Caffeine is the most widely used substance for performance enhancement, in sports and everyday life. Most people have used it at some point for a short-term energy boost. For good reason too, the science backs it up for endurance, strength, and mental performance (1, 2, 3). Unfortunately, we don't all process caffeine to the same degree; some of us are "fast metabolizers" and some of us are "slow metabolizers".
Fast metabolizers are those whose liver processes caffeine twice as fast as slow metabolizers. Think of the person who can drink coffee before bed and still sleep like a baby, that's a fast metabolizer. However, the slow metabolizers are actually at an advantage; they can consume caffeine and get the full performance benefits. Fast metabolizers might not get a mental or physical boost.
If you think you're a fast metabolizer, get unpleasant gastro-intestinal side effects from caffeine, or just want to try something else to get that quick energy boost, consider Rodiola rosea.
Although the research isn't as robust for Rhodiola as it is for caffeine, it's been used for thousands of years. One of its first uses was to help combat altitude sickness in those who lived in the mountains of West Asia. Since then it has been categorized as an adaptogen, which is a herb that helps you adapt during stressful situations.
Rhodiola has been seeing an increased use in sports performance circles and the science backs it up too. Rholdiola may be most effective if you use it for an extended period of time (2-4 weeks), however, it has been shown to work short term with benefits on physical and mental endurance (4, 5, 6, 7). Don't think of it as a replacement for your morning espresso (nothing replaces that!), think of it as an add-on before your workouts, as a boost before a big meeting, or to combat those afternoon energy dips.
I'd recommend making an appointment with your favourite Naturopath to make sure Rhodiola is right for you. I carry a liquid version, but you can find it at most supplement stores or buy it from me here:
The next time you find yourself reaching for that extra cup of coffee, maybe consider Rhodiola rosea instead.
If you have any questions about how to reach your full potential, don't hesitate to contact me, book an appointment, or stop by the clinic.
Thanks for reading,