Almost everyone loves this everyday spice yet we don’t eat enough of it.
A new study published in JCI Insight reveals that this spice not only tackles the inflammation that causes arthritis but actually stops the root cause of inflammation.
This means it has the potential to treat a long list of autoimmune diseases.
Autoimmune diseases are conditions in which the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy tissues, mistaking them for potentially harmful invaders. Lupus and arthritis are two such conditions.
A new study examined how ginger affects a type of white blood cell called neutrophils. The focus was on neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation, or NETosis, which is part of the body’s immune response.
In simple terms, when neutrophils are overactive, they form NETs. NETs are tiny structures that resemble spider webs and can push the body towards higher levels of inflammation and clotting.
Why is this important? Because these tiny NETs can cause or worsen many autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
If we could find a way to regulate neutrophil activity thereby reducing the formation of NETs, this would mark a great step forward in the treatment of autoimmune disease.
To investigate, researchers recruited nine healthy participants from the University of Michigan with an average age of 27 years. Each participant took a ginger supplement for seven days at a dose of 100 mg per day.
The most significant finding was that, when healthy people supplemented their diets with ginger, their neutrophils were less active and better at resisting the formation of the problematic NETs.
After a week of ginger supplementation, levels of cAMP (a chemical produced by the neutrophils) increased among the participants. This chemical seems to play a large role in preventing NETosis. Therefore, this study shows that ginger helps to boost the body’s defenses against inflammation.
At present, there aren’t many options, natural or otherwise, for the control of overactive neutrophils, but ginger shows real promise. It doesn’t just reduce inflammation like most arthritis treatments, instead, it actually stops the processes that cause inflammation.
This means it has the potential to treat a long list of inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis.