Written by Greg Arnold, DC, CSCS. Of the 44 study participants, those who took 2 grams of ginger daily for 12 weeks had significant improvements in inflammatory proteins, liver enzymes, insulin resistance, and overall health compared to the control group.

gingerNonalcoholic fatty liver disease is one of the most common chronic liver diseases worldwide and occurs predominantly in obese, sedentary people and patients with type II diabetes (1) It is usually associated with metabolic disorders such as obesity, insulin resistance (2), hypertension, dyslipidemia and impaired fat me­tabolism (3), and it can increase mortality risk due to the associated cardiovascular disease (4).

There is currently no effective therapy for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease other than lifestyle modification (5) that focuses on blood sugar control and minimizing cell damage (6, 7). Alternative therapies in the form of cinnamon supplementation (8) and vitamin E combined with phosphatidylcholine (9) may benefit those with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. A 2016 study (10) suggests ginger may also be a benefit.

The study involved 44 patients (20 males, 24 females) aged 44 to 47 with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. They were assigned to take either 2 grams of ginger (23 patients) or a placebo (21 patients) per day for 12 weeks. They were also given advice on modifying their diet and a physical activity program based on the National Institutes for Health and the North American Association for the Study of Obesity (11). Blood samples were taken before and after the study to measure for liver health.

After 12 weeks, the following benefits were seen on inflammatory proteins (hs-CRP, TNF-alpha), liver enzyme health (ALT, GGT), insulin sensitivity (HOMA-IR), and overall liver health (steatosis score):

 GingerPlacebop - value
ALT
(Units/Liter)
16.7% decrease
(36.59 to 30.5)
10.8% decrease
(34.53 to 30.82)
0.045
GGT
(Units/Liter)
25% decrease
(40.32 to 30.26)
6% decrease
(44.45 to 41.82)
0.001
HOMA-IR25.3% decrease
(2.93 to 2.19)
11.6% decrease
(2.69 to 2.38)
0.022
Steatosis score17% decrease
(307.81 to 255.77)
3.9% decrease
(287.45 to 276.36)
< 0.001
hs-CRP
(nanograms/milliliter)
26% decrease
(4.62 to 3.42)
7.4% decrease
(4.79 to 4.44)
0.016
TNF-alpha
(picograms/mL)
24.8% decrease
(4.68 to 3.52)
5% decrease
(3.03 to 2.88)
0.01

For the researchers, “ginger supplementation could increase the effectiveness of lifestyle interventions (diet modification and physical activity) compared with life­style interventions alone for treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease” but that “wheth­er these effects will be sustained and/or augmented with longer treatment durations remains to be determined.”

Source: Eslamparast T., Poustchi H., Synbiotic supplementation in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled pilot study. Am J Clin Nutr 2014;99:535–42.

© 2014 American Society for Nutrition

Posted August 3, 2016. 

Greg Arnold is a Chiropractic Physician practicing in Hauppauge, NY.  You can contact Dr. Arnold directly by emailing him at PitchingDoc@msn.com or visiting his web site at www.PitchingDoc.com

References:

  1. Ong JP, Younossi ZM. Epidemiology and natural history of NAFLD and NASH. Clin Liver Dis. 2007;11(1):1–16. doi: 10.1016/j. cld.2007.02.009
  2. Ratziu V, Giral P, Charlotte F, Bruckert E, Thibault V, Theodorou I, et al. Liver fibrosis in overweight patients. Gastroenterology. 2000;118(6):1117–23
  3. Musso G, Gambino R, Cassader M, Pagano G. Meta-analysis: natu­ral history of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and diag­nostic accuracy of non-invasive tests for liver disease severity. Ann Med. 2011;43(8):617–49. doi: 10.3109/07853890.2010.518623
  4. Thoma C, Day CP, Trenell MI. Lifestyle interventions for the treat­ment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in adults: a systematic review. J Hepatol. 2012;56(1):255–66. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2011.06.010
  5. Loria, P.; Adinolfi, L. E.; Bellentani, S.; Bugianesi, E.; Grieco, A.; Fargion, S.;Gasbarrini, A.; Loguercio, C.; Lonardo, A.; Marchesini, G.; Marra, F.; Persico, M.; Prati, D.; Baroni, G. S. NAFLD Expert Committee of the Associazione Italiana per lo Studio del Fegato. Practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a decalogue from the Italian Association for the Study of the Liver (AISF) Expert Committee. Dig. Liver Dis. 42:272–282; 2010
  6. Sanyal, A. J.; Chalasani, N.; Kowdley, K. V.; McCullough, A.; Diehl, A. M.; Bass, N. M.; Neuschwander-Tetri, B. A.; Lavine, J. E.; Tonascia, J.; Unalp, A.; Van Natta, M.; Clark, J.; Brunt, E. M.; Kleiner, D. E.; Hoofnagle, J. H.; Robuck, P. R.; NASH CRN Pioglitazone, vitamin E, or placebo for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. N. Engl. J. Med. 362:1675–1685; 2010.
  7. Musso,G.; Gambino, R.; Cassader, M.; Pagano, G. A meta-analysis of randomized trials for the treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Hepatology 52:79–104; 2010.Askari F. Cinnamon may have therapeutic benefits on lipid profile, liver enzymes, insulin resistance, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease patients. Nutr Res. 2014 Feb;34(2):143-8. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2013.11.005. Epub 2013 Dec 6
  8. Askari F. Cinnamon may have therapeutic benefits on lipid profile, liver enzymes, insulin resistance, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease patients. Nutr Res. 2014 Feb;34(2):143-8. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2013.11.005. Epub 2013 Dec 6.
  9. Loguerico C. Silybin combined with phosphatidylcholine and vitamin E in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a randomized controlled trial. Free Radic Biol