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Rhodiola Rosea: Improves Performance and Regulates Fat Metabolism

Rhoddiola rosea increased the breakdown of triglycerides stored in fat tissue by stimulating lipolysis and reducing perilipins to produce energy in the mitochondria.

Dr. Richard P. Brown M.D.
Dr. Patricia L. Gerbarg M.D.
Rhodiola Revolution: A Phyto-medical Overview

Rhodiola Rosea, commonly known as golden root is part of a family of plants called Crassulaceae.  Found in artic areas of Europe and Asia, this herb has been a part of traditional medicine of Russia for centuries. Valued for its ability to improve endurance, enhance immunity, muscle performance, depression, mental fatigue and impotency. It is however, best known for it’s ability to heightened the body’s response to stress, and acts as a weight and fat loss supplement via its ability to reduce cortisol (the muscle wasting and fat storing hormone) levels. As cited by Drs. Zakir Ramazanoy and Maria del Mar Bernal Suarez, two esteemed Russian biochemist there are more than 200 species of Rhodiola.  Rhodiola Rosea  is the most active form due to concentrations of 4 key chemicals , rosavin, rosin, rosarin and salidroside, with salidroside being  the least active.

The Classification

Classified as a adaptogen (a compound that assists the body in regulating stress), Rhodiola has been a source of rejuvenation by Russian power lifters for years. Studies indicate that Rhodiola stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system that causes relaxation.  The parasympathetic nervous system conserves and restores energy by slowing the heart and respiratory rate.  It also reduces metabolism during episodes of physical and mental stress, enabling you to expend more energy , while preserving energy reserves . Rhodiola Rosea also accelerates the activity of simulative brain chemicals like monoamines and opioid peptides, better known as beta-endorphins.  Endorphins are brain chemicals that help you withstand pain and maintain feelings of euphoria and exhilaration.

Bottom line here, your energy levels skyrocket , your workout performance improves, while increasing your attention span and mental focus. In a recent related study, researchers at Harvard University School of Depression and Clinical Research concluded that Rhodiola Rosea is a viable alternative in treating lethargic complications as a result of depression and should be utilized with conventional medications to augment there effectiveness.

Also, in a recent double blind placebo controlled study, researchers at the department of Physical Education  and Physiotherapy at the Eath0leke Universiteit Leuvew   in Belgium, administered 200mg/d  of Rhodiola rosea for 4 weeks to subjects. They reported a marked improvement over baseline in all categories examined, which included physical capacity, muscle strength, speed of limb movements, reaction time and attention span, as well as improvement in VO 2 peak measurements. As you know this measurement looks at exercise intensity as it is progressively increased. By looking at ventilation, oxygen and carbon dioxide concentration of inhaled air.VO2 peak max is reached when oxygen consumption remains at a steady state despite an increased workload.

The Anabolic and Fat Burning Effect

Soviet scientist discovered decades ago that Rhodiola Rosea also improved speed, strength and muscle density. When compared to anabolic steroids it produced comparable results  in accelerating  protein  synthesis. Increase in muscle mass fibers have also been attributed to the increased work capacity that Rhodiola affords power lifters. Additionally, muscle to fat ratio is improved by this compounds ability to stimulate lipogenic (fat burning) activity. More specifically, the body extracts stored fat in fatty tissue by a enzyme called  hormone-sensitive lipase. Rhodiola Rosea plays a key role in the activation of this enzyme. Researchers in Bulgaria found that Rhodiola Rosea causes the biosynthesis of three critical hormones: epinephrine, norepinephrine and adrenocorticotropic hormones.  These hormones stimulate a compound called cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) in fat cells, which essentially wakes up the hormone sensitive lipase enzyme, signaling the body to use excess fat as an energy source.

Fat Blocking

Current studies indicate that Rhodiola Rosea is as effective as drugs like Xenical (Orlistat), known as lipase inhibitors.  They work by preventing the absorption of fat in the gastrointestinal tract. With the help of Rhodiola Rosea the enzyme pancreatic triglyceride metabolizes fat in foods much more efficiently, thus minimizing their absorption.  High levels of chemicals known as caffeic, chlorogenic and gallic acids found in Rhodiola  also have strong fat blocking capabilities.

Special Note: When fatty acids are metabolized more efficiently, energy is enhanced and increased oxygen content within the bloodstream ,via the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and CP (creatine phosphate) in the cells mitochondria .  Besides fat burning, you will experience faster recovery times, increased muscle strength and work load capacity.

Suggested Dose: 200mg one half hour before breakfast and 200mg one half hour before lunch  (400mg/d) of Rhodiola rosea adding 100mg to 200mg of Rhododendron Caucasicum right before breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This regimen is suggested due to research that shows that Rhodiola Rosea is best absorbed 20 to 30 minutes before eating , while Rhodiola Caucassicum  reduces fat absorption more efficiently when take right before a meal.


About the Author


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