NAB® Rhodiola Extract

NAB® Rhodiola Extract is an adaptogenic thermal stress protectant for skin and hair that is derived from the Rhodiola Rosea, a robust plant that thrives in harsh conditions (such as cold, wind, drought, reduced oxygen and intense radiation exposure). This active, aqueous glycolic extract will provide antioxidant protection from environmental damage to help keep skin in peak condition, ward off the visible signs of aging as well as allow the skin to easily adapt to internal and external stressors.

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Technical data sheet (TDS)
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Features And Benefits
Boosts the activity of endogenous antioxidants in skin cells
Protects the skin against harmful effects of UV radiation
Helps protect skin lipids against oxidative stress
Helps protect against degradation of squalene on skin exposed to environmental pollutants
Reduces the expression of inflammatory cytokines
Can help protect skin against exposure to extreme temperatures
Regional Availability
North America
Regulatory Status
China Compliant
Product Characteristics
Plant Origin
Physical Form
Formulation Conditions
Use Level
Soluble in

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Technical product information


Scalp skin is unique in that it has the densest population of hair follicles on the body, high levels of sebum excretion and a unique microbial population. As with the rest of the body, the scalp undergoes daily exposure to external stressors such as pollution, extreme temperatures and product buildup. This can result not only in free radical damage, leading to lipid peroxidation, but may also cause direct skin irritation, and compromise overall scalp health.

The skin is constantly under attack by ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) that cause oxidative stress in the skin, damage its barrier function, generate inflammatory response which alters its structure, leading to premature skin aging.

Figure below shows ROS damage levels on skin

Product Background

Rhodiola rosea is categorized as an adaptogen due to its ability to increase resistance to a variety of chemical, biological and physical stressors. It is rich in phenolic compounds, which are known to have strong antioxidant properties. It is a plant that thrives at high altitude in Europe and Asia, and is widely used for its high capacity to increase the organism resistance to different stress conditions. Free radicals are continuously forming due to the presence of sunlight, pollution, smoking, and inflammation may result due to microbial, pollutant, or other irritants. Over time they contribute to significant damage to scalp and hair. Rhodiola plants are rich in polyphenols such as salidroside and tyrosol, and polyphenols offer antioxidant properties. Therefore, the ability for free radicals to damage skin cells may be limited. 

Lipid Peroxidation


Antioxidant activity on lipid membranes was evaluated by measuring malondialdehyde (MDA) levels, which is a final product of lipid peroxidation, according to the protocol described by Stocks et al.6 Briefly, proteins are first precipitated with trichloroacetic acid. Thiobarbituric acid then forms an adduct with any MDA released when lipid peroxidation is induced by iron and ascorbic acid. Samples are quantified colorimetrically (OD 532nm). Quercetin is used as a positive control.

Efficacy Studies


The ability of NAB® Rhodiola Extract to inhibit lipid peroxidation, by inhibiting the formation of MDA, was evaluated at several concentrations of active. The level of peroxidation achieved in the buffer control is taken to be 100%. NAB® Rhodiola Extract was able to inhibit the formation of MDA by 22% at 10 mg/mL and by 96% at 100 mg/mL (Figure 1).

In Vitro — Auto Climate Control on Skin Cells

Both cold and hot thermal stress cause a significant reduction in cell viability. Lower cell viability creates the potential for a compromised scalp barrier, which may lead to other effects such as itch and irritation. NAB® Rhodiola Extract, an adaptogenic botanical extract, has been tested to evaluate whether it can impart some of its survival properties to skin cells allowing them to withstand extreme temperatures without impacting viability.

 NAB® Rhodiola’s Extract ability to protect skin was evaluated by measuring keratinocyte survival in vitro under thermal stress.


Keratinocytes either culture media alone, 10 mg/mL, or 20 mg/mL NAB® Rhodiola Extract were applied, and were then exposed to either 15-17 hours of hypothermia (4+/-2 degrees C), or 15-20 minutes of hyperthermia (48 +/-1 degree C). Following stress, the cells recovered and changes in the number of viable cells was determined using an MTT assay.


Thermal stress reduced keratinocyte viability to ~50%. Cells with concentrations of NAB® Rhodiola Extract of 10 mg/mL or greater applied provided a protective effect against both hot (15-20 minutes of hyperthermia @ 48°C) and cold (15-17 hours of hypothermia @ -4°C) thermal stress, as indicated by the increase in viability of the cells (Figure 2).

Pro-Inflammatory Genes Response

With the scalp always being exposed to external stressors, it is likely scalp irritation may result. When irritation occurs, it may be due to proinflammatory genes such as Interleukin 6 (IL-6) and Interleukin-8 (IL- 8) being stimulated. NAB® Rhodiola Extract was tested for its ability to affect the IL-6 and IL-8 response.


Keratinocytes (HaCat) with non-cytotoxic concentrations of NAB® Rhodiola Extract were induced to model an inflammatory response using PMA (150uM applied). All samples were carried out in quadruplicate. Multiplexed bead-based immunoassays were used to simultaneously detect fluorescence intensities correlating to levels of human IL-6 and IL-8. Statistical significance was assessed using the student t-test.


Activation of keratinocytes by PMA, induced the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines IL-6 and IL-8 by 61% and 36%, respectively (Figure 3). Cells with NAB® Rhodiola Extract applied significantly decreased PMA-stimulated release of IL-6 and IL-8 proteins. Results suggested that NAB® Rhodiola Extract helped reduce inflammatory markers, which may be useful for management of skin irritation.

Product Efficacy Summary


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Morristown, NJ 07960
United States