What is Compound K

Microorganisms found in the gut intestines breakdown saponin from ginseng when consumed - Compound K results. It is the final metabolite of ginseng saponins and is easily absorbed without the help of any enzymes. Compound K is not found in young ginseng and typically a miniscule amount is found in very aged ginseng. 

Compound K is the final metabolite of Ginseng Saponin. It is compound K which gives the beneficial effects in Ginseng. Compound K cannot be created merely from heat, low pH and other physical means. Only certain microorganisms can breakdown ginseng saponin to create Compound K.
Compound K Metabolite.JPG

effects of

Compound K

There are currently over 200 papers found in a PubMed search using "compound K"

The list of potential effects are numerous and profound.

Below you will find some of the effects along with supporting papers from recent research of compound K.

Effects of Compound K

Ginseng saponins, also known as ginsenosides, is the most important active compound of ginseng. Currently around 100 have been identified. Rb1, Rb2, Rc, Rd, Re and Rg1 accounts for 90% of all saponins. Compound K is the final metabolite of ginseng saponins.
Anti-inflammatory  / Anti-allergy


Ginsenoside Rb1 and its metabolite Compound K ingibit IRAK-1 activation - the key step of inflammation. Joh et al. Biochem Pharmacol. 2011 Aug 1

Role of Ginsenosides, the main active components of Panax ginseng, in inflammatory responses and diseases. Kim et al. J Ginseng Res. 2017 Oct.

Ginsenoside metabolite Compound K exerts anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects via downregulating COX2. Chen et al. Inflammopharmacology 2018 Jun 26

BIOGF1K, a compound K rich fraction of ginseng, plays an anti-inflammatory role by targeting an activator protein-1 signaling pathway in RAW264.7 macrophage-like cells. Kim et al. J Ginseng Res 2018 Apr.

Antiallergic activity of ginseng and its ginsenosides. Choo et al. PlantaMed 2003 Jun

Anti-tumor effect


Screening of Drug Metabolizing Enzymes for the Ginsenoside Compound K in Vitro: An Efficient Anti-Cancer Substance Originating from Panax Ginseng. Xiao et al. PLoS One 2016 Feb 4

Targeted delivery of Ginsenoside Compound K for effective treatment of Lung Cancer. Yang L et. al. Int J Nanomedicine 2017 Oct 17.

The Ginsenoside metabolite Compound K inhibits growth, migration and stemness of glioblastoma cells. Lee et al. Int J Oncol. 2017 Aug

Compound K induced apoptosis of human hepatocellular carcinoma. Zheng et al. Oncol Rep. 2014 Jul

Ginsenoside compound K sensitizes human colon cancer cells to TRAIL induced apoptosis via autophagy upregulation. Chen et al. Cell Death Dis 2016 Aug 11

Effects of Compound K, an enteric microbiome metabolite of ginseng, in the treatment of inflammation associated colon cancer. Yao et al. Oncol Lett. 2018 Jun

Ginsenoside metabolite compound K enhances the efficacy of cisplatin in lung cancer cells. Li et al. J Thorac Dis. 2015 Mar.

Anti-cancer effects of Ginsenoside Compound K on pediatric acute myeloid leukemia cells. Chen et al. Cancer Cell Int. 2013 Mar 12

Compound K, a Ginsenoside Metabolite, inhibits Colon Cancer Growth via multiple pathways including p53-p21 interactions. Zhang et al. Int J Mol Sci 2013 Jan 31

Skin Protective

The skin protective effects of compound K, a metabolite of Ginsenoside Rb1 from Panax ginseng. Kim et al. J. Ginseng Res 2018 Apr

An Insight into Ginsenoside Metabolite Compound K as a Potential Tool for Skin Disorder. Kim et al. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2018 Jun 25

Compound K suppresses ultraviolet radiation-induced apoptosis by inducing DNA repair in human keratinocytes. Cai et al. Arch Pharm Res. 2008 Nov

Effect of Ginsenoside Rb1 and Compound K in chronic oxazolone-induced mouse dermatitis. Shin et al. Int Immunopharmacol 2005 Jul

Compound K increases type I procollagen level and decreases matrix metalloproteinase-1 activity and level in ultraviolet-A-irradiated fibroblasts. He et al. J Formos Med Assoc 2011 Mar

Ginsenosides and their metabolites: a review of their pharmacological activities in the skin. Lim et al. Arch Dermatol Res. 2015 Jul

Fermenting red ginseng enhances its safety and efficacy as a novel skin care anti-aging ingredient: in vitro and animal study. Lee et al. J Med Food 2012 Nov.

Antipruritic effect of ginsenoside rb1 and compound in scratching behavior mouse models. Shin et al. J Pharmacol Sci. 2005 Sep

Anti-arthritic and Joint Protective

Joint-protective effects of Compound K, a major Ginsenoside metabolite, in rheumatoid arthritis: in vitro evidence. Choi et al. Rheumatol Int. 2013 Aug.

Therapeutic potential of Compound K as an IKK inhibitor with implications for osteoarthritis prevention. Kang et al. In Vitro Cell Dev Biol Anim. 2016 Oct

The Ginsenoside metabolite Compound K exerts its anti-inflammatory activity by downregulating memory B cell in adjuvant-induced arthritis. Chen et al. Pharm Biol. 2016 Jul.

Ginsenoside metabolite Compound K exerts Joint-protective effect by interfering with synoviocyte function mediated by TNF-a and Tumor necrosis factor receptor type 2. Wang et al. Eur j Pharmacol. 2016 Jan 15

Ginsenoside metabolite Compound K alleviates adjuvant-induced arthritis by suppressing T cell activiation. Chen et al. Inflammation. 2014 Oct.

Ginsenoside metabolite Compound K attenuates inflammatory responses of adjuvant-induced arthritis rats. Wu et al. Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol 2014 Apr

Immune boost / Anti-aging

Ginseng, the "Immunity Boost": The effects of Panax Ginseng on Immune System. Kang et al. J Ginseng Res 2012 Oct.

Red Ginseng and vitamin C increase immune cell activity and decrease lung inflammation induced by influenze A virus/ H1N1 infection. Kim et al. J Pharm Pharmacol 2016 Mar

Ginseng, the natural effectual antiviral: Protective effects of Korean Red Ginseng against viral infection. Im et al. J Ginseng Res 2016 Oct.

Ginseng: A nonnegligible Natural Remedy for Healthy Aging. Yang et al. Aging Dis 2017 Dec 1.

Cardiovascular protective


Compound K Attenuates the Development of Atherosclerosis Zhou L et. al. Int J Mol Sci. 2016 July 8

Compound K, a metabolite of ginsenosides, induces cardiac protection medicated nitric oxide via Akt/PI3k pathway. Tsutsumi et al. Life Sci. 2011 Apr 11

Cardioprotection by ginseng: experimental and clinical evidence and underlying mechanisms. Gan et al. Can J Physiol Pharmacol 2018 Sep

Hepato-protective effect

Ameliorative effects of Compound K and Ginsenoside Rh1 on non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in rats. Chen et al. Sci Rep. 2017 Jan

Hepatoprotective effect of fermented ginseng and its major constituent Compound K in a rat model of paracetamol-induced liver injury. Igami et al. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2015 Apr.

Hepatoprotective effect of ginsenoside Rb1 and Compound K on tert-butyl hydroperoxide-induced liver injury. Lee iet al. Liver Int. 2005 Oct.

Compound K induces Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and Apoptosis in Human Liver Cancer Cells by Regulating STAT3. Zhang et al. Molecules 2018 Jun

Memory and Cognitive Well-Being

Compound K derived from ginseng: neuroprotection and cognitive development. Oh J, Kim JS. Food Function 2016 Nov 9

Neuroprotective and Cognition-Enhancing Effects of Compound K. Seo JY et al. J Agric Food Chem 2016 Apr 13

Antidepressant-like effects of ginsenosides. Zhang et al. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2016 Jan.

Ginsenoside Compound K promotes B-amyloid peptide clearance in primary astrocytes via autophage enhancement. Guo et al. Exp Ther Med 2014 Oct

Compound K is able to ameliorate the impaired cognitive function and hippocampal neurogenesis following chemotherapy treatment. Hou et al. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2013 Jun 21.

Anti-inflammatory mechanism of Compound K in activated microglia and its neuroprotective effect on experimental stroke in mice. Park et al. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2012 Apr

Effects of mechanisms of ginseng and ginsenosides on cognition. Smith et al. Nutr. Rev 2014 May


Anti-diabetic effects of Compound K versus metformin versus Compound K-metformin combination therapy in diabetic db/db mice. Yoon et al. Biol Pharm Bull. 2007 Nov.

Compound K attenuates glucose intolerance and hepatic steatosis.. Hwang et al. Korean J Intern med. 2018 Mar;

Compound K protects pancreatic islet cells against apoptosis through inhibition of the AMPK/JNK pathway in type 2 diabetic mice and in MiN6 B-cells. Guan et al. Life Sci 2014 Jun.

Ginsenoside Rb1 and Compound K improve insulin signaling and inhibit ER stress-associated NLRP3 inflammasome activation in adipose tissue. Chen et al. J Ginseng Res 2016 Oct.

Protective effect of Compound K on diabetic rats. Shao et al. Nat Prod Commun. 2015 Feb

Compound K, a final intestinal metabolite of ginsenosides, enhances insulin secretion in MIN6 Pancreatic B-Cells by upregulation of GLUT2. Gu et al. Fitoterapia 2013 Jun.

Effects of Compound K on Hyperglycemia and insulin resistance in rats with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Jian et al. Fitoterapia 2014 Jun

Compound K enhances insulin secretion with beneficial metabolic effects in db/db mice. Han et al. J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Dec 26

Protective effect of Ginsenoside metabolite compound K against diabetic nephropathy by inhibiting NLRP3 inflammasome activation and NF-kB/P38 signaling pathway in high-fat diet/streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice. Song et al. Int Immunopharmacol 2018 Oct.



Anti-fatigue effects of enzyme modified ginseng extract: a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled trial. Lee et al. J Altern Complement Med 2016 Nov