What is a ginger shot good for?

Ginger shots have become a popular health trend in recent years. These small, concentrated doses of fresh ginger root pack a powerful punch when it comes to potential health benefits. Proponents claim that ginger shots can help with digestion, inflammation, immunity, and more.

But what exactly is a ginger shot? And what evidence is there to back up the purported benefits? Keep reading to learn more about what ginger shots are, their proposed effects on health and wellness, and some considerations when incorporating them into your diet.

What is a Ginger Shot?

A ginger shot is a beverage made by juicing fresh ginger root. The juice is sometimes combined with other ingredients like lemon, honey, turmeric, or cayenne pepper. However, the main star ingredient is always raw, fresh ginger.

Ginger shots differ from other ginger teas or spices in a few key ways:

  • They contain pure, concentrated ginger juice, rather than powered or dried ginger.
  • They’re taken in a small, 1–2 ounce serving rather than a large mug or glass.
  • Ginger shots are consumed straight rather than diluted in water or other liquids.

This allows the bioactive compounds in fresh ginger to be delivered in a potent, concentrated dose. Ginger shots often have a strong, spicy kick due to the high ginger content.

Potential Benefits of Ginger Shots

Advocates claim that ginger shots provide many benefits for health and wellness. Here is a closer look at some of the proposed benefits:

May Aid Digestion

Ginger has a very long history of use as a digestive aid. Modern research has confirmed ginger’s beneficial effects on the digestive system.

Ginger may help by:

  • Increasing production of digestive enzymes and bile in the gut
  • Speeding up gut motility
  • Acting as a carminative, reducing gas and bloating
  • Providing relief from nausea, vomiting, and motion sickness

Thanks to these digestive benefits, ginger shots are often recommended as a pre-meal drink to stimulate digestion.

May Reduce Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is believed to contribute to many modern health conditions. Ginger contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds like gingerols, shogaols, and paradols.

Research shows purified ginger compounds can reduce markers of inflammation in cells, animals, and humans. Regularly consuming concentrated ginger shots may help fight systemic inflammation.

May Boost Immunity

Human trials suggest fresh ginger may have immuno-modulatory effects. Specifically, it may enhance immune function by:

  • Increasing production of T-cells
  • Enhancing antitumor activity of natural killer cells
  • Reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines

Ginger also has direct antiviral effects against certain viruses. All of these immune-enhancing effects make ginger shots a potential immune system booster.

May Promote Heart Health

Ginger has traditionally been used to promote cardiovascular health and circulation. Today, science confirms ginger’s heart benefits are likely due to:

  • Lowering LDL cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Reducing platelet aggregation and blood clotting
  • Improving blood pressure
  • Protecting blood vessels from oxidative damage

Through these mechanisms, ginger shots may support heart health and reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

May Aid Blood Sugar Control

Several human trials suggest ginger shots may improve long-term blood sugar control. Ginger appears to act by:

  • Increasing insulin release and sensitivity
  • Improving uptake of glucose into cells
  • Slowing stomach emptying to prevent blood sugar spikes

Drinking ginger shots, especially before meals, may help manage healthy blood sugar levels already within the normal range.

May Reduce Muscle Pain and Soreness

Ginger is commonly recommended as a natural remedy for muscle aches and pain. Research in athletes and those with musculoskeletal disorders shows promising results.

Consuming ginger before exercise may reduce post-workout pain and markers of muscle damage. Ginger shots may benefit those looking to prevent or treat exercise-related muscle soreness.

Potential Side Effects and Safety

When consumed occasionally in moderate amounts by most healthy adults, ginger shots are likely safe. However, there are some potential side effects and precautions to be aware of.

  • Heartburn – Ginger may exacerbate symptoms in those with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
  • Mouth/throat irritation – High amounts of ginger may temporarily cause a burning sensation in the mouth or throat.
  • Delayed emptying – Ginger may worsen symptoms in people with gastroparesis or delayed gastric emptying.
  • Bleeding disorders – Ginger may increase risk of bruising and bleeding in those with bleeding disorders or taking blood thinners.
  • Gallstones – High doses of ginger may increase bile production. Those with a history of gallstones should be cautious with ginger shots.
  • Diabetes – Ginger may lower blood sugar. Dosing of diabetes medications may need to be adjusted.
  • Pregnancy – High doses of ginger are not recommended during pregnancy. Consult your healthcare provider.

Those on medications or with underlying health conditions should speak to a doctor before regularly consuming ginger shots.

How to Take Ginger Shots

Ready to add ginger shots to your routine? Here are some tips for taking ginger shots:

  • Look for fresh ginger root that is firm with smooth, tight skin. Avoid ginger that is wrinkled, dry, or moldy.
  • Wash ginger thoroughly before juicing to remove any dirt or pesticides.
  • Use a juicer or blender to extract the most ginger juice possible. A microplane or zester can also be used.
  • Combine just ginger or add lemon juice, turmeric, honey, or other ingredients to taste.
  • Take ginger shots immediately or store covered in the refrigerator up to 24 hours.
  • Consume ginger shots before meals to aid digestion or anytime for other benefits.
  • Start with a 1–2 ounce shot. Adjust amount based on tolerance.
  • Drink ginger shots slowly. Do not exceed recommended doses.

Be aware that ginger shots may interact with certain medications or health conditions. Do not take ginger shots as a replacement for any treatments prescribed by your healthcare provider.

The Bottom Line

When consumed as part of a healthy lifestyle, ginger shots may provide a range of potential health benefits. However, human studies specifically on ginger shots are limited.

As with any supplement, it’s best to take a moderate approach. Include ginger shots as part of an overall diet focused on whole, minimally processed foods, regular exercise, stress management, and sleep hygiene.

Ginger shots are no “cure-all,” but they may be a convenient way to enjoy possible perks from ginger if you tolerate them well. But consult your healthcare provider if you take medications or have any underlying health conditions before adding ginger shots to your routine.

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