Ginger is a flowering plant that originated in Southeast Asia. It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments. The root or rhizome of the ginger plant is commonly used as a spice or added to food and drinks. It can also be consumed in the form of capsules, extracts, tinctures, and teas.
Recently, there has been increased interest in the potential health benefits of consuming ginger shots. Ginger shots are concentrated drinks made by juicing fresh ginger root. They are touted as having powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and other therapeutic effects on the body and mind. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what happens when you drink a ginger shot.
Active Compounds in Ginger
Ginger contains a number of bioactive compounds that are thought to contribute to its purported health benefits. Some of the main active components include:
Gingerols are the main bioactive compounds in ginger. They have a strong anti-inflammatory effect and are potent antioxidants. Research indicates gingerols may help relieve pain, reduce nausea, and protect against chronic diseases.
Shogaols are formed when gingerols are exposed to heat. They have enhanced anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects compared to gingerols.
Zingibain is an enzyme found in ginger that has anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties.
Galanolactone has been shown to inhibit prostaglandin production and reduce pain and inflammation.
Ginger also contains smaller amounts of chromium, magnesium, zinc, vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin C, flavonoids, and ketones, all of which may contribute to its effects.
Effects on Inflammation and Pain
One of the most well-researched effects of ginger is its ability to reduce inflammation and pain. The anti-inflammatory properties come mainly from the gingerols, shogaols, zingibain, and galanolactone.
Multiple studies have found that consuming ginger can reduce markers of inflammation and oxidation in the body. This anti-inflammatory effect may help relieve joint and muscle pain, reduce arthritis symptoms, and decrease oxidative stress that contributes to many chronic diseases.
Ginger has been shown to reduce pain and inflammation in people with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, dysmenorrhea (painful periods), and exercise-induced muscle pain. Research also indicates that ginger can enhance the pain-relieving effects of standard medications when taken together.
|Double-blind RCT in people with osteoarthritis
|247 people with moderate-to-severe knee osteoarthritis
|255 mg/day of a standardized ginger extract
|Ginger resulted in significantly greater reductions in inflammation markers (CRP, IL-6) compared to placebo after 3 months of treatment
|RCT in patients with type 2 diabetes
|88 patients with type 2 diabetes
|3 grams/day of powdered ginger
|Ginger significantly decreased inflammatory markers TNF-α, IL-6, and CRP compared to placebo after 12 weeks
|RCT in overweight men
|44 overweight/obese men
|2 grams/day of ginger powder
|Ginger supplementation for 12 weeks reduced multiple markers of inflammation including hs-CRP and MDA
|Meta-analysis of 4 high-quality trials
|261 patients with osteoarthritis
|170-510 mg/day of ginger extract for 3-12 weeks
|Ginger resulted in significant improvements in pain symptoms and physical disability compared to placebo
|Double-blind RCT in patients with knee osteoarthritis
|75 patients with osteoarthritis
|250 mg/day of ginger extract
|Ginger reduced knee pain on standing, walking, climbing, and bending compared to placebo after 6 weeks
|Double-blind crossover RCT in women with dysmenorrhea
|150 female students with painful menstruation
|500 mg capsules of ginger rhizome powder 4x per day during first 3 days of menstruation
|Ginger was as effective for relieving menstrual pain as mefenamic acid and ibuprofen
Effects on Nausea and Digestion
Another traditional and scientifically-validated use of ginger is for treating nausea, vomiting, and upset stomach. Ginger has been shown to help reduce nausea related to pregnancy, chemotherapy, motion sickness, and surgery.
Ginger’s anti-nausea effects may be due to its ability to enhance gastric motility (movement of food through the stomach and intestines). It also has potent anti-vomiting actions by inhibiting serotonin receptors and reducing vertigo.
Multiple reviews conclude that 1-1.5 grams of ginger is effective for treating nausea, vomiting, and motion sickness. The raw root, powdered ginger, and ginger extracts and tinctures all seem to be effective. Consuming ginger before travel or chemotherapy appears to have preventative anti-nausea effects.
Ginger also shows promise for improving other aspects of digestion. It may accelerate gastric emptying, which can aid people with indigestion and feelings of fullness. There’s also evidence ginger helps reduce flatulence, belching, stomach pain, and feelings of fullness after meals.
|Meta-analysis of 24 RCTs
|1,578 patients prone to nausea
|0.5-2 grams ginger powder/day
|Ginger significantly reduced nausea from chemotherapy, pregnancy, and motion sickness vs placebo
|Double-blind RCT in pregnant women
|70 pregnant women with nausea
|250 mg capsules of ginger 4x per day
|Ginger was as effective as vitamin B6 for relieving pregnancy-related nausea
|RCT in motion sickness-prone naval cadets
|80 naval cadets prone to motion sickness
|1,000 mg ginger root extract before sailing
|Ginger extract was more effective than placebo at preventing seasickness
Antioxidant and Anti-Diabetic Effects
Chronic inflammation and oxidative stress play a central role in the development of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other conditions.
The antioxidant compounds in ginger, especially the gingerols and shogaols, may help neutralize damaging free radicals throughout the body and reduce oxidative stress.
Human and animal studies indicate ginger has protective antioxidant effects in the brain, liver, kidneys, and other tissues and organs. There’s evidence ginger may lower the risk of diabetes complications by combating oxidative stress and inflammation.
Ginger also shows direct anti-diabetic effects by improving insulin sensitivity, glucose uptake into cells, and lipid profiles. In people with diabetes, regularly consuming ginger may lead to reductions in blood sugar, HbA1c, insulin levels, and LDL cholesterol.
More research is still needed, but ginger shows promise as a supplement for enhancing antioxidant status, improving glycemic control, and reducing diabetes complications.
Antioxidant and Anti-Diabetic Effects
|RCT in patients with type 2 diabetes
|41 patients with controlled type 2 diabetes
|3 one-gram capsules of ginger vs placebo daily
|Ginger improved antioxidant status, lowered LDL cholesterol, and decreased HbA1c compared to placebo
|Animal study in diabetic rats
|500 mg/kg of ginger extract for 8 weeks
|Ginger improved glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, serum lipids, and kidney function compared to diabetic control group
|Liver cells exposed to oxidative stress
|Gingerols protected liver cells against oxidative damage in a dose-dependent manner
One potential limitation of ginger is that its bioavailability, or absorption into the bloodstream, is quite low when it’s consumed in food or as a powdered supplement.
However, taking ginger extracts in capsules may enhance the bioavailability. One study found the bioavailability of gingerols and shogaols from ginger extracts was 13-53 times higher than from raw ginger root powder.
Consuming ginger along with lipids, like oils, nuts, avocados, or fatty fish, can also increase gingerol and shogaol absorption. Pairing ginger shots with foods containing healthy fats may increase the functional benefits.
Ways to Increase Ginger Bioavailability
- Take ginger in encapsulated extract form instead of raw powder
- Consume ginger with a source of lipids or fats
- Drink ginger tea made with non-filtered ginger juice instead of filtered ginger water
- Add a pinch of black pepper to ginger preparations as piperine enhances absorption
Does Ginger Have Side Effects?
For most people, consuming moderate amounts of ginger as a spice or drink is very safe and unlikely to cause side effects. Mild digestive upset and irritations have occasionally been reported.
Less commonly, allergic reactions to ginger can occur and generally result in a skin rash. There are rare cases of ginger causing heartburn, diarrhea, gas, and stomach ache, especially in high doses.
Some precautions to be aware of:
- Avoid large amounts of ginger if you have a bleeding disorder
- Discontinue ginger 2 weeks before surgery as it may increase bleeding
- Use cautiously if you have gallstones – very high doses may increase gallstone risk
- Speak with your doctor before taking ginger supplements if you take blood thinners or diabetes medications, as ginger may interact with their effects
Overall, ginger is very safe for most people and offers valuable health benefits with minimal risk when used reasonably. Moderation is key, so stick to the commonly recommended dosages unless instructed otherwise by your healthcare provider.
In summary, regularly consuming ginger shots and incorporating ginger into your diet provides a wide range of potential wellness benefits:
- Powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects
- Reduced muscle soreness, arthritis symptoms, and menstrual pain
- Relief from nausea, vomiting, and upset stomach
- Enhanced glycemic control and reduced diabetes risk
- Improved digestion and nutrient absorption
While more clinical studies are still needed, ginger is a generally safe, natural plant compound that shows immense therapeutic promise. Drinking small ginger shots 1-3x per day may deliver concentrated health benefits with few side effects for most individuals.