Ginger is Back!
In the first part of this series I wanted to go over the many health benefits ginger has on the digestive system. Now if you were impressed on all it has to offer your “Little Tummy” hold on to see what other things it has in store. Ginger is without a doubt one of my favorite herbs because it has such a wide range of uses. When it comes to consuming super foods or herbs I try to find ones that have a broad range of health properties all present in one place. In this installment I will touch on ginger's benefits for joint pain, its Testosterone raising abilities, it effects at making you a better lover, and how it can help control your blood sugar.
Why Ginger is Critical for Powerlifters
One thing that all powerlifters will like to hear is the benefits ginger can have on painful joints. Let's face it, powerlifting especially when pushed to its limits is not so friendly on your joints. In fact powerlifters bodies take a beating and joints like the knees, shoulders, and elbows are known sore spots for most. This is why as a lifter you should look for natural remedies to keep them in tip top shape. When it comes to increasing Testosterone levels powerlifters are always looking to maximize this from all angles either from natural or pharmaceutical means. Jacked Testosterone levels and powerlifters is as synonymous as peanut butter and jelly. You can't have one without the other. Lastly optimizing your blood sugar levels should be something all lifters look to do. Not only because many do suffer from Type II Diabetes, but also because even more are suffering from varying degrees of Insulin Resistance which if kept unchecked will put you in the former category. So let's get down to business and see what I have in store for this issue.
# 2 Joint Health Benefits
- In Traditional Chinese Medicine ginger has been used for thousands of years for dispelling wind and cold from the joints
- In Western scientific understanding this would be for forms of Osteoarthritis that gets worse in the cold weather
- The Chinese have understood ginger's positive effects on joint health, but only as of late has western scientific studies proved that they have been right all along
- A recent study by the University of Miami on ginger has shown some interesting facts
- It took close to 250 test subjects who suffer from Osteoarthritis of the knee
- They used a highly concentrated form of ginger extract for some subjects and a placebo for others
- The good news is that those that consumed the ginger found a remarkable 40% reduction in joint pain and stiffness when compared to the placebo group
- In a study published in the Journal of Arthritis, ginger was compared head on against powerful drugs like Cortisone and Ibuprofen to see how they would fare for both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
- This study showed some very interesting facts in regards to these drugs as well as gingers powerful abilities
- We all know ibuprofen is one of the most popular pain relievers that tens of thousands of Americans reach for on a daily basis
- Even though ibuprofen can help reduce pain, it does not have any effect on cytokine production
- Ok so let me break this down into meathead lingo for all my powerlifters
- Cytokines are immune regulating substances. They are linked to pain and posses inflammatory effects in the human body. So more inflammation equals your joints screaming at you like your ex wife looking for her alimony check
- Now here is where the juicy part comes in. Both Cortisone and ginger reduced cytokines in similar amounts.
- This means that the ginger was just as effective as an anti-inflammatory compound when compared with this powerful drug
- The thing that you should note is that Cortisone has numerous side effects. This includes weight gain, seizures, depression, shortness of breath, high blood pressure, pancreatitis, chest pains, headaches, anxiety attacks, heart arrhythmia, acne, sleeping problems and more
- Wow this sounds like a fun mix of side effects eh?
- One other well know side effect of Cortisone acetate is Tendon ruptures. Now as powerlifters we have enough problems with this on our own trying to lift heavy stuff that we really should not be even trying...lol.
- So adding this drug into the mix of your heavy lifting, an aging body, some issues in the past with tendonitis, and not listening to your body to back off when you should which is a common powerlifting trait, can all add up to a massive patella tendon rupture.
- One leading researcher when it comes to gingers numerous joint benefits is Dr. Krishna Srivastava from the University of Denmark
- In one study he gave arthritic test subjects ginger for a three month period. The large majority of these pain sufferers had major improvements in their reduction in pain, swelling, and stiffness.
- Dr. Srivastava believes that ginger is superior to NSAID drugs like Tylenol because they only work to block inflammatory compounds.
- But ginger has been found to block the formation of the inflammatory compounds that are causing pain
- These nasty compounds are leukotrienes and prostaglandins and are the main culprit in this regard, but don't stress because this is were ginger goes to work
- He also believes it is ginger's powerful antioxidant qualities that breaks down current inflammation and the acidic fluid that is contained in the joints
- Another study was published in the Journal of Pain and some positive effects were also noted.
- Researchers found that ginger possessed powerful anti-inflammatory effects that helped reduce pain. They used both raw and heated forms of ginger in this study and the results were similar in its outcome
- Just when you thought you heard it all, hold on there is more. There is a unique species of ginger from Indonesia known as “Red Ginger” (Alpinia Purpurata) due to its red skin.
- Japanese researchers published a study in the Journal of Medicinal Food and found that “Red Ginger” is a powerful painkiller.
- It looks like ginger and its different forms even have the Japanese interested in all its health properties
- One last thing you can do to help joint pain is to make a ginger compress. There are many different ginger compress recipes available. By applying a ginger compress to joints it can really take down swelling and pain.
- This way you can take your ginger orally and even use it externally as well to get the most bang for your buck.
#3 Aphrodisiac and Testosterone Raising Benefits
- Oh wow it looks like I have your attention now don't I? Now all of a sudden you are so interested in ginger
- Ginger has been considered an aphrodisiac since 500 BC
- Chinese medical philosophers, as well as those from the Middle East, Rome, and Greece all agreed that ginger is good for improving your sexual desire and performance
- In fact it was King Louis XV's (1770's) royal mistress Madam du Barry who was known for serving up ginger to her boy toy Louis prior to getting down to business
- In fact she was such a big fan of ginger for its aphrodisiac qualities that she gave it to all her lovers and was known for this practise
- Ginger is mentioned in the Kama Sutra to help increase erections, improve sexual performance, and prevent premature ejaculation
- Now if you have never taken in a good dose of ginger you should be aware of what it does
- First off you will notice its spicy nature, then the total body heat sensation will kick in. Then the perspiration will start with a slight increase in heart rate. You may even notice an increase in blood flow. Many people find these sensations similar to those that occur during sexual relations
Since ginger increases blood circulation, you can look forward to more blood flow to your manhood.
- Now if the above info peaked your interest then listen up it gets even better
- One study on rats performed in Nigeria in 2008 also showed mind blowing facts.
- Healthy rats were given 1 gram of ginger tea per kilogram of weight. Their Testosterone levels doubled and this happened in only 28 days
- Another study was performed in Egypt in 2010 on rats over a 65 day process.
- It showed increases in Testosterone levels and sperm production. They also noted an increase in the weight of the rats testicles which relates to an increase in androgen production.
- I know what your thinking so say it. How heavy could rats testicles really be?
- Ok I know you are not a rat, so most likely you want to see some info from a human study and I agree
- One study that was published in the Tikrit Medical Journal was published in 2012 was conducted on humans
- It was a three month study conducted on 75 infertile men aged 19-45 years old, that were married but could not produce children.
- What they found was close to an 18% increase in Testosterone levels and more than a 43% increase in Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
- For those of you who are not familiar with why an increase in Luteinizing Hormone (LH) is so important, listen up
- LH is responsible for triggering Testosterone production in the Leydig cells in your testes
- The researchers came to the conclusion that ginger activated endogenous antioxidants therefore destroying harmful molecules in the testes which lead to the Testosterone increase.
- During this study they also noted that the toxic free radical known as Malondialdehyde was dramatically decreased
- This may not sound too important to the average lifter but it really is. You see Maloondialdehyde is a prime marker for free radical activity in the body.
- This goes back to prove that the researchers theory above is most likely correct as there is a direct correlation between the two
- On the flip side of the coin they also found that the powerful antioxidant Glutathione increased
- This is important due to the fact that Glutathione protects your Leydig cells from free radical damage
- This study also showed some other important facts in regards to male reproductive health as well
- The test subjects also had an increase in both their sperm count, as well as an increase in motility and viability
- This means in powerlifting terms that their were a lot more tadpole swimmers, that could swim like an Olympic gold medalist, and were in tip top health. I thought you'd like that one.
- In conclusion if you want a higher Testosterone level and have your boys swimming like Micheal Phelps then make sure ginger is part of your plan
#4 Blood Sugar Benefits
- Now ginger's effects on helping control blood sugar is a very important thing to consider especially since powerlifters have issues in this regard
- Type II Diabetes among powerlifters seems to be getting worse year after year
- The interesting thing about ginger is that it has positive effects not only on those that have Type II Diabetes, but also for those that are looking to not get it in the first place
- This means either way, ginger can help you not get it or help you control it if you are currently suffering from this problem
- It is believed that ginger affects Insulin release and subsequent action which is critical, but wait there is more
- Ginger can also play a role at altering carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in a positive direction as well.
- The combination of these two actions gives your blood sugar a one two punch to get it under control
- In one clinical trial, Type II Diabetic test subjects were given three grams of ginger powder for a 30 day period
- They found that they had a major reduction in blood glucose levels all across the board, but it even gets better
- These subjects also noticed changes in their LDL Cholesterol or what is known as the “Bad Cholesterol”, Total Cholesterol, and even Triglyceride levels
- In another study this time conducted by researchers from the Shahid Dadoughi University of Medical Sciences in Yazd, Iran, ginger once again proves its worth in the fight against Type II Diabetes
- The study consisted of 88 Type II diabetics who were suffering from this condition for at least a ten year period
- They were broken down into two groups. The first were given three daily one gram dosed capsules containing ginger powder for 8 weeks. The other group was given a placebo. Both groups continued their current daily medications as usual
- They found that those in the ginger group had their values drop close to twenty points
- Some researchers believe that this major blood sugar drop could be due to ginger inhibiting the hepatic phosphorylase enzyme which is known to breakdown glycogen
- Your blood sugar increases when glycogen is broken down. So by cutting off this enzymes ability to do its job, may lower blood sugar levels for those with Insulin resistance issues
- In a 2012 study conducted by researchers at the University of Sydney, ginger once again was in the spotlight
- They found that ginger helps to dramatically increase your Insulin sensitivity
- This means that ginger can increase your cell's absorption of glucose even without Insulin being present
- There is a phenol in ginger known as Gingerols that can increase GLUT4 distribution
- For those unaware of this, GLUT4 allows muscle tissue to uptake glucose in greater quantities
- Researchers have known for years that an insufficiency of GLUT4 leads to Insulin resistance and uncontrollable blood sugar levels
- Another study that you may find interesting was published in the European Journal of Pharmacology in 2009.
- This study concluded that those subjects that consumed ginger had a reduction in blood sugar by 35% and a decrease in Insulin levels by 10%
- This is amazing news, and all those who are looking to improve their level of Insulin sensitivity and bring their blood sugar under control should look into how ginger can help them
So here you have it folks another installment in the ginger series. After this second part, you can see that ginger has a ton of valuable benefits for your health and well being. If you think ginger has some pretty amazing qualities, then wait until the third part because here is where I bring out the big guns. I know its hard to imagine that such a tiny little root can do so many good things but its true. I am hoping by the time this series is complete you will be as much of a ginger fan as I am. So until next, time train hard, eat clean, and make yourself a nice hot cup of ginger tea to warm up your winter blues.