Posted on Sep 22, 2023, 7 p.m.
According to a study published in JCI Insight from researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the University of Michigan, ginger may play an important role in controlling inflammation among those with autoimmune diseases. The clinical trial investigated the impact of ginger supplements on white blood cell (neutrophil) function.
This study was especially interested in the formation of neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) which is also known as Netosis, and what it may do for the control of inflammation. The researchers report that among healthy participants the consumption of ginger supplements (20 mg of gingerols/day) for 7 days made their neutrophils more resistant to NETosis by boosting a chemical inside the neutrophil called cAMP.
This is an important finding because NETs are microscopic spider web-like structures that promote clotting and inflammation that contribute to many autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and antiphospholipid syndrome.
“There are a lot of diseases where neutrophils are abnormally overactive. We found that ginger can help to restrain NETosis, and this is important because it is a natural supplement that may be helpful to treat inflammation and symptoms for people with several different autoimmune diseases,” said senior co-author Kristen Demoruelle, MD, Ph.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
“Our research, for the first time, provides evidence for the biological mechanism that underlies ginger’s apparent anti-inflammatory properties in people,” said senior co-author Jason Knight, MD, PhD, associate professor in the Division of Rheumatology at the University of Michigan.
“There are not a lot of natural supplements, or prescription medications for that matter, that are known to fight overactive neutrophils. We, therefore, think ginger may have a real ability to complement treatment programs that are already underway. The goal is to be more strategic and personalized in terms of helping to relieve people’s symptoms,” Knight adds.
Those with inflammatory conditions are more likely to inquire about natural supplements that may be helpful in managing their symptoms. The researchers hope that this information will encourage healthcare providers to discuss whether taking ginger supplements as part of their treatment plan could be beneficial to their patients. The team hoped to gain additional funding for further clinical trials of ginger in patients with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases where neutrophils are overactive.
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