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By prolonging aerobic exercise it can have a large inducing effect on systemic inflammatory responses that can lead to infections by suppressing the immune system. This inflammatory response is expressed by an increase in circulating anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory cytokines – a hormone-like protein that mediates inflammatory responses – whilst impairing the immune function, which leads to a decline in exercise performance and the ability to undergo heavy training. The strenuous amounts of exercise are seen as physiological stimuli that modulate cytokine production. It promotes systematic pro-inflammatory cytokines to a high-elevated level, which researches suggest are related to increased risks of infection.
Ginger has been known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It has long been used in traditional medicine throughout history because it contains active phenolic compounds. It was originally discovered in the 1970’s where it identified ginger as an herbal medicinal product that shares similar pharmacological properties with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
The study in the Central European Journal of Immunology compared the effects of taking ginger supplements in the form of capsules containing 500mg of ginger powder or a similar looking placebo for 12 weeks. The study used 28 male runners who took the ginger capsule for 6 weeks and the placebo for another 6 weeks in a random order. They did so while undergoing realistic training programs as if they were preparing for a competition season.
What was found is that their pro-inflammatory cytokine levels rose while they were taking the placebo. When they took the ginger supplement however the raised levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines were reversed. It is then smart to point out that when you are training hard for marathons, at the gym or doing intense workouts it is best to use ginger supplements to decrease inflammation and reduce your risk of infection. This way you are able to train longer and harder.