In a time where athletes would do almost anything to get ahead (take the Russians for example), scrutiny has been placed upon the athletic world like never before.
Still, a lot of athletes are taking a chance and risking their careers and reputations to for a CHANCE at glory. Not even guaranteed, but just to get an edge so their chances are higher.
This is prevalent not just on the professional level, but in amateur sports and even recreational levels as well. Questionable supplements and other banned substances aren’t regulated among weekend warriors, and some abuse these products to get an edge over their friends, look bigger faster, all without knowing the damage they’re doing to their bodies.
What if I told you there’s a supplement that is all natural (meaning it’s found in nature, not the same “all natural” you find on processed food labels) and so potent and powerful that the Russians tried to keep it a secret from the rest of the world?
Of course the cat is out of the bag now. During the Olympics in the 80’s, Russian athletes were taking this legal supplements and destroying their competition in the games. Now I’m not saying that it was ALL due to this supplement, but I don’t think it hurt them either.
After, the Russians are known for their doping scandals among their athletes. But with that fact in mind, it goes to show how high of a value they placed on this natural supplement.
Even when taking banned substances that are guaranteed to enhance their athletic performance, this supplement was still a regular part of the athletes’ nutritional profile.
Okay, I know you waiting to find out what it is. So I introduce to you…
Eleuthero Root, or Siberian Ginseng, or Ciwujiia, or any other name that it goes by, is by far one of the most powerful natural herbal supplements known to man. It is an adaptogen, which is a natural herb that helps our bodies adapt to stress.
As said before, the Russians were trying to keep this all to themselves when they found it in their home country at the time. And of course, numerous studies were done on its effects, dosage, timing, etc.
When the rest of the world found out, even more studies were performed just to see if the claims made by the Russians in their research were true.
Well, I’ll let you decide at the end of this article.
Let me just go over some of the effects this has, mostly on athletic performance, but also metabolic health and general health as well.
As with most clinical trials, the tests done with Eleuthero include mice studies. Although our insides have a lot in common with that of mice, it’s just not convincing (to me anyway) when some things work on mice, it works on humans just the same.
But don’t worry, we have human trials for this one.
However, just in case you were curious, the mice trials did reveal some interesting findings.
Different groups of mice were subjected to long swimming sessions and each were fed different concentrations of the Eleuthero water extract. The group fed the highest concentrations showed the most anti-fatigue effects on Days 5 and 7 of the study.¹
Now onto the human trial results.
When taken with meals in 2 divided doses for 8 weeks, 800 mg of Eleuthero Root helped improved the following parameters when test subjects were to cycle at 75% VO2Max to exhaustion²:
- Time to exhaustion increased by 23%
- Max heart rate increased by 4.3%
- VO2Max increased by 12%
- Respiratory exchange ratio improved by 2.7%
- Utilization of free fatty acids increased by 19.5%
- Glucose level during exercise decreased by 6.7%
It doesn’t take a medical researcher to tell that those improvements are nothing to scoff at. And these were college recreational
athletes, not some beginner showing beginner’s gains.
Professional athletes would do almost anything to increase their time to exhaustion by even just 1%, nevermind 23%!
Max heart rate is associated with fitness level. The higher your max heart rate, the more fit your cardiovascular system is. Your heart is able to work more due to being in better shape.
VO2Max and respiratory exchange ratio (respiratory quotient) were explained in this previous article. Go ahead and check that out if you haven’t yet.
The last two parameters is where it gets interesting.
We see an increase in the usage of fatty acids in our blood and a decrease in usage of glucose. If you’ve been following my articles, you know I just finished up a 3-part series on low carb diets.
This increase of fatty acid usage and decrease in glucose sounds a bit familiar doesn’t it?
Basically, without any changes in diet (at least not outlined by this study), Eleuthero is helping our bodies burn more fatty acids for energy during exercise instead of the glucose in our system.
Given that the exercise intensity was kept at 75% VO2Max, glycogen usage wasn’t 100% anyway. There was most likely a split between glucose usage and fatty acid usage.
But all of this is significant for endurance athletes, especially the last 2. Basically, when we’re going submaximal effort, Eleuthero protect our glycogen stores and taps into using fatty acids for fuel instead. So when it’s max effort time (think the last uphill or the last 100m sprint to the finish), we got more glycogen in the tank to burn than the guy who didn’t think Eleuthero works 🙂
Of course, no “steroid” would be complete without strength gains.
In a 8 week study conducted in Australia, scientist discovered that supplementing a group of men with Eleuthero increased their pectoral strength by 13% and bicep strength by 15%.7
These are not small numbers considering that even just a 0.5% increase in any attribute can make the difference between standing on the podium, or looking from the sideline.
One study looked at rats with a cardiovascular condition called postinfarction cardiosclerosis, a condition where connective tissues in the heart grows in place of actual heart muscle. These rats were given 16mg per kg of bodyweight of Eleuthero for 5 days, and the ventricular fibrillation threshold was elevated³.
Ventricular fibrillation is a condition when the heart beats erratically and out of its natural rhythm, causing the ventricles to shake and quiver instead of pumping blood.
Imagine pumping water out of a well with a hand pump. With regular, patterned, consistent pumping, the water comes out of the well no problem. But what if all of a sudden we crank down on the lever really hard? And we kept doing that super fast over and over?
The water doesn’t come out as smoothly as before, and you’ll probably notice the mechanism shaking and vibrating, not just from the force you’re exerting on it, but the effect the pumping action have on the water.
So by raising the threshold at which this starts to happen, Eleuthero in effect eliminated the symptoms of this diseases for some.
In another study, a group of postmenopausal women were taking 1500mg of Eleuthero Extract everyday for six months. Those women saw a 13.5% decrease in LDL cholesterol, with no change in HDL and total cholesterol or triglycerides.4
Metabolism And Obesity
Some observational studies in rats found that Eleuthero supplementation can actually stimulate the release of insulin from the pancreas, which lowers the level of blood glucose.5
I personally can’t be sure if this is necessarily good or bad. One of the reasons why diabetics become diabetics is pancrea burnout. After so much insulin has been released, the pancreas can no longer keep up and eventually stops insulin secretion altogether.
So stimulating more insulin via this herbal supplementation MIGHT be okay, but I really cannot be sure.
What we can be sure of though is its effects on fat mass and weight gain.
For 12 weeks, a group of rats were given 500mg per kg bodyweight of Eleuthero Root. The purpose of this study is to find out if Eleuthero can reduce weight gain when the rats were put into a caloric surplus.
In both diabetic and non-diabetic rats, supplementation with Eleuthero reduced weight gain by 13.4% and 25.3%, respectively.6
So if dinner was quite hefty and we feel the scale is going to shoot up tomorrow, regular intake of Eleuthero might just shave some of that off.
Which One To Choose From?
Do a simple search on Google for Eleuthero Root and you’ll find hundreds of supplements for this herb. Just like any other supplement, each claims it’s the best and will do better than its competition.
After looking through tons and tons of different brands and their claims, there’s one I came across that I found to not only be the best value, but works better than the rest.
I introduce to you:
This is the potent, effective, and most reliable form of Eleuthero that I’ve came across.
What makes this so much different than the other supplements out there?
For 3 BIG reasons:
- This version of the Eleuthero Extract fits all dietary types. Whether you’re strictly paleo, vegan, gluten-free, or none of the mentioned, this supplement fits the bill.
- There are absolutely no preservatives, added sugars, fillers, artificial anything, or GMO’s. How do we know this for sure? Because…
- Lab reports are available for you right on their website. Just to show that the product is 100% legit, you’re presented with:
- Certificate of Analysis
- Heavy Metals and Minerals Report
- Microbiological Report
This to me makes the biggest difference when choosing not just a supplement, but any product in general. The supplier has put in the effort to have stringent quality assurance put into place, and we get to see the results of it before making any decisions.
Summary Beyond just the effects described earlier, I feel calmer after my workouts, my cognitive abilities seem to have improved, and my strength and endurance gains took a jump as well! Although I feel the price is a tad bit on the high side, you get what you pay for!
Beyond just the effects described earlier, I feel calmer after my workouts, my cognitive abilities seem to have improved, and my strength and endurance gains took a jump as well! Although I feel the price is a tad bit on the high side, you get what you pay for!
Well, I hope you’ve made your decision, cuz I’ve certainly made mine.
Whether you’re an athlete looking to take your game to the next level, or just trying to find something to help you de-stress, improve heart and metabolic health, without forking over tons of money for subpar quality products, this is a treat you don’t want to miss.
Check out what others are saying about it: Reviews
- Kimura Y, Sumiyoshi M Effects of various Eleutherococcus senticosus cortex on swimming time, natural killer activity and corticosterone level in forced swimming stressed mice . J Ethnopharmacol. (2004)
- Kuo J, et al The effect of eight weeks of supplementation with Eleutherococcus senticosus on endurance capacity and metabolism in human . Chin J Physiol. (2010)
- Maslov LN, et al Antiarrhythmic activity of phytoadaptogens in short-term ischemia-reperfusion of the heart and postinfarction cardiosclerosis . Bull Exp Biol Med. (2009)
- Lee YJ, et al The effects of A. senticosus supplementation on serum lipid profiles, biomarkers of oxidative stress, and lymphocyte DNA damage in postmenopausal women . Biochem Biophys Res Commun. (2008)
- Niu HS, et al Hypoglycemic effect of syringin from Eleutherococcus senticosus in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats . Planta Med. (2008)
- Hong JH, Cha YS, Rhee SJ Effects of the Cellcultured Acanthopanax senticosus Extract on Antioxidative Defense System and Membrane Fluidity in the Liver of Type 2 Diabetes Mouse . J Clin Biochem Nutr. (2009)
- Singh, Gary. “Eleuthero.” How To Boost Your Immune System? 1st ed. N.p.: Lulu.com, 2008. N. pag. Print.