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Maybe you’re burned out on the work-from home routine, the remote-learning-and-teaching your-kiddos scene, or just the not-seeing-your-family-and friends-for-a-year-now fatigue? Maybe you’re feeling stressed, depressed, and anxious, or a combo of all three and you’re coping the best you can… for now. But what if I told you could flip the script with the help from a supplement called Rhodiola rosea? As an adaptogenic herb, rhodiola can help your body adapt to all kinds of stress, both physical and mental 1 When life packs a punch, “rholl” with the punches with rhodiola, and send stress (and all that comes with it) packing.
If one problem in your life is burnout, let one solution be rhodiola. Resulting from chronic work-related stress and characterized by feelings of exhaustion or energy depletion, negative or cynical feelings related to a job, and reduced productivity, burnout can take a major toll on mental health—and it’s becoming more common.
A new survey from FlexJobs and Mental Health America reported that 75 percent of workers have experienced burnout, and 40 percent of those polled said it was a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.2 3 So, what can be done about it? While the Mayo Clinic recommends sleep and relaxation as treatment, rhodiola offers a targeted, synergistic approach.4
A recent clinical trial was the first to explore the outcomes of treating patients suffering from burnout with rhodiola, with promising results. The trial included 68 patients with self reported symptoms of burnout, including anxiety, exhaustion, irritability, tension, and “lack of joy.” The participants took 200 mg of rhodiola twice daily for three months and were assessed at weeks one, four, eight, and 12. The patients had clear improvements, with improvements in exhaustion seen in just the first week. Over the course of the study, there were also improvements in lack of joy, emotional exhaustion, and irritability, which continued to improve up to the end of the study.5
Burnout /'b rn,out/:
Resulting from chronic work-related stress and characterized by feelings of exhaustion or energy depletion, negative or cynical feelings related to a job, and reduced productivity.
A study investigating the effects of rhodiola on stress in 101 stressed out adults found that 200 mg of rhodiola twice daily for four weeks alleviated stress to a “clinically relevant degree,” with some seeing results and improvements after just three days. Improvements in stress symptoms continued to be observed after one week and upon completion of the four-week study. The researchers wrote, “Rhodiola extract at a dose of 200 mg twice daily for 4 weeks is safe and effective in improving life-stress symptoms to a clinically relevant degree.”6 7
Physicians working night shifts also benefited from rhodiola, according to another study. The subjects—described as 56 “young, healthy physicians”—were given tests to determine the effect that working late nights had on overall fatigue, short-term memory, ability to concentrate, and speed of audio-visual perception. The result of the two-week, double-blind study showed that 170 mg of rhodiola once a day helped with mental weariness and performance on work-related tasks, noting that “These results suggest that (rhodiola) can reduce general fatigue under certain stressful conditions.”8
One way that rhodiola helps the body adapt to stress is by decreasing or preventing hormonal changes tied to prolonged stress, and is able to balance the stress hormone cortisol.9 High cortisol levels over an extended period of time contributes to accelerated aging, higher levels of psychosocial stress, poorer cognitive performance and atrophy of memory-related structures of the brain, weight gain, and exhaustion.
A 2015 study evaluated the impact of rhodiola extract on self-reported anxiety, stress, and other mood symptoms. Mildly anxious participants took 200 mg of rhodiola twice daily, before breakfast and before lunch. After 14 days, the experimental group saw a significant reduction in anxiety, stress, anger, confusion, and depression, and improvements in total mood.11
Another small pilot study found that supplementing with 360 mg of rhodiola daily for 10 weeks led to significant improvements in symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and a reduction in the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HARS) score.12
Rhodiola is also a natural remedy to combat depression. Rhodiola extract helped repair damaged neurons in the hippocampus and increased serotonin levels, returning them to normal levels, in depressive rodent models.13 14
For many doctors practicing functional medicine, rhodiola is often recommended as an e‑ ective natural alternative to antidepressant medications.15 It is thought that rhodiola positively affects mood by supporting normal neurotransmitter levels (including dopamine and serotonin) in parts of the brain involved in the regulation of mood, anxiety, and emotions.16 Life these days can pack a serious punch. Rhodiola helps you roll with the punches a little better and, perhaps, a little more smoothly. And according to the research, can begin to help in just a few days, and without any serious side effects. Are you ready to ride the waves of life with rhodiola?
As we age, our immune function declines in a process known as immune senescence, and we gradually lose the ability to mount a robust immune response to infection and physiological challenges.
Immune senescence reveals weaknesses in the body’s defenses that pathogens can exploit, making us more susceptible to infections, autoimmune diseases, less able to produce a healthy immune response to vaccinations, more prone to the reactivation of latent viruses, and to cancer.
Research has found that rhodiola enhances immune function, exhibits an antiviral effect against certain viruses, including influenza, and can inhibit the growth of a variety of human cancer cell lines.17