Burn Fat? Improve Endurance? Fight Depression? Meet Rhodiola.
Rhodiola rosea, or the golden root, is a powerful adaptogen with plenty of research behind it. Adaptogens are a category of plants that help your body adapt to physical, chemical, and environmental stress. It’s safe to say Rhodiola is one of the most efficacious of these plants. The herb grows at high altitudes in arctic areas surrounding Asia and Eastern Europe. The Vikings used this herb for strength and the Sherpas used it to help climb high altitudes including Mt. Everest. If you want a boost in cognition, strength, endurance, or a decrease in stress I suggest you read on.
Rhodiola’s Stress Fighting Capabilities
Similar to other adaptogens, Rhodiola provides a biological fortification against stress. In fact, a study in roundworms suggests that Rhodiola acts as a gentle stressor following ingestion, followed by a boost in the organism’s stress defenses. This is an incredible process technically defined as ‘hormesis’.
In 2009, scientists in Sweden conducted a human trial to test Rhodiola’s effect on people “suffering with stress related fatigue”. They found that repeatedly administering of Rhodiola rosea “exerts an anti-fatigue effect that increases mental performance, particularly the ability to concentrate, and decreases cortisol response to awakening stress in burnout patients with fatigue syndrome.” This once again showing the effect of hormesis, only this time, in humans.
We’ve all heard of fight or flight, right? Our systems go into fight or flight all the time just from little everyday stressors. This causes our cortisol levels to shoot through the roof, which promotes a lowering of the blood glucose response, potential weight gain, hormone imbalance, weakened immunity and decreased memory, aside from simply making us feel uncomfortable. These are perfect examples of how important it can be to keep stress and cortisol levels in check. Well, for just ten minutes of your time educating yourself and using your resources like a boss you too could keep your cortisol balanced! All you have to do is take Rhodiola. 
Cortisol levels can increase the rate at which we age, therefore Rhodiola can work as an anti-aging herb making you feel and look your best.
There are many benefits of taking the golden root, one of the most amazing may be that Rhodiola helps your body burn stored fat as fuel. This is due to the active compound called rosavin, which has been proved to trigger a fat burning response in your body and is found in Rhodiola.
A controlled placebo study done on 130 overweight patients at Georgian State Hospital showed that taking Rhodiola rosea extract daily led to a mean weight loss of 19 pounds (11% reduction in body fat), compared to only 8 pounds of loss by the placebo group eating the exact same low-calorie diet. 
Calling All Athletes
If you’re any bit serious about your stamina and endurance, then you should try taking Rhodiola. Rhodiola can significantly increase your red blood cell count. Yes, you read that right! Red blood cells carry oxygen to muscles and having a higher red blood cell count can drastically delay fatigue while improving performance.
In 2004, a study published in the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism claimed the anti-inflammatory benefits of Rhodiola caused rapid muscle recovery and improved endurance. 
Even if you aren’t a serious athlete, you can still experience plenty of benefit by taking Rhodiola. You could be a student, stay at home mother or father, or intense entrepreneur and still enjoy Rhodiola’s proven ability to increase workplace performance and decrease the effects of sleep deprivation. 
I recommend taking Rhodiola with a protein shake, if you use the powder, 30 minutes prior to your workout. You can thank me later.
Depression and Overall Brain Function
Rhodiola works to increase neuron sensitivity in the brain, in specific, two neurotransmitters: serotonin and dopamine. These are the neurotransmitters involved in our focus, memory, pleasure, and mood.
In a clinical trial of 150 individuals suffering from depression, participants were given Rhodiola rosea for exactly one month. At the end of the trial two-thirds of the group had full remission of depression symptoms and daytime weakness had also greatly improved.  In addition, some physicians have been recommending Rhodiola as a treatment for ADHD because of its ability to increase focus.
How to Take Rhodiola/Supplementation
Look for products similar to those studied in clinical trials; 2-3% rosavin and 0.8-1% salidroside. Start with 100 mg once a day for a week and then increase the dosage by 100 mg every week, up to 400 mg a day, if needed. I’ve been taking Rhodiola for over a year now, as a boost for my workouts. It shouldn’t be too expensive and I’d have to say it pays for itself anyways. Stay healthy stay happy!
We’d like to hear from you…
Have you tried Rhodiola? If so what are your thoughts on it?
Have you tried any other adaptogens?
- Zakir Ramazanov, Z. et al. (1999) “New secrets of effective natural stress and weight management, using Rhodiola rosea and Rhodendron caucasicum” ATN/Safe Goods Publishing, CT.
- De Bock K, Eijnde BO, Ramaekers M, Hespel P. Acute Rhodiola rosea intake can improve endurance exercise performance. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2004 Jun;14(3):298-307.
- Abidov M, Crendal F, Grachev S, Seifulla R, Ziegenfuss T. Effect of extracts from Rhodiola rosea and Rhodiola crenulata (Crassulaceae) roots on ATP content in mitochondria of skeletal muscles. Bull Exp Biol Med. 2003 Dec;136(6):585-7.
- Provalova NV, Skurikhin EG, Pershina OV. Mechanisms underling the effects of adaptogens on erithropoiesis during paradoxical sleep deprivation. Bulletin Experimental Biology Medicine 2002 May; 133(5) :428-32.
- Lishmanov IuB, Trifonova ZhV, Tsibin AN, Maslova LV, Dement’eva LA. Plasma beta-endorphin and stress hormones in stress and adaptation. Biull Eksp Biol Med. 1987 Apr;103(4):422-4.