Rhodiola rosea is a plant that helps the body adapt to stress. Rhodiola benefits your wellness by improving athletic performance. This herb also has a health benefit regarding mental performance: It works hard to improve your cognition.
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There are certain plants that are considered adaptogens.
Adaptogens have special advantages when it comes to stress relief. When consumed, these plants have the ability to help your body cope with stress in a more peaceful and organic way.
Rhodiola — also known by its scientific name, Rhodiola rosea — is one such adaptogen. This rugged plant thrives in harsh terrain. This adaptogenic herb is a great tool to have in times of stress. Rhodiola benefits both physical and mental health in profound ways.
How can a rhodiola supplement assist you on your path to improved wellness? Let’s take a closer look.
In this article, we will:
- Explain what Rhodiola rosea is
- Define adaptogens
- Explain how adaptogens such as rhodiola impact the body
- List key rhodiola benefits
- Offer dosage recommendations concerning this dietary supplement
What is rhodiola?
Rhodiola rosea is a plant that grows in frigid regions and high altitudes throughout Europe and Asia. It’s known by several names: arctic root, golden root, rose root and king’s crown.
This plant is cherished for the healing power of its root. Rhodiola root has been used as a health remedy for centuries in Russia and Scandinavian countries.
This herb is an adaptogen, which means it has unique properties that can help the body cope with stress more efficiently. Rhodiola benefits your health by serving as a potent tool for mitigating and relieving chronic stress.
What are adaptogens?
To understand how rhodiola benefits stress relief, it’s helpful to know a bit about adaptogens and stress.
Stress is more than just mental or emotional. A stress state causes physical changes in the body that can have undesirable long-term consequences. These changes can harm the neurological, endocrine and immune systems. Adaptogens have properties that work to counteract and neutralize the damaging effects of stress.
In modern times, adaptogens first came to the attention of the scientific community during World War II. Scientists were looking for resources they could use to help healthy pilots successfully handle bigger, more demanding workloads. Essentially, they were looking for a “superhero” pill — one that would help these pilots fly for longer periods of time, with heightened focus and mental clarity. They found what they were looking for in the form of adaptogens.
How do adaptogens such as rhodiola work in the body?
Rhodiola benefits wellness by serving as an adaptogen. But how do adaptogens such as Rhodiola rosea root work in the body?
If you’re experiencing stress, it affects your adrenal gland, as well as your pituitary and hypothalamic glands. Adaptogens soothe stress by balancing the response experienced by these glands.
Stages of stress
When we’re in a stress state, we can potentially cycle through three stages: the alarm phase, the phase of resistance and the phase of exhaustion.
Rhodiola benefits wellness by allowing you to navigate these stages in a healthier way.
Let’s take a closer look at the three stages of stress:
1. Alarm phase
In the alarm phase, a signal is sent to a part of the brain known as the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus facilitates the release of hormones known as glucocorticoids. Glucocorticoids cause the body to release adrenaline; they also cause the body to release cortisol, the stress hormone.
The increased adrenaline and cortisol levels trigger a physical reaction. Energy levels rise. Blood pressure and blood sugar levels also increase, along with the heart rate. In total, this reaction is known as the fight-or-flight response. This stage of the stress response is governed by the sympathetic branch of a person’s autonomic nervous system.
2. Phase of resistance
Next comes the phase of resistance. During this phase, the body tries to counteract the physiological changes that occurred during the alarm phase.
We can feel energized and more clear-headed during this phase, since our body is giving us a boost to combat the stressor. We may experience things such as sharper focus and heightened muscle performance.
This stage of the stress response is governed by the parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system. If stress is adequately addressed during the phase of resistance, the body will return to normal. However, if the stressors are still present and the stress response continues, the body will eventually reach the next phase: the phase of exhaustion.
3. Phase of exhaustion
If the body is in a chronic stress state for extended periods, it will eventually cycle into the phase of exhaustion.This stage occurs when the body depletes its energy after trying and failing to stem the physiological effects that began in the initial alarm phase.
Once the stage of exhaustion is reached, symptoms such as tiredness, depression and anxiety may occur. If a person doesn’t properly manage chronic stress in the exhaustion stage, they run the risk of developing serious stress-related ailments.
Rhodiola and the phase of resistance
Rhodiola benefits stress relief by extending the phase of resistance. This is the phase during which we experience the benefits that can come with a stress response. These include improved muscle performance, improved focus and greater mental clarity.
Adaptogens such as Rhodiola rosea give us the boost we need to handle stress with greater clarity and focus, and they bolster us in ways that prevent us from slipping into the phase of exhaustion.
Rhodiola supplementation can help support wellness.
What are the ways in which Rhodiola rosea benefits your health? Let’s examine the issue.
Rhodiola benefit #1: Fights stress
As we’ve mentioned, Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogen. Adaptogens are known for their ability to help the body manage stress.
Rhodiola benefits stress relief, and the research backs up this claim. In a 2012 study, a Rhodiola rosea supplement was given to 101 participants with life- and work-related stress. The study lasted four weeks, and participants were given 400 mg of rhodiola extract each day. Those taking rhodiola reported improvements in stress-related symptoms — such as anxiety, fatigue and exhaustion — after just three days. These improvements continued throughout the duration of the research study.
A 2017 study looked at Rhodiola rosea as a treatment for stress-related burnout. The symptoms of this type of burnout include things such as fatigue, cynicism, inability to concentrate, impaired sexual life and a generally negative attitude toward work. Participants who took a daily dose of 400 mg of rhodiola extract during this 12-week study showed clear improvement in outcome measures over time. In many cases, improvements were observed after just one week of treatment.
Rhodiola benefit #2: Eases depression
Depression can diminish your quality of life and make you less productive. Research suggests that depression symptoms can occur when neurotransmitters in your brain become unbalanced.
Rhodiola benefits depression by balancing the brain’s neurotransmitters. In a six-week study, 89 participants with mild depression or moderate depression were put into three groups. One group received 340 mg of rhodiola; the second group got 680 mg of rhodiola; and the third group was given a placebo. Participants in both of the groups that got rhodiola showed big improvements in their depression symptoms, as well as increased emotional stability and a reduction in insomnia. Those receiving the placebo showed no improvements.
Rhodiola benefit #3: Bolsters athletic performance
Rhodiola benefits your fitness by improving your performance when it comes to exercise and athletics.
One study looked at the effect Rhodiola rosea has on cycling. Participants were given 200 mg of rhodiola or a placebo hours before being asked to perform a cycling test. Those who took the rhodiola were able to cycle for a longer period of time than those who took the placebo.
In a 2009 study, 15 college-age women were given either rhodiola or a placebo. Those who got the rhodiola were able to complete a six-mile run in less time than those who took the placebo.
Rhodiola benefit #4: May improve cognitive function
Your brain needs proper nutrition and adequate sleep to function at its best. However, in some cases, a dietary supplement can provide meaningful support in this area. Rhodiola is one such supplement.
A 2000 study looked at physicians faced with the mental fatigue that comes with night duty. In the two-week study, some of the physicians were given 170 mg of Rhodiola rosea; others were given a placebo. Compared to the placebo, rhodiola diminished mental fatigue and improved work-related performance by 20 percent.
Rhodiola benefit #5: Assists with stress-related eating disorders
Food often plays a role in the way we cope with stress. This can lead to unhealthy binge eating. Stress has also been linked to anorexia.
Data shows rhodiola benefits stress-related eating disorders. Rhodiola contains an active ingredient called salidroside. This ingredient has been researched for its effect on binge eating. In one study using rats, a rhodiola extract that included 3.21 percent salidroside was shown to reduce or eliminate binge eating.
A 2007 study — also involving rats — showed that rhodiola has the ability to mitigate stress-induced anorexia.
With rhodiola, dosages as low as 50 mg per day have been effective as a daily preventative against stress and fatigue. For acute stress symptoms, dosage typically runs between 288 to 680 mg per day.
Side effects are mild, and may include jitteriness, dry mouth and difficulty sleeping. As it is a mild stimulant, Rhodiola rosea is not recommended for those who have bipolar disorder.
Rhodiola products can sometimes suffer from dilution or contamination. If purchasing this supplement, get it from a trusted source.
What rhodiola benefits are in store for you? Can Rhodiola rosea supercharge your productivity and help you cope with stress more easily? To find out, purchase this dietary supplement online or at your nearby health food store and see how it works for you.
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