If there is one herbal supplement that you are familiar with, it is probably ginseng. Ginseng has been used for centuries in folk medicine as a tonic, stimulant and aphrodisiac. Modern research has shown that ginseng is capable of boosting cardiovascular, immune and nervous systems. In addition, researchers have shown the beneficial effects of ginseng on sport performance and bodybuilding.
In a study published in the Journal of Ginseng Research, a group of Korean scientists reported that ginseng supplementation provided the training-like effects on male volunteers in their maximum exercise capacity, anaerobic power and leg muscle strength. The study was carried out to determine whether ginseng extract could enhance maximum aerobic and anaerobic exercise capabilities and whether any changes can be occurred when exercise training was added.
The study involved a human trial with forty-one male university students randomly divided into ginseng groups and placebo groups. The ginseng groups were further divided into ginseng-untrained (GU) group and ginseng-trained (GT) group, and the placebo groups are further divided into placebo-untrained (PU) group and placebo-trained (PT) group. The volunteers in the ginseng groups are supplemented with ginseng extract at 300 mg per day for 8 weeks. The trained groups underwent 8 weeks of aerobic exercise at 65% of individual’s maximum oxygen consumption for 30 minutes per day and 3days per week. Prior to and at the end of experiment, maximum oxygen consumption, anaerobic power (AP), anaerobic capacity (AC), and leg muscle strength were determined and additional physiological parameters related to maximum oxygen consumption were measured.
Initially, all groups did not differ in average maximum oxygen consumption. After 8 weeks, the maximum oxygen consumption increased significantly in trained groups and ginseng groups with the ginseng untrained group improves significantly higher than other groups. In addition, when compared with placebo-untrained group, both trained groups and ginseng-untrained group showed significantly higher improvement in the anaerobic power and the anaerobic capacity as well as significant enhancement on leg strength. The researchers concluded that ginseng administration exhibited the training-like effects on maximum oxygen consumption, anaerobic power and leg muscle. In a nutshell, ginseng builds the muscle and boosts the sports performance even when there is no physical training.
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Journal Reference: Pipat , Cherdrungsi; Kanyarat , Rungroeng, Effects of Standardized Ginseng Extract and Exercise Training on Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercise Capacities in Humans, Journal of Ginseng Research, 19(2), 1995, pp.93-100
Source: Informed Nutrition
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