Ginger has been used to treat everything from colds to digestive issues, but never before has ginger been intensively evaluated for its liver-protective qualities. While pre-clinical studies have shown ginger has protective effects against alcohol, heavy metals and the like, this new study review finally summarizes results and emphasizes the future potential of ginger for liver health.
From a ‘how it works’ standpoint, ginger is a definite superfood that functions as a health multi-tasker. Ginger works to protect the liver by free radical scavenging and adjusting levels of detoxifying enzymes. Specific phytochemicals including gingerols and shogaols fight to provide antimicrobial, antiviral, and gastro-protective benefits to the body. And that’s not even all that ginger has to offer!
By far, one of the most promising and interesting analysis of these ginger studies revolves around the benefits of ginger as it relates to chronic alcohol induced liver damage. Chronic liver problems caused nearly 32,000 deaths in 2013 alone and we have yet to find a liver-protective compound that can be used in the traditional medical world. In rodent studies, rats who were given ginger for four weeks experienced reduced toxic alcohol related effects on the liver. In another study, rats who were given 500 milligrams per kilogram of body weight for two weeks experienced reduced levels of the liver function enzyme numbers (AST, ALT, etc) usually elevated by alcohol.
This study analysis makes it clear that more studies need to be done on the benefits of ginger for liver health. A natural base for possible medication to battle chronic liver problems is only more appealing in that we have yet to see a toxic effect of ginger on the body.
Are you currently using for ginger for health?
Carlene Thomas RD,LD is a registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in weight loss and wellness. She provides nutrition guidance to the public in a variety of ways including corporate wellness, private clients and contributes an expert nutrition voice to a variety of media.