A study published in Chemical Research in Toxicology shows that ginger compounds may be effective at stopping physiological processes that lead to diabetic complications.
The researchers investigated the ability of gingerols and shogaols—two compounds in ginger—to prevent the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) via trapping methylglyoxal (MGO). MGO and glyoxal (GO) are reactive carbonyl compounds that are by-products of auto-oxidation of glucose, lipid peroxidation, and protein glycation, a process where protein and glucose interact, interfering with the function of protein in the body.
Research shows that diabetics are found to have two to six times the level of MGOs in their blood than non-diabetics. Although AGEs are part of the aging process, their damaging impacts are accelerated by high blood sugar. They are dangerous because they accumulate in organs contributing to the development of insulin resistance and diabetic complications.
"Glycation of protein contributes to the known health complications from diabetes," said Shengmin Sang, associate professor of functional foods with the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NCA&T) Center for Excellence in Post-harvest Technologies at the NC Research Campus. "Glycation is life threatening far more than high blood sugar itself to diabetic patients."
The study demonstrated in vitro that within an hour both ginger compounds "trapped" 80% of the MGOs present, forming the less reactive and harmful compounds mono-MGO adducts, 6S-MGO, and 6G-MGO. They found that the ability of these compounds to trap MGOs and prevent cellular damage began an hour after exposure and lasted up to six days in vitro.