Type 2 diabetes is on the rise. Globally, an estimated 366 million people are expected to be diagnosed with this debilitating condition by 2030.

As it turns out, the kitchen spice ginger may turn out to be a potential therapeutic agent for diabetes-associated health problems. It is safe, affordable and easily accessible.

A new study on ginger's health benefits for patients with type 2 diabetes suggests that it may provide millions suffering with this condition a natural alternative to available medications - many of which have serious, even life-threatening side effects.

In fact a previous study had already shown that 1600 mg of ginger administered daily for 12 weeks successfully improved 8 distinct markers of type 2 diabetes.

In this new study, Iranian researchers sought to identify herbal products effective in addressing insulin resistance, a condition where the body is unable to properly utilize or respond to insulin - leading to high blood sugar and diabetes, among many other harmful effects to health.

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial involved 81 patients with type 2 diabetes (mean age of 50 years) who were randomly assigned into ginger and control groups. Subjects in the ginger group received 3 one-gram capsules containing ginger powder daily for 8 weeks.

The following parameters were evaluated in these subjects:

  • HbA1c - an indication of damage to the red blood cells caused by the oxidation of sugars, known as glycation.
  • Fructosamine - a harmful compound produced as a byproduct of result of sugar reacting with an amine.
  • Fasting blood sugar (FBS).
  • Fasting insulin.
  • Homeostasis model assessment insulin resistance index (HOMA-IR).
  • Beta-cell function - a cell type within the pancreas responsible for producing insulin.
  • Insulin sensitivity.

Quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICKI).

The results of the intervention were significant and positive:

  • Mean fasting blood sugar decreased 10.5% in the ginger group, whereas it increased 21% in the control group.
  • HbA1c decreased in the ginger group, and increased in the control group.
  • Insulin resistance was reduced in the ginger group, as determined by increases in the QIUCKI index.

The Iranian researchers concluded that daily consumption of ginger for 8 weeks by patients with  type 2 diabetes leads to reduced FBS and HbA1c means, along with beneficial effects on insulin resistance, insulin sensitivity and QUICKI index.

In other words, consumption of ginger supplement is beneficial for people suffering from type 2 diabetes, although further studies are needed to figure out how exactly ginger does this.

Source: Ginger: A Diabetic’s Best Friend.