American ginseng supplementation induces an oxidative stress in postmenopausal women

Jonathan R. Dickman, Ryan T. Koenig, Li Li Ji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether American ginseng (Panax Quinquefolium) confers antioxidant protection to postmenopausal women at rest and after a mild aerobic exercise session. Methods: In this double-blinded parallel study, 12 female subjects (age range 55–75) consumed two capsules, containing 500 mg of dry American ginseng whole-root powder, everyday for 4 months, whereas 13 female control subjects of the same age range consumed two placebo capsules. Before and after the supplementation regimen each subject performed 30 minutes of treadmill walking on a 5% grade incline at an estimated 60% of VO2max. Results: Ginseng supplementation had no effect on heart rate, blood pressure, plasma blood glucose, or lactate concentration at rest or immediately after exercise tests. The ginseng supplemented group displayed a higher resting plasma glutathione disulfide (GSSG) concentration and lower glutathione (GSH):GSSG ratio, as well as a lower resting total antioxidant content (TAC). Plasma GSSG concentration decreased, whereas the GSH:GSSG ratio and TAC increased after exercise in all subjects. Furthermore, plasma malondialdehyde and urine 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine concentrations were elevated in the ginseng-supplemented group. Erythrocyte superoxide dismutase and GSH reductase activities were increased after ginseng supplementation. The 30-minute treadmill walking, however, did not alter these changes. Conclusions: These data suggest that chronic American ginseng supplementation at the given dose can cause an oxidative stress in postmenopausal women, as reflected by the elevated oxidative damage markers and the increased erythrocyte antioxidant enzyme activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-228
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American College of Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2009


  • Aging
  • Antioxidant
  • Exercise
  • Ginseng
  • Oxidative stress
  • Postmenopausal women

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