Ethnopharmacological relevance: Red ginseng (RG) has been widely used to treat various diseases in East Asian countries. Previous studies have shown the anti-oxidative and anti-diabetic effects of RG. This study aimed to investigate the effects of RG on oxidative stress and insulin resistance in postmenopausal women.
Materials and methods: We performed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in 82 postmenopausal women aged 45-60 years. Participants were randomized to receive 3g red ginseng daily or placebo for 12 weeks. Antioxidant enzymes activity (superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase) and oxidative stress markers (malondialdehyde, 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine) were assessed, and the homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance index was calculated at the baseline and at the end of the trial.
Results: A total of 71 postmenopausal women completed the study. Serum superoxide dismutase activity was significantly increased after the 12-week RG supplementation (P<0.001), and these changes were statistically significant compared with the placebo group (P=0.004). Serum malondialdehyde levels showed a tendency to decrease after the 12-week RG supplementation (P=0.001), but these changes were not statistically significant compared with the placebo group (P=0.064). No statistically significant changes in serum glutathione peroxidase and 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine were noted. Further, RG supplementation showed no effects on fasting glucose, fasting insulin, and insulin resistance.
Conclusions: The results suggest that RG may reduce oxidative stress by increasing antioxidant enzyme activity in postmenopausal women.
Keywords: Insulin resistance; Oxidative stress; Postmenopausal women; Red ginseng.
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