Less Stress, More Stamina
While Rhodiola rosea is known to reduce stress by reducing the negative effects of cortisol, it also leads to dramatic increases in stamina.
The plant is an alkaloid-packed succulent that grows in colder regions of the world, including much of the arctic. For centuries, Russians and Scandinavians have used Rhodiola to help adapt to the horribleness of living in a cold, ball-curdling climate. That's why it, and other related plants, are commonly referred to as adaptogens.
Scientists are intrigued by the plant and have conducted numerous experiments where Rhodiola enabled rats to tread water much longer than their unfortunate Rhodiola-free companions.
So it's fair to assume Rhodiola would be a good thing to take if you were about to board a vastly overcrowded third-world ferry, but what about any applications beyond that? What about applications to humans? We may have an answer.
Some Belgian researchers tested the effects of 200 mg. on human endurance and the results were pretty impressive:
- The researchers recruited 24 fit Belgian students.
- They first determined their endurance capacity on a "cyclometer."
- They then repeated the test twice, once an hour after taking 200 mg. of rhodiola, and once an hour after they'd taken a placebo.
- Rhodiola increased their time to exhaustion by an average of 3 percent (although one test subject increased endurance by 9.7 percent).
Maybe 3 percent doesn't sound like much, but to anyone competing in a timed event, 3 percent can translate to the difference between first place and last place. In fact, that 3 percent increase was regarded as so dramatic that the researchers actually said the effects reminded them of amphetamines.
In Phase II of the experiment, the subjects were given daily doses of Rhodiola for 4 weeks to see if the endurance-enhancing effects would dissipate. They didn't.
That means that it's not necessary to take it every day to benefit from it. Just take 2 capsules of Rhodiola an hour before running, swimming, or even weight training if you're lifting routine relies heavily on endurance.
- De Bock K1, Eijnde BO, Ramaekers M, Hespel P. "Acute Rhodiola rosea intake can improve endurance exercise performance." Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2004 Jun;14(3):298-307.