Heart health is essential to overall health (no surprise here!). Since the heart pumps blood throughout your body, it’s no wonder that a strong heart is also key to athletic performance and, specifically, capacity and endurance.
We all know that exercise is crucial for heart health. And in terms of supplementation, there’s a little-known tree bark, Terminalia arjuna that has been used for centuries to strengthen the heart. Modern studies prove its efficacy for not only health, but also for athletic performance.
Arjuna supplementation benefits all athletes, especially those who train at high intensities, like CrossFit, Ironman and obstacle course racing.
You’ll be hard pressed to find arjuna in sports supplements, but it’s a key ingredient in Flow, Cerus Performance’s stimulant-free endurance pre-workout product.
Let’s dig into why we love arjuna and have included it as a powerhouse ingredient in Flow.
The proven benefits of arjuna include:
It has been shown that arjuna extract boosts endurance. In one study, arjuna was given to the research participants for two weeks and their maximum oxygen consumption capacity increased by 4.9 percent. Maximum oxygen consumption capacity is an indicator of cardiovascular fitness and aerobic endurance. The more oxygen you can consume while training, the more energy you produce. What’s more, the researchers established that pairing this ingredient with ashwagandha enhances muscular strength and speed. Ashwagandha is another potent ingredient that is also included in Flow.
We tested this theory ourselves with five athletes, having them perform a VO2 Max test first without supplementing with Flow and then after four weeks of taking the supplement. We saw increases as high as 20% with Flow and all five athletes increased their work capacity.
1. Boosts heart and lung health
Arjuna has an incredible reputation as a cardiotonic. This means that it can improve heart function as well as heal cardiac trauma and injury. Scientific studies have shown that the reputation is well deserved. A study has shown that extracts from the plant have a positive impact on individuals with a range of health issues, including rheumatic heart disease and coronary artery disease. The study also established that arjuna helps with the recovery of individuals who have suffered angina or heart attacks.
Another study also found that arjuna helped improve congestive heart failure symptoms. Congestive heart failure is a condition where the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the oxygen requirements of the body. Effectively, arjuna improves lung health because lack of adequate oxygen in the lungs increases the risk of developing hypoxia, a condition where adequate oxygen does not get to the body tissues and cells. The heart and lung health benefits have been partly attributed to the presence of flavones and tannins that give the plant antioxidant properties.
2. Curbs high blood pressure
Animal studies have established that arjuna extracts can have a blood pressure lowering effect. It is believed that arjuna stimulates adrenergic ß2-receptor to produce this effect.
3. Fights Inflammation and damage from free radicals
Bioactive components, such as flavonoids in arjuna, give it anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidation properties. The antioxidant properties are particularly useful in helping you to fight the destructive effects of free radicals. Free radicals may destroy your cells and DNA, and they are implicated in the aging process and a significant range of health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Studies have found arjuna's antioxidant activity to be similar to that of vitamin E. Arjuna has also been found to fight chronic inflammation, promoting your general well-being and health (refer here).
Flow, by Cerus Performance, is the only performance supplement that incorporates arjuna. We have paired it with ashwagandha for even better results. It is critical to note that we recommend taking Flow daily, even on rest days, to support heart health.