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Lifespan extension and delay of age-related functional decline caused by Rhodiola rosea depends on dietary macronutrient balance

Dmytro V Gospodaryov1, Ihor S Yurkevych1, Mahtab Jafari2, Volodymyr I Lushchak1 and Oleh V Lushchak13*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Vassyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University, Ivano-Frankivsk 76025, Ukraine

2 Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA

3 Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, S-10691 Stockholm, Sweden

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Longevity & Healthspan 2013, 2:5  doi:10.1186/2046-2395-2-5

Published: 2 April 2013



This study was conducted to evaluate the effects of rhizome powder from the herb Rhodiola rosea, a traditional Western Ukraine medicinal adaptogen, on lifespan and age-related physiological functions of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.


Flies fed food supplemented with 5.0 mg/ml and 10.0 mg/ml of R. rosea rhizome powder had a 14% to 17% higher median lifespan, whereas at 30.0 mg/ml lifespan was decreased by 9% to 12%. The preparation did not decrease fly fecundity.

The effect of R. rosea supplement on lifespan was dependent on diet composition. Lifespan extension by 15% to 21% was observed only for diets with protein-to-carbohydrate ratios less than 1. Lifespan extension was also dependent on total concentration of macronutrients. Thus, for the diet with 15% yeast and 15% sucrose there was no lifespan extension, while for the diet with protein-to-carbohydrate ratio 20:1 R. rosea decreased lifespan by about 10%.

Flies fed Rhodiola preparation were physically more active, less sensitive to the redox-cycling compound menadione and had a longer time of heat coma onset compared with controls. Positive effects of Rhodiola rhizome on stress resistance and locomotor activity were highest at the ‘middle age’.


The present data show that long-term food supplementation with R. rosea rhizome not only increases D. melanogaster lifespan, but also delays age-related decline of physical activity and increases stress resistance, what depends on protein-to-carbohydrate ratio of the diet.

Adaptogen; Diet; Fecundity; Fruit fly; Longevity; Macronutrient balance; Rhodiola rosea