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.
The study was funded by a National Cancer Institute grant.
- 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, October 11, 2011 DOI: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-11-0224
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