Supplementation with ginger extract every day initiated 3 days before chemotherapy significantly increased antioxidant activity and decreased oxidative marker levels in patients who underwent chemotherapy with moderate-to-high emetogenic (vomit-inducing) potential compared with patients who took a placebo.1

Researchers examined the antioxidant activity of an oral ginger extract supplement in patients with new cancer diagnoses who were undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy.

“Oxidative stress from chemotherapy is primarily responsible for many adverse effects such as nephrotoxicity, cardiotoxicity, pulmonary toxicity and nausea/vomiting,” wrote the investigators.

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In total, 43 patients were randomly assigned to receive ginger extract (n = 19) or placebo (n = 24). Ginger extract was standardized at 6-gingerol 20 mg/day. Supplementation began 3 days before the initiation of chemotherapy and continued daily.

Researchers measured oxidant and antioxidant parameters at baseline and days 1, 22, 43, and 64 after chemotherapy. Oxidant and antioxidant parameters included the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) and levels of glutathione peroxidase (GPx), total glutathione (ratio of reduced GSH to oxidized GSH [GSH/GSSG]), lipid peroxidation products detected as malondialdehyde (MDA), and nitrite/nitrate (NO2/NO3).    

Antioxidant activity as measured by SOD, CAT, GPx, and GSH/GSSG were significantly higher at day 64 in the ginger supplement group, and MDA and NO2/NO3 were significantly lower (P <.0001).

In addition, when compared with baseline, SOD and CAT activity and GPx and GSH/GSSG levels were significantly increased on day 64 compared with baseline (P =.01). Serum levels of MDA and NO2/NO3 were significantly lower than baseline on day 64 (P <.01).

“The present study demonstrates that the ginger extract as a daily supplement for patients receiving moderate-to-high emetogenic adjuvant chemotherapy could increase antioxidant enzyme blood levels, including copper-zinc (CuZn)-SOD and CAT activity, and levels of GPx and GSH/GSSG and decrease oxidative stress blood levels, including MDA and NO2/NO3, as compared to the placebo,” concluded the investigators.

“Furthermore, patients taking ginger extract continuously were inclined to increase antioxidant enzyme blood levels and decrease oxidative stress blood levels. This result might confirm the antioxidant pharmacological activity of ginger. No serious adverse effects were reported after taking ginger extract as a daily supplement.”


1. Danwilai K, Konmun J, Sripanidkulchai B, Subongkot S. Antioxidant activity of ginger extract as a daily supplement in cancer patients receiving adjuvant chemotherapy: a pilot study. Cancer Manag Res. 2017 Jan 31. doi: 10.2147/CMAR.S124016 [Epub ahead of print]