8 Ways Ginseng Can Support Your Weight Loss Goals

Find out how this ancient herb can help boost your metabolism and mood to help you lose weight.

As an antioxidant-rich herb, ginseng has been linked to brain health, the immune system, blood sugar regulation, and more.

Ginseng has long been known for its calming and energizing effects. It's been used in traditional Asian medicine for centuries as a natural adaptogen to help reduce stress and improve overall health. Now, more research is showing that ginseng can also help with weight management.

Ginseng not only gives you a boost of energy, but it also seems to have a direct impact on the mechanisms that control your metabolism, how much fat you store, and how much you eat. Studies in animals have shown that ginseng can help boost your metabolism by increasing thermogenesis, reducing fat storage, and controlling your appetite. In humans, this means it's easier to keep a calorie deficit.

Plus, it helps reduce stress-related risk factors and helps keep your mood stable, which is key for success in the long run. The overall stability that ginseng provides in terms of metabolism and mental stability gives dieters a much wider range of options.

In this post, we'll look at 8 ways that taking ginseng supplements could help you reach your weight loss goals based on new scientific evidence. From boosting your basal energy levels to controlling cravings, there's a lot to be gained from using ginseng as an herbal supplement.

1. Increases Energy

Two ginseng roots on a bamboo mat

Drinking ginseng can help you burn more energy each day. Ginseng has ginsenosides that help your central nervous system work harder and boost your basal metabolism.

Studies in animals have shown that when ginsenoside is taken, it triggers the sympathetic nervous system to release catecholamines (like norepinephrine). These hormones can raise your heart rate, stimulate your thyroid, and even help break down fats.

While it may only have a small effect, this additional calorie burn could result in a 1-2 pound weight loss over a 12-month period without any other lifestyle modifications. Combined with the appetite-restoring properties of ginseng, this mediated metabolism upregulation may provide an additional benefit to calorie loss efforts. Over time, long-term supplementation could gradually increase energy expenditure.

2. Enhances Thermogenesis

In addition to helping with metabolism in general, some studies in rodents have shown that ginseng can actually help boost thermogenesis. Basically, thermogenesis is the body's ability to produce heat energy without shaking.

One example of how this works is through brown adipose tissue. This type of fat cell has more mitochondria than other types, and it uses them to generate heat by breaking up the connection between cellular respiration and ATP production. Studies have shown that the active ginsenoside in ginseng upregulates the expression of proteins that break down mitochondria, like UCP1, in BAT.

By upregulating these proteins, increased proton transport across the mitochondrial membrane is induced, prompting the mitochondria to expend additional energy as heat rather than ATP. Research in rats supplemented with ginseng has indicated a marked rise in BAT temperature and a correlation between UCP1 levels and increased oxygen consumption, both of which are indicative of improved thermogenesis.

On average, even a small thermogenic boost can mobilize 25% to 30% more calories consumed daily. This long-term boost could potentially aid in weight loss without the need for dietary modifications. For those who adhere to a calorie restriction regime, the thermogenic properties of ginseng may provide additional stimulus towards the desired calorie deficit.

Ginseng tea in a glass cup and dry ginseng root

3. Reduces fat storage

Ginseng not only helps you eat more calories, but it can also help you lose weight by changing how your body stores and processes fats. Studies have shown that the main active compounds in Ginseng, ginsenoside, are involved in the metabolism of fats.

Studies in animals have shown that ginsenosides stop preadipocytes from growing, which means new fat cells don't form. Ginsenosides also make it harder for preadipocytes to turn into mature fat cells by blocking certain proteins that help bind fatty acids and transport them.

In vitro, ginsenoside exposure to preadiphelial cells prevented their normal growth into fat cells depending on the dose.

As there are fewer new fat cells, they don't have as much stored energy in the long run. Mature fat cells don't build up as much as they used to, and triglyceride levels don't get as high as they used to because the ginsenoside slows down the uptake and breakdown of triglycerides.

The primary component of stored body fat is triglycerides. triglyceride levels are closely related to overall body fat. 

In rats treated with ginseng, circulating triglyceride levels and visceral fat mass were significantly reduced compared to controls. 

Because ginseng naturally prevents fat cell formation and prevents triglycerides from being stored in existing fat cells, it may help prevent weight gain, even without calorie restriction.

Ginseng capsule and ginseng roots

4. Controls Appetite

It's important to keep your appetite in check if you want to stick to your diet for a long time. Some studies have shown that taking ginseng can affect the levels of hormones in your gut that help you feel hungry and full. One of those hormones is called ghrelin, which is made in your stomach and gut. When your ghrelin levels go up before you eat, it makes you want to eat. Studies have shown that eating ginseng can reduce the amount of ghrelin in your body.

The lower the amount of ghrelin in your body, the less likely you'll feel hungry when it's time to eat. The lower the ghrelin, the less hungry you'll be, which can help you stay on track with your calorie goals.

Ginseng also seems to boost the levels of two anorexic hormones in your digestive system: PYY (prolonged release of yeast) and GLP (glucose-1). These hormones help you feel full after eating by preventing your stomach from emptying.

In a 4-week study of overweight adults, 1 gram of ginseng per day significantly increased post-meal levels of PYY (prolonged release of small white blood cells) and GLP (long-released white blood cells) compared with placebo. 

The ginseng-treated group also reported reduced hunger and increased satiety compared to the placebo group.

The long-term effects of these gut hormones on satiety also help dieters avoid overindulgence at subsequent meals. Tightened appetitive control helps maintain an energy surplus for weight loss in the long run.

Ginseng tea and ginseng root

5. Manages Stress

Stress can take a toll on your body and mind, and over time, it can really mess with your weight loss goals. Ginseng is a natural adaptogen, so it helps balance out the negative effects of your stress response.

When you're stressed, your body releases cortisol and other hormones from your adrenal glands, called the HPA axis. Acute cortisol can help you get the energy you need in a crisis, but if you have too much cortisol for a long time, it can cause your body to shut down and store fat, which can lead to weight gain.

Emotional stress over a long period of time can also lead to feelings of overeating and craving fatty or sweet treats as a way to self-medicate. Ginseng has adaptogenic properties that help reduce this stress and the behaviors that come with it.

Studies in animals have shown that ginseng compounds help keep cortisol levels stable by controlling the HPA response instead of over- or under-stimulating it. This normal feedback helps protect against cortisol overproduction.

For those on a diet who are dealing with daily pressures, the effects of ginseng on psychological stress indicators help maintain a calm yet focused state of mind. Less fluctuating willpower from mood swings or the use of food to reduce stress promotes long-term, sustainable, healthy lifestyle changes.

Ginseng roots, capsule and dry Ginseng on a bamboo mat

6. Improves Mood

Maintaining emotional health is essential for maintaining healthy habits and lifestyle changes. Studies suggest that ginseng may naturally improve mood through different mechanisms.

Panax ginseng-derived ginsenosides have been found in animals to cross the blood-brain barrier and act on neurotransmitter pathways in areas that control depression, stress, and anxiety.

Studies in mice have shown that taking ginseng over a long period of time can help normalize serotonin, dopamine, and GABA levels that are associated with mood problems. It can also reduce depression and anxiety to levels that are similar to those found in pharmaceutical antidepressants. Studies have also suggested that ginseng could have a positive effect on mood. For example, one 8-week trial in adults with anxiety showed that those who took 200mg of ginseng a day for 8 weeks had significantly lower symptoms of STAI anxiety compared to those who took a placebo.

Stable mental health promotes energetic, balanced moods and outlooks that help dieters stay on track with their goals over long periods of time, even when faced with challenges.

Being less susceptible to emotional triggers also reduces the chance of using food as a form of self-medication during challenging times.

Because ginseng naturally modulates neurotransmitters associated with stress response and well-being, it provides comprehensive protection for both psychological and metabolic aspects of weight management.

7. Supports Brain Function

If you want to improve your cognitive abilities, it's important to have the right ginseng. Research has shown that some ginseng compounds can help nourish the brain. Ginsenosides like RB1 and RB1 can help protect your neurons from inflammation over time. Plus, ginseng extracts can help stimulate the parts of your brain that are important for memory, like the hippocampus.

When Rg1 was given to mice in their late teens and early 20s, it improved their learning and memory skills to almost the same level as when they were young. The same cognitive benefits that were seen in mice can be seen in humans, so it's possible that Rg1 could help reverse some of the declines that come with aging.

Gintonin is another compound that helps with self-regulation and emotional regulation by increasing the activity of neurotransmitters and glucose metabolism.

Mood centers like the pre-frontal cortex and amygdala are really important. Ginseng boosts energy and signals in these areas, which helps ginseng manage stress, hunger, and emotions even when you're limited to what you can eat.

When your mind is clearer, it's easier to think rationally and not jump to conclusions when faced with a challenge. Dieters make choices that help them reach their weight loss goals, rather than relying on unhealthy coping strategies. Mental agility also helps you make changes to your lifestyle like it's second nature over time.

8. Boosts Exercise Performance

Ginseng not only helps with your metabolism, but it also helps you stay fit by increasing your physical endurance. There have been lots of studies that look at how ginseng affects your exercise capacity. When you take ginseng extract, you'll feel less tired and have lower levels of lactic acid in your body after a long run or bike ride. Plus, your recovery heart rate will drop faster after a workout.

These improvements probably come from the fact that ginsenosides help to store and break down muscle glycogen, as well as increase the amount of glucose that gets into your body. Ginseng also helps to protect muscle glycogen and slow down how tired you get.

Studies in animals have shown that taking ginseng extract supplements boosts your body's aerobic enzymes and helps your mitochondria do their job properly when you're active.

For those on a diet, having more endurance means they can train harder and burn more calories. Even a small increase in fitness can add up to a lot of calories over the course of a week.

The quicker you recover, the more motivated you'll be to keep up with your workouts, which will help you lose weight through thermogenesis and build lean muscle. Plus, a fitter body thanks to ginseng helps you burn fat all the time.

The bottom line is that ginseng makes it easier to lose weight by making exercise and physical activity as enjoyable and useful as possible.

Ginseng roots herbal medicine

Conclusion

Ginseng has a slight effect on your basal metabolism and calorie intake by activating your sympathetic nervous system. If you use it for a year, you could lose 1-2 pounds! It also helps with thermogenesis by changing the way mitochondria break down proteins in your brown fat, so you burn more calories as heat.

Ginsenoside helps prevent fat accumulation by preventing new fat cells from forming and triglycerides from being stored in existing fat cells.

It regulates appetite by decreasing ghrelin levels and increasing levels of full-stimulating hormones such as PYY (prolonged-release hormone) and GLP (glucose-1) after meals, thereby reducing hunger and promoting satiety.

Ginseng is a type of adaptogen that helps manage stress and stops the release of cortisol, which can cause weight gain and emotional eating. It also has anti-depressant and anxiety-relieving effects by changing the brain's neurotransmitters that control mood.

Ginsenosides, for example, support concentration, memory, and brain regions related to mood to help prevent feelings of overeating.

Exercise performance is enhanced by increased endurance and quicker recovery, resulting in more calorie-burning workouts.

All in all, ginseng aids weight loss by acting on metabolism, appetite regulation, and performance-promoting mechanisms that promote poor energy balance in the long term.