Red ginseng treatment for two weeks promotes fat metabolism during exercise in mice

Nutrients. 2014 May 5;6(5):1874-85. doi: 10.3390/nu6051874.


Purpose: Red ginseng (RG) has been reported to improve the blood and organ lipid profile when combined with exercise. However, the effect of RG on energy metabolism during exercise is poorly understood. Therefore, this study was designed to investigate whether RG treatment alters fat utilization during exercise;

Methods: We used seven-week-old ICR mice (n = 42). RG (1 g/kg) was administered orally daily during two weeks of endurance training. All mice were randomized into two groups: training only group (CON group) and training with RG group (RG group). Endurance training consisted of 20~25 m/min on a slope of 8° for one hour five times a week. After a two-week experimental period, we measured substrate utilization during exercise at the same intensity and duration of training using a respiratory calorimetry chamber. Mice were dissected for glycogen measurement of muscles and liver before, immediately after, and one hour after the exercise;

Result: Fat oxidation during the initial 20 min of the one-hour exercise significantly increased in the RG group compared to the CON group. In addition, the liver glycogen stores significantly decreased immediately after the one-hour exercise compared to at rest in the RG group, but did not differ between immediately after the one-hour exercise and at rest in the RG group. The glycogen concentration in white and red gastrocnemius muscle did not differ between the groups immediately after the one-hour exercise;

Conclusions: These results suggest that RG treatment for two weeks promotes fat oxidation and a glycogen-sparing effect during exercise. This might lead to a delay in peripheral fatigue during endurance exercise performance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism / drug effects
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Glycogen / metabolism
  • Insulin / blood
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Panax / chemistry*
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Insulin
  • Plant Extracts
  • Glycogen