Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogen herb that is indigenous to many colder countries of the world, including Iceland and Scandinavia.
It has many medicinal uses and some research even suggests it may have value as a treatment for bladder cancer, but it is a versatile herb with a growing in popularity as a weight loss aid.
Some studies indicate rhodiola and rhodiola-providing supplements may have the power to assist weight loss in several ways.
- Targeting hard-to-reach belly fat
- Supressing the appetite
- Enhancing the mood
Rhodiola: Effects on Belly Fat
Rhodiola contains a component called rosavin that appears to have the power to help the body shred unwanted body fat and is particularly effective for targeting fat stored around the belly area.
When fat is stored in the adipose tissue around the belly it can be harder to shred than fat stored elsewhere in the body. This is why those unwanted “love handles” can linger so persistently despite a dieter’s best efforts.
The good news is the body contains stores of an enzyme called hormone-sensitive lipase that can be very effective for targeting fat stores located in the adipose tissue. The bad news is this natural fat-fighter is usually not particularly active. Studies show supplementation with rhodiola can activate hormone-sensitive lipase and can be especially beneficial when used in conjunction with moderate exercise.
[info]In one controlled placebo study, conducted at Georgia State Hospital (USA), involving 130 overweight patients, the group who received daily doses of rhodiola showed a mean weight loss of 19lbs. The placebo group lost just 8lbs.[/info]
Rhodiola for Appetite Suppression
There is also some evidence to suggest rhodiola may possess the ability to suppress the appetite. In one study female laboratory rats were conditioned to start binge eating as a response to stress. The rats were then given rhodiola one hour before the binge eating was triggered and the intensity of the resultant feeding spree was significantly reduced. This change in behaviour was attributed to the presence of a compound called salidroside.
Rhodiola as a Mood Enhancer
Many factors are known to contribute to weight gain, including the practice of comfort eating. In the movies characters that are feeling rebuffed, or down and depressed, are often shown shuffling to the refrigerator, pulling out a mammoth-size tub of ice cream, and then getting to work with a spoon. It’s can be an entertaining to watch, but similar things happen in real life and when the tub bas been vanquished, and the spoon laid aside, the resulting weight gain that follows is no laughing matter. Studies show rhodiola can lift the mood, fight depression, and reduce the likelihood of comfort eating.
Rhodiola’s mood boosting capacities are believed to stem from its ability to increase the sensitivity of neurons such as serotonin and dopamine—both of which are known to be important for ensuring mental focus, stimulating feelings of pleasure, and improving the mood.
In one 42-day study, patients with mild to moderate depression were given daily doses of rhodiola (340mg or 680mg) and researchers noted a marked decrease in all the symptoms associated with the disease.
Rhodiola: Potential for Side Effects
Although most people should be able to take advantage of the weight loss enhancing abilities of rhodiola without experiencing any negative issues, side effects cannot be entirely ruled out.
Some Rhodiola users report experiencing side effects including:
- Restlessness / insomnia
- Heart palpitations
Most rhodiola users are unlikely to experience any of the above reactions, but the ingredient is known to act as a mild stimulant so it is inadvisable to supplement with rhodiola during the evening or to exceed a maximum daily dose of 600mg.
As with any other form of supplement or herbal compound, pregnant and nursing mothers should never commence supplementation unless they have discussed the matter with their doctor and gained his or her approval. The same advice applies to anyone who has any known health issues, is taking medication, or suspects they may be in less than perfect health.
Rhodiola appears to offer a lot of benefits many dieters will be keen to take advantage of, so it seems likely that rhodolia supplements will become an increasingly common sight on the shelves of health food stores and pharmacies. As with other forms of supplement though, some care is to be advised when choosing a rhodiola product because how well the ingredient performs can be greatly influenced by the quality and quantity of other ingredients it may be blended alongside in certain weight loss formulations