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Side Effects of Nutrilite Rhodiola

author image Joe King, M.S.
Joe King began writing fitness and nutrition articles in 2001 for the "Journal of Hyperplasia Research" and Champion Nutrition. As a personal trainer, he has been helping clients reach their fitness goals for more than a decade. King holds a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology from California State University, Hayward, and a Master of Science in exercise physiology from California State University, East Bay.
Side Effects of Nutrilite Rhodiola
Nutrilite Rhodiola comes in powder-filled tablets. Photo Credit: Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Nutrilite rhodiola is a nutritional supplement containing the herbal compound rhodiola rosea, as well as small amounts of green tea extract and caffeine. Rhodiola is a type of herb that grows in colder climates around the world and is commonly marketed as a nutritional herbal supplement to increase energy, boost the immune system, improve cardiovascular health and improve brain performance and mental function. However, despite its reported health benefits, Nutrilite rhodiola and other rhodiola rosea supplements may cause side effects. Consult your physician before using Nutrilite Rhodiola.

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Stimulant Effects

Rhodiola rosea may act as a mild stimulant in humans, according to “Today’s Herbal Health: The Essential Reference Guide." When combined with green tea extract and caffeine, rhodiola's stimulatory effects may be magnified. Ingesting a high amount of stimulants may cause side effects such as restlessness, insomnia and irritability. Stimulants may also increase your heart rate, blood pressure and rate of water loss through sweating and increased urination, which may lead to dehydration. Thus, drinking adequate amounts of water while using any stimulant is important to reduce the risk of developing dehydration.

Blood Pressure

Researchers investigated the effects of rhodiola on cardiac function and published their results in the September 2009 issue of the "Journal of Ethnopharmacology." The researchers found that rhodiola supplementation may increase your risk of developing hypotension, low blood pressure, which can be a dangerous medical condition. Phytochemicals contained within the rhodiola compound may cause vasodilation, a temporary increase in the diameter of your blood vessels. Vasodilation causes a drop in blood pressure and may result in fatigue, dizziness and fainting.

Allergy Warning

Some people may have an allergic reaction to rhodiola rosea because it is derived from a plant source. An allergic reaction to rhodiola occurs when your body overproduces histamine because it mistakes rhodiola for a toxic compound. An allergic reaction to rhodiola rosea is a medical emergency and may cause hives, swelling of your face, throat and neck, difficulty breathing, nausea and heart palpitations. It is important to seek medical attention quickly if you are experiencing any of these effects following Nutrilite rhodiola supplementation.

Other Effects

Large doses of Nutrilite Rhodiola or other sources of the rhodiola herb may worsen the effects associated with certain mental disorders and chemical imbalances in the brain. One of the reported benefits of rhodiola is that it promotes oxygen delivery and circulation in the brain, which may benefit healthy individuals but can be harmful to individuals suffering from mania, psychosis, depression and other mental disorders. Consult your physician to make sure Nutrilite Rhodiola supplementation will not interfere with any medications you may be taking.

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