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Adaptogens are herbs that have been shown to extend endurance and bolster the immune system. Its use in exercise resulted from reports that mountain climbers used ciwujia to improve work performance at high altitudes. Based on these initial observations, Pacific Health Lab scientists conducted studies showing that ciwujia is a safe and effective ingredient to boost performance. Since its original launch, it has been used by tens of thousands of athletes as a workout supplement. The usual dose is two capsules once per day and noticeable results are usually quite apparent after 3-4 weeks.
1. The effect of eight weeks of supplementation with Eleutherococcus senticosus on endurance capacity and metabolism in humans, Kuo J, Kenny WC, Cheng I, et al. Chinese Journal of Physiology 53(2):105-111, 2010.
This study demonstrated that after eight weeks of supplementation ciwujia "enhanced endurance capacity and improved cardiovascular function". The authors concluded ciwujia is an "effective nutritional ergogenic aid for people who perform endurance exercise". The study used a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover design with a washout period of four weeks between cycling trials. Cyclists consumed either a placebo or 800mg of ciwujia. Following a 5-minute warm up the pace increased to 75% VO2 peak. Ratings of perceived exertion, heart rate and respiratory exchange ratio were measured at rest, 15, 30 min and exhaustion. Subjects receiving ciwujia supplementation had a 23% improvement in endurance time to exhaustion, a 12% improvement in VO2 peak, an increase in heart rate with no increase in ratings of perceived exertion and an increase in fatty acid oxidation.
2. Effects of Eleutherococcus senticosus (ciwujia) on fat metabolism and endurance performance in long distance runners, Kuo J, Chen CY and Lee N. Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise 38(5):S401, 2006.
This study showed that after 28 days of treatment with ciwujia there was a significant increase in running time to exhaustion, heart rate and fat metabolism. Ten long distance runners consumed ciwujia or placebo for 28 days and then were evaluated for running time to exhaustion, heart rate max and fat metabolism. The group consuming ciwujia had an increase in endurance, an increase in heart rate and an increase in fatty acid metabolism. The authors concluded that supplementation with 800mg of ciwujia for 28 days improved endurance capacity and had no side-effects in humans.
3. Supplementation of Eleutherococcus senticosus (ciwujia) on cardiorespiratory function and fat metabolism in college students, Kuo J, Su C, Yang H, et al. Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism 51(1):161, 2007.
This study showed that ciwujia supplementation for eight weeks increases fat oxidation in working muscles during high intensity exercise and improves cardiorespiratory function. Eighteen healthy male and female college students participated in an eight-week double-blind study. Subjects consumed daily an oral dose of 600mg of ciwujia and at week 0 and week 8 completed a cycling exhaustion exercise test. The subjects receiving ciwujia supplementation had a statistically significant increase in endurance time of 36%, an increase in maximum heart rate of 4%, a decrease in blood lactic acid of 18% and a 20% increase in fatty acid metabolism. No side-effects were reported. The investigators concluded that ciwujia is an effective nutritional supplement.
4. Effect of ciwujia (Radix acanthopanacis senticosus) preparation on human stamina, Wu YN, Wang X, Zhao Y, et al. Journal of Hygiene Research 25(1):57-61, 1996.
This study demonstrated that ciwujia increased fat metabolism, increased the anaerobic threshold and delayed the occurrence of fatigue. Sixteen healthy male adults received ciwujia or a placebo for two weeks. Both before and after two weeks, subjects underwent tests measuring aerobic and anaerobic power. Researchers found that subjects receiving ciwujia had a decrease in blood lactate levels of 31-33%. The change in lactate levels was paralleled by a similar change in heart rate. Based on change in respiratory quotient, ciwujia increased energy contributed from fat by 43%. The authors concluded that these results indicated that use of ciwujia can have positive implications for athletes because of a glycogen-sparing effect and increase in the anaerobic threshold.