For Immediate Release
R. Andrew Shanely, PhD
Human Performance Laboratory
Appalachian State University
North Carolina Research Campus
NC Research Campus
This weekend the ASU Human Performance Laboratory at the NC Research Campus in Kannapolis adds science to the festivities of the annual Charlotte Thunder Road Marathon this Friday and Saturday. Fifty-five marathon runners are taking part in a field trial of an herbal supplement, Rhodiola rosea.
(NC Research Campus, Kannapolis, NC- November 16, 2012)- This weekend at the annual Charlotte Thunder Road Marathon, 55 runners will be doing more than just running a marathon. They will also be part of a field trial conducted by the Appalachian State University (ASU) Human Performance Laboratory.
Scientists and interns from the ASU lab, which is located at the NC Research Campus in Kannapolis, will be at the Thunder Road Marathon this Friday, November 16 and Saturday, November 17 to test an herbal supplement called Rhodiola rosea to see if it decreases muscle damage in the study participants resulting from the strenuous exercise of the marathon.
Rhodiola rosea, which is also called Arctic or golden root, is an adpatogenic herb known for promoting sustained energy and physical performance as well as improving mood and the ability to handle stress. Rhodiola grows in high altitudes in the arctic areas of Europe and Asia and has been used for centuries in traditional medicine.
The ASU field test involves 55 marathon runners, 17 females and 38 males with an average age of 41. They have been taking the supplement or a placebo for the past month. Friday morning, the ASU research team will be stationed at the pre-race registration site to draw the athletes’ blood and to conduct tests to determine physical strength. On Saturday, ASU will be near the finish line where the athletes in the study will again have blood drawn and undergo physical tests after completing the marathon and again one hour later.
“We’re testing to determine if the people who are on the treatment have relatively less muscle damage and a smaller decline in strength and power than people not on the treatment,” Shanely said.
The difference between the strength of the runners on the Rhodelia rosea supplement and placebo will be measured from the data collected in the physical tests and through the decreased presence of cytokines, molecules the body produces in response to stress, and an increase in the expression of Heat Shock Protein 72 (HSP 72) in the blood. Rhodelia rosea, Shanely explained, is known to cause an increase in HSP 72, and, in animal models, increased HSP 72 protects muscles from damage. Carolinas Medical Center and ASU’s Human Performance Laboratory at the NCRC will perform the blood tests.
The study sponsor is PL Thomas, a company that secures and markets high-quality, natural raw materials from around the globe to provide ingredient solutions for the food, beverage, supplement and cosmeceutical industries. They offer consumer products like RhodioLife that contain Rhodelia rosea extract.
Components of Rhodelia rosea, such as rosavins, have been tested in laboratory human trials. “Tests haven’t been done of this size or with this age group or in this setting,” Shanely said. “This company wanted to do a more robust test of this product, and this will be a tough test.”
About the Appalachian State Human Performance Lab
Led by David Nieman, DrPH, FACSM, the research team of the ASU Human Performance Lab is a national leader in the area of nutrition and exercise immunology. Working closely with trained and amateur athletes, corporate collaborators and sponsors as well as community participants, the Human Performance Lab’s mission is to investigate the influence of unique plant molecules on age-related loss of muscle mass (sarcopenia), muscle mitochondrial biogenesis and exercise-induced changes in immune function, oxidative stress and inflammation by testing whole foods, natural products and natural bioactive components. For more information, visit http://ncrc.appstate.edu/.
About the North Carolina Research Campus
The North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis is home to university, corporate, government, non-profit and healthcare partners focused on research into human health, nutrition and agriculture to prevent, treat and cure disease. For more information, visit www.ncresearchcampus.net.
Please note: ASU scientists will be available for interviews Friday and Saturday. The best opportunity for interviews and photos will be Saturday between 10 am and 12 pm at the finish line. Friday, ASU will be located at the pre-race registration, and Saturday across from Victory Lane near the NASCAR Hall of Fame.