How to reduce nausea caused by chemotherapy?

Ginger’s health benefits

Ginger has enjoyed many health benefits for thousands of years. It has long been used in China as a medical practice to reduce the feeling of nausea. Ginger has also been used by the ancient Greeks to prevent nausea after eating a feast or fatty foods. Indeed, recent studies indicate that it may help people with nausea caused by chemotherapy positively.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is an ingredient derived from the root of the ginger plant. It can be eaten or used as food, drink or as a spice to add to your favorite foods.

Ginger and chemotherapy that cause nausea

Nausea causes an upset stomach that may or may not cause vomiting. It is a common side effect of chemotherapy drugs. Chemotherapy works by attacking any rapidly growing abnormal cells in the body. Cancer cells divide quickly, and so do the cancerous cells in the hair follicles that cause hair loss, which are found in the bone marrow that causes anemia and low white blood cells, in addition to the cancer cells in the digestive system that cause nausea.

Some chemotherapy drugs are more likely to cause nausea than others, however all experts disagree when it comes to how much nausea this type of treatment causes. Although treating nausea caused by chemotherapy has had great success in the past decades, it is estimated that at least 70 percent of patients still experience some degree of nausea during and after receiving chemotherapy.

Ginger and nausea

It is not known exactly how ginger works in the body to relieve nausea. Knowing that ginger contains olucycin, which are substances that influence the muscles of the digestive system. Ginger also has anti-inflammatory effects.

A 2009 study of more than 600 cancer patients found that a ginger-rich nutritional supplement had actually reduced patients’ hair with chemotherapy by 40 percent.

It also found a study conducted in 2012 to assess the best dose to take to get the benefits of ginger such as reducing nausea. In this study, ginger has been given as a dietary supplement in a dose of 0.5 grams, 1 grams and 1.5 grams divided into twice daily for 6 days, and the respondents began providing these doses 3 days before receiving chemotherapy. The most effective dose here was 0.5 to 1.0 grams.

Ginger is effective in reducing nausea after chemotherapy

Chemotherapy can cause nausea immediately, and it lasts for several hours or even days after receiving it. Another study conducted in 2012 on breast cancer patients found that ginger was more effective in reducing the feeling of nausea that occurred between 6 to 24 hours after receiving chemotherapy. Another study of children and young adults with cancer found that ginger helped reduce both acute nausea (within 24 hours) and late (after 24 hours) associated with chemotherapy.

While ginger appears to help treat nausea, another study conducted in 2015 found that ginger did indeed help reduce nausea and vomiting episodes, but it did not reduce reflux attacks experienced by women with breast cancer.

The results of a study conducted in 2017 and published in the Journal of Oncology announces that the effect of ginger on the nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy may differ between men and women, depending on the type of cancer and the drugs taken.

In this study, ginger did not appear to provide a protective effect for many of the study participants (people with lung, head and neck cancer). But it appears to be beneficial, especially for females and those who have had head and neck cancer. It is worth noting that this study looked specifically at the role of ginger in people receiving cisplatin.

Studies to assess how ginger can reduce feelings of nausea indicate that ginger roots carry the active ingredients that help. It appears that both ginger and shool compounds affect the motility of the digestive system and gastric emptying rates, but they also affect neurotransmitters in the brain that may reduce nausea.

Effective doses of ginger

Studies that talk about the benefits of ginger for nausea associated with chemotherapy usually include ginger use over several days – starting a few days before chemotherapy. The doses of ginger-rich nutritional supplements used in these studies also ranged from 0.5 grams to 1.5 grams per day. According to the American Cancer Society, the maximum daily dose of ginger is 5 grams or less.

In research studies conducted to date, it appears that the most effective dose of ginger is a 250-mg dietary supplement that is given two to four times a day. This is equivalent to about a quarter of a teaspoon of dried ginger or half a teaspoon of fresh ginger per day.

Crystallized ginger also contains about 500 mg of ginger per square inch. Ginger tea made with a teaspoon of ginger contains about 250 mg. In addition, home-made ginger contains approximately 1 gram of ginger per 8 ounce cup. It is important to note here that fresh ginger is necessary to obtain anti-nausea ginger effects. Ginger, which can be bought in stores, may contain “ginger flavor” instead of the real ginger.

It is also necessary to speak with an oncologist before using ginger during cancer treatment. As shown below, ginger contains properties that may be harmful to some people.

Warnings against using ginger

  • It is important to discuss the idea of ​​taking any of the supplements with your oncologist, as these supplements may be harmful to some people.
  • It is also important to emphasize that ginger use is not a substitute for anti-nausea medications that are given to relieve nausea and vomiting during and after chemotherapy. In the studies we talked about above, ginger has been used in addition to anti-nausea preventive medications.
  • One of the harms of ginger is that it can cause a blood clot. Therefore it is important to avoid using it with medicines (or other supplements) that reduce blood efficiency, such as Coumadin (Warfarin), Heparin, and Teclidine (Ticlopidine).
  • Also, ginger should not be used when the surgical approach is approaching as one of the ways to treat cancer.
  • Decreased platelet counts due to chemotherapy (thrombocytopenia) may also increase your risk of bleeding, so your oncologist will want to do a CBC blood test before recommending the use of ginger to help relieve nausea.
  • Ginger should not be used by people with gallstones.
  • Ginger may lead to low blood sugar in diabetics.
  • Eating ginger or a rich dietary supplement is a good habit. Although some people may experience heartburn, diarrhea, bruising, redness or a rash when taken.
Ginger: Can it reduce nausea caused by Chemo?

In the end

Although studies suggest that ginger may be a fairly easy way to reduce nausea while receiving chemotherapy, it is important to stress once again that it should not be taken without first talking to an oncologist. We know that even vitamins and supplements may sometimes interfere with chemotherapy.

It is also important to emphasize that studies on ginger as a way to reduce nausea are based on the use of real ginger rather than products that contain ginger flavor. Also, if you decide to try ginger, be sure to use it with traditional nausea treatments.

Finally, there are a few other alternative therapies whose potential role is being investigated in reducing nausea caused by chemotherapy. The use of acupressure for chemotherapy-induced nausea has shown some hope, but again, it must be used in combination with conventional nausea treatments.