Nutritional antioxidants interact with cells in an active mode, including retrieving and sparing one another, to diminish oxidative stress. However, the intracellular balance of prooxidants and antioxidants becomes unbalanced, favoring prooxidants during the aging process. One hypothesis is that an aging-associated increase in oxidative stress is the primary cause of aging. Hence, the research hypothesis for this study is that Korean red ginseng reduces oxidative stress in vivo. Therefore, we investigated the efficacy of Korean red ginseng water extract (GWE) in reducing aging-associated oxidative stress by measuring lipid peroxidation and antioxidant levels in older rats compared with young rats. We observed a significant increase in the markers for oxidative damage (eg, lipid peroxidation) and markers for vital organ damage (eg, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, urea, and creatinine levels) in aged rats. The oxidative damage was accompanied by a significant decrease in enzymatic antioxidants such as superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase, and glutathione-S-transferase, and nonenzymatic antioxidants such as reduced glutathione, vitamin E, and vitamin C. Aged rats fed a diet supplemented with Korean red ginseng water extract had significantly less oxidative damage, possibly by enhancing the enzymatic and nonenzymatic antioxidants status. Our data suggest that consumption of Korean red ginseng reduces lipid peroxidation and restores antioxidant capacity by suppressing oxidative stress in rats.
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