Research Shows Ginseng Could Speed Up Recovery and Reduce Fatigue After Exercise

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Ginseng is a popular food supplement often used for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. However, a group of researchers at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain) have found it could be helpful for recovery after exercise.

Published in the journal Nutrients, researchers studied the direct effect on reducing fatigue and muscle recovery after sport. The study systematically reviews more than 700 scientific articles and “meticulously analyzed” their findings to confirm the benefits, researchers said.

 “When taken together with a balanced diet, ginseng can provide additional nutrition for athletes or anyone else who does physical exercise on a regular basis,” said Borja Muñoz-Castellanos, a fitness coach and one of the lead authors. “It’s also worth noting that, unless it’s medically contraindicated in any given case, taking ginseng on a regular basis is considered beneficial (or at least not harmful) for healthy people.”

The study arose from Muñoz-Castellanos’ experience as a fitness coach and injury specialist in a football (soccer) club in China. He observed football players reporting benefits from a commonly used supplement in traditional Chinese medicine.

“Our aim was to learn about the effects of ginseng in a specific situation, in this case in connection with exercise, and to provide verifiable evidence of its ability to improve the body’s response to the stimuli of chronic load in sport, helping athletes to recover between training sessions, as the footballers themselves reported that it worked just like an energy drink,” Muñoz-Castellanos said.

According to researchers, exertion and intensity involved in sport results in damage to muscles, mainly inflammatory in nature. The active ingredients of compounds contained in ginseng stimulate the central nervous system, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and regulate the stress hormone cortisol, researchers said.

Taking ginseng on a regular basis may also help reduce the risk of injury, thereby improving athletic performance.

“Although recovery times vary based on the nature of the injury between individuals, the damaged structures share the same physiological processes,” Muñoz-Castellanos said. “That’s why professionals in this field must obtain the most efficient physiological context, to ensure that each person can recover as well as quickly as possible.”

To read the full study, visit this link.