Best supplements, vitamins and nutraceuticals for Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME): the scientific evidence on Rhodiola Rosea and Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)

Rhodiola rosea is a a traditional root used as an adaptogen.


Adaptogens are compounds that are reported to help your body respond to stress, anxiety and fatigue.


Studies reported that Rhodiola Rosea increased energy and decreased fatigue in several different types of people, including:

  • long COVID
  • doctors on overnight call
  • stressed students during exams
  • healthy but stressed adults
  • healthy adults during and after  physical activity
  • athletes
  • army cadets

The overall benefits included decreased irritability, tension, pain, stress/anxiety, depression, inflammation and morning cortisol (cortisol is a stress hormone) but improved physical and mental performance.


But what about ME?


Is Rhodiola Rosea an effective for the nutritional treatment of Myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME)?


Ukraine, Russian and German researchers have conducted the only study (to date) to test Rhodiola Rosea in ME. 


In an 8 week study, Rhodiola Rosea extract led to improvements in:

  • general fatigue
  • physical fatigue
  • mental fatigue

You can see from figure 1 (below) that there was improvement after only one week but more improvement after 4 weeks and even more improvement after 8 weeks:

Figure 1


The researchers also used some scale to measure improvements in ME as recommended by the US centre of disease control and prevention (CDC)


Using thee scales, the researchers assessed:

  • postexertional malaise
  • impairment of concentration and memory
  • unrefreshing sleep


Similar to figure 1 above, there were improvements in all 3 areas after only one week which continued to get better after 4 weeks and better again after 8 weeks (see figure 2 below). 


Figure 2


In addition, the researchers reported:

  • less impairments at work or school
  • less impairments in social life
  • improvement in family and home responsibilities
  • less days of underproductivity
  • less days lost 


Finally, stress score, sleep quality score and depression score improved also after 8 weeks of Rhodiola Rosea


So the only study assessing the effect of Rhodiola Rosea in persons with ME reported:

  • benefits for general fatigue
  • benefits for physical fatigue
  • benefits for mental fatigue
  • less postexertional malaise
  • less impairment of concentration and memory
  • less unrefreshing sleep
  • less impairments at work or school
  • less impairments in social life
  • improvements in family and home responsibilities
  • less days of underproductivity
  • less days lost


In addition to Rhodiola Rosea, other supplements which are scientifically demonstrated to improve ME include:


Although, there is no scientific data for the following nutrients from research studies among individuals with ME, there is strong rationale that these dietary components could be beneficial:


Some supplements which have been tested in ME but failed to provide any benefit include:

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