Today’s episode epitomizes the phrase “food as medicine” and builds the most wonderful bridge between natural and allopathic medicine. When those forces combine, such radical positive change can happen.
We’re discussing new research pointing to a compound in dried ginger that is 10,000 times more effective at killing cancer stem cells than chemotherapy.
Here to talk about it with me is Dr. Rajesh Grover, an Assistant Professor of Cell and Molecular Biology and an Immunologist at Scripps Research Institute.
Raj and I became friends a few years ago, both sharing a passion for preventative care so when he reached out about teaming up on this topic, I couldn’t say yes fast enough.
In this episode, he explains that cancer is not just bad luck.
“A landmark study published in the January 2016 issue of Nature Magazinehighlights the contribution of external factors (almost 70% including diet, tobacco, and environmental factors) to Cancer.
1/3 of all cancers are diet-related (see appendix below).
The remaining 10 -30 % are due to mutations.”
One of our biggest problems with cancer is not the cancer itself, but the relapse rate or reoccurrence.
This relapse means that the cancer comes back even when you get rid of the tumor mass.
The reason it comes back is that cancer consists of 2 kinds of cells:
1: Cancer Cells (99%)
These are uncontrolled fast-growing cells that are the offspring of cancer stem cells.
2: Cancer Stem Cells (0.2 to 1%)
Cancer stem cells are “the mother” of cancer cells which is why killing them is essential to eliminate the root source to prevent reoccurrence.
Chemotherapy kills cancer cells and which destroys tumors but the relapse depends on the much smaller, yet often more powerful minority of cancer stem cells (0.2 to 1%).
Again, they are the root cause of the cancer and chemotherapy does not kill these cells.
Many clinical trials have been done to evaluate the health benefits of ginger in different diseases and it is concluded that ginger can be used for Chemoprevention, meaning used to treat a precancerous condition or used as prevention to keep cancer from starting.
The most abundant compound in ginger is 6-gingerol. It is safe and efficacious in preventing cancer meaning could be used to treat a precancerous condition.
However, you’ll want to consume dried ginger over fresh because when you dehydrate fresh ginger into powder, gingerols are converted into compounds called shogaols (the Japanese name for ginger).
6-Shogaol specifically is the most potent compound for killing cancer stem cells. Fresh ginger contains much less 6-Shogaol.
A recent breakthrough study found that 6-Shogaol; the active component of driedginger is 10,000x more effective than traditional chemotherapy for breast cancer research model.
When tested, it kills cancer cells more effectively (which traditional chemotherapy can also kill), but the difference is that it can also kill cancer stem cells, (where traditional chemo is not effective) without adversely affecting healthy tissue.
According to Dr. Grover, ginger has been tested on different kinds of cancers including breast, ovarian, prostate and colon cancer with a very positive outcome.
One of the clinical trials on colon cancer revealed the safe dose of ginger, because everything, even natural substances, can be toxic at high doses.
Consumption of dried ginger is safe and effective at a dose between 100mg – 2 grams/day.
So what does that look like for your everyday meals?
This is equivalent to 1/2 -1 teaspoon of dried ginger daily on and in your food and drink.
For example, use 1 teaspoon mixed in hot water with a squeeze of lemon for homemade ginger tea.
Heat up coconut oil, ghee, or butter and blend in one teaspoon of dried ginger into the oil before pan searing veggies, fish or chicken.
Mix ½ teaspoon into salad dressings or top your rice with dried ginger or blend it with your broth into a soup.
One bottle of dried ginger contains around 46 grams, which means it will last you anywhere 23-80 days. It can be found at any health food store.
The cost is around $6/bottle (for organic), which means anyone can consume this cancer-fighting compound on a regular basis. We all have stressed cells in our body that can turn into cancer so this is a most powerful prevention on a daily basis.
References and Appendix:
Recent research has highlighted a strong correlation between tissue-specific cancer risk and the lifetime number of tissue-specific stem-cell divisions. Whether such correlation implies a high unavoidable intrinsic cancer risk has become a key public health debate with the dissemination of the ‘bad luck' hypothesis. Here we provide evidence that intrinsic risk factors contribute only modestly (less than ~10-30% of lifetime risk) to cancer development. First, we demonstrate that the correlation between stem-cell division and cancer risk does not distinguish between the effects of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. We then show that intrinsic risk is better estimated by the lower bound risk controlling for total stem-cell divisions. Finally, we show that the rates of endogenous mutation accumulation by intrinsic processes are not sufficient to account for the observed cancer risks. Collectively, we conclude that cancer risk is heavily influenced by extrinsic factors. These results are important for strategizing cancer prevention, research and public health.
1/3 of all cancers are diet-related
The evidence indicates that of all cancer-related deaths, almost 25–30% are due to tobacco, as many as 30–35% are linked to diet, about 15–20% are due to infections, and the remaining percentage are due to other factors like radiation, stress, physical activity, environmental pollutants, etc.
Cancer Stem Cells
6-Shogaol as a potent anti-cancer agent
Gingerol and Shogaol
The most abundant gingerol found in ginger is 6-gingerol, but there are also smaller quantities of analogs such as 8-gingerol and 10-gingerol. All gingerol compounds have a similar structure and behave very similarly in the body, but their potency can vary slightly.
6-Shogaol, a dehydrated form of 6-gingerol, is a minor component in ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) and has recently been reported to have more potent bioactivity than 6-gingerol. Taken together, the current study shows for the first time that a maximized production of 6-shogaol can be achieved during practical drying and extraction process of ginger by increasing both drying and extracting temperatures.
6-Shogaol has exhibited the most potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can be attributed to the presence of alpha, beta-unsaturated ketone moiety. The carbon chain length has also played a significant role in making 10-gingerol as the most potent among all the gingerols. This study justifies the use of dry ginger in traditional systems of medicine.