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Golden Root: Your Guide to Rhodiola Rosea

Golden Root (Rhodiola): A Quick Summary

  • Overview: Golden Root (Rhodiola rosea) is a plant used traditionally in cold climates for enhancing mental and physical capacities and reducing stress.
  • Origin: Native to cold areas like Central Asia, America, Europe, and the Arctic.
  • Adaptogenic Qualities: Known for stress resistance, Golden Root impacts neurotransmitters and hormones linked to mood.
  • Endurance Benefits: Research suggests it improves exercise endurance, notably in running.
  • Mental Performance: Studies show a significant mental performance boost, especially in high-pressure scenarios.
  • Safety and Side Effects: Generally safe in scientific trials, but higher doses may lead to irritability and insomnia.
  • Dosage and Use: Recommended dosage varies from 180 to 600 mg/day. Useful for pre-stressful event preparation.
  • Usage in Supplements: Present in various supplements, often combined with pre-workouts for its adaptogenic and endurance properties.

What is Golden Root?

Golden Root, also known as Rhodiola rosea, Roseroot, or Aaron's Rod is a flowering plant known for its potential as a mood-elevating herb. It has been used for centuries by the Russians and Scandinavians to cope with extremely cold weather. It has been said that Golden Root can improve physical and mental performance, as well as alleviate stress.

Where Does Golden Root Come From?

Golden Root is found in many colder regions including the mountains of Central Asia, America, and Europe. It can even be found in the Arctic.

Golden Root Benefits

Golden Root is a well-known adaptogen (able to relieve/increase stress resistance). There are many active ingredients present in Golden Root which may affect the levels and activity of neurotransmitters and hormones responsible for emotions and feelings of wellness (Kelly, 2001).


Golden Root Benefits for Endurance

There is some evidence to suggest that Golden Root can increase endurance exercise performance in both human and animal models (Walker & Robergs, 2006). One study showed that taking a 200 mg Golden Root extract, one hour before exercise, was able to significantly increase running time to exhaustion when compared to a placebo (De Bock et al, 2004).

Golden Root Benefits for Mental Performance

Quite often, when we're so focused on bodybuilding, we only think about physical performance. However, mental performance is quite important for a lot of people outside of the gym. It was observed that a group of young doctors showed significant improvements in mental performance after a night shift when supplemented with Golden Root compared to a placebo (Darbinyan et al, 2000). Studies such as this are well supported within the scientific literature by other studies also showing similarly positive results (Shevtsov et al, 2003). Let us also not forget the power of the mind. A happy and positive mind can do wonders for your body, potentially giving you better workout sessions and bigger gains.

Golden Root Safety and Side Effects

In all the scientific trials, none of the researchers reported any side effects at given doses. However, there have been public reports of an increase in irritability and insomnia when doses exceed 1.5 g extract (Kelly, 2001).

Golden Root Recommended Doses and Ingredient Timing

The recommended dosage of Golden Root ranges depending on the method of extraction. This could be anywhere between 180 to 600 mg/day. Recommendations for Ingredient timing also vary. A single dose may be effective. However, it can also be taken daily, a few weeks before an anticipated stressful event or competition, during which, the dosage can then be maintained (Kelly, 2001).

Golden Root Supplements

Many supplements contain Golden Root, generally listed as Rhodiola rosea (or simply Rhodiola). Also look out for the other names of Golden Root, such as Roseroot or Aaron's Rod. It is possible to find Golden Root as a stand-alone supplement, it may also be found in the best pre-workouts or stronger high-stimulant pre-workout supplements.

Stacking Golden Root

Because Golden Root has adaptogenic properties, as well as a potential to increase endurance, it is well stacked with a pre-workout supplement (if your pre-workout supplement doesn't already have it).

Darbinyan et al (2000), Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue — A double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty. Phytomedicine, 7: 365-371
De Bock et al (2004), Acute Rhodiola rosea intake can improve endurance exercise performance. , 14: 298-307.
Kelly (2001), Rhodiola rosea: A Possible Plant Adaptogen. Altern Med Rev, 6: 293-302
Shevtsov et al (2003), A randomized trial of two different doses of a SHR-5 Rhodiola rosea extract versus placebo and control of capacity for mental work. Phytomedicine, 10: 95-105
Walker & Robergs (2006), Does Rhodiola rosea possess ergogenic properties? International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 16: 305-315

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