Ginger, the life-extensionist's spice
A diet that delivers a little bit of ginger every day may not only protect against chronic diseases, but also prolong life. This suggests an animal study, which South Korean researchers at Woosuk University will soon publish in Biomolecules & Therapeutics. In that study, worms lived twenty percent longer due to exposure to 6-gingerol, a substance in ginger.
The Koreans extracted 6-gingerol from ginger, and put that substance in various concentrations in the culture medium for Caenorhabditis elegans. Caenorhabditis elegans is a worm that lives for a few weeks, and with which anti-aging researchers like to experiment.
Exposure to 6-gingerol prolonged the lifespan of the nematodes by about twenty percent. In this respect 6-gingerol worked better than the antioxidant 4-hydroxy-benzoic-acid.
6-Gingerol inhibited the accumulation of the 'aging molecule' lipofuscin in the nematodes. The more lipofuscin there is in tissues, the harder it is for enzymes to rejuvenate and repair those tissues.
Administration of 6-gingerol increased the concentration of the detoxifying and antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase [SOD] and catalase in the nematodes.
"Consequently, 6-gingerol prolonged the lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans", write the Koreans.
"In addition, 6-gingerol decreased intracellular reactive oxygen species and lipofuscin accumulation. Thus, 6-gingerol has the potential to be an effective anti-aging compound."
"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on the lifespan effect of this compound. However, the present data are preliminary, and further research is necessary to determine the definite mechanism of 6-gingerol-mediated longevity."
6-Gingerol is not the only substance with a possible life-prolonging effect in ginger. In 2018 the Koreans published another study, in which anothere ginger compound, 6-shogaol, extended the life span of Caenorhabditis elegans worms.
Biomol Ther (Seoul). 2018 Mar 14. doi: 10.4062/biomolther.2017.215. [Epub ahead of print].
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