Rhodiola Supplements May Ease Burnout

By: Robert M. Blair, Ph.D., Strategic Research Scientist

Many of us experience stress on a daily basis. Over time, chronic stress can lead to burnout, which has been defined as emotional and physical exhaustion resulting from chronic stress and inadequate coping skills. It may also leave feelings of depersonalization and negative feelings about work and personal accomplishments, but a recently published exploratory study may point to potential benefits of Rhodiola rosea supplements in patients with burnout.

The Study:

In this new study, 117 men and women between 30 – 60 years of age and diagnosed with a moderate degree of burnout were asked to take a Rhodiola rosea supplement (400 mg/day) for 12 weeks. Numerous measures of stress, burnout, and mood were assessed at the beginning of the study and after 1, 8, and 12 weeks.

The Results:

Results of this preliminary study showed that Rhodiola rosea supplementation had positive effects on most of the endpoints measured. Two symptoms of burnout, depersonalization and emotional exhaustion, were significantly decreased at the end of the study. One test showed improvements in all seven signs of stress measured (e.g. anxiety, exhaustion, and irritability) with the largest improvement happening after the first week. The results from a questionnaire about perceived stress showed that Rhodiola rosea supplementation improved feelings of harassment, lack of joy, tension, worries and more. Additionally, the Burnout Screening Scales II assessment showed declines in physical, mental, and emotional complaints. Finally, feelings of alertness, calmness, and mood were each improved with supplementation.

 

What It Means:

Rhodiola rosea has a long history of use in traditional medicine and is classified as an adaptogen, a substance that has a balancing or stabilizing action on the body and thus increasing its resistance to stressful conditions and improving mood and mental clarity.  Overall, the results of this showed that supplementation with Rhodiola rosea might help ease burnout. Since there was no placebo group in this preliminary study, additional, more rigorous, clinical trials will be needed to confirm these early beneficial results.

 

Resources:

  1. Kasper S, Dienel A. Multicenter, open-label, exploratory clinical trial with Rhodiola rosea extract in patients suffering from burnout sypmtoms. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treament 2017; 13:889-898.