The effect of GINST15, an enzyme fermented ginseng supplement, on hormonal and inflammatory responses to physical stress in humans is unknown. The purpose of this investigation was to examine the constitutive and stress-induced effects of GINST15 supplement on hypo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) and antioxidant activity in addition to muscle damage. Ten women (age: 38.7 ± 7.8 years; height: 163.81 ± 4.4 cm; body mass 76.0 ± 11.6 kg) and nine men (age: 41.2. ± 9.7 years; height: 177.4 ± 5.3 cm; body mass: 88.5 ± 5.0 kg) participated in a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, counterbalanced within-group study. Participants completed three 14-day treatment cycles with different doses (high: 960 mg; low: 160 mg; placebo: 0 mg) separated by a 1-week washout period. At the end of treatment, physical stress was imposed with intense resistance exercise work stress. Participants provided blood at rest and various time points after exercise (immediately [IP], 30 min , 60 min , 24 h [+24HR]). Cortisol (CORT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), total glutathione, nonspecific antioxidant activity, total antioxidant power (TAP), and creatine kinase were measured. GINST15 supplementation produced stress-inducible dose-dependent reductions in circulating cortisol and increased enzymatic and nonspecific antioxidant activity. Twenty-four hours after intense exercise, a high dose GINST15, a bioactive ginsenoside metabolite, significantly reduces muscle damage and HPA responses to physical stress in humans; these effects may result from increased antioxidant expression.
Keywords: antioxidant; compound K; cortisol; ginsenoside; inflammation; muscle damage; oxidative stress.