|You will find dozens of ginger + lemon water recipes on the internet - all of them can pimp your peri-workout drinks and make your tummies "exercise proof".|
Ginger has also been shown to exert cardioprotective effects (Ghayur. 2005; Singletary. 2010), strengthens the immune system (Butt. 2011) and significant beneficial effects on the health of the digestive system - including the make-up of your microbiome (Sutherland. 2009).
Now, it is out of question almost all of these effects would be beneficial to athletes, too. The one I want to focus on, today, though, is directly related to the last-mentioned effect: the beneficial effect on the gut. It is well-known that athletes, in general, and endurance athletes, in particular, are having a hard time keeping their tummy from "leaking" (learn more about the link between exercise and leaky gut). With ginger - that's at least what a recent study from the School of Life Sciences at the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh suggests. The scientists went from the observations that
- the frequency of upper and lower gastrointestinal disturbance as a function of exercise is reported to be between 30 and 70%
- the severity of symptoms ranging from mild stomach discomfort to severe diarrhoea and
- the consumption of beverages either before or during exercise may increase the incidence rate by over 25%
Addendum: Are there pesticides in ginger? Oliver Klettner wants to know if there's a risk that you're intoxicating yourself with ginger. Unfortunately, the data on this subject is scarce. According to an older study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, ginger is yet one of the imported spices that contain relatively little DDT, PCB, Dieldrin, Endrin and BHC residues. The ginger from Nigeria in particular has almost no DDT and BHC, while the products from India contained measurable, but probably uncritical amounts (Sullivan. 1980). Similar and even lower levels were detected more recently by Srivastava et al. (2001) in important ginger powder from India. Data on Chinese ginger, which is what Oliver asked about, in particular, is not available in the literature. What is available, though, is data on commercial ginger powders sold in Germany in the late 1970s. The products of undisclosed origin Boppel (1979) tested contained both lead and cadmium, albeit in low doses (1.9 parts per million and 0.35 ppm). Also, in view of the epidemiological evidence in favor of the health benefits of ginger, it appears rather unlikely that (probably existing) pesticide and heavy-metal residues are a general problem. The average ginger consumer is after all ingesting it with a certain amount of these compounds. If that was a sign. health problem, the health benefits should not exist.In the present study, this agent was ginger that was added to an isotonic beverage 40 recreational athletes (23 male, 17 female) who had volunteered to participate in the study consumed on one out of three test drinks containing 450 ml of either water or beverage A or beverage B in two 225ml servings before and after their workout:
Study Underlines Real World Benefits of 2g/day of Ginger for Type II Diabetics - Effects Almost on Par W/ Metformin | more
- Beverage B was identical to beverage A but the ginger was replaced with 62·5 ml of carrot extract.
- The control drink contained nothing but plain water.
During each of the three sessions the volunteers completed a 5 km run around the same course. To minimize unwanted interferences due to the test-drinks or fatigue, the sessions were spaced at least 7 days apart (and the subjects were asked not to change training or lifestyle during the study period).
What's the mechanism behind the exercise induced gastrointestinal disturbances? With exercise it's the reduction in gastrointestinal integrity that's driving the increase in gastrointestinal symptoms. Studies show, the harder you exercise, the more the gut integrity suffers and the more susceptible you become to intestinal disturbances. It's not clear how exactly ginger protects your gut from becoming leaky, but it would appear to be most likely that it's a result of its potent anti-inflammatory effects.The same 5 item questionnaire that has been successfully used Pfeiffer et al. to probe the effects on nutritional intake on gastrointestinal problems during competitive endurance events in 2012 was used to assess the upper and lower gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms before and after exercise. In said test, the subjects hat to place a mark a 10 cm line to rate the severity / occurrence of symptoms anywhere between 0 (low / never) and 10 (high / always).
"Section 1 addressed upper abdominal problems (reflux / heartburn, belching, bloating, stomach cramps/pain, nausea, vomiting); section 2 addressed lower abdominal problems (intestinal/lower abdominal cramps, flatulence, urge to defecate, side ache/stitch, loose stool, diarrhea, intestinal bleeding); and section 3 addressed systemic problems (dizziness, headache, muscle cramp, urge to urinate)" (Pfeiffer. 2012).
The evaluation of the showed a significnat increase in the incidence of upper GI disturbance (P < 0·05) in response to exercise; stomach problems increased from pre-exercise 1.7 (0.1–6.3) to 2.0 (0.1–8.4) during exercise and nausea increased from pre-exercise 1.1 (0.1–4.5) to 2.0 (01–7.6) during exercise.
|Figure 1: The addition of the ginger root extrac lead to a sign. amelioration of the almost 200% increase of the incidence of gastrointestinal symptoms in the 40 recreational athletes who participated in the study (Ball. 2015).|
What the ginger containing beverage did, however, was that it reduced the prevalence of stomach problems (4.6 (0.3–6.6)) and nausea (4.5 (0.3–9) decreased significantly (P < 0.05) - an effect that was not observed with either beverage B or water, which were without noticeable effects on stomach problems (5 (0.2–8.2)) and nausea (5 (0.2–7)).References:
- Ball, D., G. Ashley, and H. Stradling. "Exercise-induced gastrointestinal disturbances: potential amelioration with a ginger containing beverage." Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 74.OCE3 (2015): E186.
- Boppel, B. "[Lead-and cadmium-content of foodstuffs 1. Lead-and Cadmium-content of spices and table salt (author's transl)]." Zeitschrift Fur Lebensmittel-Untersuchung Und-Forschung 160.3 (1975): 299-302.
- Butt, Masood Sadiq, and M. Tauseef Sultan. "Ginger and its health claims: molecular aspects." Critical reviews in food science and nutrition 51.5 (2011): 383-393.
- Ghayur, Muhammad Nabeel, and Anwarul Hassan Gilani. "Ginger lowers blood pressure through blockade of voltage-dependent calcium channels." Journal of cardiovascular pharmacology 45.1 (2005): 74-80.
- Kim, Eok-Cheon, et al. "-Gingerol, a pungent ingredient of ginger, inhibits angiogenesis in vitro and in vivo." Biochemical and biophysical research communications 335.2 (2005): 300-308.
- Mashhadi, Nafiseh Shokri, et al. "Anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of ginger in health and physical activity: review of current evidence." International journal of preventive medicine 4.Suppl 1 (2013): S36.
- Singletary, Keith. "Ginger: An Overview of health benefits." Nutrition Today 45.4 (2010): 171-183.
- Sontakke, S., V. Thawani, and M. S. Naik. "Ginger as an antiemetic in nausea and vomiting induced by chemotherapy: a randomized, cross-over, double blind study." Indian journal of pharmacology 35.1 (2003): 32-36.
- Srivastava, L. P., Roli Budhwar, and R. B. Raizada. "Organochlorine pesticide residues in Indian spices." Bulletin of environmental contamination and toxicology 67.6 (2001): 856-862.
- Sullivan, James H. "Pesticide residues in imported spices. A survey for chlorinated hydrocarbons." Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 28.5 (1980): 1031-1034.