According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exercising has a variety of benefits, including weight loss, stronger bones and muscles, stronger mental health and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers. However, exercising has some common adverse effects as well, which include muscle pain and soreness.
While ginger had been shown to facilitate the post-exercise recovery by exerting anti-inflammatory effects in animal study, its effect on human muscle pain remained uncertain. A study from the University of Georgia has found that daily ginger consumption reduces muscle pain caused by exercise.
The researchers conducted two studies examining the effects of raw and heat-treated ginger supplementation on muscle pain. Participants in the studies are divided into two groups: the ginger group (including 34 healthy volunteers) and the placebo group (including 40 healthy volunteers). For 11 consecutive days, the ginger group consumed capsules containing two grams of either raw or heat-treated ginger, and the placebo group consumed a placebo capsule. On the eighth day, the volunteers performed 18 extensions of the elbow flexors with a heavy weight to induce moderate muscle injury to the arm. Arm function, inflammation, pain and a biochemical involved in pain were assessed prior to and for three days after exercise.
The study showed that daily ginger supplementation reduced the exercise-induced pain by 25 percent. In addition, the results showed that there is no difference between the raw or heat-treated ginger. Ginger root has been used as a folk remedy for centuries treating a variety of ailments. Modern natural product chemistry and pharmacological studies have correlated the ginger’s health benefits with its high content of antioxidants and potent anti-inflammatory effects. The UG study provided an additional proof on ginger’s anti-inflammatory effect and its potential application in managing post-exercise muscle pain.
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Journal Reference: Christopher D. Black, Matthew P. Herring, David J. Hurley, Patrick J. O’Connor. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) Reduces Muscle Pain Caused by Eccentric Exercise. The Journal of Pain, 2010; DOI: 10.1016/j.jpain.2009.12.013 Source: Informed Nutrition
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