Polyphenol-Rich Ginger (Zingiber officinale) for Iron Deficiency Anaemia and Other Clinical Entities Associated with Altered Iron Metabolism
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is rich in natural polyphenols and may potentially complement oral iron therapy in treating and preventing iron deficiency anaemia (IDA). This narrative review explores the benefits of ginger for IDA and other clinical entities associated with altered iron metabolism. Through in vivo, in vitro, and limited human studies, ginger supplementation was shown to enhance iron absorption and thus increase oral iron therapy’s efficacy. It also reduces oxidative stress and inflammation and thus protects against excess free iron. Ginger’s bioactive polyphenols are prebiotics to the gut microbiota, promoting gut health and reducing the unwanted side effects of iron tablets. Moreover, ginger polyphenols can enhance the effectiveness of erythropoiesis. In the case of iron overload due to comorbidities from chronic inflammatory disorders, ginger can potentially reverse the adverse impacts and restore iron balance. Ginger can also be used to synthesise nanoparticles sustainably to develop newer and more effective oral iron products and functional ingredients for IDA treatment and prevention. Further research is still needed to explore the applications of ginger polyphenols in iron balance and anaemic conditions. Specifically, long-term, well-designed, controlled trials are required to validate the effectiveness of ginger as an adjuvant treatment for IDA.
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