Considered an effective adaptogen, this plant increases the body’s resistance to a variety of chemical, biological and physical stressors, such as intense exercise, anxiety, pollution, poor sleep habits and emotional stress. Regardless of the source, stress leads to the same outcome: disturbances in key physiological systems in your body.
Two systems most at risk from stress are the immune and endocrine systems. While an immune system compromised by stress leaves you highly susceptible to colds and infections, taking rhodiola allows your body to better deal with most stressors to help ward off infections and keep growing. When your endocrine system is battered by stressors, most anabolic hormones, such as testosterone, growth hormone, IGF-1 and the thyroid hormones, become blunted. And since these guys are critical drivers of muscle growth, muscle growth gets blunted, too.
To add insult to injury, the catabolic hormone cortisol peaks in times of stress, inhibiting testosterone’s effects in muscle cells and instigating muscle breakdown. Taking an adaptogen, such as rhodiola rosea, however, helps prevent the blunting of anabolic hormones and inhibit the rise of catabolic hormones, ultimately leading to greater gains in muscle size and strength.
One way rhodiola works is by increasing cellular ATP and creatine phosphate levels, which should lead to not only greater muscle endurance but also muscle strength.
Dose: The recommended dosage is 100—300 mg daily of a standardized extract yielding a minimum of 3% rosavins and 0.8%—1% salidrosides (3:1 ratio of rosavins to salidrosides). Take it in 2—3 divided doses throughout the day.