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Ginger doubles T levels in rats

Ginger extract has recently gained extra points as a testosterone-boosting supplement. Pharmacologists in Egypt, who were looking for a cheap natural medicine to treat impotent or infertile diabetes patients, have discovered that ginger extracts can almost entirely wipe out the effects of diabetes on the testes. What’s more, they also seem to be safe in high doses.

Diabetes wreaks havoc with the testes. A decline in insulin sensitivity sends your testosterone production soaring and the production of healthy sperm plummeting. Because African [Asian J Androl. 2002 Dec;4(4):299-301.] and Iranian animal studies have shown that ginger has a positive effect on testes function, the researchers decided to try out homemade extracts of ginger root on rats in which diabetes had been artificially induced.

The Egyptian study is interesting because of its long duration. The African study we mentioned above lasted only 9 days and the Iranian one 20, but the Egyptians gave their lab animals extracts for a period of 65 days.

The methanol extracts in particular were effective in restoring the testosterone level and sperm production, as the table below shows.

The researchers believe that the chance of side effects is small. They calculated the LD 50 for the mice. That’s the acute dose level at which half of the animals died. For the water-based extracts the figure was 11.75 g, and for the methanol extracts 10.25 g/kg bodyweight. That’s high. At a dose of 5 g/kg bodyweight no mice died and the researchers detected no toxic effects.

Now men are not mice. The researchers refer to the Concise Handbook of Psychoactive Herbs by Marcello Spinella, in which it is stated that ginger becomes toxic to humans at somewhere between 170 and 250 g.

The researchers cite publications from journals that are not read in the West. One of these is the African Journal of Biomedical Research. In 2008 Nigerian researchers published the results of an animal study in this journal, in which healthy male rats were given 0.5 or 1 g/kg bodyweight of ginger tea. [African Journal of Biomedical Research, Vol. 11 (2008); 329 - 334.]

The ginger tea caused the testes of the animals to become heavier. Moreover, the higher dose doubled the testosterone level – after four weeks.

Food Chem Toxicol. 2010 Jul 25. [Epub ahead of print].

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