Shilajit vs Ashwagandha which is better for you benefits health effects weight fitness gym athletics

Shilajit vs. Ashwagandha: Which One Is Better For You?

Elan Lipin

As clinical science has become increasingly supportive of plant-derived alternatives to common drugs, we’re seeing a huge boom in natural substances that have been used in other parts of the world, successfully, for thousands of years in order to address all kinds of common ailments. 

Two particular natural substances that are proven to be hugely beneficial are shilajit and ashwagandha.  Both substances actually have a lot in common in terms of their specific positive effects, and even the mechanisms that enable these effects.  But, ultimately, they’ve unique chemical compositions from one another, which is why we just gotta compare them today.


What Exactly is Shilajit?

Shilajit has been a staple of ayurvedic medicine for at least 5000 years, and while it may be new to most of us, it’s been studied extensively for well over a century for its variety of potential health benefits.  This naturally occurring sticky resin comes from crevices between the rocks of high-altitude mountains, and it’s easily one of the most nutrient-dense plant substances in the world.

Shilajit has been touted for its many therapeutic uses over the years, so we want to compile a list of all of the known potential benefits of the substance to help provide you with a clear idea of what it may do for you.  Keep in mind, you don’t need to have a specific ailment to benefit from it – its impressive variety of trace minerals alone makes it a fantastic choice as a daily supplement for overall health.

Where Do the Benefits of Shilajit Come From?

Shilajit is a thick, sticky, resinous substance that’s almost black in color, and is formed in the crevices of high-altitude mountain ranges – mainly the Himalayan mountains, where the most potent form of shilajit can be harvested.  It’s renowned for its impressive array of beneficial compounds, which come from a fascinating process that involves the natural fermentation of runoff soil that ends up between layers of rock for several years.

When mountain-adjacent humus-rich soil sees rainfall, it travels in the direction of these mountain crevices, getting stuck in there.  From there, the soil ferments over many years, while adopting the mineral composition of its surrounding rocks, while the fermentation process alters its chemical composition.  The result is a thick resin that is outstandingly high in nutrients (including many rare minerals), humic acid, and fulvic acid.

The benefits we get from shilajit are related to its fulvic and humic acids combined with its trace minerals, many of which are extremely rare, yet play a major role in our overall health.  Shilajit is also classified as an adaptogen, just like ashwagandha.

What are Shilajit’s Primary Benefits?

Shilajit’s benefits are vast, and many of them have been confirmed through clinical studies performed over many years.   

These benefits below come from research that’s been done for several decades, showing just how useful shilajit is as a therapeutic:

    • Blood Sugar and Cholesterol Regulation: Shilajit’s chemical compounds can balance blood sugar and cholesterol levels in the body.
    • Immune-Boosting Properties: Shilajit has been found to improve immunity by supplying the body with a high concentration of nutrients that support immune function.
    • Kidney and Urinary Tract Support: There are a number of minerals in shilajit that play a role in promoting the health of the kidneys and urinary tract.
    • Bone Health: Many minerals in shilajit play a vital role in supporting the health of our bones.
    • Improved Digestion and Nutrient Absorption: Shilajit’s fulvic and humic acids allow for improved absorption of nutrients, by enhancing cell permeability, while the minerals in the substance can boost digestive health.
    • Promotes Longevity: The properties of shilajit have long been seen as longevity-enhancing, and the high concentration of antioxidants in the substance likely plays a role.
    • Long-Term Cognitive Support: Shilajit’s fulvic acids contain antioxidants that play a direct role in the prevention and slowed progression of dementia, by improving cognitive health on a cellular level.
    • Hormonal Balance: Shilajit may help regulate menstrual cycle, while promoting the production of male sex hormones to improve fertility. 
    • Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Shilajit has been found to regulate inflammation in the body.
    • Positive Effects on Mood: Shilajit is, like we said, an adaptogen, and a powerful one at that.  Adaptogens are plants and fungus that improve the body’s ability to respond to stress, by regulating adrenal functions so that emotional distress is more easily tolerated by the nervous system.  This can dramatically improve a person’s day-to-day mood and emotional state, making a person more resilient to the daily stresses of life.  
    • Improved Physical Energy: Shilajit can improve cellular function, which in turn boosts energy levels.  It also has nootropic qualities that can give the nervous system the gentle stimulation it’s looking for, without any feeling of being wired or edgy.
    • Short-Term Improved Cognitive Functions: Shilajit’s nootropic properties also help people focus better, and generally maintain higher productivity through improved cognitive functions like memory, stamina, and motivation.  

Is Shilajit Safe?

When used as directed, shilajit is safe for consumption, with no major side effects noticed.  Taking excessive doses can cause mineral toxicity, although this would require a substantially higher amount of shilajit than recommended on a product’s label.  Also, keep in mind that it does effect men a bit differently than women.

Ways to Take Shilajit 

Shilajit comes in powder, capsule, liquid, and resin form, with resin being considered the most effective of all due to its higher concentration of beneficial compounds.  Shilajit resin is the result of purifying the freshly harvested substance without refining it further.

What is Ashwagandha?

Now, let’s talk about ashwagandha, the most widely used adaptogen around the world.  Ashwagandha is a root, derived from small shrubs that grow in India, parts of Africa, and parts of the Middle East.  Unlike shilajit, ashwagandha is picked fresh, and has not undergone any specific fermentation process.

While shilajit derives its benefits from nutrients and organic acids, ashwagandha is rich in withanolides – naturally occurring steroids that bring about a multitude of benefits.  Ashwagandha, like shilajit, is a staple of ancient Ayurvedic medicine, and has been recognized as a beneficial addition to one’s daily routine in the western world over the last several years.

What Types of Benefits Does Ashwagandha Provide?

Similar to shilajit, ashwagandha’s benefits have actually been studied for longer than the product has been part of the mainstream natural wellness market.  Again, ashwagandha’s benefits overlap a lot with those of shilajit, although through different compounds and mechanisms, ultimately.  

The most pronounced benefits of ashwagandha are:

  • Adaptogenic: Like shilajit, ashwagandha works as a powerful adaptogen that can make the nervous system more resilient to psychological stress, resulting in an improved mood and reduced anxiety levels.
  • Sleep Benefits: Ashwagandha has been found to offer a positive effect on sleep, especially in those whose sleeping difficulties stem from stress or anxiety.  It can aid in reducing sleep onset time while supporting deeper, longer sleep throughout the night.
  • Cognitive Benefits: Another thing that ashwagandha has in common with shilajit is its ability to improve cognitive functions, both in the short and long term.  In the short term, it can improve focus, alertness, and motivation, as well as short-term memory.  When taken in the long term, its potent withanolides can have a role in the prevention of cognitive decline, supporting healthy neuronal functions and potentially having a positive effect on those with, or those who are prone to dementia.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Ashwagandha may also act as an anti-inflammatory, particularly helping those who are prone to joint and muscle inflammation that causes pain and difficulty with mobility.
  • Improved Sexual Function: Ashwagandha can increase testosterone levels in men, and potentially aid in sexual performance.
  • Improved Fertility: Ashwagandha has been observed for its positive impact on fertility, through the regulation of sex hormones.
  • Reduced Cholesterol: Another thing that these two substances have in common is their benefits regarding cholesterol.  Ashwagandha may also reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the body to improve cardiovascular health, and potentially aid in diabetes management as well.
  • Improved Muscle Mass and Strength: Finally, ashwagandha has been found to boost muscle mass in muscle strength, in a way that can positively benefit athletic performance.

Is Ashwagandha Safe?

Ashwagandha’s safety profile basically matches that of shilajit.  When taken as directed, it’s considered safe, and nontoxic.  Because it is not a potent source of minerals, there is not a risk of mineral toxicity.  The most commonly reported side effects with ashwagandha are upset stomach, diarrhea, headache, and fatigue.

Ways to Take Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha typically comes in power or capsule form, and both are equally viable ways to get in the ideal daily dosage.  To produce bioavailable ashwagandha for human consumption, the root is dried and ground into a fine powder.  This can be sold in powder form, to dissolve into liquids, or in capsule form, which simply encapsulates the powder in a gel capsule.

How to Select Between Shilajit and Ashwagandha?

Now that you know what shilajit are and what benefits they offer, now comes the time to select which one you would like to try.  And, in order to do so, here are some key things to consider:

  • Identify Specific Health Goals – See the benefits we covered for each.
  • Match Goals with Herbal Properties – See which one matches the herbal-side of your regimen based on its said effects.
  • Conduct Extensive Research – Credible websites, scientific studies, and publications related to herbal supplements.
  • Seek Professional Advice: Healthcare practitioners (i.e., doctors/physicians, naturopaths, or pharmacists) can assess your medical history, existing health conditions, and medications to determine if shilajit or ashwagandha is okay for you to have.  Their knowledge will help maximize shilajit’s and ashwagandha’s benefits while minimizing any potential risks.

Tip:  Although we all have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) everyone's body is still unique, and so, what might’ve worked for someone else may or may not work for you.

Can These Two Products Be Taken Together?

Now that you know the differences between the two substances, you may be wondering if you can take the two together, and the answer is a resounding yes.  Many people incorporate both into their daily routines, often taking shilajit in the morning and ashwagandha at night, due to the more relaxing effects associated with the latter.  And, at the same time, you can find numerous products on the market that combine both, typically in the form of “adaptogenic blends”.

There isn’t any concern about an interaction between these two substances, although both can interact with certain medications, so once again, speak to  a healthcare practitioner before trying either.  Also, these substances haven’t been tested on pregnant or breastfeeding women, so we do not recommend taking either under those circumstances.

Final Shilajit and Ashwagandha Thoughts

Both shilajit and ashwagandha can have a nice impact in terms of promoting optimal wellbeing.  Shilajit brings loads of nutrients that can impact your health in a multitude of ways, while ashwagandha is mainly used for stress, sleep, and muscle/joint health.  However, each are natural substances that have been used for thousands of years, and in all likelihood, ancient cultures have taken the two together routinely, longer than we know it.

Basically, if you want to maximize your health through natural methods, both are wonderful options.  And, at Bounce Nutrition, you can find the highest-quality shilajit live resin, lab-tested for purity and safety, to jumpstart your adaptogen regimen.