Rhodiola – also known as Arctic root and golden root – is an herb that balances stress hormones in the brain. Its extract can stimulate receptors in the brain that are associated with a happy, relaxed mood. Rhodiola has also been shown to increase levels of natural endorphins that are associated with feelings of euphoria and stress reduction.

Benefits of Rhodiola Supplementation

Rhodiola has been used in Europe, Asia, and Russia for centuries, dating as far back as ancient Greece. Traditionally, it was used for fertility, cancer, physical strength, and headaches. Rhodiola was officially named in 1725 and is now studied heavily in Russia.

Mild Anxiety, Depression, and Stress

Clinical research in these areas is still young, but incredibly promising. It works by limiting the production of stress hormones that lead to feeling burnt out, without the side effects associated with prescription medications. The most promising effects are seen in mild to moderate depressive and anxiety disorders – more so that almost any other natural supplement.


Rhodiola has stimulant effects that are milder than caffeine, but still noticeable. The gentle effects rhodiola have on the brain can reduce the feelings of exhaustion caused by stress and chronic fatigue, both mental and physical. These effects are possible through the same mechanism that allows rhodiola to reduce feelings of anxiety and stress.

Rhodiola may also help with muscle fatigue associated with prolonged physical exercise by reducing the levels of lactate and creatine kinase. Improvements are noted only in association with exhaustive exercise, but in both average and physically fit subjects alike.

Emerging Research

Rhodiola may actually protect the brain from toxins. Recent research also suggests that rhodiola may be able to reduce binge eating caused by stress. For those trying to reduce or eliminate caffeine from their diets, rhodiola supplementation is reported to ease the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal.

Where Can I get Rhodiola?

Rhodiola supplements are available at most health and whole food stores, supplement chains, and of course through online retailers.

One report published in the UK found that some Rhodiola supplements were diluted or contained additives not advertised. Since the FDA does not regulate supplements in the United States, it is important to research the brand of supplement and their testing methods to verify purity before starting a regimen.

Do I Need A Rhodiola Supplement?

Rhodiola is not an element that the body needs in order to function properly. That being said, rhodiola is a promising option for those wishing to pursue natural, more gentle treatment options for fatigue, stress, and anxiety – reducing symptoms by up to 50% and resulting in a much higher reported level of general well being across the board.

How Much Rhodiola Do I Need?

The current recommended dosage of Rhodiola depends on what the goal of treatment is, and may be subject to change with more research. All dosage levels are associated with Rhodiola extract as opposed to Rhodiola root powder (which requires much higher dosages).

For acute, short-term treatment for fatigue and stress symptoms, dosages of 250-680mg of Rhodiola extract daily are recommended. The overall effectiveness of higher dosages seems to decrease after 4-6 weeks, at which point a maintenance level is recommended. Dosages higher than 680mg were not effective in clinical trials, suggesting a bell-curve for effectiveness.

As a preventative/maintenance treatment for fatigue, Rhodiola has shown effective in daily dosages as low as 50mg. Most clinical studies, however, used dosages ranging from 100mg-600mg.

What are the side effects of rhodiola?

Research is still young on this natural supplement, but thus far side effects while taking rhodiola are uncommon. They are mild and may include headache or insomnia, due to its mild stimulatory effects. Research has not yet evaluated the safety and effectiveness of rhodiola during pregnancy, so use while pregnant is not advised.

Are There Any Medications or Supplements I Shouldn’t Take With Rhodiola?

Drug interactions with Rhodiola supplements are rare, but possible. Review the below listing of medications and supplements before starting a Rhodiola supplement regimen.

Escitalopram (Lexapro)

Theoretically, concurrent use of escitalopram with rhodiola might raise levels of escitalopram and increase the risk of adverse effects. In one case report, a patient taking the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) escitalopram with rhodiola experienced significant tachyarrhythmia. Escitalopram is partially metabolized by CYP3A4, and rhodiola inhibits this isozyme.

Herbs and Supplements with Hypoglycemic Potential

Theoretically, rhodiola might have additive effects when used with other herbs and supplements that also lower glucose levels. In vitro and animal research shows that rhodiola can lower blood glucose levels. This might increase the risk of hypoglycemia.

Some herbs and supplements with hypoglycemic effects include alpha-lipoic acid, bitter melon, chromium, devil’s claw, fenugreek, garlic, guar gum, horse chestnut, Panax ginseng, psyllium, Siberian ginseng, and others.

Herbs and Supplements with Hypotensive Effects

Theoretically, combining rhodiola with other herbs and supplements with hypotensive effects might increase the risk of hypotension. In vitro and animal research shows that rhodiola can decrease blood pressure by inhibiting angiotensin-converting enzyme. Some of these herbs and supplements include andrographis, casein peptides, cat’s claw, coenzyme Q-10, fish oil, L-arginine, lycium, stinging nettle, theanine, and others.

Should you be supplementing with Rhodiola?

Individuals that suffer from chronic fatigue, and/or athletes – particularly those that participate in endurance sports – are the most likely to benefit from a rhodiola supplement.

Rhodiola may benefit people with milder stress-related symptoms or disorders. Those that suffer from binge-eating associated with stress, as well as individuals suffering from occasional or mild to moderate anxiety and/or depression (not to be confused with severe anxiety and depression), should consider a rhodiola supplement as a natural treatment.

Interested in learning whether rhodiola is right for you? Take the Vitality DNA test today to learn the optimal diet, exercise, and supplementation for your DNA and lifestyle.

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