The botanical extract can reduce oxidative stress, muscle pain and injury and skeletal muscle damage, and promote muscle recovery during training as well as improve athletic explosive power, the study highlighted.
According to researchers of the systematic review titled Effects of Rhodiola Rosea Supplementation on Exercise and Sport: A Systematic Review published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition, RR is expected to become an effective supplement with the gradual improvement in quality of life and the increasing demand for sports and wellness drugs.
“More recently, RR has received attention as supplement due to its potential energy-replenishing effect, which helps to improve the physical performance.
“In addition, previous studies have revealed valuable positive data from RR supplementation in sport and exercise performance with animal models.
“However, the effects of RR as a supplement for human sport and physical activity have not been critically evaluated.
“Therefore, this review assesses the potential effects of RR as a herbal supplement for sport and exercise in humans based on the available evidence,” said the researchers.
The team conducted the systematic review using recommendations of PRISMA guidelines when trawling databases like Cochrane, Embase, Web of Science (WoS), PubMed and East View Universal between 1990 and November 2021.
It used keywords and medical subject heading (MeSH) on RR and sports, for instance “Rhodiola rosea”, “arctic root”, “roseroot”, “golden root”, “hongjingtian”, “sports”, and “exercise”. A total of 10 studies were analysed after fulfilling inclusion and exclusion criteria.
For data analysis, the outcomes were converted to standard units and its mean difference calculated.
The differences in related indexes between the Rhodiola rosea treatment group and the placebo treatment group were analysed using a factorial ANOVA comparison.
Results were categorised chiefly into the RR extraction and standards, pain and muscle damage, inflammation, ratings of perceived exertion, oxidative stress, athletic explosive power and adverse effects.
For instance, blood creatine kinase (CK) levels decreased in the RR group 72 hours after exercise compared to the placebo group in the study by Lin C.H. et al.
Another study reported that RR extracts could possibly lower LDH levels in blood serum and protect skeletal muscle cells.
Only one paper evaluated the effect of an RR supplementation on improving athletic explosive power during repeated bench press exercises.
Discussing the outcomes, it was shown that RR as an exercise supplement can improve the human exercise capacity and various physiological mechanisms.
Majority of the RR used in the studies analysed are commercially available in pharmacies.
One example is the difference of results between synthetic pharmaceuticals and herbs. Pharmaceuticals are easier to evaluate, but herbs are highly complex with its dozens of bioactive constituents.
Overall, data from the studies in this review indicated that there were no obvious adverse reactions from RR. Its herbal toxicity is very low, and the test doses appear to be safe and tolerable for recreational active subjects or athletes.
“This systematic review provides valuable information for the application of RR supplementation in improving sport and exercise performance.
“With the gradual improvement in quality of life and the increasing demand for sports and wellness drugs, RR is expected to become an effective supplement,” said the team.
The study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Science and Technology Project of Shenzhen City of China.
Source: Frontiers in Nutrition
“Effects of Rhodiola rosea Supplementation on Exercise and Sport: A Systematic Review”
Authors: Yao Lu et al