Can Ginger Help Prevent And Manage Diabetes?

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Active Compounds In Ginger

A study related to the active compounds in fresh and organically grown ginger shows that this vital herb or spice contains many natural compounds such as paradols, gingerols, acetyl derivatives of gingerols, gingerdiols, shogaols, 3-dihydroshogaols, diarylheptanoids, and methyl ether derivatives of some of these compounds.

Among them, gingerol is the dominant compound that inhibits most of the antidiabetic effect. [1]

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Effect Of Ginger On Fasting Blood Glucose

Fasting refers to refrainment from eating. When a person fasts for long hours, their glucose levels drop low. A hormone called glucagon is released by the pancreas to stimulate the release of stored glucose in the liver so as to balance the deficiency of glucose in the body.

In response to the glucose release, the body secretes insulin to balance the sugar levels in the body. As diabetics have decreased production of insulin or inability of insulin to convert glucose into energy, the blood glucose remains high in the body.

Fasting blood glucose helps determine diabetes by measuring sugar levels. Having sugar levels between 100 to 125 mg/dL is a sign of prediabetes while above 126 mg/dL or higher means diabetes. Fasting blood glucose below 100 mg/dL is considered normal.

According to a study, the consumption of ginger powder for 12 weeks (2 g per day) can significantly lower fasting blood glucose. Also, blood sugar gets reduced at a faster rate after four hours when a dose of 100-800 mg/Kg was taken. [2]

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Effect Of Ginger On Insulin Sensitivity

Insulin sensitivity is the main cause of type 2diabetes as here, the body is unable to respond properly to insulin for the conversion of glucose into energy.

A study has demonstrated that daily consumption of ginger (around 3 g) for eight weeks can cause an improvement of insulin resistance by reducing the fasting blood glucose and glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c). [3]

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Can Ginger Help Prevent Diabetes Complications?

The answer to this question is yes. Ginger may help prevent many diabetes complications such as diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease), diabetic retinopathy (eye disease), Diabetic cardiomyopathy (heart diseases) and diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage).

1. Ginger for diabetic nephropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is a kidney disease associated with diabetes. It affects around 25-35 per cent of diabetics who are under the age of 30. Diabetic neuropathy can result in chronic kidney failure and may cause death within 2-3 years.

A study has shown the renoprotective effect of ginger, similar to metformin, a widely used medicine for diabetics. Ginger helps prevent the degeneration of kidney cells and thus, prevents any damage to renal due to high glucose in the body. [4]

2. Ginger for diabetic retinopathy

Long-term diabetes can cause diabetic retinopathy or damage to the eyes. Excess blood glucose can promote the release of inflammatory cytokines (that cause inflammation) and angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels from existing vessels). This result in functional and structural damage to different parts of eyes such as the retina.

According to a study, gingerol in ginger has anti-inflammatory and antiangiogenic activities that may help reduce blood glucose and prevent damage to retinal vessels. [5]

3. Ginger for diabetic cardiomyopathy

Diabetic cardiomyopathy is the main cause of mortality in diabetics. Around 65 per cent of deaths in diabetes is due to vascular abnormalities or heart failure. Inflammation and oxidative stress are the main causes of the aforementioned complications. [6]

Ginger possesses anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and can be used as the best alternative in diabetes management compared to insulin therapy. [7]

4. Ginger for diabetic neuropathy

Diabetes neuropathy refers to nerve damage due to high glucose content in the body. Diabetes neuropathy mainly affects nerves and causes chronic pain and numbness. A study has shown that 6-shogaol, an active compound in this vital herb may help reduce pain due to diabetic neuropathy. [8]

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To Conclude

Ginger may help prevent diabetes in the long run. However, if you already have diabetes, managing glucose levels just by the consumption of ginger may not be effective. Therefore, experts suggest a combination of herbs and medicines for the effective management of diabetes.

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