Comparing Rhodiola Rosea Extracts: Rosavins vs Salidroside

Comparing Rhodiola Rosea Extracts: Rosavins vs. Salidroside

Rhodiola Rosea Extracts: Comparing Rosavin and Salidroside

Rhodiola rosea, also called golden root or rose root, thrives in cold regions like the Arctic and Europe. It’s a perennial flower found in Central Asia too. Traditional Chinese medicine has praised Rhodiola rosea for enhancing cognitive function and boosting energy levels.

Studies indicate that Rhodiola rosea’s potential effects stem from salidroside and a blend of compounds known as rosavins. The amounts and ratios of these active compounds in the various Rhodiola extracts determine how that extract affects the body. Certain Rhodiola extracts can be stimulating, while other extracts feel more calming or sedating. Let’s take a closer look at these compounds, and their role in the rhodiola rosea root.

What are Rosavins?

Rosavins are a collection of compounds which include, rosavin, rosin, and rosarin. These compounds are known as cinnamyl alcohol glycosides and belong to a group of compounds known as phenylpropanoids. Studies have yet to conclusively determine the specific mechanisms through which salidroside and rosavins operate in Rhodiola rosea. Rosavins may require combination with other compounds, such as salidroside, to demonstrate potential effects, according to some research.

Research suggests that rosavin in Rhodiola rosea may support healthy stress levels. Rosavin may also act as an active compound that supports weight loss. Research indicates that rosavin may enhance hormone-sensitive lipase activity, aiding in fat breakdown, particularly in abdominal regions. Combining rosavin with exercise may promote the breakdown of stomach fat.

What is Salidroside?

Salidroside, alternatively known as rhodioloside, holds the status of being the more potent component in Rhodiola rosea. Some studies even suggest salidroside may be more active than rosavin. Salidroside, a glucoside form of tyrosol, occurs in Rhodiola crenulata, a species related to Rhodiola rosea found in China. Other unrelated plant species have also been found to contain salidrosides.

Research identifies that salidroside may have a variety of positive effects throughout your body. Some studies show that salidroside may have adaptogenic properties. Adaptogens refer to any compound that may help your body adapt to the physical drawbacks associated with stress as well as maintaining homeostasis. Salidroside may also support nerve health. Studies suggest that salidroside may promote nerve repair processes, regulate the release of neurotransmitters, and protect cells. One study found that salidroside may protect nerve cells from toxins and other harmful substances while promoting cognitive function. Salidroside has potential to support skeletal health as well. A study tested the effects of an isolated salidroside extract on bone. The study found that salidroside may protect against oxidative stress. This suggests that salidroside may support bone development.

Salidroside and Rosavin in Rhodiola Rosea Extracts

Understanding Rhodiola Rosea: Nootropic Benefits

Many of the studies surrounding Rhodiola rosea focus on the nootropic as a whole, and the way its different phytochemicals and compounds like rosavin and salidroside work together. Studies show that one of the main mechanisms of action for Rhodiola rosea extract may involve its regulation of monoamine oxidase. Monoamine oxidase comprises a family of enzymes bound to the outer membrane of mitochondria. The various subtypes of monoamine oxidase are all involved in the oxidative breakdown of various components and neurotransmitters in your system, including dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.

Mechanism of Action: Monoamine Oxidase Regulation

By blocking monamine oxidase enzymes, Rhodiola rosea can lead to a significant modulation of certain neurotransmitters, particularly serotonin and dopamine. Along with contributing to the body’s natural cyclic processes, serotonin is responsible for regulating emotions like happiness. Dopamine controls motivation, reward, and the brain’s pleasure centers, besides regulating movement and emotional response. By promoting both dopamine and serotonin, Rhodiola rosea may support healthy stress levels and promote feelings of well-being. The supported serotonin and dopamine may also promote your attention, concentration, and overall cognitive function. Rhodiola rosea may also promote focus and mental energy.

Neurotransmitter Regulation: Dopamine and Serotonin

Along with its effects on certain neurotransmitters, Rhodiola rosea has been studied for its potential to regulate cortisol. The body releases cortisol during periods of physical or emotional stress. Cortisol may interfere with a healthy immune system and the normal metabolism of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins, Rhodiola rosea may support healthy cortisol and stress levels. These adaptogenic benefits of Rhodiola rosea may also support a healthy night’s sleep, which offers its own wide range of potential benefits such as promoting cognitive function. While many studies suggest that salidroside is the more powerful Rhodiola rosea supplement, both salidroside and rosavins play a key role in the potential effects of Rhodiola rosea extract.

A New Species on the Market: Rhodiola crenulata

Understanding Rhodiola Species

There appears to be about 60-90 species of rhodiola. The main rhodiola species of interest is Rhodiola rosea as it contains both high concentrations of salidroside and rosavins. Rhodiola rosea is in short supply, leading to other species being falsely sold as Rhodiola rosea.

Adulteration Issues in the Industry

This adulteration is happening all over the industry. Our species testing revealed a batch labeled as “Rhodiola rosea” contained salidroside but no rosavins, indicating it was mislabeled. This made us scratch our heads quite a bit. How could one of the compounds of interest be showing up, while the other compound of interest was not at all present, in addition to it not even being the plant we were looking for?

Discovering Rhodiola crenulata

We dug through some research and found another fairly common species of rhodiola that has also seen extensive use in traditional medicine in China and Tibet. This species is called Rhodiola crenulata, and it doesn’t contain any rosavins. Instead, it contains high concentrations of salidroside and p-tyrosol, the stimulating and mood-elevating compounds that are also present in Rhodiola rosea. Upon retesting the batch, we confirmed it was Rhodiola crenulata, not Rhodiola rosea as labeled.

Evaluating Rhodiola crenulata Benefits

We then evaluated whether or not Rhodiola crenulata would be a worthwhile extract, and we quickly came to the conclusion that it could be advantageous to carry a Rhodiola crenulata extract in addition to a Rhodiola rosea extracts we already had. The reason for this is that the absolute lack of rosavins makes this extract much better for individuals who respond particularly well to just salidroside. Athletes seeking to alleviate exercise fatigue and individuals aiming for an energy boost would benefit from this extract.

Conclusion: Rhodiola crenulata’s Unique Position

For those that are looking for a more well-rounded effect profile, the Rhodiola rosea will still be the preferred extract due to it containing rosavins. As always, each plant has its own unique effects and benefits. The issue comes from when supplement companies mislabel products in an attempt to save money. We feel Rhodiola crenulata is unique enough to stand on its own and shouldn’t be mislabeled as something it is not.

Also read our blog on Shilajit

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