This is the concluding part of the article published in the September 5, 2022 issue of the paper.
Another recent review by Fang-yan et al.(2019) found that ginger significantly decreased HbA1c in people with type 2 diabetes. The other news is that the study found that ginger did not affect fasting blood sugar. Zhu et al.(2018) also found that ginger can improve lipid profiles and benefit glucose control, insulin sensitivity, and glycosylated hemoglobin to protect against the development of type 2 diabetes.
Finally, a study by Seo et al.(2021) on mice found that ginger also has anti-obesity effects and has the potential in modulating the development of adipocytes (fat tissue). In this study, after the mice were fed a high-fat diet, ginger supplementation drastically decreased weight gain, hyperglycemia, hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), and hepatic steatosis (liver fat) without changing food intake.
Though cholesterol is important to the human body, too much could be detrimental as well. For instance, cholesterol helps in producing bile to manufacture hormones, but when it goes overboard, it can lead to high build-up in the blood, causing blockages and snowballing the risk of heart disease. Studies have found that ginger can naturally decrease cholesterol levels and triglycerides to avert the risk of heart disease.
For instance, one clinical trial by Alizadeh-Navaei et al. (2008) in Iran found that ginger capsule supplementation (3 g/day in 3 divided doses) can drastically decrease bad LDL cholesterol and raise beneficial HDL cholesterol juxtaposed to a placebo.
An animal study by Al-Noory et al.(2013) also found that ginger can be regarded as effective in lowering cholesterol (improving cholesterol markers) as atorvastatin, a pharmaceutical drug normally prescribed for high blood cholesterol.
In all these three studies (Murad et al. 2018; Alizadeh-Navaei et al. 2008; Al-Noory et al. 2013) both human and animal studies saw a decrease in their blood triglycerides.
GINGER, CANCER PREVENTION
Due to the compound gingerol, several studies have been conducted on ginger as a potential alternative remedy for cancers. For instance, two studies, (Poltronieri et al. 2014; Kumara et al. 2017) found that the anti-cancer properties are linked to gingerol, which is found in large amounts in raw ginger. Another form called -gingerol is purported as particularly powerful.
For instance, in a Phase II study by Zick et al.(2011) in a 28-day study of individuals at normal risk for colorectal cancer, 2 grams of ginger extract per day drastically decreased pro-inflammatory signaling molecules in the colon. However, Zick et al.(2015) follow-up pilot study on humans at high risk for colorectal cancer found different findings.
This notwithstanding, two pieces of evidence, (Akimoto et a. 2011; Prasad et al. 2015)though limited found that ginger can be effective against other gastrointestinal cancers such as pancreatic cancer and liver cancer. Finally, two studies have demonstrated that ginger can be effective against breast cancer and ovarian cancer(Martin et al. 2017; Pashaei-Asl et al. 2017).
Ginger, brain function, against Alzheimer’s disease
Studies have found ginger’s ability to support brain function and cognitive health (Zeng et al. 2012). For instance, Saenghong et al.(2012) found ginger extracts to support attention in middle-aged women. I also found three studies (Wattanathorn et al. 2011; Oboh et al. 2012; Zeng et al. 2013) in animals that ginger has the potential to protect against age-related decline in brain function.
Apart from being regarded as antifungal properties, ginger also has the bragging rights to avert bacterial infections, such as urinary tract infections, pneumonia, and bronchitis. This is done as a result of the compound gingerol. For instance, Park et al. (2008) found that the compounds gingerol help inhibit the growth of some strains of bacteria that cause gum disease. Another test-tube study by Karuppiah and Rajaram(2012) also found that ginger extract was effective against so many drug-resistant bacteria. Aghazadeh et al. (2016) test-tube study found the ginger extract to be effective against two types of yeast that normally trigger fungal infections in the mouth whilst Ficker et al.( 2003) test-tube study examined the antifungal effects of 29 plant species and found that ginger top as the most effective at killing off fungus. Finally, Chang et al.(2013) study also found that fresh ginger can be effective against the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a common cause of respiratory infections.
GINGER, MENSTRUAL PAINS
Studies have found that one of the significant health benefits of ginger is to deal with pain, including menstrual pain. This was demonstrated in one clinical study by Ozgoli et al.(2009) where 150 women consumed either ginger or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for the first 3 days of their menstrual period.
The three groups received four daily doses of either ginger powder (250 mg), mefenamic acid (250 mg), or ibuprofen (400 mg). The study found that ginger was able to reduce pain as effectively as the two NSAIDs(pharmaceutical drugs).
I also found two recent studies (Rad et al. 2018; Chen et al. 2016) agreed that ginger is more effective than a placebo and similarly as effective as drugs such as mefenamic acid and acetaminophen/ caffeine/ibuprofen (Novafen). These are enterprising studies and more superior quality studies with more numbers of study participants are still needed.
GINGER, CHRONIC INDIGESTION
More studies have also been conducted and supported ginger in supporting digestive health. The studies also found ginger to have the ability to avert challenges such as dyspepsia, a common condition of impaired digestion characterized by symptoms like pain, heartburn, fullness, and discomfort. On the other chronic indigestion is characterized by recurrent pain and discomfort in the upper part of the stomach and studies have found that ginger can deal with such issues. What is also available is that when one delays emptying the stomach indigestion is the end product. This notwithstanding, a recent study by Bodagh et al.(2019) found that ginger aids in clearing the stomach. The dosage of ginger used in this study indicates that a divided lower daily dosage of 1500 mg of ginger is beneficial.
Another earlier study by Hu et al.(2011) found that those with functional dyspepsia, meaning indigestion with no origin, were made to consume either ginger capsules or a placebo in a small 2011 study. After one hour, they were made to take some soup. The study noticed a time frame of 12.3 minutes for the stomach to empty in people who received ginger. It took 16.1 minutes for those who received the placebo. On the other hand, Wu et al.(2008) found similar effects in people without indigestion.
In this study, 24 healthy volunteers consumed ginger capsules or a placebo. They were all given soup an hour later. They found that eating ginger as against the placebo drastically fast-tracked clearing of the stomach. For instance, it took 13.1 minutes for those who consumed ginger and 26.7 minutes for those who received the placebo. In summary, adding ginger to your diet gives you all these health benefits as it is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have powerful benefits for your body and brain. It’s one of the very few superfoods worthy of that term.
Prof. Nyarkotey has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations to justify his write-ups. My articles are for educational purposes and do not serve as Medical advice for Treatment. I aim to educate the public about evidence-based scientific Naturopathic Therapies.
The author is a Professor of Naturopathic Healthcare and President of Nyarkotey College of Holistic Medicine & Technology (NUCHMT)/ African Naturopathic Foundation. E-mail: collegeofholisticmedicine@ gmail.com.