Background: Ginseng has therapeutic potential for treating obesity and the associated gut microbiota dysbiosis. However, whether white ginseng and red ginseng, the two kinds of commonly used processed ginseng, possess different anti-obesity effects remains unknown.
Purpose: Anti-obesity effects of water extracts of white ginseng and red ginseng (WEWG and WERG) were compared, and the potential mechanisms were discussed.
Methods: Chemical profiles of WEWG and WERG were characterized by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-tandem triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (UHPLC-QqQ-MS/MS) and high performance liquid chromatography coupled with evaporative light scattering detector (HPLC-ELSD). Anti-obesity effects of WEWG/WERG were examined by determining fat accumulation, systemic inflammation, enteric metabolic disorders and gut microbiota dysbiosis in high-fat diet (HFD)-fed obese mice.
Results: Both WEWG and WERG exerted anti-obesity effects, with WEWG stronger than WERG. Compared to WERG, WEWG contained less contents of carbohydrates (polysaccharides, oligosaccharides, free monosaccharides) and ginsenosides, but chemical structures or compositions of these components in WEWG were characteristic, i.e. narrower molecular weight distribution and higher molar ratios of glucose residues of polysaccharides; higher content ratios of oligosaccharides DP2–3 (di-/tri-saccharides)-to-oligosaccharides DP4–7 (tetra-/penta-/hexa-/hepta-saccharides), sucrose-to-melibiose, maltose-to-trehalose and high-polar-to-low-polar ginsenosides. WEWG better ameliorated fat accumulation, enteric metabolic disorders and gut microbiota dysbiosis in HFD-fed obese mice than WERG.
Conclusion: The stronger anti-obesity effect of white ginseng appears to correlate with differences in its chemical profile as compared to red ginseng. The carbohydrates and ginsenosides in WEWG potentially present more structural and compositional specificity to the obesity-associated gut bacteria, allowing more beneficial effects of WEWG on the gut microbiota dysbiosis. This consequently better alleviates the enteric metabolic disorders and systemic inflammation, thereby contributing to the stronger anti-obesity effect of WEWG as compared to WERG.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Molecular Medicine
- Pharmaceutical Science
- Drug Discovery
- Complementary and alternative medicine
- Enteric metabolic disorders
- Gut microbiota
- Red ginseng
- Systemic inflammation
- White ginseng