When looking at brain supplements, you see mention of Rhodiola Rosea all over the place. Its first known use was in 77 AD by the ancient Greeks as a tonic. The new term for tonic is ‘Adaptogen’ these days, helping the body to deal with stress and restore normal functioning faster. Rhodiola Rosea is an herb that grows wild in arctic areas in Asia, Europe, and North America.
There are a lot of claims and there had not been much scientific research. Frankly, I was waiting for more recent scientific research before presenting this supplement to you. I did find some positive recent research, though. Health Benefits: Rhodiola Rosea will address the claims and also mention customer comments and reviews of people who have actual personal experience with it. And of course, we’ll go through a bit of the research in determining if it’s effective. Much of the research has been done in the laboratory and some has involved human subjects, so we can take the research and chemical makeup, as well as what people have to say about their experiences and make up our own minds.
Either way, it’s worth taking a look at because there are about 200 phytonutrients in Rhodiola. Many of these have known positive benefits and actions in the body. I’ll try to keep the science-ese to a minimum. Let’s take a look.
Depression and Stress
Recent studies show that Rhodiola decreases cortisol levels in mice (called corticosterone in rodents). Cortisol is our stress hormone. A little is fine so we can deal with immediate stress but over the long haul and prolonged stress, it causes fatigue, depression and more (Dinal et. al, 2019). This study states Rhodiola is an adaptogenic plant increasing the body’s resistance to stress. Russia and Scandinavia have been using Rhodiola Rosea for centuries to deal with their cold climates and the stress that naturally causes on the body (Wikipedia, 2019).
Improved energy levels, due to some of the compounds in Rhodiola, help the mitochondria thrive and actually promote mitochondrial development. This improves our ability to withstand longer periods of mental or physical stress and maintain more energy. If you feel more like getting up and getting out, you’re less likely to feel depressed. And who doesn’t need more energy during stressful times?
This can help prevent and reverse burnout, PTSD, anxiety, and cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, neurological, and musculoskeletal diseases (Dinel et. al, 2019). Stress affects everyone in our society. Stress from work can cause burnout. It’s shown that people experiencing burnout found relief and renewed energy after taking Rhodiola.
According to WebMD (n.d.), Rhodiola might help reduce symptoms of depression after supplementing for 6 weeks for mild to moderate depression. The most common phytochemical in Rhodiola is salidroside which is shown to help brain function and help regulate the chemicals in the brain responsible for mood and energy (among other things).
As always, if you are on an antidepressant, speak to your doctor before beginning natural remedies.
Cognitive Function and Alzheimer’s
This salidroside compound in Rhodiola is pretty amazing. Some focused studies on mitochondrial damage with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) show disturbed energy metabolism is another main cause of AD (Zhuang et. al, 2019). This was based on one of the studies mentioned from 2005, so not recent. Whether it is a main cause of AD or not, more recent data shows the salidroside component reduces cell damage and protects mitochondria against damage so it improves mitochondrial function. Mitochondria is how our cells get their energy. More energy to do their jobs.
There is proof that Rhodiola helps improve working memory in the elderly. Oxidative damage and neuronal injury are two main causes of impaired memory. According to Zhuang et. al (2019) taking Rhodiola Rosea improved and enhanced the accuracy of memory as it stimulated central nervous system activity. It is considered a helpful supplement for people with Alzheimer’s to reduce depression and increase working memory. This is awesome.
Antioxidant Activity and Cancer
Many of the phytonutrients in Rhodiola are antioxidants. As we talked about in the Bacopa Monnieri article:
Oxidation of cells creates the rogue free radicals which are atoms with one or more unpaired electrons, floating around and looking for another electron to pair with. They are kind of like an outlaw in your body, looking to get into some trouble. Oxidation in cells can cause heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
Related Article: Bacopa Monnieri Benefits
Antioxidants help prevent all kinds of cancer. Considerable attention is being paid to Rhodiola for possibly treating bladder cancer. According to the research by Zhuang, et. al (2019), the salidroside ingredient selectively inhibited the growth of bladder cancer cell lines. Very impressive. Apparently, oxidative stress is a factor in metastasis (cancer spreading), too, so it helps in that way as well.
I’m sure there will be more to come about Rhodiola and cancer so we’ll wait and see what the research brings.
Rhodiola is shown to help regulate heartbeat. With the reduction in stress, a factor for cardiovascular problems, it also reduces the corticosteroids (cortisol, for example) that can cause problems. It also may reduce the plaque buildup in arteries. That is a function of the antioxidant function. Plaque buildup is caused by lipids being oxidized. Antioxidant = reduced plaque buildup. Apparently it also reduces total cholesterol and the bad fat, triglycerides, in the blood.
Traditional Chinese medicine has used Rhodiola with its ingredient, salidroside, as part of the treatment for diabetes. As it turns out, it does reduce fasting blood glucose significantly. Not only that, oxidation is increased with diabetes so it helps on that front too, helping to reduce additional complications of diabetes. Along with this power, it helps with insulin resistance. If you have diabetes, you know what this means. Your insulin is more effective and you might require less. As always, check with your doctor before trying alternatives to prescribed insulin.
What People Are Saying
I tend to think that reviews of products are pretty powerful indicators of quality and the effectiveness of products, especially supplements. I visited several online stores and noticed a lot of positive reviews. Many people say they noticed increased energy within a few days. Even when burnt out. I’m including a link to a company with high ratings by customers of Rhodiola Rosea supplements and it’s a company I believe in. See for yourself.
Where We Are Now
We talked about a lot of positive benefits of Rhodiola Rosea. Depression, stress, cognitive health and Alzheimer’s, antioxidant activity and cancer, heart health, and even diabetes. There seems to be a lot of benefits of supplementing with Rhodiola Rosea. Hopefully, there is more research coming as well. But based on what we know now and the research that has been done, it definitely seems worth trying. There are no adverse effects reported. Give it a try today if you want to improve your cognitive function and increase your stamina during the day.
Thank you for reading today. If you have any comments, experience with Rhodiola or questions, please post them in the comments section below. Thank you very much!
Dinel, A. L., Guinobert, I., Lucas, C., Blondeau, C., Bardot, V., Ripoche, I., … Joffre, C. (2019). Reduction of acute mild stress corticosterone response and changes in stress-responsive gene expression in male Balb/c mice after repeated administration of a Rhodiola rosea L. root extract. Food science & nutrition, 7(11), 3827–3841. doi:10.1002/fsn3.1249
Facty Health. (2018). Discover the Amazing Health Benefits of Rhodiola Tea. Retrieved November 30, 2019 from https://facty.com/lifestyle/wellness/discover-the-amazing-health-benefits-of-rhodiola/?style=quick&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=c-search&utm_term=%2Brhodiola%20%2Brosea&utm_campaign=FH%20-%20Health%20Benefits%20of%20Rhodiola%20-%20desktop&adid=74560726584933&msclkid=1d5df3fef7d3134292ddae1c234146d1
WebMD. (n.d.). Rhodiola. Retrieved November 30, 2019 from https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-883/rhodiola
Wikipedia. (2019). Rhodiola rosea. Retrieved November 30, 2019 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhodiola_rosea
Zhuang, W., Yue, L., Dang, X., Chen, F., Gong, Y., Lin, X., & Luo, Y. (2019). Rosenroot (Rhodiola): Potential Applications in Aging-related Diseases. Aging and disease, 10(1), 134–146. doi:10.14336/AD.2018.0511enerone osomereseain