Israeli researchers have found that ginger extract can have dramatic effects of cardiovascular health, including preventing atherosclerosis, lowering cholesterol levels, and preventing the oxidation of low density lipoprotein (LDL).
Researchers studied the effects of a standardized ginger extract on the development of atherosclerosis in mice genetically predisposed to develop the condition prematurely. In addition plasma cholesterol levels and the resistance of their LDL to oxidation and aggregation were evaluated.
Researchers divided mice into 3 groups:
- One received 25 micrograms of ginger extract daily
- Another received 250 micrograms of ginger extract daily
- A third group received only a placebo
Mice who received the 250 micrograms daily showed the greatest benefits over those given a placebo:
- Aortic atherosclerotic lesion areas were reduced 44%
- Reductions in plasma triglycerides and cholesterol (by 27% and 29%, respectively)
- Reductions in VLDL cholesterol by 53%
- Reductions in LDL cholesterol by 33%
- Reduced LDL oxidation and aggregation
The researchers note that oxidative damage of LDL is thought to play a key role in the development of atherosclerosis and that consumption of nutrients rich in phenolic antioxidants has been shown to be associated with slowing down the development of atherosclerosis.
The authors conclude that "dietary consumption of ginger extract ... significantly attenuates the development of atherosclerotic lesions. This antiatherogenic effect is associated with a significant reduction in plasma and LDL cholesterol levels and a significant reduction in the LDL basal oxidative state, as well as their susceptibility to oxidation and aggregation."
Journal of Nutrition May 2000;130:1124-31