Fermented red ginseng root extract

Native to mountain forests of East Asia, Panax ginseng  (from “Jen shen”, or “man herb”) is now cultivated in China, Japan, Russia and Korea. For over two thousand years, the root of P. ginseng   has been used as a tonic, energizer, to help aid concentration, to help reduce anxiety and emotional instability and as a restorative to promote health and longevity 1,2,3. It has a long history of traditional use in China for improving memory 4, and has been used traditionally by many cultures as an “adaptogen” (a substance that is able to help the body adapt to environmental or internal stresses without altering normal physiology) 3,5.

P. ginseng roots are prepared either by steaming and then drying to produce red ginseng or by sun-drying to produce white ginseng. The roots contain ginsenosides (glycosylated triterpenoid saponins), a volatile oil, sterols (including beta-sitosterol), starch, polysaccharides, caffeine, theophylline, theobromine, vitamins (B1, B2, B12, nicotinic acid, pantothenic acid, biotin), choline, fats, and minerals (zinc, copper, manganese, calcium, and iron). Panax spp. are best known, however, for their over 150 ginsenosides, which appear to be responsible for the root’s benefits for humans 6,7.

Research indicates that ginsenosides are poorly absorbed, and there is some evidence that ginsenoside metabolites formed by intestinal bacteria after oral intake may account for the root’s health benefits. It has also been demonstrated that individual responses to ginseng supplements can be affected by specific gut flora populations 8.

To enhance bioavailability of ginsenosides, fermented red ginseng preparations containing ginsenoside metabolites have been developed. These products are pre-digested with enzymes, bacteria or fungi. Red ginseng includes the following ginsenosides: Rg1, Rf, Re, Rd, Rb2, Rc, Rb1 9. The major ginsenoside, Rb1 is metabolized to compound K by intestinal microflora, which has received particular attention as a biologically important ginsenoside metabolite 10.

Research indicates that fermented ginseng products may be superior to standard non-fermented ginsengs 9,11,12,13,14. When compared with oral intake of standard red ginseng, intake of fermented red ginseng by human subjects results in higher levels of compound K in the blood 11,15. Studies comparing red ginseng with fermented red ginseng employing in vitro 8,16,17 animal 8 and human bioavailability 18,19 studies indicate that ginsenosides from fermented red ginseng may be more bioavailable than those from standard red ginseng.

In human oral studies, intake of Panax ginseng has been shown to support healthy brain and cognitive function, mental alertness and focus 20,21,22. Improvements in mood, 23 quality of life 24,25, overall wellness 26 and healthy immune system function 27,28 have also been documented.

The German Commission E reports that P. ginseng has no known side effects, contraindications or interactions with other drugs 2. A systematic review of adverse effects and drug interactions was published for Panax ginseng . The authors found that data from clinical trials suggest that the incidence of adverse events with ginseng preparations is similar to that of placebo 29. Animal toxicity studies found ginseng to be very safe, with no teratogenicity or mutagenicity 30.

This ingredient can be found in the following products in United States:


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  11. Choi ID, Ryu JH, Lee DE et al. Enhanced Absorption Study of Ginsenoside Compound K (20-O-beta-(D-Glucopyranosyl)-20(S)-protopanaxadiol) after Oral Administration of Fermented Red Ginseng Extract (HYFRG) in Healthy Korean Volunteers and Rats. Evid Based Complement Alternat.Med 2016;2016:3908142.
  12. Kim KA, Jung IH, Park SH, Ahn YT, Huh CS, Kim DH. Comparative analysis of the gut microbiota in people with different levels of ginsenoside Rb1 degradation to compound K. PLoS ONE 2013;8:e62409.
  13. Kim NH, Kim KY, Jeong HJ, Kim HM. Antidepressant-like effect of altered Korean red ginseng in mice. Behav Med. 2011;37:42-6.
  14. Kho MC, Lee YJ, Park JH et al. Fermented Red Ginseng Potentiates Improvement of Metabolic Dysfunction in Metabolic Syndrome Rat Models. Nutrients. 2016;8.
  15. Jin H, Seo JH, Uhm YK, Jung CY, Lee SK, Yim SV. Pharmacokinetic comparison of ginsenoside metabolite IH-901 from fermented and non-fermented ginseng in healthy Korean volunteers. J Ethnopharmacol. 2012;139:664-7.
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  18. Kim JS, Kim Y, Han SH et al. Development and validation of an LC-MS/MS method for determination of compound K in human plasma and clinical application. J Ginseng.Res 2013;37:135-41.
  19. Jin H, Seo JH, Uhm YK, Jung CY, Lee SK, Yim SV. Pharmacokinetic comparison of ginsenoside metabolite IH-901 from fermented and non-fermented ginseng in healthy Korean volunteers. J Ethnopharmacol 2012;139:664-7.
  20. Reay JL, Kennedy DO, Scholey AB. Single doses of Panax ginseng (G115) reduce blood glucose levels and improve cognitive performance during sustained mental activity. J Psychopharmacol. 2005;19:357-65.
  21. Reay JL, Kennedy DO, Scholey AB. Effects of Panax ginseng, consumed with and without glucose, on blood glucose levels and cognitive performance during sustained 'mentally demanding' tasks. J Psychopharmacol. 2006;20:771-81.
  22. D'Angelo L, Grimaldi R, Caravaggi M et al. A double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study on the effect of a standardized ginseng extract on psychomotor performance in healthy volunteers. J Ethnopharmacol. 1986;16:15-22.
  23. Reay JL, Scholey AB, Kennedy DO. Panax ginseng (G115) improves aspects of working memory performance and subjective ratings of calmness in healthy young adults. Hum Psychopharmacol. 2010;25:462-71.
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  27. Scaglione F, Ferrara F, Dugnani S, Falchi M, Santoro G, Fraschini F. Immunomodulatory effects of two extracts of Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer. Drugs Exp Clin Res 1990;16:537-42.
  28. Scaglione F, Weiser K, Allesandria M. Effects of the Standardised Ginseng Extract G115(Reg.) in Patients with Chronic Bronchitis: A Nonblinded, Randomised, Comparative Pilot Study. Clin Drug Invest (NZ) 2001;21:41-5.
  29. Coon JT, Ernst E. Panax ginseng: a systematic review of adverse effects and drug interactions. Drug Saf 2002;25:323-44.
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