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Molecules. 2020 Feb 16;25(4). pii: E865. doi: 10.3390/molecules25040865.

Red Ginseng Improves Exercise Endurance by Promoting Mitochondrial Biogenesis and Myoblast Differentiation.

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Korea Food Research Institute, Wanju-gun, Jeollabuk-do 55365, Korea.
Division of Bioengineering, Incheon National University, Incheon 22012, Korea.
Department of Food Science & Biotechnology, Sejong University, Seoul 05006, Korea.


Red ginseng has been reported to elicit various therapeutic effects relevant to cancer, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, and inflammatory diseases. However, the effect of red ginseng on exercise endurance and skeletal muscle function remains unclear. Herein, we sought to investigate whether red ginseng could affect exercise endurance and examined its molecular mechanism. Mice were fed with red ginseng extract (RG) and undertook swimming exercises to determine the time to exhaustion. Animals fed with RG had significantly longer swimming endurance. RG treatment was also observed to enhance ATP production levels in myoblasts. RG increased mRNA expressions of mitochondrial biogenesis regulators, NRF-1, TFAM, and PGC-1α, which was accompanied by an elevation in mitochondrial DNA, suggesting an enhancement in mitochondrial energy-generating capacity. Importantly, RG treatment induced phosphorylation of p38 and AMPK and upregulated PGC1α expression in both myoblasts and in vivo muscle tissue. In addition, RG treatment also stimulated C2C12 myogenic differentiation. Our findings show that red ginseng improves exercise endurance, suggesting that it may have applications in supporting skeletal muscle function and exercise performance.


exercise endurance; mitochondrial biogenesis; myoblast differentiation; red ginseng

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