Some intriguing, but preliminary, research on foods for fighting cancer and colon cancer. Supplements of ginger have been shown to reduce some inflammation indicators in the colon according to a new study.
This work is an initial step in finding out if the compounds that are naturally a part of ginger root might also prevent cancer of the colon. While the study is hailed as being well done, exciting even, it’s still early in the game.
According to the lead study author there are many cell culture studies that have shown ginger to be an anti-inflammatory. Mouse and other rodent studies have demonstrated that ginger can stop the tumors from forming when fed to the subject animals that were exposed to a colon cancer forming chemical.
Ginger has been commonly used in food preparation in Asia for many thousands of years. Researchers admit that there’s likely a reason for such long-standing popularity, though science has yet to figure out exactly what it is.
Naturally the researchers wanted to see if findings on ginger root in rodents translated to people.
To get the answer, the team assigned 30 healthy adult subjects at random to take capsules of either 2 grams (in eight 250-miligram doses) of powdered ginger root or a replacement powder each day for 28 days. The amount used in the research measures out to be about 30mg of powdered ginger.
People in the ginger study took the supplements with meals, and weren’t allowed to take any other drugs, even aspirin or NSAID medications, either prior to or throughout the duration of the study as these are also known for their anti-inflammatory effects.
Both at the start and end of the research, tissue samples from each participants’ colon were taken. The team tested the samples for eicosanoids, a chemical known to up inflammation in the digestive system.
They saw that ginger could bring down the number of inflammatory markers found in the tissue, in comparison to the tissue samples from those taking the placebo. And we do know that high levels of inflammation in the digestive tissue is very strongly associated with the development of precancerous lesions, even cancerous polyps.
While the amount of ginger used in the study was way over what the average American might take in as part of our daily diet, in India, China and Japan people eat that much day to day. Coincidence then that these countries also have lower incidences of colorectal cancers?
Of course the Asian diet might also be protective because it has more veggies and fiber, and a lot less red meat. Researchers are still working that out.
The side effects of ginger supplements are an upset stomach, heartburn and gas, but nothing more serious. Supplements of ginger are usually well tolerated and safe for most people.
Certainly if you are at high risk of colon cancer, you’ll want to discuss this research on foods for fighting cancer with your own healthcare team. While no one is ready to have you running for supplements or putting ginger on everything you eat, it can do no harm to enjoy a little bit now and again. Certainly a preventive approach that’s neither toxic nor harmful to quality of life, and is affordable to boot, is all worth further study.