Effects of Panax ginseng supplementation on muscle damage and inflammation after uphill treadmill running in humans

Am J Chin Med. 2011;39(3):441-50. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X11008944.


The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether Panax ginseng extract intake would influence exercise-induced muscle damage and inflammation responses. Eighteen male college students were randomly assigned to either an RG intake group (RG, n = 9) or a placebo group (P, n = 9). All subjects performed a high-intensity uphill treadmill running task (two rounds of 45 min at 10 km/h speed with a 15 degree uphill slope separated by 5 min of rest). The RG group ingested 20 g/day of Korean red ginseng extract (mixed with 200 ml of water) three times/day for seven days prior to performing the uphill treadmill exercise test and for four days after the treadmill test, while the P group ingested 200 ml of water containing Agastachis Herba on the same schedule. Plasma creatine kinase activity (CK) and interlukin-6 (IL-6) levels were measured at pre-exercise and 24, 48, 72, and 96 h post-exercise; the IL-6 level was also measured at 1 and 2 h post-exercise. To evaluate insulin sensitivity, the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) was performed 24 h post-exercise. Plasma CK level in RG was significantly lower than that in P 72 h post-exercise (p < 0.05), and IL-6 level was significantly decreased in RG during the 2 h and 3 h recovery period compared to that of P (p < 0.05). Plasma glucose and insulin responses in RG were significantly reduced compared to those of P (p < 0.05). The results of this study suggest that RG supplementation could reduce exercise-induced muscle damage and inflammatory responses, resulting in improvements in insulin sensitivity.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Exercise Test / methods
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Muscular Diseases / blood
  • Muscular Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Muscular Diseases / etiology
  • Panax*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Running / physiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Interleukin-6
  • Plant Extracts
  • Creatine Kinase