Influence of Panax ginseng on obesity and gut microbiota in obese middle-aged Korean women

Abstract: Background: Gut microbiota is regarded as one of the major factors involved in the control of body weight. The antiobesity effects of ginseng and its main constituents have been demonstrated, but the effects on gut microbiota are still unknown.Methods: To investigate the effect of ginseng on gut microbiota, 10 obese middle-aged Korean women took Panax ginseng extracts for 8 wk and assessment of body composition parameters, metabolic biomarkers, and gut microbiota composition was performed using 16S rRNA gene-based pyrosequencing at baseline and at 8 wk. Significant changes were observed in body weight and body mass index; however, slight changes were observed in gut microbiota. We divided the participants into two groups, the effective and the ineffective weight loss groups, depending on weight loss effect, in order to determine whether the antiobesity effect was influenced by the composition of gut microbiota, and the composition of gut microbiota was compared between the two groups.Results: Prior to ginseng intake, significant differences of gut microbiota were observed between both at phyla and genera and the gut microbiota of the effective and ineffective weight loss groups was segregated on a principal coordinate analysis plot.Conclusion: Results of this study indicate that ginseng exerted a weight loss effect and slight effects on gut microbiota in all participants. In addition, its antiobesity effects differed depending on the composition of gut microbiota prior to ginseng intake.