The Effects Of Rhodiola Rosea on Exercise Endurance Capacity

THE EFFECTS OF RHODIOLA ROSEA ON EXERCISE ENDURANCE CAPACITY 

Study Design: randomized double-blind crossover

Author Information  ERIC E NOREEN, JAMES G. BUCKLEY, STEPHANIE LEWIS, JOSEF, BRANDAUER, KRISTIN STUEMPFLE

Department of Health Sciences, Gettysburg College, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA

Background

The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of an acute oral dose of 3 mg·kg(-1) of Rhodiola rosea on endurance exercise performance, perceived exertion, mood, and cognitive function.  

Methods

Subjects (n = 18) ingested either Rhodiola rosea or a carbohydrate placebo 1 hour before testing in a double-blind, random crossover manner. Exercise testing consisted of a standardized 10-minute warm-up followed by a 6-mile time trial (TT) on a bicycle ergometer. Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) was measured every 5 minutes during the TT using a 10-point Borg scale. Blood lactate concentration, salivary cortisol, and salivary alpha amylase were measured before warm-up, 2 minutes after warm-up, and 2 minutes after TT (n = 15). A Profile of Mood States questionnaire and a Stroop Color Test were completed before warm-up and after TT. Testing was repeated 2-7 days later with the other condition. 

Results

Rhodiola rosea ingestion significantly decreased heart rate during the standardized warm-up (R. rosea = 136 ± 17 b·min(-1); placebo = 140 ± 17 b·min(-1); mean ± SD; p = 0.001). Subjects completed the TT significantly faster after R. rosea ingestion (R. rosea = 25.4 ± 2.7 minutes; placebo = 25.8 ± 3.0 minutes; p = 0.037). The mean RPE was lower in the Rhodiola rosea trial (R. rosea = 6.0 ± 0.9; placebo = 6.6 ± 1.0; p = 0.04). This difference was even more pronounced when a ratio of the RPE relative to the workload was calculated (Rhodiola rosea = 0.048 ± 0.01; placebo = 0.057 ± 0.02; p = 0.007). No other statistically significant differences were observed. A

Conclusions

Acute Rhodiola rosea ingestion decreases heart rate response to submaximal exercise and appears to improve endurance exercise performance by decreasing the perception of effort.

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