Can ginger lower blood sugar

Contents

The Potential Health Benefits and Risks of Ginger for Type 2 Diabetes

Ginger is a popular herb known for its intense, spicy flavor and warming aroma, but in addition to bringing a kick to cooking, it has a centuries-old history of being used for medicinal purposes in cultures around the world. In modern times, ginger is still a favorite home remedy for mild upset stomach or indigestion — often taken as a glass of ginger ale or steaming cup of ginger tea — as well as other ailments, but the question remains: Can ginger benefit people with type 2 diabetes?

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Potential Health Benefits of Ginger for Type 2 Diabetes

Ginger is a natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substance that has many potential health benefits for certain conditions, including certain types of cancer, suggests a study published in April 2013 in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The possible perks of this herb don’t end there. “We know that ginger is commonly used to help relieve nausea, vomiting, or any upset stomach, and there is also some evidence it may reduce menstrual pain symptoms, morning sickness in pregnant women, and even arthritis pain in joints,” says Rahaf Al Bochi, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and owner of Olive Tree Nutrition.

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When it comes to type 2 diabetes, Al Bochi says the value of ginger remains unclear due to limited research. But results produced thus far may suggest promise for including the herb in your diabetes treatment plan.

Al Boshi references a review published in March 2015 in the Journal of Ethnic Foods that suggested taking ginger supplements may help reduce A1C levels and fasting serum glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes. A1C is a common diabetes test that measures your average blood sugar level over a two- to three-month period.

Sounds great, right? Not so fast: Al Bochi notes the review wasn’t without flaw. “All of the sample groups were really small, they were done over a few weeks of time, and they were all homogenous — based out of one or two countries.” Due to those factors, the studies the researchers analyzed didn’t provide enough information for health experts to conclusively recommend ginger as an effective treatment for type 2 diabetes.

Still, other research seems to support the possible benefit of ginger in a diabetes diet. Take a study published in June 2015 in the Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, which suggested that, compared with the placebo group, ginger powder helped improve glycemic control in Iranian adults with type 2 diabetes who were not on insulin, after three months of supplementation. The study was short, lasting only three months, but it was double-blind, randomized, and controlled, which suggests a potential causal effect between ginger and blood sugar control.

A review published in November 2012 in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine shed some light on the potential blood-sugar-controlling mechanism in ginger. After analyzing lab and clinical studies, the authors concluded that ginger inhibits enzymes that affect how carbs are metabolized and insulin sensitivity as a whole, thereby leading to greater glucose absorption in the muscles. Researchers added in their review that ginger also has the potential to help reduce the risk for diabetes complications due to its lipid-lowering effects.

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Possible Health Risks of Including Ginger in Your Diabetes Diet

While whole ginger and ginger powder appear to be safe, Al Boshi recommends that anyone with the condition speak to their physician or endocrinologist before adding ginger supplements to their diet. That is especially for people who are taking diabetes medication. “We know that ginger can affect your insulin levels … so it can interact with certain diabetes medications people are on; if you’re taking ginger supplementation and you are on diabetes medication, that can cause low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia,” she says.

The risk of drug interactions increases for people with type 2 diabetes who are also taking medication for other conditions. “Not only does ginger have potential drug interactions with diabetes medication, it also has interactions with anticoagulant drugs and medication for blood pressure,” she says.

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How to Incorporate Ginger in Your Diabetes Meal Plan

But the inconclusive research on ginger doesn’t mean you have to avoid the herb completely if you’re managing type 2 diabetes — with your healthcare provider’s okay, of course.

After all, the spice is still a healthy way to add a boost of flavor to many dishes and beverages — and it’s certainly a better option than additives like salt, which can increase the risk for high blood pressure when used in excess. People with diabetes are two times more likely to die of heart disease than someone without the condition. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a risk factor for heart disease.

So, how can you enjoy ginger in your diabetes diet?

First, keep in mind that you want to stick to the spice itself. That means processed drinks, like ginger ale and ginger beer, which contain loads of added sugar, are off limits. These options have the opposite of the desired effect, potentially sending blood sugar levels soaring.

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Al Boshi suggests enjoying ginger whole in your favorite type of tea, as well as in marinades and stir-fries. Ginger can also star in your baked goods when you use the substance in powder form. She notes ginger powder doesn’t carry the same possible health risks as ginger supplements, which are the more concentrated of the two.

While future studies could lead to more conclusive findings regarding the relationship between type 2 diabetes and ginger, Al Boshi says for now it’s best for people with type 2 diabetes to keep the ginger in the kitchen versus their medicine cabinet. “The takeaway is if you are considering using ginger supplementation, talk to your physician or endocrinologist first. We don’t want a situation where you could end up with low blood sugar — that could affect your health. If you’re using it in your everyday cooking, that’s fine.”

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12 Delicious and Healthy Ginger Recipes to Help You Get Your Fix

Keeping blood sugar control and carb counts in mind, consider these 12 satisfying recipes to start using ginger in your kitchen:

  • Ginger-Marinated Lamb Chops
  • Fig, Ginger, and Butternut Squash Risotto
  • Ginger Turkey Stir Fry
  • Ginger Shrimp Skewers
  • Asian Pork Soup
  • Carrot and Ginger Soup
  • Ginger Coconut Chicken
  • Carrot Saute With Ginger and Orange
  • Mango Salad With Ginger-Raisin Vinaigrette
  • Avocado Salad With Ginger-Miso Dressing
  • Roast Pork Salad With Ginger-Pineapple Dressing
  • Bulgur With Ginger and Orange

Seven herbs and supplements for type 2 diabetes

Here are seven herbs and supplements that may be of benefit to people with type 2 diabetes.

1. Aloe vera

Share on PinterestConsuming aloe vera pulp might help repair and protect the pancreas.

Aloe vera is a common plant with many different uses. Many people are aware of its benefits for skin care, but it may also have other benefits, including slowing the progress of type 2 diabetes.

One review, published in 2013, looked at the use of aloe vera to treat symptoms of diabetes in rats. Findings suggested that aloe vera might help protect and repair the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. The researchers believed this might be due to aloe’s antioxidant effects.

The researchers called for more research into aloe and its extracts to be sure of these effects.

Ways of taking aloe include:

  • adding juiced pulp to a drink or smoothie
  • taking capsules that contain aloe as supplements

People should not eat aloe vera skin care products.

Aloe vera juice may offer a number of health benefits. Find out more here.

Click here to purchase aloe vera supplements online. Please note that this link will take you to the website of an external vendor.

2. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a fragrant spice that comes from the bark of a tree. It is a popular ingredient in sweets, baked goods, and other dishes.

It has a taste that can add sweetness without any additional sugar. It is popular with people with type 2 diabetes for this reason alone, but it may also offer other benefits.

A 2010 review found evidence from studies involving humans that cinnamon may improve levels of:

  • glucose
  • insulin and insulin sensitivity
  • lipids, or fats, in the blood
  • antioxidant status
  • blood pressure
  • lean body mass
  • digestion

In another review published in 2013, researchers concluded that cinnamon might lead to:

  • lower fasting blood glucose levels
  • less total cholesterol and “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol
  • higher levels of “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
  • a reduction in triglycerides, or fat, in the blood
  • increased insulin sensitivity

It did not appear to have a significant impact on hemoglobin A1C. The A1C test is a standard test for diagnosing and monitoring diabetes.

Nevertheless, lipids, cholesterol, and insulin sensitivity are all important markers for people with diabetes.

In both studies, the researchers note that the results may depend on:

  • the type of cinnamon, as the amount of active ingredient depends on the type
  • the amount or dose
  • the individual’s response to cinnamon
  • other medications the person may be taking

Most studies have not involved humans, so there is a lack of evidence about how cinnamon might affect people, including its possible side effects. Scientists need to carry out more research to confirm the safety and effectiveness of cinnamon as a therapy.

People can take cinnamon:

  • in a variety of cooked dishes and baked goods
  • in teas
  • as a supplement

Anyone who is thinking of using cinnamon supplements should speak to their doctor first.

3. Bitter melon

Momordica charantia, or bitter melon, is a medicinal fruit. Practitioners of traditional Chinese and Indian medicine have used bitter melon for centuries. People can cook the fruit and use it in many dishes. Some scientists have been looking into its potential medicinal uses.

There is some evidence that bitter melon may help with the symptoms of diabetes. One review has noted that people have used many parts of the plant to help treat diabetes.

Research has shown that taking bitter melon in the following forms can lead to a reduction in blood sugar levels in some people:

  • seeds
  • blended vegetable pulp
  • juice
  • supplements

Eating or drinking the bitter melon can be an acquired taste, but taking supplements may make it more palatable.

There is not enough evidence to support using bitter melon instead of insulin or medication for diabetes.

However, it may help people rely less on those medications or lower their dosages.

Learn more here about the impact bitter melon can have on blood sugar levels.

Bitter melon capsules are available for purchase online.

4. Milk thistle

Share on PinterestMilk thistle may have anti-inflammatory properties, making it potentially useful for people with diabetes.

People have used milk thistle since ancient times for many different ailments, and especially as a tonic for the liver.

Silymarin, the extract from milk thistle that has received the most attention from scientists, is a compound with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These are the properties that may make milk thistle a useful herb for people with diabetes.

Many of the studies on silymarin are promising, but the research is not strong enough to recommend the herb or extract alone for diabetes care, according to one review published in 2016.

There appear to be no reports of significant side effects, and many people take milk thistle as a supplement. However, it is best to speak to a doctor first before using any supplements.

Find a range of milk thistle capsules on sale here.

5. Fenugreek

Fenugreek is another seed that may help lower blood sugar levels.

The seeds contain fibers and chemicals that help to slow down the digestion of carbohydrates and sugar.

There is also some evidence that the seeds may help delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.

Findings of a 3-year investigation published in 2015 noted that people with prediabetes were less likely to receive a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes while taking powdered fenugreek seed.

The researchers concluded that taking the seed led to:

  • increased levels of insulin in the body, leading to a reduction in blood sugar
  • lower cholesterol levels

The study involved 66 people with diabetes who took 5 grams (g) of the seed preparation twice a day before meals, and 74 controls, who did not take it.

A person can:

  • include fenugreek as a herb in certain dishes
  • add it to warm water
  • grind into a powder
  • take it as a supplement in capsule form

A range of fenugreek capsules is available for purchase here.

6. Gymnema

Gymnema sylvestre is a herb that comes from India. Its name means “sugar destroyer.”

A 2013 review noted that people with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes who took gymnema showed signs of improvement.

In people with type 1 diabetes who took the leaf extract for 18 months, fasting blood sugar levels fell significantly, compared with a group who received only insulin.

Other tests using gymnema found that people with type 2 diabetes responded well to both the leaf and its extract over various periods.

Some people experienced:

  • lower blood sugar levels
  • higher insulin levels

Using either the ground leaf or leaf extract may be beneficial. But once again, talk to your doctor about using it before starting.

Click here for a range of gymnema capsules.

7. Ginger

Share on PinterestThere is some evidence that ginger can lower blood sugar levels.

Ginger is another herb that people have used for thousands of years in traditional medicine systems.

People often use ginger to help treat digestive and inflammatory issues.

However, in 2015, a review suggested that it may also help treat diabetes. The results showed that ginger lowered blood sugar levels, but did not lower blood insulin levels.

Because of this, they suggest that ginger may reduce insulin resistance in the body for type 2 diabetes.

However, the researchers were uncertain as to how ginger might do this, and they called for more research to confirm these findings.

People can take ginger:

  • by adding ginger powder or chopped, fresh ginger root to raw or cooked food
  • brewed into tea
  • as a supplement in capsule form
  • by drinking it in a ginger ale

A range of ginger products are available for purchase here.

How to manage diabetes with ginger

Diabetes is quite a common disease these days and our lifestyle is to be blamed for it! It is a metabolic condition that some people are born with and some develop it over time. This condition affects the way people produce and use insulin inside the body, which affects the way the body processes sugar or glucose. The best way to manage your diabetes is to have a diet which doesn’t have too much sugar in it.
You must have read many articles on how you can manage your diabetes with different types of foods, here, we are telling you how can you use ginger to deal with your condition! Yes, that’s right! Read on for more.
Ginger and its health benefits
Ginger is one of the healthiest spices on this planet which can cure almost everything! Whether you have a cold or have heart issues, ginger can be used to treat all of it! Including ginger in your diet has many health benefits, some are mentioned below.
1. Ginger is anti-inflammatory in nature which helps in boosting the immune system and healing the body from within.
2. Ginger tea can soothe an upset stomach and treat nausea.
3. It can be used to regulate the blood sugar levels inside the body, which reduces the risks of developing diabetes.
4. Regular consumption of ginger can be useful in preventing heart diseases.
5. The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger can help in reducing the risks of some types of cancers.
6. A cup of ginger tea can ease your period cramps and other period-related symptoms.
7. Ginger can also be used to fight against various types of infections.
8. If you include ginger in your diet, it can be helpful in improving your brain functions.
Ginger and diabetes
Ginger has been found out to be beneficial in managing diabetes. Read how:
1. It can help you reduce weight and people with diabetes need to have a healthy weight in order to manage their condition and stop it from worsening. Ginger water has been one of the most favourite home remedies for weight loss for a long time now.
2. Ginger reduces your blood sugar levels, which obviously helps in managing your diabetes symptoms easily. Drinking ginger tea or simply adding ginger to your diet has been found out to be effective in controlling the blood glucose levels in a diabetic patient.
3. Ginger increases the production of insulin inside the body, which prevents the blood sugar levels from going higher than normal and as a result, your condition is managed!
Adding ginger to your diet
If you want to add ginger to your diet, you just need to put it in all your recipes! Of course, it adds a unique flavour to the dish plus it provides you with so many health benefits. Other than that, you can have ginger tea twice a day or you can also eat it raw after your meals! Just keep in mind that you do not consume it too much as anything above the moderate level can be harmful to the health. So, rather than taking high amounts of it in a short period of time, have small amounts of it for 4-6 weeks. We always recommend you to ask your doctor before adding anything to your diet as a treatment for any disease.
Thank you for reading and do share this article! Eat right and stay healthy!

From colds and headaches to morning sickness and indigestion, the list of everyday illnesses that Ginger can help treat goes on and on. But it’s not just tummy troubles and aches and pains that this superfood can relieve. Research suggests that Ginger may help deal with a more serious problem – high blood sugar. Linked to diabetes, elevated blood sugar levels can lead to some serious problems. So how can this super spice help keep them in check?

Why is it Important to Manage Blood Sugar Levels?

Like blood pressure, blood sugar levels need to be kept in check – especially as we age or develop a less than healthy lifestyle. Checking glucose levels is important in diagnosing and monitoring diabetes – a serious disease that impairs the body’s ability to produce insulin and elevates levels of glucose in the blood.

Blood sugar levels can be kept under control by eating plenty of healthy food with a lower GI and living a more active lifestyle. In addition to this, research suggests that some superfoods can actively manage blood sugar levels.

High Blood Sugar

High blood sugar, or hyperglycemia, usually develops relatively slowly. It happens when you don’t have enough insulin in your body because you’ve eaten too much, missed taking medicine for diabetes, or don’t get enough exercise. Elevated blood sugar can also be the result of illness or stress.

When your fasting blood sugar is at or above the normal level you may:

  • Urinate more often than usual, especially during the night
  • Experience increased fatigue
  • Experience thirst more often than usual

Low Blood Sugar

Low blood sugar, or hypoglycemia, is where the level of sugar in the blood drops too low. A risk for people with diabetes, low blood sugar can potentially be very dangerous if left untreated.

When the amount of sugar in your blood has dropped below your target range, you may:

  • Feel hungry
  • Sweat
  • Feel shaky
  • Feel dizzy
  • Turn pale
  • Experience heart palpitations
  • Feel tired

How Ginger Lowers Blood Sugar in Diabetics

Ginger’s therapeutic benefits come thanks to its impressive nutritional profile. Packed with phytochemicals like zingerone, gingerol, shogaol and other volatile oils, this zingy spice adds a nutritional punch to food as well as a taste enhancement. Ginger’s unique combination of chemicals and nutrients means that it boasts a whole load of health benefits, including:

  • Helps treat nausea
  • Fights fungal infections
  • Relieves joint and muscle pain
  • Eases indigestion
  • Helps treat headaches

But how can this super root really lower blood sugar levels? A study from Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences studied the effect of Ginger on 88 people who had been living with type 2 diabetes for at least 10 years. Each participant was given either three daily doses of Ginger powder or a placebo. The results were impressive. The researchers observed that those who took the Ginger powder experienced a significant decrease in levels of blood sugar after eight weeks. This study suggests that Ginger might join superfoods like Ceylon Cinnamon and Baobab in helping to reduce blood sugar levels.

So how exactly does Ginger work to lower blood sugar levels? The answer isn’t 100 per cent clear, but researchers believe it has something to do with the spice’s ability to inhibit hepatic phosphorylase. This enzyme is responsible for breaking down molecules that store glucose, so slowing down this enzyme has the potential to lower blood sugar levels for those with diabetes.

Is Ginger Your Superfood Solution?

With researchers increasingly studying the potential of Ginger to control blood sugar levels, you may be wondering how you can add this super spice to your diet. Luckily, it couldn’t be easier. Both the fresh root and Ginger powder can be added to curries, soups, smoothies, teas and healthy bakes for some extra zing and an even bigger nutritional boost!

Want to hear more about Ginger’s amazing benefits? Find out about how this superfood spice can help treat your headaches here.

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Ginger is the thick knotted underground stem (rhizome) of the plant Zingiber officinale that has been used for centuries in Asian cuisine and medicine.

Native to African, India, China, Australia and Jamaican, it is commonly used as a spice or flavouring agent in cooking, as an alternative ‘herbal’ treatment for various ailments such as nausea and indigestio, and for fragrance in soaps and cosmetics.

Ginger rhizome can be used fresh, dried and powdered, or as a juice or oil. It has a pungent and sharp aroma and adds a strong spicy flavour to food and drink.

Download the 52-page Diabetes Cookbook 2016 for recipes
that use ginger.

Effect on diabetes

Glycemic control

A study published in the August 2012 edition of the natural product journal Planta Medica suggested that ginger may improve long-term blood sugar control for people with type 2 diabetes

Researchers from the University of Sydney, Australia, found that extracts from Buderim Ginger (Australian grown ginger) rich in gingerols – the major active component of ginger rhizome – can increase uptake of glucose into muscle cells without using insulin , and may therefore assist in the management of high blood sugar levels

Insulin secretion

In the December 2009 issue of the European Journal of Pharmacology, researchers reported that two different ginger extracts, spissum and an oily extract, interact with serotonin receptors to reveres their effect on insulin secretion.

Treatment with the extracts led to a 35 per cent drop in blood glucose levels and a 10 per cent increase in plasma insulin levels.

Cataract protection

A study published in the August 2010 edition of Molecular Vision revealed that a small daily dose of ginger helped delay the onset and progression of cataracts – one of the sight-related complications of long-term diabetes – in diabetic rats.

It’s also worth noting that ginger has a very low glycemic index (GI) Low GI foods break down slowly to form glucose and therefore do not trigger a spike in blood sugar levels as high GI foods do.

Other health benefits

Ginger has been used as an herbal therapy in Chinese, India, and Arabic medicine for centuries to aid digestio, combat the common cold and relieve pain.

Its powerful anti-inflammatory substances, gingerols, make it an effective pain reliever and it is commonly used to reduce pain and swelling in patients with arthritis and those suffering from other inflammation and muscle complaints.

In fact, ginger is said to be just as effective as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, but without the gastro-intestinal side effects.

Other medical uses of ginger include treatment of:

  • Bronchitis
  • Heartburn
  • Menstrual pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Diarrhoea
  • Upper respiratory tract infections (URTI)

Availability

Ginger root is readily available in both vegetable and powder forms at supermarkets and smaller grocery stores, while ginger root supplements, essential oil and ginger extract are stocked by most health food companies and Asian food stores.

Caution

Before self-treating your diabetes or associated complications with ginger or any other herbal therapy, consult your GP or other healthcare professional whether it is safe for you to take alongside your diabetes medication as it may heighten the effects of these blood glucose-lowering drugs and cause hypoglycemia

PMC

Discussion

The present study was conducted to investigate the effects of ginger on fasting blood sugar (FBS), Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), apolipoprotein B (Apo B), apolipoprotein A-I (Apo A-I), Apo B/Apo AI, and malondialdehyde (MDA) in type 2 diabetic patients.

In this study, it was demonstrated that oral administration of ginger powder for 12 weeks at dose of 2 g per day caused significant reduction in the levels of FBS, HbA1c, Apo B, Apo B/Apo A-I and MDA in ginger group in comparison to baseline, as well as control group, while it increased the level of Apo A-I.

Ojewole J.A.O. (2006) reported that oral intake of alcoholic extract of ginger (800 mg/Kg) significantly decreased the level of fasting blood sugar after 1 hour treatment in STZ-diabetic rats. The effect peak was observed after 4 hours and 24-53% reduction of blood glucose with consumption of doses of 100-800 mg/Kg (19). As well as, Islam M.S. & Choi H (2008), in nicotinamide and low dose STZ-diabetic rat model, noticed that oral administration of ginger powder at dose of 200 mg/Kg resulted in alleviation of metabolic syndrome signs including blood glucose and serum lipids reduction and increasing total antioxidant capacity (TAC) (20). Our results are similar to these results. However, Bordia A. et al. (1997) stated that the consumption of 4 g/day ginger powder in coronary artery disease (CAD) duration 3 months did not change the level of serum glucose and lipids (21). The differences in our results with this study may be due to difference in chemical composition of administered ginger extract, preparation method, rhizome used, or storage time (22,23). Jafri SA. et al. (2011) showed that oral administration of ginger extract with daily dose of 500 mg/Kg for 6 weeks in Alloxan-diabetic rats caused decreased in blood glucose level at 21 and 42 days (24). Abdulrazaq NB. et al. (2010) in a study found that daily administration of oral ginger aqueous at dose of 500 mg/Kg during 30 days in STZ-diabetic rats caused 38% and 68% reduction in plasma glucose level, on the 15th and 30th day of study, respectively. This solution have hypoglycemic effect by increased the activity of glycolytic enzymes (glucokinase, phosphofructokinase, pyruvate kinase) (25). Another study performed by Saeid JM. et al. (2010) indicated that administration of oral ginger extract in diabetic chickens for 6 weeks led to decreased the serum levels of glucose, triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol (TC), and LDL-C, and increased serum HDL-C level (26). Apo A-I as the main apolipoprotein of HDL structure is the serum level representative of HDL-C. Several studies found a strong relationship between the elevation of plasma HDL-C and Apo A-I, the change in plasma Apo A-I concentration explaining almost half (approximately 48%) of the variation in HDL-C concentration during the course of the intervention. This relationship could either reflect a decrease in the clearance of HDL-C particles and/or an increase in the synthesis of Apo A-I during the course of the intervention. As well as, apo B as the main apolipoprotein of LDL structure, is the serum level representative of LDL-C, and decrease of Apo B in this study means that small, dense LDL was significantly less than control group. However, apo B and apo A-I were better than LDL-C and HDL-C, respectively, in predicting cardiovascular risk in type 2 diabetes (27). Khadem Ansari MH. et al. (2008) found blood glucose concentration have more decreased in STZ-diabetic rats treated with ginger powder (5% of daily dietary intake for 6 weeks) compared to control diabetic rats. The HbAlc level in the ginger-treated group was significantly lower than that in the non treated diabetic group. It has been showed that HbAlc level is increased during diabetes and it is a marker which shows the degree of protein glycation. Administration of ginger to diabetic rats significantly decreased the level of glycosylated hemoglobin and this may be due to the decreased level of blood glucose (28). Our results are in agreement with these results. Many investigators reported that compounds of ginger such as 6-gingerol, tannins, polyphenolic compounds, flavonoids, and triterpenoids possess hypoglycemic and other pharmacological properties (3). Rani MP. et al. (2010) suggested that ginger, via it’s major component, gingerol, by inhibition of key enzymes relevant to type 2 diabetes, α-glucosidase and α-amylase, are known to improve diabetes (29). Li Y. et al. (2012) found that polar portion of ginger extract containing mainly gingerols, particularly (S)– and (S)– gingerol, promoted glucose uptake significantly in cultured rat skeletal muscle cells. This action of gingerols was attributed to facilitation of insulin-independent glucose uptake by increasing translocation of glucose transporter GLUT4 to the muscle cell plasma membrane surface, together with small increases in total GLUT4 protein expression (1). Another mechanism for reducing blood glucose by ginger hydroalcoholic extract, is the inhibition of hepatic phosphorylase enzyme, hereby it prevents the breakdown of hepatic glycogen storages, also, can increases the activity of enzymes improving glycogen synthesis. The other possible effect is suppression the activity of hepatic “glucose 6-phosphatase” enzyme, that causes degradation of glucose 6-phosphate to glucose, and consequently increases blood glucose level (30). In-vitro studies suggested that ethyl acetate extract of ginger have inhibitory effect on the two key enzymes of glucose metabolism (α-amylase and α-glucosidase); the function of ginger against these two enzymes was found to be correlated with phenolic content of gingerol and shogaol at these extracts. Ginger has been shown to modulate insulin release. Ginger promotes glucose clearances in insulin responsive peripheral tissues, which is crucial in maintaining blood glucose homeostasis (29). As well as, it is reported that 6-gingerol increases the glucose uptake at insulin responsive adipocytes (31). Thus, at treated cells with gingerol, insulin responsive glucose uptake has increased and improved diabetes (30). Several studies stated that ginger have permanent effects of reducing lipids, and accordingly, increases insulin sensitivity. Owing to some studies showed that increasing the level of plasma free fatty acids (FFAs) lead to insulin resistance, ginger indicate anti-insulin resistance effects by reducing the level of plasma FFAs (32). Elshater A.A.E. et al. (2009) indicated that daily oral administration of ginger extract (4 mg/Kg) to STZ-diabetic rats resulted in reducing the plasma level of glucose, total cholesterol, LDL-C, and increasing HDL-C, comparing to control rats (2). The hypocholesterolemic effects of ginger may be due to the inhibition of cellular cholesterol synthesis, since, ((E)-8 beta, 17-epoxyllabed-12-ene-15, 16 dial) compound was isolated from ginger and interfered with cholesterol biosynthesis in liver homogenate in hypercholesterolemic mice causing it’s reduction (33). Shanmugam K.R. et al. (2009) noticed that feeding with a diet containing 1% and 2% ginger powder during 30 days period decreased serum level of glucose and malondialdehyde (MDA) in STZ-diabetic rats, while it didn’t influence in normal rats (3). Moreover, Madkor H.R. et al. (2011) indicated that addition of ginger (1%) to a normal diet prevented the formation of free radicals and maintained the integrity of rat erythrocytes. The antioxidant potency of ginger has been attributed to gingerols that prevent reactive oxygen species (ROS) production (5). More than 50 antioxidants have been isolated from ginger rhizome; these antioxidants include two groups of components related to gingerols and diarylheptanoids (34). The major pungent component of ginger is gingerol, a mixture of homologues with 10, 12 and 14 carbons in the side chain designated (6)- (8)- and (10)-gingerols. Gingerols can be converted to shogoals and zingerone by dehydration and retro-aldol reaction, respectively (7). In one study, ginger extract consumption inhibited LDL oxidation in apolipoprotein-E deficient mice; this could be due to direct ability of ginger extract in scavenging free radicals (35). Harliansyah A.H. et al. (2005) indicated that the treatment of human normal liver cells and liver cancer cells with 500 µg/mL of ginger extract, in-vitro, didn’t change the content of malondialdehyde (MDA); our findings are inconsistent with these findings. However, ginger contains three main compounds of gingerol, shogaol, and paradol, which exhibit antioxidant activity (36). Al-Azhary D.B. (2011) stated that oral administration of ginger extract with daily dose of 25 mg/Kg for 6 weeks in STZ-diabetic rats, according to our finding, caused significant reduction in blood glucose, triglyceride, and malondialdehyde, and increasing in plasma total antioxidant capacity (TAC), while it couldn’t return increased total cholesterol and LDL-C to normal level. Ginger has been reported to have a lowering effect on lipid peroxidation, thus MDA level, by influencing the enzymatic blood level of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione peroxidase (GPX). It has been also shown that ginger reduces cellular oxidation and scavenges superoxide anion and hydroxyl radicals (6). Lebda M.A. et al. (2012) suggested that intake of different forms of ginger (powder, warm or cold extract) in amount 2% of basal diet in rabbits resulted in significant decline in serum level of TG, TC, LDL-C, MDA, while it increased the level of blood glucose and HDL-C. Reduction of lipid peroxidation by ginger has been attributed to it’s antioxidant activity, because ginger have many phenolic compounds, which have inhibitory effects on lipid peroxidation and preserve the antioxidant compounds (33). The basic concentration of the serum glucose of the rabbits in that study was lower than that of our study patients, the rabbits were not diabetic; as well as, the comparison between that study findings with our finding was impossible, because it may be different the glucose metabolism in humans and rabbits body.

In conclusion, the present study showed that ginger supplementation significantly reduced the levels of FBS, HbA1c, Apo B, Apo B/Apo A-I and MDA, and increased the level of Apo A-I in type 2 diabetic patients. Regarding negligible side effects of ginger, it may be a good remedy for diabetic patients to diminish the risk of some secondary chronic complications.

The present study was the first human research investigating the effects of ginger on glycemic status and stress oxidative in type 2 diabetic patients whose information regarding potential confounding variables, including dietary intake and physical activity level were available. However, this study had limitations, as well. First, several patients participating in the intervention, were excluded from the study. Moreover, frequent inclusion criteria, especially having no metabolic diseases and taking no antioxidant supplements, led to further reduction in the number of patients eligible for the study and hampered the disease finding process with many difficulties.

Finally, it is suggested to perform similar studies with higher number of patients and longer study period for a better observation of the effects of ginger in improving diabetic patient status.

Last Updated on February 22, 2017

Ginger has been used for thousands of years to add flavor to recipes and as homemade medicines. People have been using ginger to cure colds, assist in digestion, and reduce nausea. Some studies have shown that ginger can even be used to reduce muscle pain from exercising. A recent survey may have shown yet another incredible health benefit of ginger. This additional benefit is that it could help you with the management of your type 2 diabetes.

The ginger root has been shown to help lower glucose levels in type 2 diabetes. A study that was completed by Shahid University of Medical Sciences in Iran looked at the effect of ginger on 88 type 2 diabetics. All of the diabetics had been diagnosed with diabetes for at least ten years. There was no information on how well their glucose levels were managed before the study.

The diabetics were split into two separate groups; one group was given a one-gram capsule of ginger, and the other was given a placebo. After eight weeks of taking the capsules, the ones that were taking the ginger saw a marked decrease in their glucose levels versus the group that was taking the placebo pills.

All of the participants in the study were middle-aged and overweight, but none of them were considered to be “obese.” The researchers from the study noted that the group that used the ginger was in worse shape than the placebo group before the study began and they had the most change, which eliminates the idea that the change could have been “random” or because of external factors.

The reason for ginger’s effect on blood sugar isn’t known. There are several guesses, but none has been proven. One idea is that ginger contains hepatic phosphorylase, which is an enzyme that breaks down glycogen, which contains glucose cells. While this idea isn’t proven, it would explain the interesting impact of ginger on diabetics.

Ginger can be used as a fresh root, ground into a powder, used as oil, or dried. There are thousands of different recipes that you can use to incorporate ginger into your diet without having to spend hours in your kitchen every night.

One of the easiest ways to add ginger is adding it to a salad. The taste of ginger goes well with most salads. You can peel and cut the ginger finely and add it to any side salad with your dinner. This is one of the quickest ways to add this root to your diet without changing the foods you already eat.

Looking for the perfect way to add ginger to your side dishes for dinner? A ginger broccoli stir-fry is not only delicious but healthy as well. With some broccoli, vegetable stock, cooking oil, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce you can make a quick and healthy side dish. The whole recipe will take you less than 30 minutes from prep to finish.

If you’re looking for a way to DRINK your daily dose of ginger, you’re in luck! There are several ways to mix in some ginger with a smoothie or drink. Add a small slice of fresh ginger to a cup of green tea. You can sprinkle ginger into a fresh fruit smoothie. The ginger adds a perfect flavor mixture to the smoothie and makes a healthy snack during the day.

Ginger has been known to cure dozens of different ailments, conditions, and discomforts, but it could have hidden benefits for type 2 diabetes. We may not know why ginger has such fantastic effects, but you should consider adding it to your meals.

SummaryArticle Name The Benefits of Ginger for Diabetes Description Ginger may have a benefit that could help you with the management of your type 2 diabetes. Learn more about the benefits of ginger for diabetes here. Author Matt Schmidt Publisher Name Diabetes365.org Publisher Logo

Ginger: A Secret Weapon for Blood Sugar Control

Ginger: A Secret Weapon for Blood Sugar Control

By: Alexandra Rothwell Kelly, MPH, RD

From a scientific perspective, there is no doubt that maintaining appropriate blood sugar levels is important for optimal health, but I am of the opinion that moderate amounts of sugar can be included in a healthful diet, when consumed responsibly. Years of working one-on-one with clients has illustrated that including some sugar in the diet, ideally from natural sources, combined with other nutrients and exercise, can help people avoid the psychological consequences of restrictive diets and may prevent overindulgence in moments of reduced motivation. Further, candies such as The Ginger People Gin-Gins help people suffering from severe nausea, which may allow them to eat a substantial and nutritious meal. However, type 2 diabetes has become an incredibly pervasive endocrine disorder, and due to impaired carbohydrate metabolism in this population, control of blood sugar levels is particularly important. Proper management of blood sugar levels, especially for people with metabolic diseases, are elusive ideals. With tempting carbohydrate-laden goodies always at our fingertips, stressful “on-the-go” lifestyles, and decades of eating habits that may be hard to break, how can we reasonably impact disease management or risk? Luckily, ginger may offer a solution.

Because pharmaceutical companies are the major funders of medical research, it is unusual to come across quality literature regarding the effect of particular foods or nutrients on health. Though interestingly, there are a few studies that have examined ginger intake in people with type 2 diabetes. Notably, a 2015 study conducted the “gold standard” for medical research: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. In this trial, people with type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to either receive 2 grams per day of ginger or a placebo for 12 weeks. Before and after the 12 weeks, fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c (a measure of blood sugar control), as well as other markers for chronic disease, were measured. At the conclusion of the trial, the people who received daily ginger supplementation had improved fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c compared to their baseline levels.

Another similar study experimented with 3 grams of ginger per day versus placebo in type 2 diabetic patients for 8 weeks. In addition to measuring fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c, this study also assessed fasting insulin levels and HOMA-IR, which is a validated method for determining one’s level of insulin resistance. Consistent with the previously mentioned trial, this study also found improved levels of fasting blood sugar, hemoglobin A1c, fasting insulin levels, and HOMA-IR.

Clearly, ginger in the diet will not “cure” type 2 diabetes, but may be an easy and enjoyable way to have a positive effect on blood sugar and insulin levels. It is also important to note that although the outlined studies were specifically conducted on type 2 diabetic patients, this information is relevant to all of us, as minimizing spikes in blood sugar and keeping insulin levels low are key for many health ambitions. Lastly, ginger seems to have limitless health benefits, but my favorite reason to use it in cooking is because of its intense and slightly sweet flavor, which reduces the need to use sugar in the first place!

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Expert-reviewed by Ashwini S.Kanade, Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator with 17 years of experience

Ginger is an indispensable spice in Indian cuisine. It is also a common ingredient in many home remedies. It originated in the Indian subcontinent and was one of the earliest spices to be exported from the subcontinent to distant parts of Europe. Even today, it remains a widely popular spice across the world.

What does ginger have to offer?

Ginger, or Zingiber officinale, is a flowering plant but what we use is the underground stem, i.e. the rhizome. It has a pungent and sharp aroma and adds a robust spicy flavour to food and drinks. Traditionally, it is known for its medicinal properties and finds use in the treatment of common cold.

But is ginger suitable for people with diabetes?

A 2012 review study confirmed that ginger shows effective glycemic control in diabetes mellitus and improves insulin sensitivity. It also exhibited a protective effect against diabetic complications.(1)

Furthermore, it is worth noting that ginger has a low glycemic index (GI), so low as to be negligible. People with diabetes benefit from low GI foods because these foods release glucose into the blood at a slower rate, preventing unwanted spikes in blood sugar levels.

So how much ginger is too much?

No more than 4 gm per day (just under 1 teaspoon) is the recommended intake for ginger. According to a study of people with type 2 diabetes, participants who took a 1 gm capsule of ground ginger 3 times a day over a period of 8 weeks displayed decreased fasting blood sugar as well as improved HbA1c levels.(2)

How to use ginger?

Although many dishes in Indian diets use ginger, as a whole or in paste form, its diabetic benefits are reduced as it gets mixed with other ingredients. It is thus advisable for people with diabetes to take ginger separately in capsule form.

Apart from this, the following are a few ways to add ginger to your meals:

  • You can cut it in strips and add in stir-fry recipes. It pairs well with broccoli, mushrooms, bean sprouts, and even chicken.
  • A ginger lemonade is not only beneficial but also refreshing!
  • Add ginger to marinades and dressings to impart a spicy zing. Grated ginger root added to a base of orange juice and sesame oil marinade will give beef, chicken or pork an instant Asian flavour. You can also make a simple, healthy dressing by combining lime juice, walnut oil, garlic and ginger.

Stick to using ginger in its organic, natural form rather than its processed varieties, such as ginger candies or ginger ales. These do not retain any nutritive properties of ginger and may, in fact, be quite unhealthy.

Apart from ginger, here are a few more home remedies for diabetes you can try.

Ginger is traditionally known for its medicinal properties and is a common part of the Indian diet. If you are looking to adjust your diet for diabetes, it is best to not avoid ginger.

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Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for patient awareness only. This has been written by qualified experts and scientifically validated by them. Wellthy or it’s partners/subsidiaries shall not be responsible for the content provided by these experts. This article is not a replacement for a doctor’s advice. Please always check with your doctor before trying anything suggested on this article/website.

Ginger for Diabetes: Is It Really Safe and Good?

Ginger and its nutrition profile

Ginger is a spice obtained from rhizomes (underground parts of the stem) of Zingiber officinale plant.

Due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, people in India and China have been using it as a natural remedy for many diseases, including nausea, morning sickness, motion sickness, Alzheimer’s disease, flu, and cold for over 3,000 years (1, 2).

Besides, it also reduces cholesterol, helps in weight loss and stimulates blood circulation (3, 4, 5)

Allegedly, it may also slow down the growth of tumor (cancer) cells.

Ginger contains some bioactive plant substances, the most important of which is gingerol.

This molecule is responsible for most anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antidiabetic effects of ginger.

There are many ways to eat ginger. You may use it as a spice or food ingredient, make some ginger tea or buy some ginger powder, oil or juice in your local pharmacy or specialized stores.

Cosmetic manufacturers also add ginger to beauty products.

Many people think that the edible part of ginger is its root, but it is not true. The piece of the Zingiber officinale plant used in medicine is called rhizome, which is an underground section of the stem.

The summary: Ginger rhizomes contain gingerol, which is a potent phytochemical with strong antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antidiabetic properties. You can consume ginger in various ways, including ginger tea, powder, juice or spice.

Antidiabetic effects of ginger

New research suggests that ginger may have strong antidiabetic effects. Ginger has a positive impact not only on diabetes itself, but it may also help in the treatment of complications associated with diabetes.

Effects of ginger on diabetes and blood sugar levels

In 2015, a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted involving 41 participants with type 2 diabetes (6).

The results were impressive.

Study participants who took 2 grams of ginger powder daily for 12 weeks had a 12% lower blood sugar than those who did not eat ginger powder.

Additionally, glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) decreased by 10% in patients receiving ginger after 12 weeks.

Ginger has strong antidiabetic effects

Glycated (glycosylated) hemoglobin (HbA1c) is an essential indicator of long-term blood sugar levels, and its 10% reduction is significant for diabetics.

Another study, published in 2012 in the prestigious Planta Medica magazine, suggests that ginger may help lower blood sugar by improving the distribution ofGLUT 4 glucose transporters on the surface of muscle cells (7, 8)

More GLUT 4 transporters lead to better utilization of glucose by muscle cells, which translates into better blood sugar control.

However, ginger may also help in the management of type 1 diabetes, which is associated with a critical insulin deficiency due to the damage of pancreatic cells caused most often by an autoimmune disease.

Animal studies suggest that ginger ethanol extract significantly reduces fasting blood glucose (9).

Laboratory rats with type 1 diabetes took 800 mg/kg of ginger ethanol extract.

On average, their blood sugar level went down by 24 to 53% in 4 hours.

Another study suggests that one dose of ginger juice can prevent acute hyperglycemia induced by serotonin 5-HT receptors in type 1 diabetic rats (10).

Long-term use of ginger not only lowers blood glucose levels but also increases insulin release and reduces cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as total cholesterol and triglycerides in type 1 diabetes rats (11, 12).

Effects of ginger on diabetic complications

Ginger can also be used to prevent complications of diabetes.

Animal studies indicate that ginger ethanol extract helps reduce triglycerides and cholesterol in the liver.

What is more, ginger may relieve inflammation and reduce levels of inflammatory markers in the liver, such as IL-6 or TNF alpha (13).

Ginger also blocks the activity of oxidative enzymes and prevents liver and kidney damage (14).

In people with hyperglycemia (a disease caused by excess blood sugar) glucose is converted into sorbitol and fructose. Accumulation of these substances increases the risk of cataracts.

Phytochemicals contained in ginger reduce the activity of the enzyme that breaks down glucose into sorbitol and fructose (aldose reductase), thereby reducing the risk of cataracts (15).

Ginger also has neuroprotective effects and protects the brain from damage. As such, it can be used to prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (16).

Although the research results are promising, we need to carry out more placebo-controlled studies before we can make any specific recommendations for the use of ginger for diabetes.

The summary: Ginger may help lower blood sugar both by improving insulin sensitivity as well as by promoting insulin release. Ginger may be useful in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Active ingredients found in ginger also prevent diabetes complications, such as cataracts, kidney, liver and brain damage. Before making any recommendations, more research is necessary to confirm the effects of ginger on diabetes.

Other health benefits of ginger

In addition to antidiabetic effects, ginger also has many other benefits for your health.

It is used, for example, in the treatment of dyspepsia, a common disorder associated with stomach pain after eating.

Ginger accelerates stomach emptying to alleviate the symptoms of dyspepsia (17, 18).

Ginger may also be a useful remedy for various types of nausea, including morning sickness in pregnancy, post-operative nausea (vomiting and nausea after surgery) or motion sickness (kinetosis) (19, 20, 21).

Ginger powder also relieves menstrual pain and joint pain associated with osteoarthritis (22, 23).

Last but not least, ginger improves the lipid profile (24).

It lowers blood levels of LDL cholesterol, triglycerides and total cholesterol and helps protect against cardiovascular diseases.

Some studies also indicate that fresh ginger protects against cancer and slows down the growth of tumor cells (25, 26).

However, more research is necessary as some studies did not find any anti-cancer properties of ginger (27).

Last but not least, ginger has neuroprotective effects and protects against Alzheimer’s disease (28).

The summary: Apart from treating diabetes, ginger also helps in the management of nausea and chronic pain. It also lowers blood cholesterol and protects against age-related brain function decline.

How to take ginger for diabetes?

Most studies that look at the effects of ginger on diabetes and its complications use either ginger powder or ginger oil or alcohol extracts.

These products contain the highest amount of gingerol and are the most effective.

The problem is that ginger has a strong, pungent taste and some people may find it very difficult to swallow raw, fresh ginger powder.

What is more, freshly grated ginger can harm and burn your digestive tract.

In such case, you may either try ginger oils or extracts or consume ginger in your tea or with your meals (just season your meal with some ground ginger powder).

How to make ginger tea for diabetes?

Here’s an easy recipe for ginger tea for diabetics.

First peel and grate ginger rhizome (or cut it into small slices).

Pour hot water over the grated or chopped ginger (0.5 liters of water per each 1/2 inch (1 cm) ginger rhizome piece).

Ginger tea may help lower blood sugar levels

Leach for 15 minutes.

Strain the tea, add lemon or orange juice to taste and season with cinnamon and cloves. Sweeten with honey.

Drink the ginger lemon tea either warm or let it cool down and drink cold as a refreshing summer drink.

The summary: Take ginger for diabetes as ginger powder, extract or oil or sip some ginger tea every day.

Side effects of ginger

If you do not exceed the daily threshold amount of ginger (5 grams), the side effects are rare.

In higher doses, ginger may cause heartburn, diarrhea, oral cavity irritation, stomach upset, bleeding (such as heavy menstrual bleeding).

When using ginger in the treatment of diabetes, it is necessary to pay close attention to interactions with some medicines.

Because ginger lowers blood sugar, it may cause hypoglycemia (excessive decrease in blood sugar) if taken with oral antidiabetics (such as metformin, pioglitazone, glipizide, tolbutamide, etc.) or other diabetic medicines (such as insulin, etc.).

Hypoglycemia is dangerous because you may faint and die without urgent medical help.

If you have diabetes, always consult your doctor before taking any ginger (even before drinking ginger tea) and continuously measure your blood sugar levels.

Ginger may also interact with some anti-platelet drugs that slow down blood clotting (such as diclofenac, clopidogrel, aspirin, naproxen, enoxaparin, heparin, warfarin, phenprocoumon).

Ginger also interacts with high blood pressure medications (especially calcium channel blockers), such as verapamil, nifedipine, felodipine, amlodipine, etc.

Side effects of ginger in pregnant and breastfeeding women are still being investigated.

Ginger can be a useful cure for morning sickness, but some experts warn that it may cause miscarriage (abortion) or harm the fetus (unborn child) if taken in large quantities.

You should therefore always consult your doctor about the use of ginger in pregnancy and breastfeeding.

The summary: Adverse effects of ginger are rare if you eat no more than 5 grams a day. The common side effects of ginger are heartburn and stomach discomfort. Ginger may also interact with diabetes, blood pressure and blood thinning medication.

FAQs

Here are the frequently asked questions of people who take ginger for diabetes.

Can I take ginger with metformin?

Ginger, like metformin, reduces sugar in the blood, which can lead to life-threatening hypoglycemia. If you are taking metformin or other medicines for diabetes, talk to your doctor before taking ginger.

Is ginger beer good for diabetics?

Ginger beer (ale) is an alcoholic drink that is not suitable for people with diabetes. Besides, ginger beer contains very little ginger, so its effects will be mild.

If you drink one ginger ale once in a while, it will not harm you, but its regular consumption is not recommended.

Is ginger for diabetes good and safe?

Ginger lowers blood sugar, promotes insulin release and has positive effects on other risk factors of diabetes and insulin resistance.

However, it may interact with some medicines used to treat diabetes (such as metformin) and increase their efficiency, which can be dangerous.

We do not recommend taking any ginger supplements (powder, extracts, oils, tablets, etc.) or drink ginger tea for diabetes without a prior consent of your doctor.

Diabetes requires proper evidence-based treatment and natural medicines, such as ginger, should not be taken as a substitute for regular medications.

Although many people believe that natural medicines cannot harm you, it’s not true. Even natural substances may reduce (or increase) the effects of other medications you take or make your symptoms worse.

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