The Next Best Supplement For Exercise Performance


A Review by Alyssa Bialowas

Korean Ginseng is a nutraceutical herbal supplement, that when ingested offers benefits such as stress management and resistance to fatigue. Following an acute bout of resistance exercise, Korean Ginseng is also said to alter the perception of physical exertion. This potential ergogenic aid has the potential to influence an athletes diet during training, their training program, as well as their results in competition.

Future research on the effects of Korean ginseng is needed due to lack of quality-controlled investigations and how these alter an athlete’s training program. The ability to adapt in response to exercise is regulated by the frequency and duration of training and recovery. Evidence of decreased inflammation and muscle damage emphasize the potential for the potential benefits of Korean ginseng.

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The Study

Ten healthy active women between the ages of 30-45, and ten healthy active men between the ages of 30-50, agreed to participate in the study. The subjects participated in an initial baseline, and were then randomized into a three-cycling testing scheme. Participants supplemented for 14 days prior to testing. Testing cycles consisted of a performance and a 24-hour test visit. Measurements were taken prior, immediately after, and 24 hours post a bout of intense resistance exercise.  The acute bout of resistance exercise consisted of 5 sets of 12 repetitions of their pre-determined one-rep max on a leg press.

24 hours after the completion of the one-rep max test, participants reported back to the laboratory to confirm their control compliance, and had to complete a pain/soreness survey, and perform a ballistic jump test.

The Results

Perceived exertion demonstrated a main effect for treatment and time, as the group ingesting a high dose of Korean ginseng perceived significantly reduced during the resistance exercise protocol compared to the low dose group and the placebo group. A perceived change in muscle soreness revealed significantly lower muscle soreness in the high dose and low dose group as compared to the placebo group.

All of the participants that responded to the effects of Korean ginseng who were in the high dose group experienced a treatment effect in their peak power output compared to the low dose group and the control group. 


Athletes who supplement with ginseng for as little as two weeks will experience a reduction of perceived exertion and a decrease in muscular pain/soreness following acute bouts of anaerobic exercise. It is important to note that the potential benefits of the supplement may be hidden in individual response.

Related Article: Citrus Flavonoid Supplementation May Improve Exercise Performance

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Anders, J., Barnhart, E., Beeler, M., Borden, E., Caldwell, L., DuPont W., Hardesty, V.,

Kraemer, W., Post, E., Volek, J. (2018). “The Effects of a Korean Ginseng,

GINST15, on Perceptual Effort, Psychomotor Performance, and Physical

Performance in Men and Women.” Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 17,


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