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Ginger for Metabolic Syndrome

3/19/2019 4:51:32 PM

gingerGinger shows promise as adjuvant therapy for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a common spice worldwide and has a long history of use in Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine. Traditionally used to quell nausea or soothe digestion, modern science is discovering an array of ways that ginger might improve health. Some research suggests that ginger might modulate blood glucose and lipid levels—offering promise as a therapy for type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome.

Systematic review of research finds that ginger lowers blood sugar, improves insulin resistance for those with type 2 diabetes

A 2018 systematic review and meta-analysis evaluated the evidence for the use of ginger in patients with type 2 diabetes or other metabolic diseases. Twelve studies were reviewed and 10 included in the meta-analysis. All of the included studies were randomized, placebo-controlled trials of ginger alone in subjects with type 2 diabetes, obesity, hyperlipidemia, or hyperglycemia. Study durations ranged from 30 days to 3 months. Ginger dosages ranged from 1 gram to 3 grams per day, given as capsules or tablets of ginger root and taken after meals.

The meta-analysis found that ginger significantly improved hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), and fasting insulin. Four studies reported HbA1c, with a weighted mean difference (WMD) of -1.00 % (95% CI, -1.56 to -0.44; p<.001). Six studies reported HOMA-IR, with a pooled net change of -0.59 (95% CI, -1.01 to -0.17; p<.001). Six studies reported fasting insulin, with a WMD of -1.62 microIU/ml (95% CI, -2.20 to -1.05; p<.001). The effects of ginger on glucose control and insulin sensitivity were most pronounced in subgroups of patients with hyperglycemia (those with type 2 diabetes or on chronic dialysis).

Studies show ginger improves total cholesterol and lipid levels for patients with metabolic syndrome

The meta-analysis also found that ginger significantly improved total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and triglycerides (TG). Six studies reported lipid levels, with notable discrepancies. The meta-analysis showed slight but statistically significant improvements of -8.22 mg/dL in TC, -6.66 mg/dL in LDL-C, -24.80 mg/dL in TG, and +1.34 mg/dL in HDL. No effect of ginger was found for body mass index (BMI).
Based on the encouraging findings of this meta-analysis, the authors conclude that ginger shows promise as an adjuvant therapy for patients with type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome.   
Zhu J, Chen H, Song Z, Wang X, Sun Z. Effects of Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) on Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Components of the Metabolic Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2018.

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