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Chin J Physiol. 2019 Nov-Dec;62(6):267-272. doi: 10.4103/CJP.CJP_61_19.

Contrasting actions of ginsenosides Rb1 and Rg1 on glucose tolerance in rats.

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Faculty of Sports Science and Technology, Mahidol University, Nakhonpathom, Thailand; Laboratory of Exercise Biochemistry, University of Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan.
Exercise and Sport Sciences Development and Research Group, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand.
Laboratory of Regenerative Medicine in Sports Science, School of Physical Education & Sports Science, South China Normal University, Taichung, Taiwan.
Graduate Institute of Basic Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan.
Laboratory of Exercise Biochemistry, University of Taipei, Taipei, Taiwan.


Ginsenoside profile of Panax ginseng is changing with season and cultivated soil. Yet, dose-response relationship of main ginsenosides on metabolic measures has not been documented in vivo. Here, we examined glucose and insulin responses after an oral glucose challenge (0.5 g/kg body weight) at various doses (0.01, 0.1, 1, and 10 mg/kg of body weight) under acute and chronic Rb1 and Rg1 supplemented conditions. The results show that Rb1 (0.01 and 0.1 mg/kg body weight) increased, whereas Rg1 (0.01 mg/kg body weight) decreased postprandial glucose levels compared with the Vehicle group (P < 0.05). This contrasting effect reduced as dose increased. Both Rb1 and Rg1 decreased the mitochondrial enzyme citrate synthase activity (P < 0.05) together with decreases in glycogen content in red gastrocnemius muscle and body temperature at low doses (P < 0.05), compared with the Vehicle group. These differences also diminished as dosage increases. For reliable ginseng research, dose standardization on Rg1 and Rb1 is essential based on their opposing action and peculiar dose-response relationship. Both major ginsenosides may influence dynamics of mitochondria turnover and alter muscle metabolism.


Glucose; Panax ginseng; insulin; oral glucose tolerance test

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