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Rhodiola Rosea is an herb in the rhodiola genus and has traditionally been used as an adaptogen and anti-fatigue agent. Rhodiola has been shown to be especially effective at reducing the fatigue generated by prolonged, low intensity physical exercise as well as improving cognitive function and endurance of people suffering from fatigue.
Our Rhodiola Rosea extract takes the active ingredients, Rosavins and Salidrosides, from the herb itself and delivers them in a concentrated form that is much more effective than consuming the herb itself.
As a dietary supplement, take 1-2 500 mg capsules in the morning or as needed. Some evidence suggests that response is actually lowered at high doses, so it's not suggested to take more than 2 capsules at one time or 4 capsules per day.
Rhodiola Rosea extract is very well tolerated, and side effects are rare and mild. Side effects that have been reported from Rhodiola Rosea include insomnia, anxiety, and headaches.
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Rhodiola Rosea is an herb with adaptogenic properties that grows in artic areas and high altitudes. The herb is from the rhodiola genera and also goes by Artic root, golden root, rose root, or hóng jǐng tiān (in China). (1,2) Rhodiola has be historically used in Russian, Scandinavian, and Chinese cultures, with China being the main growing area of the herb with 73 species found. (2) Rhodiola is considered to be the second most popular adaptogen behind panax ginseng. (1)
In traditional Chinese medicine, rhodiola was used to dissipate blood statis (relating to Qi, the Chinese vital force for any living entity), unblock blood vessels, relieve pain, treat palpitations, and to reduce fatigue and weakness. (2) In modern times, rhodiola has become a popular for supplementation for its ability to reduce fatigue and improve cognitive functioning in individuals who experience fatigue. (1,2)
Rhodiola works to enhance mood, reduce fatigue and stress, and improve cognitive acuity. (1,2) By its mechanism of inhibiting MOA enzymes, rhodiola as able to sustain levels of dopamine, serotonin, and noradrenaline. (12,13) This is more so evident in individuals who frequently deal with stress or intense situations. (20). This same mechanism is the reason behind rhodiola’s ability to reduce stress.
These periods of stress and intensity also are physically draining. Rhodiola is able to combat these periods to help reduce fatigue in these situations. (24) This is beneficial for individuals who experience chaotic work and school schedules that create extended periods of stress.
Similar to the physical drain that stress creates, it also creates a cognitive drain. The cognitive symptoms of fatigue may include irritability, impaired judgement, poor decision-making ability, and moodiness. Rhodiola aids in addressing these issues while combatting the physical symptoms. (25)
In addition to these primary benefits of rhodiola, it has also shown to have these added benefits that will be discussed more in the “Rhodiola Rosea Research” section:
Although it is commonly reported that rhodiola with a greater percentage of rosavins is most effective, salidrosides are actually more active than rosavins. (5,22,23) Therefore, you should look for a rhodiola product with a greater percentage of salidrosides to get the best results.
Rhodiola is found in many different variants including capsules, tea, or liquid extracts. It is recommended to continue rhodiola supplementation for at least 30 days to feel the full benefits of the supplement.
It is best to take rhodiola in the morning on an empty stomach for your full daily dosage. Do not exceed the recommended daily dosage as some studies have shown that an excess of rhodiola may results in decreased responses.
Rhodiola is commonly stacked with other supplements. One of the most common stacks for rhodiola is ashwagandha to potentiate the anxiolytic effects.
Rhodiola Rosea Dosage Instructions
Rhodiola dosing is dependent upon desired effects but ranges from 150mg – 750mg daily. An average recommendation would be between 400mg – 600mg for both anxiolytic and cognitive acuity enhancement.
Half-life and Duration of Effects
Rhodiola has been shown to be more beneficial when taken for extended periods of time. Although there is a reported serum half-life of 4 to 6 hours, individuals have noted to have memory improvements after ten days of supplementation.
Rhodiola is very well tolerated when taken at recommended doses. The most commonly reported side effects of rhodiola include; nausea, dry mouth, dizziness, insomnia, or headaches. These side effects are more likely to occur when considerably higher than recommended doses are taken.
While rhodiola is very safe taken by itself, there are some potential drug interactions that can occur. If taking antidepressants such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) then rhodiola should be avoided. (33,34) Rhodiola acts as a MAOI already which is why they should be avoided. Rhodiola also influence serotonin levels in the brain so SSRIs should be avoided to prevent potential serotonin syndrome from occurring.
Certain diabetic medication should be avoided if supplementing with rhodiola. Metformin and rhodiola both work to activate AMPK and may increase your body’s sensitivity to insulin if taken together. (35) In a similar mechanism of activating AMPK, rhodiola may lower blood pressure. Because of this, supplementation with rhodiola should be avoided if taking any blood pressure medication. (36)
The primary bioactive components of rhodiola are (3,4):
Other bioactive components of rhodiola include (3,4):
Rhodiola has shown to inhibit monoamine oxidase (MAO) enzymes. (12) These enzymes are responsible for inactivating monoamine neurotransmitters. Monoamine neurotransmitters are used in monoaminergic systems that are involved in the regulation of processes of emotion, arousal, and memory. Making these enzymes inactive can lead to psychiatric or neurological diseases. (13) These enzymes also breakdown the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline. As these neurotransmitters are responsible for mood, pleasure response, and motivation, rhodiola increases those levels which also gives a feel of reduced fatigue perception.
Rhodiola also interacts with the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis, which controls reactions to stress. (21) Rhodiola suppresses the release of cortisol, which when has too high of levels, can cause inappropriate stress responses. Too high of levels of cortisol is related to mental fatigue, mood imbalance, and anxiety.
Salidrosides in rhodiola have also been implicated in inducing the activity of Neuropeptide Y. (14) Inducing activity of Neuropeptide Y leads to a release of heat shock 70 kDa protein 1 (Hsp72). Hsp72 stabilizes and degrades mutant proteins and facilitates DNA repair. (15,16)
Rhodiola was able to extend the lifetime of nematodes through DAF-16 nuclear translocation. (18) DAF-16, and its translocation, is responsible for activating genes involved in longevity, heat-shock survival, and oxidative stress response. (19) This is believed to be a result of DAF-16 as a type of hermetic mimicking of stress. (20)
Reduces Fatigue/Improves Cognitive Function (25,26)
One way rhodiola improves cognitive function is by reducing fatigue and stress which causes a cognitive drain.
A study aimed at examining rhodiola’s ability to increase cognitive acuity was performed on 161 volunteers. This study became relevant for fatigue as the volunteers were tested against a background of fatigue and the volunteers saw decreased cognitive symptoms of fatigue such as moodiness, irritability, and impaired judgement.
In this study, the antifatigue index (AFI) was utilized to compare the subjects. At two capsules and three capsules of rhodiola, the AFI scores were 1.0385 and 1.0195 respectively. The placebo group had an AFI of 0.9046. This stress and fatigue reduction indicates a capacity for rhodiola to have improved mental work in stressful conditions.
A separate study was conducted on 56 young, healthy physicians who were on night duty. Since the fatigue improvement benefits of rhodiola are especially visible in stressful situations, this study utilized individuals in a highly stressful profession. Fatigue would be measured on total mental performance as calculated at Fatigue Index and reflect overall levels of mental fatigue, short-term memory, calculation and ability of concentration, and audio-visual perception. The physicians were split into a placebo-controlled group or a rhodiola group. The group administered rhodiola saw statistically significant improvements in all tested areas.
Improves Mood (27,28)
A review of several studies conducted on rhodiola was assembled to determine its ability to improve mood. Specifically reviewed were two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials with 146 and 714 subjects. Volunteers in both studies had reported to have depressive like symptoms. The review found that in both studies, rhodiola possessed the ability to affect various components of the neuroendocrine, neurotransmitter receptor, and molecular benefits with beneficial effects on mood.
Rhodiola was tested against sertraline, a drug used to treat depression, panic attacks, and anxiety in a separate study. This study was conducted on 57 subjects over the course of 12 weeks where they received either rhodiola, sertraline, or a placebo. The mood of these subjects was measured with the Hamilton Depression Rating (HAM-D), Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), and Clinical Global Impression Change (CGI/C). While rhodiola noted similar, but slightly less, improvements across all three scales compared to sertraline, it did so without producing any adverse side effects and was better tolerated.
Salidrosides, the main bioactive component of rhodiola, increases Nuclear factor erythoid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2). Nrf2 is a protein that regulates the expression of antioxidant proteins against oxidative damage. Salidrosides also activate AMPK and AMPK’s antioxidant proteins to boost the Nrf2 pathway.
For their neuroprotective mechanism, salidrosides reduced infarct size and improved neurological function on a rat following middle cerebral artery occlusion. There was also a noted increase in activity of superoxide dismutase and glutathione-S-transferase which are regulatory to prevent cell damage and aid in detoxification.
Boosts Immune System (30)
Melanoma differentiation-associated protein (MDA) 5, retinoic acid-inducible gene (RIG) 1, and interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) 15 lead to the production of proinflammatory cytokines that lead to the elimination of viruses. Rhodiola was noted to significantly promoted MDA 5, RIG 1, and ISG 15 to induce a beneficial antiviral immune response.
Decreases Inflammation (31,32)
The JAK-STAT signaling pathway is responsible for a number of biological processes including immunity, cell division, cell death, and tumor formation. The pathway also acts as a way to activate inflammation. Salidrosides prevent the pathway from being activated which is how it acts to decrease inflammation.
Rhodiola also decreases the inflammatory cytokines IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-alpha. A study was conducted on mice where they were injected with Escherichia coli and administered 165g of rhodiola extract. The rhodiola extract decreased the level of cytokines throughout the body and specifically decreased inflammation in the brain and kidney.
Can I take too much rhodiola?
It is not recommended to exceed 2,000mg of rhodiola daily.
Can you take rhodiola if you’re pregnant?
It is not recommended to take any supplement while pregnant without consulting a physician. However, there have been studies conducted on mice that saw improved immunity functions. Until studies are conducted and proven on humans, do not supplement with rhodiola while pregnant.
Can you stack rhodiola and bacopa?
Both supplements are adaptogens and can be taken together. However, everyone is wired differently so the effects may be different for each individual.
Can rhodiola be used for erectile dysfunction?
While some studies have suggested that rhodiola may be a libido booster and improve both erectile dysfunction and be useful for premature ejaculation, they would require further research.
* These reviews are the experiences of the individual customers that submitted them, results may differ from person to person.
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