New York: Ginger supplements can play an important role in controlling inflammation for people living with autoimmune diseases, a new study has found.
Researchers studied the impact of ginger supplementation on a type of white blood cell called the ‘neutrophil’. They were especially interested in neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation, also known as NETosis, and what it may mean for controlling inflammation.
According to the study published in the journal JCI Insight, ginger consumption by healthy individuals makes their neutrophils more resistant to NETosis. This is important because NETs are microscopic spider web-like structures that propel inflammation and clotting, which contribute to many autoimmune diseases, including lupus, antiphospholipid syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis.
“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 Kristen Demoruelle, senior co-author, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, US.
During the clinical trial, the researchers found that daily intake of a ginger supplement for seven days (20 mg of gingerols/day) by healthy volunteers boosted a chemical inside the neutrophil called cAMP. These high levels of cAMP then inhibited NETosis in response to various disease-relevant stimuli.
“Our research, for the first time, provides evidence for the biological mechanism that underlies ginger’s apparent anti-inflammatory properties in people,” said Jason Knight, senior co-author, MD, PhD, associate professor at the University of Michigan.
The researchers expected that providing more evidence about ginger’s benefits, including the direct mechanism by which ginger impacts neutrophils, would encourage healthcare providers and patients to discuss whether taking ginger supplements as part of their treatment plan could be beneficial.
“We think ginger may have a real ability to complement treatment programs that are already underway. The goal is to be more strategic and personalised in terms of helping to relieve people’s symptoms,” said Knight.