Rhodiola Rosea Revelations

Rhodiola Rosea Effects On Physical Work Capacity

From the central nervous system we now move to physical work capacity. This chapter of the Rhodiola Rosea Phytomedicinal Overview will probably be a popular one as this applies to everything from muscle building to weight loss to general work performance on a day-in-day-out basis. RhodiolaRosea.Org brings this landmark research work from doctors Richard Brown, Patricia Gerbarg and this site’s founder Zakir Ramazanov in a new and more accessible format.

Of course, a single portion of this research paper cannot cover the topic all by itself, so you may wish to reference some of our other related posts, such Rhodiola Benefits for a more layman-friendly overview or Rhodiola Supplements for Muscle Development for more research and data on taking R. rosea for athletic performance and muscle development.

Rhodiola Rosea Effects On Physical Work Capacity

A number of studies have shown that R. rosea increased physical work capacity and dramatically shortened the recovery time between bouts of high-intensity exercise. These studies included normal individuals exposed to maximal work on a bicycle ergometer and Olympic-level cross country skiers and biathletes.69

R. Rosea and Work Capacity

Rhodiola Rosea Illustration
Rhodiola Rosea

In one study, 52 men (18-24 years of age) were given one dose of either 15 drops of R. rosea extract, 2 ml eleuthero, or 1 ml of a 1 percent solution piridrol (a stimulating psychotropic similar to methylphenidate). Fifteen drops of R. rosea extract is approximately equivalent to 150 mg of dry encapsulated root extract standardized to 3 percent rosavin and 1 percent salidroside. After 30 minutes, they pedaled an electric bicycle ergometer to produce a precise amount of work-induced baseline fatigue. After a 5-minute rest, they performed further work to determine the maximal duration of work they could accomplish at a specific intensity. During the second period of work, R. rosea drops, eleuthero extract, and piridrol increased work capacity by 9 percent, 6 percent, and 6 percent respectively (p<0.04) compared to placebo controls.

Rhodiola Rosea Improved Recovery With No Side Effects

Recovery was defined by the time of normalization of heart rate and arterial pressure. During the recovery period, at 10 minutes, the pulse slowed by a factor of 2.5 (67 beats per minute) in the R. rosea group versus 1.9 (87 beats per minute) in the control group. During the 3-day total recovery period, subjects given piridrol complained of insomnia, excitability, and irritability; whereas those given R. rosea had no adverse Rhodiola side effects and no complaints.

Rhodiola Rosea Improved Endurance

Endurance is the capacity to maintain work despite fatigue. Forty-two master level competitive skiers (20-25 years of age) took either R. rosea extract or placebo 30-60 minutes before training races (30 km) and a biathlon (20 km race on skis carrying a rifle and shooting targets at stops). Athletes given R. rosea had statistically significant increased shooting accuracy, less arm tremor and better coordination. Thirty minutes after work performance, the heart rate in the R. rosea group was 104-106 percent of baseline, versus 128.7 percent in the placebo group (p<0.02). R. rosea improved recovery time, strength, endurance, cardiovascular measures, and coordination.69

Adaptogens differ from other stimulants during forced, exhaustive muscular work. With classical stimulants the initial increase in work-capacity is followed by a period of substantially decreased (markedly below average) work-capacity. Repeated use of CNS stimulants depletes brain catecholamines and decreases conditioned reflexes. In contrast, with extracts of R. rosea, the initial increase in work-capacity is followed by a lesser diminution, such that the work-capacity continues to be above average.70

Animal studies suggest mechanisms that may be involved in these effects. R. rosea increased essential energy metabolites, adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and creatine phosphate in the muscle and brain mitochondria in mice made to swim to their limit.71 It may also enhance the ammonia reassimilation and energy metabolism of the cell by increasing ATP, ribonucleic acid (RNA), protein, and amino acid synthesis.72 In animal studies, R. rosea increased metabolism of fats twice as much as eleuthero73 and improved energy metabolism in the brain during intensive muscular workloads.74

Previous Section: Rhodiola Rosea Effects On Central Nervous System
Next Section: Rhodiola Rosea’s Anti-Stress, Adaptogenic and Neuroendocrine Effects
Table of Contents: Rhodiola Rosea: A Phytomedicinal Overview
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