Published on April 8, 2024 at 18:28 / Updated on April 8, 2024 at 20:18

More and more celebrities (and now influencers) are praising the benefits of ginger. While its popularity may seem recent, it has, in fact, been used for medicinal purposes by people in China and India for a very long time. Ginger "shots" contain a concentrate of fresh gingerroot (Zingiber officinale). The drink's composition may vary and include other ingredients (lemon juice, turmeric, etc.). Ginger shots can be made at home or bought in at many retailers. The taste may be very pungent; however, many say it’s worth the health benefits. But do the benefits really live up to the hype?

Its promises—that are not always kept

First of all, it's important to remember that few studies support the efficacy of ginger, and even for high-concentration supplements, nothing has yet been clearly proven. The dose in beverages has a lower concentration than in supplements. So, it's unlikely that the possible "benefits" of ginger supplements can be transposed to juices.

It has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties

Ginger contains many anti-inflammatory and antioxidant substances, such as gingerol. Some animal data show a reduction in inflammation, and many claim that this could have an effect on certain autoimmune diseases, such as Crohn's disease or rheumatoid arthritis. Ginger intake is said to impact the reduction of several inflammatory mediators. This may explain why it is believed to relieve pain. Inflammation reduction and antioxidant properties may also explain why ginger is thought to boost the immune system as well as its possible effects against viruses and bacteria. It should be noted, however, that there is no evidence that the immune system can actually be "boosted.” This means that claims about ginger are scientifically unsubstantiated.

The idea that ginger can eliminate toxins is a myth. Your liver detoxifies your body—and it doesn't need any help!

Possible anti-nausea effect and reduction of digestive problems

An "acceptable" natural solution to bloating and cramps, ginger is said to have enzymes that accelerate digestive transit and relieve irritable bowel syndrome. It is also a popular antiemetic (anti-nausea) properties. There is also evidence that it may be safe for treating nausea in pregnant women. Consult your healthcare professional if you are pregnant before using this product. It should be noted that, once again, dosage is everything when it comes to efficacy. Keep in mind that ginger "shots" may not have similar relief to commercially available products.

Cancer prevention?

Other claims that have very little scientific backing: cancer prevention, regulation of blood sugar levels, weight loss (may reduce appetite and increase calories burned; however, the data in animal studies is inconclusive), and benefits against fatigue and mood.

What about coffee?

It's now really trendy to replace morning coffee with a ginger drink, as it's a great energy booster. Ginger can also be consumed after drinking coffee to aid digestion. Will ginger become the new hot morning drink? Who knows? It's important to remember that studies demonstrating benefits are low quality and include few subjects. Don't throw out your coffee pot just yet!

Should consuming ginger become a habit?

If a person wants to consume ginger every day, they should choose a drink with less juice or added sugar. It's unlikely, however, that a single food can really have all the effects claimed for it, even if taken daily. Juices also contain less fibre than whole foods, which can ultimately reduce the feeling of satiety. Therefore, a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle (physical activity, sleep, relaxation, etc.) is undoubtedly more beneficial, as ginger won't counterbalance poor lifestyle habits.

Also, ginger drink and shot recipes contain ½ to 1 cup of ginger, which is quite a substantial amount. It’s all about the importance of the dosage.

Natural and harmless? Caution is in order!

Ginger can interact with certain medications:

  • Anticoagulants and antiplatelets (blood-thinning drugs)
  • Not recommended with chemotherapy (can reduce efficacy)
  • Certain diabetes medications and insulin (may cause hypoglycemia). 

When consumed in large quantities, ginger can thin the blood, causing prolonged bleeding. Even if ginger can reduce blood sugar levels, a considerable amount of sugar may be added to drinks to mask the taste. As a result, the opposite effect could occur, causing blood sugar levels to spike.

Some side effects have been reported: gastric reflux, diarrhea, throat and mouth irritation. You may want to avoid ginger shots if you have a sensitive stomach.

Consult your healthcare professional before taking any health product, even if it claims to be natural, as it may not be compatible with your condition or the medication you take. Do not stop taking your prescriptions without the advice of a healthcare professional.

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