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Health Benefits of Rhodiola Rosea Supplements

Rhodiola is a root, and its scientific name is rhodiola rosea. The root contains over 140 active elements (1).

The Russian people have been using rhodiola for centuries to treat anxiety, fatigue, and depression. Today, for its many health benefits, people are using rhodiola rosea as a dietary supplement.

May Improves Brain Function

Proper diet, physical activity, and a good night’s sleep are the best ways to keep your brain healthy (2).

However, rhodiola supplements can help too. Rodiola may increase learning and memory function, according to an analysis of 36 animal trials (3).

In an animal study, a single dose of rhodiola was found to improve memory and have an antidepressant impact on mice.

It was proposed that rhodiola could improve cognition and treat mood issues in people (4).

Another study revealed that rhodiola’s medicinal capabilities could help with a variety of age-related disorders (5).

More research is needed, according to the researchers, to bridge the gap between experimental results and clinical applications.

May Prevent Fatigue

Stress, anxiety, and insufficient sleep are just a few factors that can lead to exhaustion, which can cause physical and mental tiredness (6).

Rhodiola rosea can help ease fatigue, because of its adaptogenic properties.

In one study, for eight weeks, 100 persons with chronic fatigue received 400 mg of rhodiola rosea every day (7).

Participants experienced significant improvements in symptoms of stress, fatigue, quality of life, mood, and concentration.

After only one week of treatment, these results were found and continued to improve through the last week of the study.

Decreases Depression Symptoms

Depression is a serious disease that affects how you feel and act. It happens when chemicals, such as neurotransmitters, in your brain become unbalanced (8).

It is common for health professionals to prescribe antidepressants to help correct these chemical imbalances. Rhodiola rosea possesses antidepressant properties by balancing your brain’s neurotransmitters.

One study compared the effects of rhodiola to the antidepressant sertraline, which is sold under the brand name Zoloft. For the 12-week, they gave 57 participants with depression rhodiola, sertraline, or a placebo pill (9).

While both rhodiola and sertraline reduced depression symptoms, sertraline showed a stronger effect. Rhodiola had less adverse effects and was well accepted.

Can Reduce Stress

Rhodiola is an adaptogen, a natural substance that enhances the body’s non-specific resistance to stress. Taking adaptogens can help you better handle stressful situations during stressful times (10, 11).

Rhodiola has also been shown to ease the symptoms of burnout, which can occur because of chronic stress.

In one study, 118 participants with stress-related burnout were given 400 mg of rhodiola every day for 12 weeks (12).

Participants in the study shown significant improvement in a variety of symptoms related to burnout, including stress and sadness. The largest progress was made during the first week, and it continued throughout the research.

The study was the first to look at the clinical effects of rhodiola treatment for burnout, according to the researchers. They thought the results were promising and suggested more research.

May Prevent Cancer

Salidroside is a powerful component of rhodiola that acts as an anticancer agent. Test-tube studies show it may prevent the development of cancer cells in the bladder, colon, breast, and liver (13, 14, 15, 16).

Researchers think rhodiola may be useful in the treatment of many cancer types. However, rhodiola’s effects on cancer are not clear. Therefore, we need more human studies to understand its effect on cancer.

May Help People With Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your body develops a reduced ability to make or respond to the hormone insulin, leading to high levels of blood sugar (17).

People with diabetes often use insulin injections or medications that increase the sensitivity of insulin to reduce blood sugar levels. Interestingly, animal research suggests that rhodiola can help improve the control of diabetes (19).

In rats, the rhodiola salidroside molecule has been shown to help protect against diabetes and diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease) (20).

These are animal studies. Therefore, we need human studies to understand its effect on diabetes. If you have diabetes and want to take rhodiola, be sure to talk with your health practitioner.

May Boost Exercise Performance

Studies show rhodiola can boost exercise performance (21).

One animal study discovered that rhodiola could boost muscle power and strength performance in rats. After resistance exercise, the rats were given Rhodiola rosea extract mixed with another rhodiola component called Rhaponticum carthamoides (Rha) (22).

In another study, researchers discovered that taking rhodiola reduced reaction time and overall response time in young, healthy, physically active men. It enhanced antioxidant activity as well, but had little effect on total endurance (23).

Rhodiola has also been shown to improve exercise performance by lowering perceived exertion, or how hard participants thought their bodies were working (24).

On the other hand, research shows that rhodiola supplementation had no effect on oxygen uptake or muscular performance and did not improve marathon participants’ immune systems (25).

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health cautions that there is inadequate data from human research to show that rhodiola is beneficial for any health-related problem (26).

One reason for this could be that researchers are still learning about how rhodiola influences human performance.

Dosage Safety and Side effects

Unfortunately, rhodiola supplements are susceptible to adulteration, which reduces their quality and purity (27, 28).

To avoid this, search for brands with the USP or NSF label. These are non-profit third-party organisations that assure supplements contain exactly what they advertise, with no contaminants.

Check the labels of these supplements to ensure that they contain a standardized amount of 3% rosavins and 1% salidrosides. These are the proportions of these chemicals that occur naturally in rhodiola root.

How much to take

Rhodiola is best taken on an empty stomach but not before bed, because it has a slightly stimulating impact (29).

Most individuals take rhodiola extract in capsules or tablets with 100 to 200 mg with 3% of rosavins and 0.8–1% salidroside.

According to current research, rhodiola may be useful for alleviating stress, exhaustion, or depression symptoms when taken in doses ranging from 400 to 600 mg per day in single or divided doses (30, 31).

Some research suggests that smaller doses of 200 to 300 mg per day may improve athletic performance (32).

Safety of rhodiola

According to current studies, rhodiola is both safe and well tolerated (33).

Recent clinical trials have found that rhodiola has minimal adverse effects.

However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had issued six letters of caution to manufacturers of rhodiola supplements as of mid-2021 (34).

The warnings addressed issues such as purity, branding, making unjustified health claims, and not being licensed as new medications.

The FDA regulates dietary supplements as foods, not medications (35). It forbids any supplement from claiming to cure, treat, or prevent disease.

All supplements, including rhodiola, have the potential for unwanted side effects. This is especially true if the rhodiola is contaminated or mixed with other plants. Rhodiola might combine with other medications you are taking or worsen an existing medical condition. Its effects have not been studied in children, pregnant women, or other sensitive groups.

When purchasing herbal supplements, quality issues can arise (36).

When purchasing supplements, especially those purchased online, consider the source. Also, consult with a medical practitioner to ensure that the supplement is appropriate for your specific health situation.

Conclusion

The Russians have used rhodiola as a traditional medicine for decades.

Studies have found that rhodiola can help enhance the response of the body to physical stressors, such as exercise and psychological stressors.

Test tube and animal studies have also investigated its role in treating cancer and controlling diabetes.

Overall, rhodiola has many health benefits, and it is safe if you take it at the proper dosage.

We strongly recommend talking to your doctor before taking any supplements.

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