Throughout our lives we face various situations that test our physical and mental state: the birth of a child, the loss of a loved one, suffering a long illness, a job layoff, marital separation, etc. All these situations and many more can provoke a feeling of frustration and physical and mental exhaustion associated with stress and anxiety.
Stress could be defined as a set of physiological reactions provoked by the demand of a performance much higher than usual. The body reacts by releasing hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, and prepares us to face and overcome difficult situations. In small doses it can be beneficial. The problem comes when it is prolonged too much in time, becoming a chronic stress. Being in a continuous state of stress can cause serious physical and mental disorders. Some people experience mainly digestive problems, while others may suffer from sleep disorders, headaches, fatigue and irritability. Over time it can lead to serious health problems, such as hypertension, cognitive disorders, heart problems, diabetes, depression or anxiety.
Another disease that can greatly affect our state of well-being is psychological and physical asthenia. People suffering from this disease have a feeling of weakness and a lack of vitality so great that it prevents them from carrying out the activities of daily life, such as going for walks, working, doing housework, etc.
It is characterized by a feeling of extreme tiredness that does not improve with rest and is often associated with sleep disorders. In addition to the physical condition, asthenia can affect cognitive function causing memory loss and lack of concentration. Its origin may be psychological, associated with depression, or physical (viral infections, changes in the immune system, hormonal factors, muscular diseases, anaemia, etc.). Other possible causes of asthenia are serious long-term illnesses such as cancer or heart disease. Asthenia should not be confused with chronic fatigue syndrome. The latter is not relieved by rest and is not directly caused by other illnesses of psychic origin. Intense fatigue is a common symptom and usually causes muscle pain, dizziness and lack of concentration. It is a chronic disease that has no cure and its treatment focuses on symptom relief. In this sense, the drugs most commonly used in the treatment of these diseases are antidepressants, anxiolytics, corticosteroids, NSAIDs and analgesics, among others.
It is well known that the abuse of this type of therapy, especially in the long term, can have many harmful effects on health. For this reason, in MÉDERI NUTRICIÓN INTEGRATIVA we have devised a 100% natural, safe and effective formula based on two plant extracts: RHODIOLA ROSEA and GINKGO BILOBA that will help you to mitigate the symptoms associated with this type of disease and improve your general state of well-being. In addition, we have used gastro-resistant capsules that ensure the release of the active ingredients in the small intestine for better absorption and greater effectiveness.
Rhodiola rosea, commonly known as Rosa Rhodiola is a plant that grows in very cold regions, especially in the Nordic countries, Russia and even Siberia and Mongolia. It has been used for many years in traditional medicine for its stimulating properties. It is known that the Vikings used it to increase stamina and physical and mental strength needed to successfully face battles. More recently, R. rhodiola has gained the attention of the scientific community for its potential therapeutic capacity as an adaptogen.
Adaptogens are non-toxic natural substances that have the ability to normalize bodily functions and strengthen systems compromised by stress, non-specifically increasing resistance against harmful physical, chemical, biological and psychological factors, balancing and modulating the neuroendocrine and immune systems. In this way, R. Rhodiola acts by counteracting stressful signals and allows us to adapt to situations of increased stress. Given its ergogenic and adaptive properties, it is attributed with the ability to improve physical and mental performance, reduce fatigue and alleviate symptoms of depression.
Herbal preparations of R. Rhodiola are usually made using the root of this plant, since this is where the greatest amount of active ingredients is found, among which phenylpropanoids (such as rosavin, exclusive to this species), flavonoids (such as procyanidins) and phenylethanol derivatives (such as salidroside and tyrosol) are noteworthy. Given its high antioxidant content, R. Rhodiola also helps to reduce the action of free radicals and prevents oxidative stress, helping to repair damaged DNA and delaying cellular aging.
The therapeutic applications shown below are based especially on the traditional uses of the plant. (1) Although there are still not enough scientific studies that demonstrate its efficacy, its extensive applicability has led us to find more and more reviews in the literature suggesting a benefit for the following pathologies:
- Physical and mental fatigue
- Muscle recovery
- Sleep disorders and anxiety
- Inmunity and cancer
- Cognitive loss and neuro-aging
According to the EFSA “Rosa Rhodiola contributes to preserve an optimal mental activity and presents a beneficial effect on fatigue”. There are several clinical trials that demonstrate that the repeated administration of Rhodiola extracts exerts an anti-fatigue effect, increasing mental performance (concentration capacity of healthy individuals) and reduces exhaustion in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. (2) It is especially useful for treating asthenic episodes and after long periods of convalescence. It acts by raising ATP and creatine levels, basic energy sources that we need to be able to perform any physical activity without exhaustion.
Because of its ergogenic properties, Rhodiola is a very common supplement among athletes as it improves physical endurance and delays the onset of signs of exhaustion. It contributes to normal energy metabolism by stimulating the synthesis of glycogen in muscles and liver, thus enhancing the recovery of muscle function during intense physical activity. (4)
Rhodiola extract is often used in natural medicine for the relief of symptoms related to depressive conditions. (5) Given its adaptogenic properties and its positive impact on the HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) system, it is believed to act by modulating the central stress response through its effect on certain neurotransmitters by increasing the production of dopamine and serotonin. In addition, it appears to increase β-endorphin levels by exerting a protective effect against stress-induced endorphin elevation. In short, R. Rhodiola exerts its antidepressant effect by enhancing central neurotransmission and by reducing or modulating the excessive activity of the HPA axis. (6)
There is some scientific evidence that R. Rhodiola could be used to combat insomnia and mild anxiety. (7) This is due to its interaction in the HPA axis, where it participates in reducing the levels of cortisol (hydrocortisone), a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal gland. This hormone is released in response to stress and alters cellular metabolism, which can lead to sleep problems. (8)
More studies are needed in this field to determine its potential antitumor activity. However, Rhodiola extract, in particular the salidrosides it contains, appear to have an immunostimulant, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action and stimulate the repair of damaged DNA. (9) Its high antioxidant content facilitates the elimination of toxins and free radicals, delaying cellular aging. In addition, R. Rhodiola can be very useful in mitigating the side effects of having suffered from a long illness such as fatigue, anxiety, depression and stress previously mentioned.
Some scientific studies have shown that R. Rhodiola could improve cognitive function (memory and concentration) after continuous treatment and over a long period of time. In elderly people, it could be a natural alternative to delay the progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease (by increasing dopamine levels), senile dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Its potential applicability in these neuronal pathologies is due to its high efficacy in eliminating reactive oxygen species (ROS) and inhibiting the enzyme nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and the release of proinflammatory cytokines (IL-1β and TNF-α) that produce neuroinflammation. In addition, it appears to reduce neuronal excitotoxicity and increases cell proliferation due to its anti-apoptotic effect. (10) However, more research is needed in this field.
In traditional Chinese medicine, it is common to use R. rhodiola extracts in association with other plants to slow cognitive loss and treat various symptoms of aging.
One of these plants is Ginkgo Biloba.
Gingko Biloba is the most common herbal extract used in herbal medicine as a natural remedy for dementia and cognitive impairment. Scientific studies show that it contributes to promote a good nervous and mental balance, delaying the deterioration of memory associated with old age. When used in combination with Rhodiola, its effects on cognitive function are more significant than when used alone. (11)
The medicinal properties of Gingko Biloba are attributed to its active principles, which are mainly found in the leaves: flavonoid glycosides (kenferol and quercetol derivatives), terpene lactones (ginkgolides and bilobalides) and phytosterols. Although the mode of action has not been fully elucidated, there is evidence that these molecules have neuroprotective effects in Alzheimer’s disease by reducing the accumulation of amyloid fibrils. (12) It also improves blood flow by acting as a vasodilator agent at the peripheral level, reduces blood viscosity and is an excellent antiplatelet agent. Due to its antioxidant properties, it also acts against neuronal oxidative stress, reducing lipid peroxidation and helping to maintain the fluidity and integrity of cell membranes.
For all these reasons, Ginkgo Biloba can be a natural and effective alternative to treat disorders associated with poor blood circulation and mitigate the symptoms of mild and/or moderate cerebrovascular insufficiency. These symptoms include difficulty concentrating, memory loss, migraine headaches, lack of energy, dizziness, anxiety, perception of ringing in the ears, decay, etc.
In traditional medicine, Gingko Biloba has been indicated for the treatment of embolisms and strokes, arteriosclerosis, venous disorders such as varicose veins and haemorrhoids, tinnitus, heart and eye diseases, impotence, chronic cerebral insufficiency and diseases associated with dementia and short-term memory loss. (13) It has also been shown to be effective in the treatment of depressive conditions. Several studies with animal models showed that it improves the neurotransmission of dopaminergic and cholinergic systems and increases the density of muscarinic and serotonergic brain receptors. (14)
In short, and for all the above mentioned, the benefits of both herbal extracts (Rhodiola Rosae and Ginkgo Biloba) for the maintenance of good physical and mental health are demonstrated. Therefore, in Méderi Integrative Nutrition we have devised a product based on both extracts with the aim of improving the state of physical and mental well-being of people, always from a responsible point of view and betting on the maintenance of a healthy and balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle.
- Panossian et al. Rosenroot (Rhodiola rosea): Traditional use, chemical composition, pharmacology and clinical efficacy. Phytomedicine, 2010; 17, 481–493.
- Ishaque et al. Rhodiola rosea for physical and mental fatigue: a
- systematic review. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012; 12:70, 1-9.
- Eric Noreen et al. The effects of an acute dose of Rhodiola rosea on exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009; 6 (Supl. 1): P14.
- Jay D. Amsterdam et al. Rhodiola rosea L. as a putative botanical antidepressant. Phytomedicine; 2016, 23, 770–783.
- Jun J Mao et al. Rhodiola rosea therapy for major depressive disorder: a study protocol for a randomized, double-blind, placebo- controlled trial. J Clin Trials; 2015, 4:170.
- Alexander Bystritsky, M.D et al. A Pilot Study of Rhodiola rosea (Rhodax®) for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine; 2008, 14 (2), 175–180.
- Mark Cropley et al. The Effects of Rhodiola rosea L. Extract on Anxiety, Stress, Cognition and Other Mood Symptoms. Res. 2015, 29: 1934–1939.
- Yonghong Li et al. Rhodiola rosea L.: an herb with anti-stress, anti-aging, and immunostimulating properties for cancer chemoprevention. Curr Pharmacol Rep. 2017; 3(6): 384–395.
- Seyed Fazel Nabavi et al. Rhodiola rosea L. and Alzheimer’s Disease: From Farm to Pharmacy, Res. 2016, 30: 532–539.
- Hayder M. Al-Kuraishy. Central additive effect of Ginkgo biloba and Rhodiola rosea on psychomotor vigilance task and short-term working memory accuracy. J Intercult Ethnopharmacol, 2016; Vol 5 (1), 7-13.
- Meng-Shan Tan et al. Efficacy and Adverse Effects of Ginkgo Biloba for Cognitive Impairment and Dementia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 43, 2015, 589–603.
- Kehr J et al. Ginkgo biloba leaf extract (EGb 761(R)) and its specific acylated flavonol constituents increase dopamine and acetylcholine levels in the rat medial prefrontal cortex: Possible implications for the cognitive enhancing properties of EGb 761(R). Int Psychogeriatr, 2012; 24(Suppl 1), S25-S34.
- Hong-Feng Zhang et al. An Overview of Systematic Reviews of Ginkgo biloba Extracts for Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementia. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 2016; vol 8, art. 276, 1-14.