Ginger supplements may help control inflammation in autoimmune diseases

Recent research has shed light on the potential of ginger supplements in managing inflammation in individuals with autoimmune disorders.

Published in JCI Insight, this study delves into the effects of ginger supplementation on neutrophils, a type of white blood cell. The researchers specifically investigated neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation, also known as NETosis, and its implications for inflammation control.

The study revealed that ginger consumption among healthy individuals enhances the resistance of their neutrophils to NETosis. This is significant because NETs are intricate, web-like structures that contribute to inflammation and clotting, factors in various autoimmune diseases such as lupus, antiphospholipid syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Dr. Kristen Demoruelle, senior co-author and associate professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, stated, “Ginger can help restrain NETosis, offering a natural supplement that may alleviate inflammation and symptoms in individuals with different autoimmune conditions.”

In a clinical trial, participants who took a daily ginger supplement for seven days (20 mg of gingerols/day) saw increased levels of cAMP, a chemical within neutrophils. These elevated cAMP levels inhibited NETosis in response to disease-related triggers.

Senior co-author Dr. Jason Knight, associate professor in the Division of Rheumatology at the University of Michigan, emphasized, “Our research provides the first evidence for the biological mechanism behind ginger’s apparent anti-inflammatory properties.”

Many individuals with inflammatory conditions inquire about the potential benefits of natural supplements, like ginger, for symptom management. However, the precise impact on disease outcomes often remains uncertain.

The researchers aim to offer more evidence regarding ginger’s advantages, including its direct influence on neutrophils. This could prompt more strategic discussions between healthcare providers and patients about incorporating ginger supplements into treatment plans.

Dr. Knight added, “There are few natural supplements or prescription medications known to combat overactive neutrophils. Ginger may complement existing treatment programs, with the goal of personalized symptom relief.”

As a future step, the researchers plan to conduct clinical trials involving ginger in patients with autoimmune and inflammatory diseases characterized by overactive neutrophils, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, antiphospholipid syndrome, and even COVID-19.

Source: CU Anschutz Medical Campus

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