Can Ginger Beat Out The Multi-Billion Dollar Acid Blockers?

Can Ginger Beat Out The Multi-Billion Dollar Acid Blockers?

Did you know that the multi-billion drug category known as "acid blockers," despite being used by millions around the world daily, may not work as well as the humble ginger plant in relieving symptoms of indigestion and heartburn? 

Ginger is a spice, a food, and has been used as a medicine safely for millennia by a wide range of world cultures. Research on the health benefits of ginger is simply staggering in its depth and breadth. In fact, the health benefits of ginger have been studied extensively for over 100 health conditions or symptoms, making it one of the world's most versatile, evidence-based remedies.

The biomedical literature on acid blockers, on the other hand, is rife with examples of the many adverse health effects that come with blocking stomach acid production with xenobiotic, patented drugs, i.e. proton pump inhibitors and H2 antagonists. What started out as "heartburn" – which in its chronic form is now called "acid reflux" or "gastroesophageal reflux disorder" – soon becomes stomach acid barrier dysfunction, when these drugs remove the acid which protects us from infection, helps to break down food, and facilitate the absorption of minerals and nutrients.

The list of 30+ harms is extensive, but here are a few of the most well-established adverse effects you may not be aware of:

  • Clostridium Infections
  • Diarrhea
  • Pneumonia
  • Bone Fractures
  • Gastric Lesions and Cancer

Back to our friend – our "plant ally" – ginger.  What happens when Pharma meets Farm in a biomedical face-off? When acid-blocking drugs are compared in efficacy to our little spicy ginger root? Well, this is what the journal Molecular Research and Food Nutrition found back in 2007 ...

Titled, "Inhibition of gastric H+, K+-ATPase and Helicobacter pylori growth by phenolic antioxidants of Zingiber officinale," the study set out to determine the anti-ulcer and anti-Helicobacter plyori (a bacteria commonly implicated in ulcer formation) capacity of ginger extracts versus conventional acid-blocking agents, such as lansoprazole (trade name Prevacid).[i]  Researchers found that one fraction of ginger exhibited six- to eight-fold better potency over lansoprazole at inhibiting acid production (specifically, gastric cell proton potassium ATPase activity). 

But, this was not all. Ginger was also found to have potent antioxidant properties, protecting both lipids from peroxidation (rancidity) and DNA damage, leading the researchers to conclude that specific fractions within ginger have "potential in-expensive multistep blockers against ulcer."

Also, whereas drugs which interfere and/or remove the stomach acid barrier also deactivate acid-dependent protein-digesting (proteolytic enzymes) such as pancreatic protease, and increases the risk of infection as a result of the loss of the anti-infective effects of the stomach's acid, ginger actually has an exactly opposite set of benefits: it contains a proteolytic enzyme several hundred times more potent than the one found in papaya (papain) and has broad-spectrum antibacterial, antiviral and antiparasitic properties, to name but only a few of its 40+ distinct pharmacological actions.

While this study focused on specific isolates of the whole ginger plant, it must be remembered that whole plants are not drugs, nor should be reduced to "nutraceutical" magic-bullets in order to become new palliative drug alternatives, which is to say, symptom-repressors, leaving the real healing job of changing the underlying nutritional, environmental, emotional context to lead to the problem in the first place, unchanged. 

While taking a ginger pill is usually a better choice than a chemical one, for most folks, ginger should be consumed in whole forms, in moderate and balanced quantities, along with a nourishing, organic, whole-food and traditional foods diet, in order to move beyond the paradigm of popping pills, or proprietary fractions of herbs in order to balance out the pendulum of extremes.

Either way, I think its time with awaken from the sorcery-like spell of pharmacia (Greek word meaning: drug, potion, charm, spell, poison), and realize everything we already need is likely in our backyard, our refrigerators or cupboards – if not altogether within ourselves.

Additional Relevant Research: 

Acid Reflux

Water Extinguishes Stomach Acid 175x Faster Than Some Drugs


[i] Mugur N Siddaraju, Shylaja M Dharmesh Inhibition of gastric H+, K+-ATPase and Helicobacter pylori growth by phenolic antioxidants of Zingiber officinale. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2007 Mar;51(3):324-32. PMID: 17295419

 

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

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How much ginger does it take for results?



Great article, Many thanks!!!!! The article states "ginger should be consumed in whole forms, in moderate and balanced quantities" Can anyone give me an example of what a moderate and balanced quantities look like. How much ginger will do the trick? What foods are the best to cosume it with? Keep up the great work!

ginger juice



Get a pound or two of fresh organic ginger root and juice it. You'll get more or less a cup of juice for each pound. Add a teaspoon of the juice to a cup of green tea (w/honey and lemon) or to a green smoothie, or... The only hassle is when ginger juice is refrigerated it separates into two parts and it takes a lot of shaking and running warm water on the bottle to mix it. I'd rather do that though than buy it ready-made in a bottle with citric acid and other additives/preservatives, and because it's about 3 times weaker than the fresh juice for the same volume. The real stuff is potent, warming and chest-expanding! 

Liver Disease & Acid Reflex



Having experienced the current Interferon base treatment first hand I can now conclude that the pneumonia that I developed that nearly killed me was assisted by the Prevacid prescribed. If the Interferon wasn't bad enough, it causes a continued reduction of the immune system, the prevacid also lent a hand. Everyone that I know that has experienced this Interferon treatment has also experienced acid reflex. It may be an adverse efffect of the treatment. At any rate, I would suggest to those considering Interferon treatment in the future to start a ginger regiment before hand. Also, consider alternatives such as the one offered by skinnyliver.com. I contiued being prescibed Prevacid, now Lansoprazole, but made the switch to ginger when I read this research. 

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