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Amanda Beckstead

Nutrition 3020
Ergogenic Aide Summary
My name is Amanda Beckstead and I am currently a senior in the Human Performance
Management Program with an emphasis in wellness. I have been attending Weber State off and
on for the last nine years and came back to school full time last spring to finish up my last four
semesters. I choose Siberian Ginseng as my Ergogenic aid to study. Siberian Ginseng has several
different names including ginseng, eleutherococcus senticosus, acanthopanax senticosus, Russian
ginseng, and ciwuja. I choose to research this aid because I noticed it was listed on quite a few
products that my brother in law started taking and has felt a tremendous change in his energy
levels. He is a pretty active guy and he doesnt usually take any supplements for energy or
performance so I wanted to see if there was any evidence supporting the change he is
experiencing. I will be covering what part of the plant is most commonly used to produce the
supplements, how it can affect performance, legality issues, safety issues and availability of
There are many different types of ginseng in the world but they generally reflect they
geographic origin. Siberian Ginseng supplements contain various parts of the plant, the most
common used is the bark, the leaf and specific chemicals within the bark are sought out. The
leaf-stem extract has also been used due to its availability and lower cost than other parts such as
the root. The chemicals in each part of the plant have specific properties that could make them an
effective supplement. This supplement has been shown to have thermo-genic properties and
properties that help protect against free radical damage. One of the main properties of Siberian
Ginseng that could be most helpful in performance would be the anti-stress properties it
possesses as well as its ability to be more effective than other herbs for dealing with chronic
There seems to still be a lot of research that needs to be conducted in a larger setting to
determine how effective Siberian Ginseng can be to sports performance. The tests that have been
completed have been largely completed with small groups of individuals and there needs to be
larger studies completed. They have seen a large variance in the test results that have been
received and it is important to find out which factors influence the potency and effectiveness of
Siberian Ginseng. The research that has been conducted shows the possibility that it can be used
to help protect the body from free radical damage in turn helping the immune system under
certain circumstances. There has been conclusions that it helps with improved carbohydrate
metabolism and increased synthesis of proteins. It has been show to help with a decrease in
triglycerides and improve fat utilization. It helps the body adapt to repeated stress but use of it
over 8 week period it becomes less effective, though in comparison to other herbs its anti-stress
properties are more effective against chronic stress. This supplement in combination with other
herbs has been shown to significantly increase swimming endurance. The endurance would be
increased in part to the reduced lactic acid accumulation in the muscles. The increase in
endurance seems to be in part to ginsengs effect on the CNS and cardiovascular systems. The
effects in the CNS and the cardiovascular system showed there could be some relieved mental
and physical fatigue if ginseng was supplemented.

The ginseng shows a greater improved response to stress because it effects the
hypothamic pituitary, it does this by decreasing or normalizing nitric oxide and cortisol levels
thats normally rise during times of physical or mental stress. It improves immune function
helping athletes stay healthy by protecting against free radicals. It helps the digestive system by
improving the way carbs are metabolized using secondary metabolites, these also increase the
synthesis of protein. These factors by the nature of healthy mind and body in athletics could
improve performance. If an athlete is having proper nutrition and the systems of the body are
working properly they can train harder and more effectivity which could help their athletic
Siberian Ginseng was first researched in the Soviet Union for use for athletes as a
cheaper alternative to Panax ginseng. The idea was to find something as effective with similar
properties but that is was much cheaper to use. The typical cost of Panax for 600 mg/100 caps
bottle is $27. Compares with Siberian Ginseng 1300mg/100 caps bottle is $13. The Panax has far
less bang for your buck, the Siberian is cheaper and gives over double the dose for less than
half the price.
There is no legality issues that affect Siberian Ginseng use. There is no information
against its use on the anti-doping agency sites. The websites do however mention that because a
supplement or drug isnt listed on the site doesnt mean it doesnt have an ingredient added to the
product that would give an athlete a positive test for doping. There are a number of supplements
that have ingredients in the supplements that are not listed or that become contaminated. It is
hard to tell if the supplement just because contaminated or if something was added intentionally
and not listed on the label. The substance is legal to buy in a store or online but it is important to
get it from someone who is reputable to ensure that the quality is taken into account. The safety
of a contaminated product is touched on later.
Supplement use is very high among Americans, 1 in 5 say they have used some type of
supplement in the last year and this number is even higher among athletes looking for a
supplement to help improve performance. Ginseng is one of the most popular supplements that is
thought to help increase performance and/or mental clarity. Siberian Ginseng is generally
thought of as safe in normal use. There are some concerns with possible drug interactions. These
reactions seem to be mild and caused by improper use such as overdose and/or the quality of the
product that was used. There has been caution of use of those with diabetes to monitor their
blood glucose due to the hypoglycemic effects that have been reported in some animal studies.
The research available on Siberian Ginseng is not readily available. It as a supplement to
improve athletic performance has not been studied in great detail. There seems to be a large
number of articles written and researched by the same people. The information that was found at
times was conflicting or vague. The information on the aid is scarce and many times it was
within other articles talking about other subjects and a small blurb of information on the
particular ginseng being researched. There were not many articles compared to other aids when
looking at research. The many different types of ginseng available also invalidated some of the
sources as well because the articles didnt specify what type was used or the type used was not
the one that was searched for. There were a lot of different names that Siberian Ginseng is called.
There were the generic type names, slang such as devil bush or wild pepper and the proper

supplement name. The databases that were available to search each had articles with the different
names either in the title or throughout the paper.
Based upon my findings with Siberian Ginseng I would use it. I think it would be worth
the potential to increase sports performance. It had numerous studies talking about the anti-stress
effects of it and it was mentioned to be effective. It is legal however, I would want to make sure
that it is not contaminated with other substances that would increase the possibility of an adverse
reaction. I think this aid is generally safe to use if not abused, all natural substances have a
possibility to harm, there is too much of a good thing. I was disappointed in the lack of research
and articles I was able to find for this aid, it not only made it hard to find enough information for
the final paper but also a solid conclusion on the efficiency and the safety of the product. It is
known to be generally safe but I would be hesitant to recommend it to someone or to weigh in if
someone asked what I thought about it.

Professional Literature
1. Senchina, D. S., Stear, S. J., Burke, L. M., & Castell, L. M. (2013). AZ of nutritional
supplements: dietary supplements, sports nutrition foods and ergogenic aids for health
and performance: Part 44. British journal of sports medicine, 47(9), 595-598. (Rating:
2. Provino, R. (2010). The role of adaptogens in stress management. Australian Journal of
Medical Herbalism, 22(2), 41. (Rating: 2.16)
3. Wang, H., Peng, D., & Xie, J. (2009). Ginseng leaf-stem: bioactive constituents and
pharmacological functions. Chin Med, 4, 20. (Rating 2.67)
4. Senchina, D. S., Shah, N. B., Doty, D. M., Sanderson, C. R., & Hallam, J. E. (2009).
Herbal supplements and athlete immune functionwhats proven, disproven, and
unproven. Exerc Immunol Rev, 15, 66-106. (Rating 2.5)
5. Arouca, A., & Grassi-Kassisse, D. M. (2013). Eleutherococcus senticosus: Studies and
effects. Health, 5, 1509. (Rating: 2.33)
6. Bahrke, M. S., Morgan, W. P., & Stegner, A. (2009). Is Ginseng an Ergogenic Aid?.
International Journal Of Sport Nutrition & Exercise Metabolism, 19(3), 298-322. (Rating
7. DOMENE, A. (2013). Effects of adaptogen supplementation on sport performance. A
recent review of published studies. Journal Of Human Sport & Exercise, 8(4), 10541066. (Rating: 2.16)
Popular Literature
8. McCarty, M. (2010). Stamina and Energy. Massage Magazine, (170), 74-78. (Rating: 0.5)
9. Senchina, D. S. (2013). Athletics and Herbal Supplements. American Scientist, 101(2),
134-141. (Rating: 2.16)
10. Tweed, V. (2013). adrenal health. Better Nutrition, 75(9), 26-28. (Rating: 0.5)

Internet Pages