Study Title:

Ginger Root Extract and Colon Inflammation

Study Abstract

Inhibitors of COX indicate that upregulation of inflammatory eicosanoids produced by COX, and in particular prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), are early events in the development of colorectal cancer (CRC). Ginger has shown downregulation of COX in vitro and decreased incidence/multiplicity of adenomas in rats. This study was conducted to determine if 2.0 g/d of ginger could decrease the levels of PGE2, 13-hydroxy-octadecadienoic acids, and 5-, 12-, and 15-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (5-, 12-, and 15-HETE), in the colon mucosa of healthy volunteers. To investigate this aim, we randomized 30 subjects to 2.0 g/d ginger or placebo for 28 days. Flexible sigmoidoscopy at baseline and day 28 was used to obtain colon biopsies. A liquid chromatography mass spectrometry method was used to determine eicosanoid levels in the biopsies, and levels were expressed per protein or per free arachidonic acid. There were no significant differences in mean percent change between baseline and day 28 for any of the eicosanoids, when normalized to protein. There was a significant decrease in mean percent change in PGE2 (P = 0.05) and 5-HETE (P = 0.04), and a trend toward significant decreases in 12-HETE (P = 0.09) and 15-HETE (P = 0.06) normalized to free arachidonic acid. There was no difference between the groups in terms of total adverse events P = 0.55). On the basis of these results, it seems that ginger has the potential to decrease eicosanoid levels, perhaps by inhibiting their synthesis from arachidonic acid. Ginger also seemed to be tolerable and safe. Further investigation in people at high risk for CRC seems warranted.

From press release:

Ginger supplements reduced markers of colon inflammation in a select group of patients, suggesting that this supplement may have potential as a colon cancer prevention agent, according to a study published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Suzanna M. Zick, N.D., M.P.H., a research assistant professor at the University of Michigan Medical School, and colleagues enrolled 30 patients and randomly assigned them to two grams of ginger root supplements per day or placebo for 28 days.

After 28 days, the researchers measured standard levels of colon inflammation and found statistically significant reductions in most of these markers, and trends toward significant reductions in others.

Inflammation has been implicated in prior studies as a precursor to colon cancer, but another trial would be needed to see how ginger root affects that risk, Zick said.

"We need to apply the same rigor to the sorts of questions about the effect of ginger root that we apply to other clinical trial research," she said. "Interest in this is only going to increase as people look for ways to prevent cancer that are nontoxic, and improve their quality of life in a cost-effective way."

Zick is a naturopathic doctor (N.D.), which is a four-year degree that supplements a traditional medical education with instruction on the proper use of natural therapies, diet, nutrition and other alternative treatments. Her program is one of eight in the country, compared with about 135 traditional medical schools.


Study Information

Suzanna M. Zick, D. Kim Turgeon, Shaiju K. Vareed, Mack T. Ruffin, Amie J. Litzinger, Benjamin D. Wright, Sara Alrawi, Daniel P. Normolle, Zora Djuric, and Dean E. Brenner.
Phase II Study of the Effects of Ginger Root Extract on Eicosanoids in Colon Mucosa in People at Normal Risk for Colorectal Cancer.
Cancer Prev Res,
2011 October
University of Michigan Medical School

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