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Rhodiola enhances fitness and well-being under stressful conditions

A placebo-controlled, Russian clinical study showed that an extract of Rhodiola rosea enhanced physical fitness, improved neuro-motor test responses, reduced mental fatigue, and improved general well being in a group of healthy foreign medical students undergoing a stressful exam period. The 40 study participants, all Indian men between the ages of 17 and 19, were randomly assigned to take either placebo or Rhodiola extract at a dose of 50 mg twice daily. The most significant differences between groups were seen in physical fitness, mental fatigue, neuro-motor tests, and well being; no significant differences were observed in results of correction tests or tapping speed tests. No adverse events were reported. As the dose of Rhodiola employed in this study was lower than that used in previous studies, the researchers concluded, "...the study drug gave significant results compared to the placebo group but that the dose level probably was suboptimal." According to the authors, the majority of earlier studies on the anti-fatigue and performance-enhancing effects of Rhodiola utilized single doses more than three times higher than the dose used in their study. When used in psychiatric practice for the treatment of asthenic syndromes (weakness and debility), doses 15 times as high are used for periods of one to two months. Spasov AA, Wikman GK, Mandrikov VB, et al. A double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study of the stimulating and adaptogenic effect of Rhodiola rosea SHR-5 extract on the fatigue of students caused by stress during an examination period with a repeated low-dose regimen. Phytomedicine 2000; 7(2): 85-89.

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