The Science behind how Rhodiola Rosea Works its Magic
Now that we have covered the Health Benefits of Rhodiola Rosea
we will turn to the science which explains how Rhodiola works. While a complete biochemistry lesson on
Rhodiola Rosea would be beyond the scope of this article, we will introduce you to the key points on how Rhodiola Rosea impacts our body.
How does Rhodiola Rosea provide such a wide range of health benefits?
Rhodiola Rosea has such far reaching positive effects on our body due to the multiple ways Rhodiola Rosea interacts with our body.
Here is a quick rundown of some of the mechanisms of actions for Rhodiola Rosea...
As you can see, Rhodiola Rosea works in a number of different ways in our body. While all the mechanisms of action are important, we
want to provide a little more detail on the energy production and stress reduction actions of Rhodiola Rosea.
- A powerful antioxidant - helps quench free radicals and defend against oxidative damage in our body
- Increases cellular energy by stimulating the production of ATP and CP (the fuel for the body)
- Balances stress response system by limiting the excess release of the stress hormone Cortisol
- Calms the stress response system and supports the parasympathetic nervous system
- Elevates DNA and RNA in muscle cells, which in turn increasing the manufacture of proteins necessary for repair of cells and organs
- Reduces oxygen consumption on a cellular level
- Stimulates the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine
- Stimulates the production of natural killer cells (cells that protect against infection)
- Increases the metabolism of fat for energy
What is ATP and CP and how do they give me energy?
Every cell in our body has these amazing little cellular structures called
mitochondria. The mitochondria are responsible for converting the nutrients from
the food we eat into energy. Yes, the mitochondria have the daunting task of providing
energy for every cell in our body, so we can eat, move, think, talk, breath, etc.
The Mitochondria converts nutrients into ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and CP (creatine phosphate), which are stored
in the cell. Simply think of ATP and CP as the fuel that our body needs to run on. As long as we produce more ATP and CP than
our body uses, we have an energy surplus and our body feels great. On the other hand, if those tiny Mitochondria can not keep
up with the body's demand for energy - we have an energy deficit - and this can lead to many problems.
It is important to understand that when we discuss energy on the cellular level we are not just talking about the energy necessary to run or
keep us awake while reading science articles :) Cellular energy allows us to deal with emotional stress, allows our heart to function
properly, allows us to deal with a sickness, allows us to think.. you get the idea. Cellular energy is what allows us to function as humans.
ATP is made on demand in our body, we do not keep large reserves of ATP in our body. At any give time we only have about 100 grams
of ATP in our body. This may sound like a lot but an active cell requires more than 2 million ATP molecules per second.
Some quick match shows that our bodily store of ATP is sufficient to satisfy our needs for only a few seconds,
therefore, the store of ATP needs to be continuously replenished. Simply put, if our body stopped making ATP for 4 seconds - we would die.
What causes an energy deficit in our body?
Damage to our mitochondria. It can be oxidative stress, emotional stress, physical stress, toxins in our body, normal wear and tear at a cellular level - basically anything
that decreases the capacity of the mitochondria can deplete our supply of ATP and CP and create that dreaded energy deficit.
How does Rhodiola help with energy deficit?
Rhodiola Rosea is able to stimulate the production of ATP and CP in our cells, therefore Rhodiola is able to pump up the fuel
available to our body. In addition, Rhodiola Rosea can elevate DNA and RNA in cells and trigger the manufacture of proteins used to repair
damaged cells, and therefore increase the healthy cells that can produce energy. Rhodiola Rosea is also a powerful
antioxidant and can defend against oxidative damage to our cells and in turn the mitochondria.
The ability of Rhodiola Rosea to help our cellular energy production goes a long way in explaining how one herb can have
so many positive health benefits.
Sounds great, but how does Rhodiola help with stress?
Let's face it, life is stressful. We have all had to deal with emotional stress from time to time and we all know how it can make you
feel run down. Of course, anyone who works out or exercises knows the effects of physical stress on the body. Stressing the muscles can
lead to some positive results, but the physical stress on the body can take its toll. Let's not forget the environmental stress we face everyday -
smoke in the air, pollutants in our food and water, toxins from our plastic bottles... simply put, the
body is under attack from a host of stressors.
All of this stress has a number of negative consequences for the human body. Our body releases a hormone called cortisol when we are
stressed. If we experience a great deal of stress we end up with too much Cortisol in the body, and this can cause a host of problems.
When we experience stress a complicated series of chemical and neurological systems jump into action. Basically, our body has a
stress response system - this allows our body to kick some reactions into high gear to deal with an immediate threat caused by a stress
factor. Think of this as the red zone on your car's RPM gauge. We normally run our car in a normal RPM range, but if we
need to quickly get out of the way of a car that is heading for us we slam on the gas, the RPMs jump into the red, and we avoid disaster.
Just as it is a bad idea to always run your car in the red, it is also a bad idea to run your body in a constant state of dealing with stress.
Rhodiola Rosea calms the stress response system and supports the parasympathetic nervous system (a much less intensive and damaging way
to deal with stress).
As you can imagine all this stress can damage our mitochondria and therefore decrease cellular energy. As we just discussed,
Rhodiola Rosea can help increase our cellular energy.
Finally, we all know that stress has a real mental aspect on our body, it can get us down, depressed and generally unhappy.
Rhodiola Rosea stimulates the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, that our crucial for making us
feel happy and energetic.
Pretty amazing, are there other ways Rhodiola works in my body?
Yes! We have really just scratched the surface on how Rhodiola Rosea works in the body. Remember, Rhodiola Rosea is an
adaptogen herb, this means that it works by having a positive impact on the balance of the whole body, NOT just treating one
If you are interested in learning more we
strongly recommend you read the information dense Rhodiola Rosea Monograph
from HerbalGram or the amazing book -
Rhodiola sounds great - how do I take it?
As you have no doubt guessed by now... we love Rhodiola Rosea! Luckily, you do not need to travel to the mountains of Siberia
to get Rhodiola Rosea, there are some great ways to get Rhodiola Rosea in the USA, and we will discuss this is in our next article,
The Best Source of Rhodiola Rosea.
In this article we looked at the various mechanisms of action for Rhodiola Rosea in the human body. While Rhodiola Rosea has many mechanisms
of action, it is the energy producing and stress reducing aspects of Rhodiola Rosea that have generated the most excitement. By increasing
our energy at a cellular level and reducing the impact of stress on our body, Rhodiola Rosea has amazing adaptogen effects on the body.
If you are interested in learning the best way to take Rhodiola Rosea, please continue to our next article...