The effect of fermented red ginseng on depression is mediated by lipids

Nutr Neurosci. 2014 Jan;17(1):7-15. doi: 10.1179/1476830513Y.0000000059. Epub 2013 Nov 26.


Objectives: The cortico-limbic hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis has emerged as an important area for the cause and treatment of depression. The primary aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that hormones, energy sources, and minerals have a causal relationship with depression. The secondary aim was to test whether consumption of fermented red ginseng (FRG) would influence that causal relationship.

Methods: For this study, 93 postmenopausal women were randomly divided into two groups. One group (49 women) was supplied with FRG capsules, and the other group (44 women) with placebo capsules, for 2 weeks. Both before and after the study, the participants filled out the Beck depression inventory questionnaire, and then blood samples were collected. The structural regression model was established. The causative latent variables were hormone (adrenocorticotropic hormone and cortisol), energy (low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, total cholesterol, and blood glucose), mineral 1 (potassium, sodium, chloride, and iron), and mineral 2 (magnesium, calcium), and the resultant latent variables were cognitive depression (CD) and somatic depression. The goodness-of-fit statistics of the final model were good (root mean square error of approximation =0.033, comparative fit index =0.877, and Tucker-Lewis index =0.870).

Results: The structural regression path of the energy factor on CD showed a significant difference between the FRG group (0.259) and the placebo group (-0.201). The factor loadings of total cholesterol (1.236) and LDL cholesterol (1.000) on the energy factor were much higher than that of glucose (0.166).

Conclusion: Based on the analysis used in this model, the effect of FRG consumption on CD occurred via the energy factor, which is mainly attributable to cholesterol.

Keywords: Cholesterol; Depression; Fermented red ginseng; Multiple imputation; Structural equation model.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood*
  • Depression / drug therapy*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Fermentation
  • Ginsenosides / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / drug effects
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Panax / chemistry*
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / drug effects
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / metabolism
  • Postmenopause
  • Receptors, Estrogen / blood
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / blood
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Trace Elements / blood
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Ginsenosides
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid
  • Trace Elements
  • Triglycerides