Rhodiola: Stress Eliminator… Mood Enhancer

Rhodiola rosea’s health benefits are so wide reaching that Richard P. Brown MD., professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, decided to write a whole book dedicated to this stress fighting herb.

In his book, The Rhodiola Revolution, Dr. Brown mentions he prescribes Rhodiola for a wide number of health conditions including: hormonal imbalance, weight loss, sexual vitality, immune defense and most importantly, for stress and mood disorders.

The stories he tells of how patients who were once depressed, fatigued and lethargic become interested in life again after taking between 300mg and 400mg of Rhodiola rosea are truly amazing.

Below is a breakdown of some the ways rhodiola interacts with your body.

*Stimulates the production of ATP and CP, this is essential to providing fuel to your body at the cellular level.

*Limits the release of excess Cortisol, this helps reduce burnout and can stop the stress cycle. This can also prevent fat from accumulating around the belly area.

*Supports the parasympathetic nervous system: This allows for the proper replenishment of our body’s energy reserves.

* Supports RNA and DNA in muscle cells: This helps the cells produce the proteins that lead to cellular repair.

*Increases the production of serotonin and dopamine: These are the neurotransmitters that antidepressants target, helping to improve mood and motivation.

*Supports the metabolism of fat for energy: Rhodiola can act as the ignition to ensure that your cells are actually burning fat for energy instead of storing this fat for a rainy day.

The Stress – Energy Connection…

Every thought, action, or emotion uses energy. And each cell produces its own energy through the mitochondria (structures that convert nutrients into energy). These cells store energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and CP (creatine phosphate).

The instructions for producing ATP and CP are encoded in our DNA. When the mitochondria generate enough ATP and CP, we have plenty of energy necessary to function optimally. But when our mitochondria cannot keep up with our cell’s demands… we end up with what Dr. Brown calls an “energy crisis”.

A stress response, no matter what the cause, releases a hormonal cascade (including the release of cortisol) that is highly energy intensive. Stress does this by activating our sympathetic nervous system.

For example, if you hear a loud sound late at night in your home, it is likely to lead to a stress response, and a huge release of energy. But once you find out it was just your husband getting a late night snack, you can relax, go back to bed and recuperate.

However, in today’s world we seem to be in a state of chronic stress, where we aren’t completely letting this go, leading to a situation where we are not replenishing, and using up energy we do not have. This leads to fatigue, depression, overeating, and makes us vulnerable to many diseases.

In order to avoid this energy crisis, shutting down the stress response is only half of the equation. What we need is to be able to replenish by activating the parasympathetic nervous system. This system reduces energy expenditure by slowing down the heart and breathing rates and by calming the brain.

And if you remember how Rhodiola rosea interacts with the body, you can easily see how it helps mitigate the effects of stress. It both reduces the stress response in the first place AND aids the system responsible for replenishment. This is core to why this herb is so effective.

Rhodiola and Anxiety, a study

Researchers at UCLA wanted to see if rhodiola at a dosage of 340mg could help with general anxiety disorder. What they did was recruit subjects from the UCLA Anxiety Disorders Program. They gave subjects an assessment called the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HARS). This is the gold standard for General Anxiety Disorder (GAD).

The subjects were then given rhodiola and were tested 10 weeks later. The results were that those who did in fact take rhodiola had significantly lower scores on this HARS index. Meaning that it appears this dosage of rhodiola appears to reduce general anxiety* (something very hard to treat).

Not all rhodiola is created equal

When deciding how to find rhodiola that works, first you have to make sure it is it Rhodiola rosea. There are over 200 species of rhodiola and rosea is the only species involved in the research.

Second, you need to make sure it is standardized to 3% rosavins (rosavin, rosin, and rosarin all in combination) and about 1% salidroside.

You also want to make sure you are getting it from the right source. Most of the research (rhodiola has been the subject of over 190 studies over a 40 year period) is based on Rhodiola rosea root from Siberia, and more specifically from the Altai mountain region. Because of knock offs, the Russian government actually is involved in licensing this source.

You also want to make sure the extraction method yields a “fingerprint” composition that consistently provides the spectrum of nutrients found in the root of the plant that is responsible for its biological activity.

RealDose has found only one source of the extract that meets these standards, and that is Rhodiolife from Polinat out of Spain. This is why 340mg of this form of Rhodiola rosea is included in each daily serving of Weight Loss Formula No.1. Thus ensuring your energy and mood levels are high… while your stress levels are low as you embark on getting to (and maintaining) your ideal weight for life.

Steve Sisskind, M.D.

Hi, I'm Dr. Steve Sisskind, Chief Medical Officer & Founder at RealDose Nutrition.

As a young physician, I struggled because my patients came to me with serious health issues, but I didn't have the right tools to help them. Medical school taught me how to put "band aids" on their symptoms with drugs and surgery, but not how to address the root causes of their problems.

Years later I discovered a better approach... based on the fundamental idea that the power of nutrition can transform your health and vitality. But there's a lot of confusion... What foods should I eat? Which supplements should I take? What does the science say?

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****Bystritsky A, Kerwin L, Feusner JD. A pilot study of Rhodiola rosea (Rhodax) for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). J Altern Complement Med 2008;14:175-80.

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