Ginger Improves Digestive Function: Possible Benefits for Adult-Onset
In the new study, 22 healthy adults between the ages of 19 and 49 years
underwent four different electrogastrographic (EGG) studies. (An EGG
measures the rhythm of stomach contractions by placing electrodes over the
abdomen.) Following ingestion of 1,000 mg of ginger root, the first EGG was
performed after administration of intravenous glucose (to reach blood
levels of 250 to 290 mg/dl) and the second after taking misoprostol (a
substance known to disrupt the normal rhythm of the stomach). For the third
and fourth EGGs, participants were given a placebo followed by the same administration of first glucose and then misoprostal. Each of the four EGG
studies was recorded and analyzed for changes in normal stomach rhythm and
rate of stomach emptying.
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Ginger root significantly reduced the disruptive effect of elevated blood
sugar on stomach rhythm and helped maintain a normal rate of stomach
emptying, while the stomach rhythm and contractions were increased
following taking a placebo. Similar results were observed after taking
misoprostol; however, these results were not statistically significant.
These findings suggest ginger root helps prevent abnormalities in stomach
rhythm and emptying that could lead to constipation, heartburn, and
ulceration in some individuals.
Although the current study was performed on healthy adults, the effects of
ginger root may be useful in treating those with adult-onset diabetes. High
blood sugar levels are known to disrupt the normal function of the stomach,
and people with uncontrolled diabetes may have blood sugar levels that
exceed those reached in the current study. Diabetics with stomach problems
also tend to respond favorably to medications that normalize stomach rhythm
and correct delayed emptying. Although controlling blood sugar is the most
important thing diabetics can do to prevent complications associated with
diabetes, ginger may help provide symptomatic improvement while they work
on bringing their blood sugar down.
Since the study did not specifically examine those with adult-onset
diabetes, it is unknown whether ginger would provide the same benefits in
improving stomach function. Nonetheless, ginger is generally safe and may
be worth trying for people with diabetes-related stomach disorders.
Healthnotes Newswire (January 22, 2004)-Ginger root (Zingiber officinale)
may help improve abnormal digestive function induced by elevated blood
sugar, reports The Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
(2003;307:1098-103). The potential implication of this finding is that
people with adult-onset diabetes (type 2 or non-insulin-dependent diabetes)
may experience fewer of the gastrointestinal complications that often occur
with that disease.
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