Ginger and Turmeric Roots - A Formidable Anti-inflammatory PairPrint
By Richard Mayer
Many disorders of advancing age are linked to a common problem: chronic inflammation. Inflammation damages tissues and contributes to a variety of ailments.1-4 If we can impede chronic inflammation, we may delay the onset of many age-related diseases. Scientists have discovered that two closely related plant roots, ginger and turmeric, have anti-inflammatory properties.5-9 Working together, the active components in these plants, such as gingerols, curcumin, and turmerones, provide a potent “1-2 punch” to chronic inflammation, helping to maintain healthy tissues.
Inflammation Contributes to Aging
Chronic, low-grade inflammation doesn’t just increase the risk of disease—it has been identified as one of the key contributors to the aging process itself.1,3,4,10,11
Inflammation plays such a central role in age-related ailments that scientists have coined the term inflammaging to describe its effects.1
There are many different causes of this type of chronic inflammation.
With advancing age, many cells become senescent. That means they no longer divide or support tissues. Senescent cells also spew out harmful compounds that activate inflammation and cause tissues to age more rapidly.4
In overweight or obese individuals, excess fat cells release compounds that promote inflammation throughout the body.1,3
Other contributors to inflammation include diet, gut microorganisms, pollution, hormone imbalances, stress, and more.1,3,4,10
Plant-Based Solutions to Inflammation
For centuries, ginger and turmeric have been recognized as powerful anti-inflammatory plants. They both contain beneficial compounds that reduce inflammation and offer other health benefits.
They also have antiviral and antibacterial properties that help to bolster the immune system’s defense against pathogens.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Curcumin and Ginger Fight Inflammation
- Chronic inflammation increases throughout the body as we age.
- Many sources contribute to this harmful inflammation, which does damage to our organs and tissues.
- This long-term damage builds up to cause age-related disease and loss of function, contributing to the development of almost all age-related disorders.
- Natural compounds in ginger and turmeric work by means of several different complementary mechanisms to deliver powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
Ginger: An Anti-Inflammatory Powerhouse
Ginger is a flowering plant whose underground stem or rhizome, also known as ginger root, has been used in cooking and as a natural medicine.
Ginger root is the source of a cocktail of beneficial compounds, including gingerols, that have free-radical scavenging and anti-inflammatory properties.14
Leukotrienes contribute to dangerous inflammatory reactions. Compounds in ginger have been found to inhibit enzymes that produce leukotrienes.5,6
Ginger also works to reduce inflammation by affecting several other compounds and cellular pathways, including:
- Reduction in levels of inflammatory mediators15-20
- Inhibition of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB) pathways, which are involved in the initiation of chronic inflammation 16,21,22
Turmeric: A Golden Anti-Inflammatory
Turmeric, a close relative of the ginger plant, has a bright yellow-orange rhizome. Like ginger, turmeric is a source of both spices and medicine.
Curcumin and other curcuminoids are compounds derived from turmeric that have been the most-studied. There is a robust research record showing their efficacy in fighting inflammation. Most extracts of turmeric on the market primarily contain isolated curcumin.
Other compounds found in turmeric, such as turmerones, offer their own health benefits, many of which help to augment the effects of curcumin.23
Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory effects are, like ginger’s, inhibition of leukotrienes and other pro-inflammatory pathways, as discussed on the previous page. Turmeric has additional effects that go beyond what ginger can do, including:
- Support of sirtuin 1 expression, which is associated with healthy aging and longevity,24
- Neuroprotective capabilities, by reducing neuroinflammation and by protecting against the toxic effects of beta-amyloid accumulation associated with Alzheimer’s disease, and25-27
- Activation of heme oxygenase-1 and other pathways of protection from oxidative damage.24,28
Specific Conditions for which Ginger and Turmeric are Beneficial
Although turmeric and ginger contain different compounds, they offer overlapping anti-inflammatory properties and complementary effects. In other words, they complement each other.
Together, these two plant roots and their extracts offer superlative anti-inflammatory effects. Scientific studies have shown that ginger and turmeric can help fight a wide range of age-related disorders and conditions that include practically every system and organ in the body.
The following are a few of the conditions for which extracts of ginger and turmeric can be beneficial.
Metabolic Health Issues
Obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome are increasingly common and are risk factors for many other problems.31,32 Inflammation is strongly associated with these disorders, and is a primary driver of the health problems to which they lead.33
Research shows that both ginger and turmeric help alleviate many of the metabolic abnormalities that characterize these disorders.15,18,22,34-39
Daily supplementation with ginger powder helps to control blood sugar levels, triglycerides, and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, while raising healthy HDL cholesterol and improving insulin sensitivity.15,18,22
Chronic, low-grade inflammation has many causes. It is a major contributor to the loss of function and risk for disease that become more prevalent as we age.
In fact, almost all age-related changes and disorders can be tied to inflammation.
Natural compounds found in the rhizomes of two related plants, ginger and turmeric, have demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties. They act by means of multiple, complementary mechanisms to reduce harmful inflammation while protecting normal immune function.
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