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Rhodiola for Adrenal Fatigue

  • It has anti-stress properties.
  • However, Rhodiola also acts as a stimulant, which is not helpful for adrenal fatigue.
  • It can be risky for more advanced cases

Rhodiola Rosea is a herb included in many adrenal fatigue supplements.

Rhodiola has been shown to help with symptoms of Burnout Syndrome , which closely matches the symptoms of adrenal fatigue1.

The problem is that it can also act as a stimulant. With adrenal fatigue, anything that provides you with a boost in energy ..... may result in a crash.

Here is a quote from the someone on the adrenal fatigue forum at Curezone.com:

  My experiences with Rhodiola usually make me feel great and then bad (crash?).... 10

I had the exact same experience with Rhodiola back in 2007. I felt great for about one week, then crashed and felt even worse.

There are safer adrenal fatigue treatment options.

Rhodiola as a Stimulant

Before discussing some of the positive anti-stress affects of rhodiola, let's review how it is a stimulant.

Some of the benefits of Rhodiola come from it's ability to act as a stimulant. People often experience increased energy, improved mood, increased libido.2

In one study completed on 35 men with low libido, 74% experience an increase in sexual performance2. The men also experienced an increase in 17-ketosteroids, which are an indication of increased adrenal output2,5.

The above study explains my own experience with Rhodiola. I had a pleasant increase in libido, followed by your typical adrenal fatigue crash. A temporary boost in energy as a result of stimulation is not really a great adrenal fatigue treatment plan.

Some people experience more immediate signs of stimulation:

  Some people are sensitive to the stimulating effects of Rhodiola rosea; they say that feel agitated, jittery, or wired when taking the herb.2

If you were in an early stage of adrenal fatigue, you may be able to handle the stimulation without crashing. However, by the time you end up on the Internet searching for answers, you are no longer in an early stage.

You can try it. But watch out for signs of stimulation.

By the way .... if you are not very familiar with the stages of adrenal fatigue, please see the article: Stages of Adrenal Fatigue.

Rhodiola as an Anti-Stress Herb

  • Rhodiola has anti-stress properties
  • But are the anti-stress benefits the result of stimulation?

There is also research showing that Rhodiola Rosea works well as an anti-stress herb, which should be beneficial for adrenal fatigue.

One study used 60 humans between the ages of 20-55 years old, all of which suffered from stress related fatigue. 30 individuals in the group were 576 mg of Rhodiola extract/day. Compared to the placebo group, the group using Rhodiola experienced a significant drop in morning cortisol levels1.

A study completed on mice found that Rhodiola reduced anxiety type behavior and behavior related to depression8. However, the same study also found stimulating effects from Rhodiola Rosea.

Another study exposed female rats to mild, but chronic stress. Those exposed to chronic mild stress showed signs of depression (reduced desire for sucrose), reduced movement, as well as irregularities in their oestrous cycle. Treating the mice with Rhodiola reversed all of these stress induced changes.7

Now..... Nicotine has also been shown to reduce stress induced depression in rats9. It does this by stimulation.

If the anti-stress benefits of Rhodiola are the result of stimulation, is it really a good option for adrenal fatigue treatment?

Your increased ability to handle stress may come at a long-term cost.

Summary

Using Rhodiola for adrenal fatigue is risky, especially for advanced cases. The stimulating effects are like playing with fire.

If your adrenal fatigue is not too advanced, you may be able to handle this stimulation for a while.

There is just not enough evidence how it eliminates stress induced depression and anxiety. If it is forcing your adrenal glands to produce more, like it did for the men who experienced increased libido2, is that going to back-fire?

That is what happened to me. I experienced increased libido, mood and energy, only to experience a crash.

If you would like to try Rhodiola Rosea yourself, you will recover from a crash if it happens. Crashes never seem to be permanent for anyone with adrenal fatigue. But they can make life more unpleasant for several weeks.


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References

1. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the standardized extract shr-5 of the roots of Rhodiola rosea in the treatment of subjects with stress-related fatigue
2. The Rhodiola Revolution: Transform Your Health with the Herbal Breakthrough of the 21st Century
3. Curezone post. User hope4myadrenals
4. A pilot study of Rhodiola rosea (Rhodax) for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
5. 17-ketosteroids
6. The adaptogens rhodiola and schizandra modify the response to immobilization stress in rabbits by suppressing the increase of phosphorylated stress-activated protein kinase, nitric oxide and cortisol.
7. Effects of Rhodiola rosea L. extract on behavioural and physiological alterations induced by chronic mild stress in female rats.
8. Adaptogenic and central nervous system effects of single doses of 3% rosavin and 1% salidroside Rhodiola rosea L. extract in mice
9. Nicotine reverses anhedonic-like response and cognitive impairment in the rat chronic mild stress model of depression: comparison with sertraline
10. Curezone.com post: Rhodiola

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