Using Rhodiola Rosea as an Adaptogen for Sports

· 3rd March 2019
There are many natural products that may work as adaptogens to help us when practicing our favorite sport. One of the most interesting plants, with the biggest number of nutrients, is Rhodiola Rosea.

Rhodiola Rosea is a plant that belongs to the Crassulaceae family. Even though not many people know about it, this plant, which grows in cold and hilly areas, has extraordinary properties. One of them is as a great adaptogen for sports.

It’s one of the most uncommon and scarce plants that contain components know as adaptogens. They were discovered by a Russian scientist in 1947. Adaptogens are substances with the ability to regulate bodily functions and improve the response our body has towards stress.

Traditional Russian and Scandinavian medicines have used Rhodiola Rosea for decades. One of the main benefits that come from this plant is the improvement of energy and physical endurance, as well as mental performance. Which is why athletes still use it nowadays.

Next up, we’ll take a look at some facts and get to know this interesting plant in its use as an adaptogen for sports. It’s an excellent choice to include in an athlete’s diet.

What are adaptogens for sports?

According to the systemic theory, adaptogens are natural substances that we can find in a small number of plants and herbs around the world. These substances can help our bodies to reach an optimal level of physical and mental performance. They’re elements that boost the health triangle, composed of energy, biological intelligence, and organization.

Adaptogens increase our physical and mental ability to adapt to adverse situations caused by physical and mental stress. They’re components capable of activating our minds and bodies when we’re tired; they can also relax us when we’re anxious. A new concept of natural help for the new kind of stress that our modern lifestyle causes.

The interest in adaptogens in the sports world has grown considerably over the last few years. Indeed, when the factors that trigger stress are sports related, these substances are very useful to not only guarantee good health for the athlete but also to improve performance.

Woman resting for a bit after running

Rhodiola Rosea as an adaptogen for sports

In many parts of the world, using Rhodiola Rosea as an adaptogen for sports is a new and virtually unknown concept. However, in some Scandinavian countries, professional athletes have been using this plant for decades. This is the case for Russian Olympic medalists.

Using this plant contributes to an increase in the muscle energy supply. It also allows these athletes to manage the high levels of stress they were subjected to. And of course, this way they could maintain their maximum sports performance to win the highly desired medals.

During the 70s, Russian scientists began to study the properties of Rhodiola Rosea in more depth, based on the high sports performance that it caused among their athletes.

Nowadays, we know that thanks to the adaptogens it contains, this plant offers three fundamental physical benefits for athletes:

  • The first one is improving muscle endurance during the periods in which they’re subject to very high levels of physical stress.
  • The second one is the ability to improve the recovery times for not just muscle energy, but also cardiovascular energy and every other body function.
  • Finally, the third benefit consists of the anabolic activity it has, which is relevant in pharmacological settings.

Other benefits of Rhodiola Rosea

As we mentioned earlier, the main benefit of Rhodiola Rosea is its ability to increase energy and physical endurance levels. However, this plant also has other benefits for the health of athletes and any other person.

Woman getting ready for a race

Thanks to its active compounds, Rosavin, and Salidroside, Rhodiola Rosea increases the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. This is why it’s an excellent ally to prevent and combat depression.

By increasing dopamine levels, it’s also useful in the treatment against Parkinson’s disease. This exact neurotransmitter is the one that’s missing in people who suffer from this condition.

Rhodiola Rosea can also help to improve our intellectual work ability since it stimulates brain circulation. In the same way, thanks to its antioxidant powers, it helps to delay aging.

Moving on, Rhodiola Rosea decreases cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that increases stress and is responsible for stress-related weight gain. Finally, this plant can boost the immune system, therefore, it helps our bodies to prevent and treat diseases.