In Fighting Obesity, Ginger Impacts Microbiota

Guest BloggerMicrobiome Environment

Sushi generally comes with a healthy portion of pickled ginger. Technically known as Zingiber officinale Roscoe, the name and the condiment can be a mouthful.

Still it is  worthwhile putting more of this spice into your diet.

Ginger has been shown to exert beneficial effects against obesity and related disorders. Exactly how the gut microbiota is linked is not yet clear but it is promising.

Researchers in China recently investigated the relationship between the gut microbiota and the metabolic adaptations resulting from ginger supplementation in mice. The study appears in the March 2019 issue of European Journal of Nutrition.

The study

In the first part of the experiment, four groups of mice were fed a normal chow diet or a high-fat diet (HFD) with or without ginger supplementation for 16 weeks.

In addition to microbiota composition, lipid profiles, proinflammatory cytokines, glucose tolerance, and short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) concentrations were analyzed at the end of the experiment.

In the second part, the fecal microbiota of mice fed a HFD or mice fed a HFD along with ginger supplementation were transplanted into microbiota-depleted mice. Glucose tolerance and microbiota composition were assessed after an 8-week fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT).

Results

The HFD-fed mice supplemented with the spice showed marked decreases in:

  • Body weight
  • Liver steatosis
  • Low-grade inflammation
  • Insulin resistance

And the gut microbiota changed. Notably bifidobacterium genus and SCFA-producing bacteria increased. Also, fecal SCFA concentrations increased.

Thus, fecal transplants may be another way to modify microbiota and reduce obesity.

“This study suggests that modulation of the gut microbiota as a result of ginger supplementation has a therapeutic effect on obesity in mice.”