Effects of a Commercial Herbal-Based Formula on Exercise Performance in Cyclists

European University of Madrid, Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise (Impact Factor: 3.98). 04/2004; 36(3):504-9. DOI: 10.1249/01.MSS.0000125157.49280.AF
Source: PubMed


We examined the effects of a commercially marketed herbal-based formula purported to increase endurance on oxygen consumption (VO2) in 17 competitive category III/IV amateur cyclists [mean (SEM) age: 31.1 (1.8) yr; height: 178.5 (1.8) cm; weight: 77.1 (1.6) kg].
Each cyclist participated in two (pre/post) cycling tests progressing 25 W.4 min(-1) starting at 100 W administered in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind fashion. The second trial was performed 14 d after the ingestion of a manufacturer recommended loading phase (4 d x 6 caps.d(-1)) and a maintenance phase (11 d x 3 caps.d(-1)). Three treatment capsules contained 1000 mg of Cordyceps sinensis (CS-4) and 300 mg Rhodiola rosea root extract as the primary ingredients; 800 mg of other ingredients included calcium pyruvate, sodium phosphate, potassium phosphate, ribose, and adenosine and 200 mcg of chromium.
Using a 2 x 2 ANOVA, we observed no significant treatment effect for any between or within group variables including peak VO2 [treatment 4.14 (0.2) L.min(-1); placebo 4.10 (0.2) L.min(-1)], time to exhaustion [treatment 38.47 (1.7) min; placebo 36.95 (1.8) min], peak power output (PO) [treatment 300.00 (12.1) W; placebo 290.63 (12.9) W], or peak heart rate. We also observed no differences for any subpeak exercise variable including the PO eliciting 2 mmol.L(-1) blood lactate (BLa) [treatment 201.00 (18.1) W; placebo 167.50 (19.2) W] and 4 mmol.L(-1) BLa [treatment 235.88 (15.8) W; placebo 244.78 (14.9) W], ventilatory threshold, respiratory compensation point, or Vo2 L.min(-1) gross efficiency at each stage.
A 2-wk ingestion schema of a commercial herbal-based formula is insufficient to elicit positive changes in cycling performance.

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Available from: Conrad P. Earnest, Nov 03, 2015
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    • "Two double blind RCTs conducted evaluate the effect of R. rosea combined with other herbs on exercise performance [18,21]. Both studies were conducted by the same group of authors using slightly different protocols and populations. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Rhodiola rosea (R. rosea) is grown at high altitudes and northern latitudes. Due to its purported adaptogenic properties, it has been studied for its performance-enhancing capabilities in healthy populations and its therapeutic properties in a number of clinical populations. To systematically review evidence of efficacy and safety of R. rosea for physical and mental fatigue. Methods Six electronic databases were searched to identify randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and controlled clinical trials (CCTs), evaluating efficacy and safety of R. rosea for physical and mental fatigue. Two reviewers independently screened the identified literature, extracted data and assessed risk of bias for included studies. Results Of 206 articles identified in the search, 11 met inclusion criteria for this review. Ten were described as RCTs and one as a CCT. Two of six trials examining physical fatigue in healthy populations report R. rosea to be effective as did three of five RCTs evaluating R. rosea for mental fatigue. All of the included studies exhibit either a high risk of bias or have reporting flaws that hinder assessment of their true validity (unclear risk of bias). Conclusion Research regarding R. rosea efficacy is contradictory. While some evidence suggests that the herb may be helpful for enhancing physical performance and alleviating mental fatigue, methodological flaws limit accurate assessment of efficacy. A rigorously-designed well reported RCT that minimizes bias is needed to determine true efficacy of R. rosea for fatigue.
    Full-text · Article · May 2012 · BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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    • "In contrary, a number of human studies using trained cyclists have also reported the inefficiency of CS and CS-based commercial supplements (Earnest et al., 2004; Parcell et al., 2004; Colson et al., 2005; Herda et al., 2008) in improving performance. However , these studies have been conducted with athletes who have attained their maximum metabolic and ventilatory response and the scope of endurance improvement is minimal. "
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    ABSTRACT: Cordyceps sinensis is a traditional Chinese medicine used for promotion of health, longevity and athletic power. However, the molecular mechanism for anti-fatigue activity and physical fitness has not yet been reported. The present study was conducted to evaluate the exercise endurance promoting activities of fungal traditional Chinese medicine (FTCM) Cordyceps sinensis cultured whole mycelium (CS) and the underlying mechanisms. CS was orally supplemented (200mg/kg body weight/day) to rats for 15days with or without swimming exercise along with exercise and placebo groups. Both CS supplementation and supplementation concurrent with exercise improved exercise endurance by 1.79- (P<0.05) and 2.9-fold (P<0.01) respectively as compared to placebo rats. CS supplementation concurrent with exercise also increased the swimming endurance by 1.32-fold (P<0.05) over the exercise group. To study the molecular mechanism of the observed effect, we measured the expression levels of endurance responsive skeletal muscle metabolic regulators AMPK, PGC-1α and PPAR-δ as well as endurance promoting and antioxidant genes like MCT1, MCT4, GLUT4, VEGF, NRF-2, SOD1 and TRX in red gastrocnemius muscle. Our results indicate that CS supplementation significantly upregulates the skeletal muscle metabolic regulators, angiogenesis, better glucose and lactate uptake both in exercised and non-exercised rats. We have also observed increased expression of oxidative stress responsive transcription factor NRF-2 and its downstream targets SOD1 and TRX by CS supplementation. CS supplementation with or without exercise improves exercise endurance capacity by activating the skeletal muscle metabolic regulators and a coordinated antioxidant response. Consequently, CS can be used as a potent natural exercise mimetic.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2011 · Journal of ethnopharmacology
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    • "A single dose effect is achieved in one-two hours after the administration of Rhodiola extracts (Perfumi and Mattioli, 2007; Mattioli and Perfumi, 2007; Panossian et al., 2009b; Mattioli et al., 2008; Panossian et al., 2009a). The adaptogenic effect of Rhodiola root water-acloholic extracts have been confirmed in many preclinical studies (Saratikov, 1976; Saratikov et al., 1968; Aksenova et al., 1968; Panossian and Wagner, 2005; Jafari et al., 2007; Perfumi and Mattioli, 2007; Mattioli et al., 2008; van Diermen et al., 2009; Abidov et al., 2003; Iaremiı ˘ and Grigor&apos;eva, 2002; Qin et al., 2008; Siwicki et al., 2007; Wang et al., 2009; Pooja et al., 2009; Zdanowska et al., 2009) and several controlled clinical trials (Aksenova et al., 1968a,b; Dieamantet al., 2008; Bystritsky et al., 2008; Earnest et al., 2004; Xu et al., 2003; Ha et al., 2002; Zhang et al., 1999; Fintelmann and Gruenwald, 2007; Spasov et al., 2000; Bocharova et al., 1995). "
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    ABSTRACT: The aim of this review article was to summarize accumulated information related to chemical composition, pharmacological activity, traditional and official use of Rhodiola rosea L. in medicine. In total approximately 140 compounds were isolated from roots and rhizome - monoterpene alcohols and their glycosides, cyanogenic glycosides, aryl glycosides, phenylethanoids, phenylpropanoids and their glycosides, flavonoids, flavonlignans, proanthocyanidins and gallic acid derivatives. Studies on isolated organs, tissues, cells and enzymes have revealed that Rhodiola preparations exhibit adaptogenic effect including, neuroprotective, cardioprotectiv e, anti-fatigue, antidepressive, anxiolytic, nootropic, life-span increasing effects and CNS stimulating activity. A number of clinical trials demonstrate that repeated administration of R. rosea extract SHR-5 exerts an anti-fatigue effect that increases mental performance (particularly the ability to concentrate in healthy subjects), and reduces burnout in patients with fatigue syndrome. Encouraging results exist for the use of Rhodiola in mild to moderate depression, and generalized anxiety. Several mechanisms of action possibly contributing to the clinical effect have been identified for Rhodiola extracts. They include interactions with HPA-system (cortisol-reducing), protein kinases p-JNK, nitric oxide, and defense mechanism proteins (e.g. heat shock proteins Hsp 70 and FoxO/DAF-16). Lack of interaction with other drugs and adverse effects in the course of clinical trials make it potentially attractive for use as a safe medication. In conclusion, Rhodiola rosea has robust traditional and pharmacological evidence of use in fatigue, and emerging evidence supporting cognition and mood.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2010 · Phytomedicine: international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology
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