Today, we’re shining a spotlight on one lesser-known supplement that, in our opinion, is very underrated: rhodiola.
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Scientifically known as rhodiola rosea, or you may have heard it referred to as the ‘golden root’, rhodiola derives from the cold, mountainous regions of Europe and Asia. It’s a non-toxic plant that boats more than 140 active ingredients, the two most potent being rosavin and salidroside. Rhodiola’s roots are considered adaptogens, which have been found to help the body adapt to stress. They are able to ‘adapt’ what they do based on your body’s needs; for example, research shows they can help calm you when you’re under stress and improve energy when fatigued.
It’s literally rooted in history, rhodiola has been used in Russia and Scandinavian for centuries to help treat anxiety, fatigue and depression. Today, it’s widely used as a dietary supplement for its many health benefits.
In general, adaptogens help your body to better handle stress and they do this through supporting the delicate relationship between your brain and hormone system. Need convincing? Let the impressive results from multiple studies speaks for themselves…
One study investigated the effects of rhodiola extract in 101 people with life and work-related stress. Participants were given 400 mg per day for four weeks. It found significant improvements in symptoms of stress, such as fatigue, exhaustion and anxiety, after just three days.
Rhodiola has also been shown to improve symptoms of burnout, which can occur with chronic stress, which let’s be honest, most of us have struggled with over the past year. In another study, 118 people with stress-related burnout consumed rhodiola, consequently observing reduced stress levels.
For a natural supplement, rhodiola sure packs a punch. Below are a few of the many science-backed benefits associated with rhodiola.
Struggle to get the recommended eight hours shut-eye? Consider adding rhodiola to your daily routine for a good night’s sleep. Stress, anxiety and inadequate sleep are just a few factors that can contribute to tiredness, which can cause feelings of physical and mental tiredness. Due to its adaptogenic properties, rhodiola helps to alleviate chronic fatigue.
Improves brain function
Like sleep, exercise and a balanced diet all contribute to healthy brain function. Good news: rhodiola further enhances the benefits of all three! One targeted study, tested its effects on mental fatigue in 56 physicians working night duty. Here’s where it gets interesting! The physicians were randomly assigned to receive either 170 mg of rhodiola or a placebo pill per day for two weeks. Amazingly rhodiola reduced mental fatigue and improved performance on work-related tasks by 20 percent, compared to the placebo.
Whether you’re a gym junkie or keen to get your workout groove back, rhodiola may give you the extra push you need. It’s been found to improve exercise performance in professional athletes. We know a lot of exercise endurance is mental, well evidence suggests it helps to decrease ‘perceived’ exhaustion, leading to improved performance.
Boosts mental health
Adaptogens can greatly assist in helping many ailments, deficiencies and symptoms. 16 per cent of adult New Zealanders have been diagnosed with a mental disorder at some point in their lives, and combined with a vitamin or mineral deficiency the problem can be exacerbated. While rhodiola won’t specifically treat conditions like depression or anxiety, they can provide an incredible boost to your recovery or ongoing mental health.