When you talk about adaptogens, the first thing that you probably think of is Ginseng because hey, it’s become really popular nowadays. You’ve also probably heard about Ashwagandha which is also another herb with adaptogenic value that’s been recently making waves on the supplement market.
What you probably haven’t heard of though, is Rhodiola Rosea. Despite not being as famous as Ginseng and Ashwagandha, you better believe me when I say that this herb right here is legendary. Rhodiola Rosea has some pretty solid research backing it up so I’m jumping on this herb’s train. With this review, I’ll show you why you should be joining the bandwagon, too.
WHY TEST BOOSTER SUPPLEMENTS USE RHODIOLA ROSEA
To put it simply, that’s because Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogen and testosterone boosters love using adaptogens. By now you might be wondering what adaptogens are. Well, according to this article, adaptogens are medicinal substances that cause “a state of nonspecifically increased resistance”.
Mother Nature has actually given us quite a lot of adaptogens to choose from like different ginsengs, maca, ashwagandha, etcetera. Which then begs the question, why Rhodiola Rosea? Out of all the adaptogens, what makes it so special? The answer, my friend, is that it is legendary. Allow me to show you a glimpse of how this legend came to be by giving a short history lesson.
The History of Rhodiola Rosea
From the ancient Greek, Scandinavians, Mongolians, and even The Vikings, Rhodiola Rosea has been held with great importance. In Siberia, the people believed that taking Rhodiola Rosea would allow them to live to 100 years old.
In places where life forms find it hard to flourish such as high mountains with strong, freezing winds that sweep even the heavy rocks, Rhodiola Rosea manages to strive. Despite its toughness though, Rhodiola Rosea grows a small but brightly colored flower, showing the world that there can be beauty in rough terrain.
As the Siberians learned how to cultivate this mighty herb, they were also able to study it for improving their health. Later on, KGB (the Soviet Union’s main security agency back in 1954) integrated Rhodiola Rosea into their operations which helped them carry on with difficult missions.
After the Soviet Union was disbanded, their studies on Rhodiola Rosea slowly became known to the public and the legend of this resilient adaptogen lives on.
Man, what a story, right? The past civilizations were on to something good when they were harvesting Rhodiola Rosea. In testosterone boosters, Rhodiola Rosea sort of imbues the user with the same ruggedness it has by helping to counter the effects of stress through a number of reasons.
STUDIES ON RHODIOLA ROSEA SUGGEST:
Increase Antioxidant Capacity
A research was done to investigate the effects of chronic Rhodiola Rosea supplementation on mental and physical performance, as well as hormonal and oxidative stress biomarkers. The study was conducted by giving healthy male students either 600 mg/day or Rhodiola Rosea or a placebo for 4 weeks. Measurements before and after the supplementation period were taken for comparison. These measurements included the following:
- Hormonal profile – cortisol, testosterone, and growth hormone
- Oxidative stress biomarkers – lipid hydroperoxides, total antioxidant capacity, and superoxide dismutase
- Muscle damage – creatine kinase
To cut the long story short, the results of the study show that none of the measured hormones were affected by Rhodiola Rosea supplementation. However, a higher antioxidant capacity was also observed in the group supplementing with Rhodiola Rosea. Furthermore, the research concluded by saying that “Rhodiola Rosea ingestion does not affect physical performance, but can improve the results of some psychomotor tests (simple and choice reaction time)“.
Protect testosterone levels from fatigue and exercise
Here we have a research that tests whether a Rhodiola-Ginko capsulated supplement (RGC) would enhance the endurance performance of healthy volunteers and change relevant hormones in a favorable manner. The method by which this research was conducted was similar to the previous research.
The researchers divided their participants into two groups of either RGC supplementation or placebo. The RGC group had to take 4 capsules a day of 270 mg herbal extracts and both groups were in the experiment for 7 weeks. Baseline and endpoint measurements of endurance performance, serum testosterone and cortisol levels were also taken. These are their results:
- The RGC group had greater VO2max (maximal oxygen uptake) compared to the placebo
- Cortisol levels remained unchanged in the RGC group whereas the placebo had much higher levels
- Testosterone to cortisol ratio in the RGC group was indifferent whereas the placebo group had lower testosterone levels
Typically during long-term exercise, cortisol levels shoot up while simultaneously dropping levels of testosterone. This imbalance in hormones isn’t conducive to an internal anabolic environment. As seen in these results, Rhodiola Rosea (and Ginko Biloba) was able to prevent this hormonal imbalance by maintaining levels of cortisol and testosterone. Additionally, Rhodiola Rosea also seems to be able to enhance stamina.
Similar results were reciprocated in another research that studied the effects of saldroside (a bioactive compound in Rhodiola Rosea) on the function and change of hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis of male rats in intensive exercise. The rats were divided into three groups:
- Non-stress control – Received no stimulus whatsoever and only had saline solution
- Training control – Underwent increasing load on the treadmill an saline solution
- Salidroside treatment – Same exercise as training control but with salidroside administration
In summary, testosterone levels were lower in the training control group as compared to the salidroside treatment and non-stress control group. Corticosterone (stress hormone) was also higher in the training control group compared to the salidroside treatment and non-stress groups. The research concluded with a statement saying that “Salidroside therapy has protective effect on the HPG axis“.
Anti estrogen potential
A research was done to determine whether Rhodiola Rosea (Standardized to 3% rosavins: 1% salidrosides) had estrogenic potential. There isn’t much detail as to how they conducted the study but what I do know, is that this was done on female rats. Anyway, here are the results:
- dose-dependent inhibition of estradiol
- no reduction in LH
Again, the goal of the study was to find out if Rhodiola Rosea had any estrogenic potential. As the results of the study show, not only did Rhodiola Rosea fail to produce this potential, it actually even showed the opposite in that it lowers levels of estriadol – a notorious testosterone killer. As the conclusion of the study says, Rhodiola Rosea did “not potentiate estrogen action” and even “increase(d) metabolism of E2 (estriadol)”.
How Do I Take RHODIOLA ROSEA?
Rhodiola Rosea as a supplement can basically come in 2 forms.
- Plain – Obviously, this is just dried and ground up Rhodiola Rosea that comes in powdered form.
- Standardized – This is what you should be looking for. This form specifically extracted the bioactive compounds found in Rhodiola Rosea which makes it better absorbed and utilized by our bodies.
Furthermore, my personal suggestion on standardized Rhodiola Rosea is 3% rosavins, 1% salidrosides because this extract has been clinically studied to be effective. However, different brands and manufacturers use a wide variety of forms of this herb and thus, the effective dosage also changes.
On average, 200 – 600 mg per day looks to be fine although, I’d advise you to start on the lower dosages first and then gradually move your way up as you sort of feel your way through Rhodiola Rosea supplmentation.
Based on the researches above, I can personally say that Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogen like no other. See, when a testosterone booster adds some kind of adaptogen to their stack, the most obvious reason is that they wanted a supplement that can lower levels of cortisol after an intense workout which theoretically then leads to higher levels of testosterone. Rhodiola Rosea doesn’t seem to do that. Well, sort of.
What Rhodiola Rosea does though, is nothing. Well, not technically but that’s what makes it so unique. It doesn’t lower cortisol nor does it raise testosterone. Instead, it maintains the levels of these said hormones as if you didn’t undergo any kind of physical stress at all. Like the sturdy plant that it is, Rhodiola Rosea turns you and your hormones into highly resistant beings that shrugs off stress like it was nothing.
Additionally, it also seems capable of lowering estrogen especially in older men. But of course, maintaining a healthy balance of cortisol, testosterone, and estrogen probably isn’t going to get you over the top of your anabolic plateau. Rhodiola Rosea alone will make you resistant to stress but it won’t make you the most muscular guy in the world. As such, Rhodiola Rosea to me, doesn’t seem like a very good stand alone muscle builder but combined with other natural testosterone and muscle boosters, it could make a world of difference.
TESTOSTERONE BOOSTERS THAT USE RHODIOLA ROSEA
- MuscleTest – A PCT to maintain muscle and testosterone which includes Rhodiola Rosea in one of its prop blends
- Anabolic Freak – Uses Rhodiola Rosea standardized for 3% Rosavins and 1% Salidrosides at 50 mg
- Test HP – Uses another standardized form of Rhodiola Rosea at 1% Rosavins and 3% Salidroside
- Halotropin – This one includes Rhodiola Rosea standardized to a minimum of 3% Rosavins in a lowly dosed prop blend
- Activate Xtreme – A well-rounded testosterone booster that has Rhodiola Rosea root extract