Volume 12, Issue 18
Reduce colon cancer and colon
polyp risk with this tasty spice
One of the real concerns that many of my patients have is colon cancer. Colon cancer is sneaky. It can spread throughout your body even while you feel good. And it can hit the young. Last year, I saw two patients younger than 40 years who died from it. If you have a family history of colon cancer or if you have had colon polyps in the past you are at greater risk. So is there anything you can do to reduce that risk? A brand new study says there is.

Recently, researchers looked at 20 men and women who were at increased risk for colon cancer. They gave half of them capsules containing two grams of ginger powder every day for four weeks. They gave the other half placebo capsules. Before the study started and at the end of the study, they measured blood levels of inflammation and took biopsies of their colons. They studied the biopsies for signs of inflammation. At the end of the four weeks, they found statistically significant reductions in most of the inflammation markers. They also saw trends toward significant reductions in all the other markers as well. Why is this so important?

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It's because previous studies have shown that inflammation is what sets the stage for colon cancer. Inflammation propels precancerous cells into full blown cancer. We know this because previous studies have shown that anti-inflammatory medications can block the formation of colon cancer by blocking inflammation in the colon. These drugs decrease inflammation in much the same way that ginger does. But the drugs can be dangerous and have significant side effects. In the doses that are typically used and were used in this study, ginger is completely free of any side effects. And there's one other thing that's important about ginger in people at special risk for colon cancer.

If you have a colonoscopy and the doctor sees polyps, he will take them out. That's because polyps can turn to cancer. At that point, you become a high-risk patient for colon cancer. But several animal studies have shown that ginger can decrease both the number and the frequency of colon polyps. So if you have had polyps in the past that put you in that high risk category, it makes all the sense in the world to cut your risks and take some ginger every day. Take it in the morning with your breakfast. Put it on your food or take it in capsules. Two grams of ginger is slightly less than 1/4 teaspoon.

Yours for better health,

Zick SM, Turgeon DK, Ren J, et al. Pilot clinical study of the effects of ginger root extract on eicosanoids in colonic mucosa of subjects at increased risk for colorectal cancer. Mol Carcinog. 2014 Apr 24.

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