PHILADELPHIA -- Ginger supplements reduced markers of colon inflammation in a select group of patients, suggesting that this supplement may have potential as a colon cancer prevention agent, according to a study published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.
Suzanna M. Zick, N.D., M.P.H., a research assistant professor at the University of Michigan Medical School, and colleagues enrolled 30 patients and randomly assigned them to two grams of ginger root supplements per day or placebo for 28 days.
After 28 days, the researchers measured standard levels of colon inflammation and found statistically significant reductions in most of these markers, and trends toward significant reductions in others.
Inflammation has been implicated in prior studies as a precursor to colon cancer, but another trial would be needed to see how ginger root affects that risk, Zick said.
"We need to apply the same rigor to the sorts of questions about the effect of ginger root that we apply to other clinical trial research," she said. "Interest in this is only going to increase as people look for ways to prevent cancer that are nontoxic, and improve their quality of life in a cost-effective way."
Zick is a naturopathic doctor (N.D.), which is a four-year degree that supplements a traditional medical education with instruction on the proper use of natural therapies, diet, nutrition and other alternative treatments. Her program is one of eight in the country, compared with about 135 traditional medical schools.
The study was funded by a National Cancer Institute grant.
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The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, the AACR is the world's oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes 33,000 basic, translational and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and more than 90 other countries. The AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants, research fellowships and career development awards. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts more than 18,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment and patient care. The AACR publishes seven major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Discovery; Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; and Cancer Prevention Research. AACR journals received 20 percent of the total number of citations given to oncology journals in 2010. The AACR also publishes Cancer Today, a magazine for cancer patients, survivors and their caregivers which provides practical knowledge and new hope for cancer survivors. A major goal of the AACR is to educate the general public and policymakers about the value of cancer research in improving public health, the vital importance of increases in sustained funding for cancer research, and the need for national policies that foster innovation and progress in the field.