wherever possible. Although supplements with animal-based products generally only use a small amount per dose, over the long haul, it adds up. Always check the label to see if “gelatine” is used in capsules as this often from an animal source.
If you’re eating a vegan diet, this question will be a no-brainer for you. But even if you’re not, using supplements that are considered vegan can help you better control your overall intake of animal-based products. Look for Vegan & Organic.
Find Ashwagandha supplements that are Vegan to control your total intake of animal-based products.
Artificial additives and fillers are found in many supplements. Some are less harmful than others, but here are the worst 5 that you really want to avoid at all costs:
The only way to know if these ingredients are in your supplements is to look for them on the label.
It’s up to you to educate yourself on the ingredients of the supplements you’re buying…before putting it into your body.
Not all additives or fillers are harmful, but you need to know the difference to make sure you’re buying the best quality Ashwagandha supplement.
Finally, the price per dose is essential for several reasons:
First, once you find a good supplement, you’re probably going to be using it for a long time, so you have to balance quality vs. price so you can get the best bang for your buck—without killing your wallet.
Second, comparing supplements by price alone is misleading. Ashwagandha comes in various concentrations and each dose can vary substantially depending on the brand you’re using.
Thirdly, the clinically-effective dose of Ashwagandha depends on your situation and your doctor’s recommendation, but anything below 500 mg in a single dose is considered the lowest effective dose. The optimal dose is 6,000 mg per day taken over three doses (2,000 mg per dose).
That’s why it’s important to follow this simple formula when comparing Ashwagandha brands:
Check the price per dose of each Ashwagandha supplement on the market to make sure you’re getting the best possible concentration at the best price.
Phew! That was a lot of information, but now you’re equipped with the right criteria to evaluate the best Ashwagandha brands on the market. But as I mentioned before:
I already did all the work for you.
In the next section, I’ll be going over the top 11 brands on the market and giving you my fair assessment based on the previous criteria. Note that this list isn’t exhaustive, but represents the cream of the crop of Ashwagandha.
The format of these comparisons is basically to ask the 9 questions I discussed above for each brand. I’ll answer each question with a simple “yes” or “no,” and add any additional information if available. Some questions are noted as “undetermined” or “incomplete,” meaning either the information isn’t readily available or contains an incomplete version of the question topic. For example, some supplements contain certified organic ingredients, but also include ingredients that aren’t organic, so it’s considered “incomplete.”
At the end of the blog post, I’ll give you the top picks based on my analysis.
This comparison is accurate, but I encourage you to verify this information yourself for peace of mind.
Before I go over the brands, note that I’ve separated them into two categories:
I’ve already discussed why KSM–66 is SUPERIOR compared to other types of Ashwagandha, but I included them mainly for transparency and fairness. However, I don’t recommend using a non-KSM–66 brand for the reasons mentioned earlier in this post.
The following 7 Ashwagandha brands DO NOT use KSM–66:
As a KSM–66 Ashwagandha brand, these supplements already have a leg up compared to the previous non-KSM–66 brands. The following 4 Ashwagandha brands use KSM–66:
In the end, only 2 brands stand out at the top:
I had to eliminate all of the non-KSM–66 brands because KSM–66 is a SUPERIOR FORM of Ashwagandha based on its higher concentration and the way it’s extracted. That only left us with 4 brands.
Of the 4 brands, only Fresh Healthcare and True Veda offer 100% Certified Organic products. This is critical for maximum purity and cleanliness of the Ashwagandha product. So I had to eliminate DailyNutra and Jarrow Formulas for that reason.
We chose Fresh Healthcare Organic Certified Ashwagandha KSM-66 with black pepper
In conclusion, comparing Fresh Healthcare and True Veda, FRESH HEALTHCARE came out at the top for several reasons (you’re free to evaluate this yourself):
I took great pains to be fair in this analysis, and in the end, Fresh Healthcare came out on top.
There’s a very specific reason for this:
“We’re absolutely committed to being the BEST Ashwagandha brand on the market by providing a Superior Pure & Potent 100% Certified Organic Ashwaganhda KSM-66 Supplement with GREATER absorption to our valued health-focussed community.” (Dr Wleed Haq, Founder)
Every step of the process from the Ashwagandha root to the final supplement is rigorously tested and refined for top quality.
If you’d like to try your first bottle of Fresh Healthcare Ashwagandha at 10% off (bulk discounts also available), you can easily make a purchase on Amazon by clicking here now.
And with 100% their money-back guarantee, you have nothing to lose to try it for yourself. If you’re not satisfied, simply contact Fresh Healthcare and they will give you your money back…no questions asked.