Rhodiola rosea, a protective antioxidant for intense physical exercise: An in vitro study

In physiological conditions, the response to oxidative stress induced by strenuous physical training, is not always efficient. Furthermore, a weak muscle fiber antioxidant system can contribute to muscle wasting during ageing and pathological conditions. Natural antioxidant supplements could counteract the effects of oxidative stress. An in vitro model of exercise allowed us to mimic intense or moderate exercise by electrically stimulating cultured mouse myotubes with high- and/or low-frequency pulses; the resulting ROS production was then monitored. The herbal supplement Rhodiola rosea aqueous extract was characterized in terms of its polyphenol content and usedto test for antioxidant activity against ROS, produced during muscle contraction. Our results showed that Rhodiola rosea extract reduced the oxidative stress produced by muscle contraction and brought values of ROS production back to physiological levels. We suggest that Rhodiola rosea root extract could exert a protective antioxidant role during intense physical exercise.