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The number of people managing type 2 diabetes has risen sharply over the past few decades, even among younger people. Several factors increase the risk:
Diabetes increases the risk of neurological, cardiovascular, kidney, skin, foot, and eye problems.
The study looked at the effects of a ginger supplement on blood sugar levels, blood fats, long-term blood sugar control, insulin resistance, and insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes. Increased insulin resistance and decreased insulin sensitivity are two reasons that type 2 diabetics have high blood sugars. (Insulin sensitivity is a measure of how well the cells respond to insulin and insulin resistance is a lowered ability of the cells to respond to insulin.)
The 64 participants (aged 38 to 65 years old) took 2 grams of a powdered ginger supplement or a matching placebo (no treatment) every day for two months. By the end of the study, these changes were noted:
The ginger supplement didn’t appear to affect blood sugar levels or measures of long-term blood sugar control.
“Further studies with large doses of ginger and longer duration of intervention are required to evaluate the effects of ginger supplementation on blood glucose control and insulin sensitivity,” the researchers commented.
Ginger has a long record of culinary uses, especially for adding a fiery, pungent flavor to many traditional Indian and Chinese dishes. Recent evidence suggests that ginger may also be helpful for arthritis pain, digestive upset, and as an antinausea agent. Most of these benefits are credited to compounds in ginger called gingerols and shogaols.
More than 360 million people worldwide have diabetes, and recent estimates project that the number will climb to more than 550 million by the year 2030. Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to help prevent the disease.
Studies have shown that these two strategies can slash diabetes risk:
Remember, talk with your doctor before using ginger or any supplement—especially if you are already managing disease, as it may interact with your medications.
(Int J Food Sci Nutr 2013;64:682–6)