The science is in on the benefits of nootropics. Our future for brain health and cognitive enhancement looks very promising. The versatility of herbal nootropics is what makes them unique.
Brain supplements don’t discriminate based on age or goals. They just work. If you’re trying to increase memory power to ace an exam, nootropics can help. If you’re trying to preserve mental acuity as you age, there’s a natural supplement for that, too. Rhodiola Rosea is one such herb that offers an array of physical and mental health benefits.
In This Article
In today’s review, we will discuss the benefits of Rhodiola Rosea extract. Rhodiola is a multipurpose nootropic agent. It can aid in weight loss, boost cognitive function, and abolish fatigue. Rhodiola also helps reduce symptoms of ADHD and lessens anxiety and depression. With such a wide variety of medicinal uses, this is one herbal supplement to consider for daily use.
We will start by explaining what exactly Rhodiola Rosea is, including where it comes from and its chemical composition. We will then give you the top benefits of this supplement to aid in your daily life. Through this guide, we will help you decide whether these benefits are right for you.
Of course, your choice of substances and supplements depends on personal choice and preference. So take some time to think about what you are looking for in your diet, and then read through our guide to see if it matches your preferences.
What is Rhodiola Rosea Extract?
You’ve most likely heard the name before, but what is Rhodiola Rosea? Rhodiola Rosea is a Scandinavian herb used in traditional Chinese Medicine. Our ancestors believed it could promote both cognitive and physical vitality.
Several studies suggest this natural nootropic can reduce brain fog and mental fatigue. Rhodiola can also prolong time to exhaustion during stressful situations. We’ll elaborate on these health benefits later in the review.
Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogen compound, like Panax Ginseng. It resides in the Rhodiola genera (Crassulaceae family) of herbs. Adaptogens are compounds capable of inhibiting the physical and chemical effects of stress. In other words, Rhodiola has potent anxiolytic properties. If something is anxiolytic, it reduces stress and anxiety while stabilizing mood.
The Rhodiola Rosea plant is a perennial flower that grows in colder regions of the world. You'll find Rhodiola in the Arctic, as well as mountain ranges throughout Europe and Asia. It even has a presence in parts of eastern North America. Rhodiola is common in Siberia, Scandinavia, and Britain. Hence, the wide variety of designations for the same plant.
You may know this brain health supplement by several names such as:
- Rhodiola Rhizome
- Arctic Root
- Rhodiola root extract
- Rose Root
- Rhodiola rosea root
- Golden Root
- King’s Crown
- Lignum Rhodium
- Orpin Rose
- Aaron’s Rod
These are all terms for the same useful herb.
Historically, Vikings used Rhodiola to preserve their bodies and enhance physical strength. Sherpa people even used the herb to boost stamina for high altitude climbs, including Mt. Everest, with some claiming that it helped with high-altitude sickness. It was also widely used to cope with the cold way of life in these climates. Some doctors also suggested the herb as a natural remedy for Fibromyalgia symptoms. This plant served a multitude of therapeutic purposes for our ancestors.
Salidroside vs. Rosavin
The unique medicinal properties of Rhodiola Rosea derive from two primary chemical compounds. Salidroside and rosavin, both extracted from Rhodiola's ground up roots. Each compound impacts the nervous system to achieve the cognitive and physical benefits.
Recent research suggests the salidroside component of the herb is the most beneficial. Rosavin appears to be ineffective in isolation. But, when combined with the other elements of Rhodiola Rosea, its benefits come to light. When buying a supplement, choose a 3% salidroside and 1% rosavin extract for best results.
5 Health Benefits of Rhodiola Rosea Extract
Rhodiola Rosea benefits the mind and body in several ways. Regardless of your age and your goals, you’ll find a use for this natural herb.
There’s a reason Rhodiola finds its way into many of the best smart pills and nootropics on the market. Not only does it boost cognitive function, but it can enhance mood and well-being, and aid in weight loss. Let’s explore all the benefits of Rhodiola Rosea in more detail.
1. Improves Weight Loss and Fat Burning
Many users supplement Rhodiola Rosea for weight loss and for boosting metabolism. To understand how it works, we first need to discuss metabolic activity. Here are three critical points to remember.
- Metabolism is a biochemical process that involves anabolism and catabolism. Anabolism builds and stores energy, while catabolism breaks down and releases energy.
- ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) is the cell’s energy currency. Compare this to the concept of storing money in a bank. When the body needs energy, it releases ATP. If the body needs to conserve energy, ATP remains stored within the Mitochondria.
- AMPK regulates and maintains cellular energy homeostasis within the body. AMPK is short for adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase. AMPK detects low ATP and adjusts signaling pathways based on current energy requirements.
Rhodiola Rosea benefits weight loss and fat burning through stimulation of AMPK enzymes. When these enzymes are more present in the body, ATP releases from the Mitochondria. Mitochondria are the energy-producing power plants of our cells.
Activated AMPK stimulates ATP-generating catabolic pathways while suppressing ATP-consuming pathways. This effect replenishes the body’s supply of ATP (our energy currency). It also enables enhanced uptake of glucose and fatty acids into our muscle cells. The entire process improves fat burning and metabolism and boosts cellular efficiency.
Burns Stored Belly Fat
The rosavin compound within Rhodiola Rosea can stimulate the hormone-sensitive lipase enzyme. This stimulation results in the breakdown of stored fat in adipose tissue (belly fat). Human clinical studies also support these findings. Rhodiola's impact on weight loss is even greater with a proper diet and exercise regimen.
Helps Appetite Control
Animal testing linked Rhodiola Rosea extract to possible reductions in stress-induced binge eating. Nootropic supplementation is not a conventional method to control hunger or cravings. Still, Rhodiola seems effective at regulating the interaction between appetite and stress. There is a lack of human evidence on appetite control. But, this potential weight loss benefit is a bonus to its primary effects.
2. Boosts Energy and Athletic Performance
Rhodiola Rosea enhances energy levels by improving ATP synthesis. This benefit replenishes the body’s supply of cellular energy. As mentioned earlier, this assists with weight loss. It also reduces both mental and physical fatigue to improve athletic performance further.
Additionally, studies confirm that Rhodiola is slightly stimulatory. It may provide a caffeine-like effect, but without risk of crash or jitters.
Increases Red Blood Cell Count
This herbal nootropic has also shown an ability to increase red blood cell (RBC) counts. It performs this task by stimulating EPO (erythropoietin).
EPO is a hormone produced by our kidneys that promotes the formation of RBC’s within the bone marrow. Red blood cells are the primary transporters of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. By improving oxygen and nutrient flow, our muscles can function at peak performance.
Enhances VO2 Max
VO2 max is meant to measure the maximum amount of oxygen that a person can intake during intense exercise. Therefore, the higher this max is, the more oxygen intake, which will allow a person to exercise at a high level for longer, and with more efficiency. It is a great gage for cardiovascular health.
Studies also suggest Rhodiola Rosea benefits VO2 max. So there is evidence to suggest that it is very useful in furthering athletic performance. Of course, this should be used alongside an effective, structured exercise routine.
An increase in VO2 max means the athlete’s capacity for sustained workouts increases. Therefore, supplementation of Rhodiola boosts physical endurance and stamina. It can also enhance training capacity, reduce fatigue, and promote optimal muscle function.
Contains Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Rhodiola Rosea possesses rare anti-inflammatory benefits. Following intense training, reducing bodily inflammation is crucial for rapid muscle recovery.
If you’ve ever seen professional athletes ice their muscles after workouts or games, this is why. The ice reduces inflammation which promotes quick healing of muscle tissue. Reductions in inflammation also provide an excellent anti-aging benefit. This effect keeps you feeling younger and more vibrant.
Therefore, the anti-inflammatory properties of Rhodiola Rosea can help your muscles to heal faster and more efficiently. This allows you to exercise more often, and to stimulate more muscle growth overall.
3. Reduces Stress, Anxiety, and Depression
Many users take Rhodiola Rosea for anxiety. Studies show that Rhodiola Rosea extract can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. This creates a more stable mental environment, improving brain health as a whole.
The anxiolytic benefits of Rhodiola Rosea involve interactions with neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. These are chemicals produced by nerve cells that regulate happiness. They also play a role in anxiety levels, mood, and feelings of pleasure and reward.
Regulates Dopamine and Serotonin
Low levels of serotonin and dopamine may lead to depression. It’s crucial for these neurotransmitters to maintain balance. Otherwise, mood stabilization and sense of well-being will suffer. Rhodiola can normalize these vital chemicals in the presence of deficiencies or irregularities. This beneficial cognitive effect is why many nootropic users choose Rhodiola Rosea. It can combat mood disorders in place of traditional anti-depressant prescription medications.
A one-month clinical trial demonstrated clear improvements in depressive symptoms. Nearly two-thirds of the studied group experienced a complete remission of their depression. The study contained 150 individuals suffering from chronic stress and depression.
This result creates a very promising outlook for herbal treatments. Rhodiola Rosea supplements may be one of the best natural remedies for anxiety, mild to moderate depression, and related mood disorders. Several other studies showed similar mental health benefits.
4. Improves Focus, Concentration, and Cognitive Function
Herbal nootropics can help boost brain power and mental cognition. Rhodiola Rosea benefits the brain by providing a subtle psychostimulatory effect.
Research suggests the enhanced cognitive function is noteworthy when under duress. Rhodiola truly shines when dealing with chronic stress and fatigue. This nootropic improves holistic thinking, providing improved creativity and efficient mental processing.
As an herbal adaptogen, Rhodiola Rosea helps the brain’s neurotransmitters achieve equilibrium. It does this by balancing serotonin and dopamine.
This effect improves mood, reduces anxiety, and enhances mental clarity. Combined, you'll feel a clear focus and concentration. Furthermore, users experience noticeable improvements in memory retention. They may also enjoy enhanced visual reaction speeds, and reduced cognitive fatigue.
Rhodiola Rosea has been shown to decrease fatigue symptoms, which in turn will increase mental performance.
These effects can be seen in a placebo-controlled, double-blind study used to determine the efficacy of Rhodiola Rosea on people suffering from stress-related fatigue. 60 individuals were randomized into two groups for this study. The study concluded that Rhodiola Rosea exerts an anti-fatigue effect which also increases mental performance. This includes increasing the ability to concentrate, and decreases the response to awakening stress in burnout patients.
This is encouraging evidence that Rhodiola Rosea has an anti-fatigue effect which can help with stress-related and chronic fatigue. This decrease in fatigue can then have positive effects on other mental capabilities as well.
Improves Processing Speed and Accuracy
Rhodiola Rosea can also improve mental processing speed and accuracy. There was an interesting double-blind placebo-controlled study conducted on military cadets. They performed typical night shift duties while supplementing the herb for five days.
The results of the study showed a significant antifatigue effect and improved well-being. Test subjects experienced enhanced reaction speed and fewer mental processing errors. The study measured Rhodiola Rosea’s cognitive benefits on psychological work under stress.
Reduces Symptoms of ADHD
Rhodiola Rosea has shown itself to be an effective natural alternative to Adderall. It can improve sustained attention span in the user. When treating ADHD (Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder), you must stabilize serotonin and dopamine. As stated prior, Rhodiola Rosea reliably performs this task.
The adaptogenic properties of the compound also provides a stimulation effect. It functions like prescription ADHD medications, but without the adverse side effects. There is little research demonstrating Rhodiola Rosea for the sole purpose of ADHD. But, its impact on focus and concentration have been well-studied. These cognitive health benefits suggest that Rhodiola can help treat ADHD. So while it can’t be said with confidence that this is an effective treatment for ADHD on its own, it does have benefits which work toward treating the symptoms of ADHD.
The salidroside component of Rhodiola has shown an ability to act as an antioxidant. Thus, it's capable of mitigating the adverse effects of oxidative stress. Rhodiola may also offer a preventative measure for Alzheimer’s disease. Salidroside can block beta-amyloid plaque build-up which is an early indicator of Alzheimer's.
As a natural defense mechanism, Rhodiola is a great way to preserve the brain. It's an excellent nootropic for protecting us from age-related cognitive decline. Neurodegenerative diseases often run in the family. Such predispositions may be difficult to overcome. Using preventative measures like Rhodiola Rosea offer significant mental health benefits.
5. Lowers Cortisol Levels
Cortisol is a chemical released by the adrenal glands in response to fear and stress. It is a core part of our body’s fight-or-flight response and essential for survival. Still, doctors know that elevated cortisol levels are public health enemy number one. Excessive cortisol can lead to a variety of health concerns including:
- Reductions in bone density
- Increased abdominal weight gain
- Greater risk of thyroid problems
- High blood pressure and cholesterol
- Increased risk of developing heart disease
- Cognitive and memory impairment
- Increased risk of depression and mental illness
- Quicker aging and reduced life expectancy
- Weakening of immune system function
A quick glance at that list and you may think cortisol is worse than smoking cigarettes. Stress is a “silent killer.” If you don’t control cortisol levels, you subject yourself to reduced health and low quality of life. For this reason, many turn to natural adaptogenic herbs to enhance well-being.
Studies prove Rhodiola Rosea can lower the stress hormone cortisol in the body. Reducing cortisol and enhancing serotonin synthesis helps Rhodiola achieve the desired health benefits. Most notably, a relaxed sense of focus and concentration.
Side Effects and Dosage Recommendations
The side effects of Rhodiola Rosea are mild and extremely rare. It is a safe and well-tolerated herbal nootropic. When using the proper dosage, most users experience the benefits without adverse reactions. Always start with a smaller dosage and titrate upwards to avoid side effects.
As a standalone supplement, we recommend a 250mg to 500mg dosage taken twice daily. Dosages as low as 50mg will yield desirable results in most users. This is especially true when paired with other nootropics. You may increase your dose as you see fit to achieve the cognitive enhancement effects.
So while there are few side effects to worry about, it is still good practice to adhere to the guidelines of any supplement. Start small, and increase dose as needed, but only when you are sure that it is a beneficial part of your routine.
Is Rhodiola Rosea For You?
The number one consideration in choosing a supplement is whether it is a good choice for your specific goals. There are numerous benefits of Rhodiola Rosea which we have outlined in this guide, but the most relevant factor is whether this supplement is right for you. Consider what you are trying to achieve with your diet and supplement routine, and compare it to the benefits and potential side effects that we have listed above.
If you are in doubt of how to properly build and manage a supplement routine, we recommend you consult the advice of a dietician or nutritionist. They can provide you with a much more personalized plan of action that considers your individual factors and requirements.
Final Thoughts on Rhodiola Rosea Extract Benefits
Nootropics are not limitless pills. But, they can enhance mental cognition and support brain function. Rhodiola Rosea extract is a highly effective natural herb. It can help you stay mentally sharp and on top of your game during stressful situations.
Rhodiola Rosea benefits the body by enhancing weight loss and fat burning. It reduces symptoms of ADHD, and the adverse effects of stress, anxiety, and depression. This herb even benefits athletic performance. Rhodiola boosts stamina and physical endurance and improves longevity.
We hope this article has provided you with a comprehensive decision-making guide of whether to add this supplement to your routine. Remember, the best supplements are the ones that benefit your specific needs and requirements.
If you want a versatile herbal supplement to add to your repertoire, give Rhodiola a try. Let us know your thoughts about Rhodiola supplements in the comments below.
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