Metabolic disorders are associated with an increased risk of developing obesity, cardiovascular disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. People with metabolic disorders may have no obvious symptoms because the typical signs like increased blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels are difficult to find from naked eyes.
Like most of the chronic diseases, though not kill people’s life overnight, metabolic diseases are prevalent in people of all ages, which is not literally urgent but often considered a disastrous health problem in the long run.
A population-based study published last year investigated the metabolic health of about 8721 American adults. The factors used to measure metabolic health included blood sugar, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, blood pressure, and waist circumference. Researchers in the study found that only one in eight people in the United States were metabolically healthy. The study result was so alarming and prompted people to care more about metabolic health by developing healthy lifestylesGinseng may be helpful for preventing and relieving metabolic disorders.
A research team led by the researcher from Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine in Indiana investigate the molecular mechanisms of ginsenoside PPD in relation to its bioactivities in reducing blood sugar and cholesterol levels and regulating diabetes.
Protopanaxadiol (PPD), a metabolite of the protopanaxadiol group ginsenosides, is believed to be the major pharmacologically active constituent of ginseng. The study results showed that ginsenoside PPD could significantly alter the expression of genes involved in metabolism, indicating its potential benefits in promoting metabolism health.
In the study, researchers found that ginsenoside PPD activated AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK, known as a regulator of energy metabolism) by inducing Sesn2 expression. Since a significant amount of evidence has suggested that dysregulation of AMPK is associated with metabolic disorders, the property of ginsenoside PPD in activating AMPK provides a possibility that ginseng may promote metabolic health.
Previous studies also indicate the metabolic health benefit of ginseng. Researchers from RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia conducted a systematic review to investigate the health benefits of Panax ginseng by evaluating existing randomized controlled trials on Panax ginseng. The study found that Panax ginseng shows positive results for improving glucose metabolism and moderating the immune response, and it may help treat some diseases like type 2 diabetes and chronic respiratory conditions.
Ginseng has been proved to have various health benefits. There surely be some metabolic pathways involved in regulating glucose metabolism, and more studies are needed to clarify the molecular mechanisms of ginseng.