Over the years we are more exposed to the risk of developing diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular problems. This happens due to the action of free radicals and chronic inflammation, which can act silently even for years and then manifest themselves with a disorder. Ginger contains several active ingredients, but, among all these substances, there are two that are attracting the attention of scientists, 6-gingerol and 6-shogaol, which have proven effective precisely against oxidative stress and inflammation. Given these characteristics, what effect may ginger have on degenerative diseases and disorders related to aging? A review that appeared a few months ago in the journal Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine tried to give an answer (Sahardi et al, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med., 2019).
By analyzing previous studies, the authors of the research were able to summarize the properties of ginger for which there is scientific evidence. In particular, fresh ginger root has been shown to reduce triglycerides and bad LDL cholesterol with benefits for the heart. Not only that, in case of type 2 diabetes, the intake of ginger has helped to reduce insulin resistance by improving the transport of glucose and tolerance to this sugar. Fresh ginger has also been shown to be beneficial in case of hypertension by inhibiting the action of the ACE enzyme that, indirectly, increases blood pressure by narrowing blood vessels. As for the ginger infusion, this has been shown to increase the levels of acetylcholine, which is an essential neurotransmitter for the proper functioning of the brain and, in particular, for learning processes and memory. Not only that, always the infusion of ginger can help reduce the presence of beta amyloid plaques, one of the main causes of Alzheimer's since their accumulation is toxic and leads to the death of neurons. Finally, the research analyzed the properties of ginger extracts. These extracts have been shown to be useful in Alzheimer's disease, since they can increase cell survival to toxicity linked to accumulations of beta amyloid proteins and create new synapses between neurons. Ginger extracts have also been shown to be beneficial in the case of Parkinson's, since the active ingredient in ginger, 6-shogaol, is able to inhibit inflammatory processes and cognitive dysfunctions.