Mice study shows chilli & ginger cancer-battling properties

By Eliot Beer

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Cancer

Consuming gingerol and capsaicin together could combat cancer, with gingerol counteracting capsaicin’s carcinogenic effects, according to a new study on mice.

Chinese researchers hypothesised that the long-term effects of gingerol and capsaicin, the main pungent and spicy compounds in ginger and chilli peppers respectively, on the TRPV1 receptor were the cause of their pro-carcinogenic or anti-carcinogenic properties.

Over 20 weeks they injected mice with urethane, known to cause adenocarcinoma, a lung cancer – then fed rats capsaicin in olive oil, gingerol in olive oil, capsaicin and gingerol in olive oil, or just olive oil on its own as a control. Mice received 50mg/kg body weight of capsaicin or gingerol.

While the control group saw a 70% incidence of carcinoma, the capsaicin-only group had a 100% incident rate, and the gingerol-only group had a 50% carcinoma rate.

Combination cuts cancer rate

However the group receiving gingerol and capsaicin together had only a 20% incident rate of carcinoma.

Our results suggested that the combination of gingerol and capsaicin not only reduced the risk of capsaicin carcinogenesis but also synergistically prevented urethane-induced lung carcinogenesis​,” wrote the authors of the study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry​.

chili pepper, spicy, piment, Droits d'auteur  wasan gredpree

This finding opens a new avenue for to counteract the capsaicin-related adverse health factors due to consumption of chili and represents a novel strategy in cancer chemoprevention​.”

Both capsaicin and gingerol act on the TRPV1 receptor, and capsaicin has been linked to higher incidence of cancers, particularly stomach cancer.

6-Gingerol […] is the predominant pungent constituent of fresh ginger and is also an agonist of TRPV1, and 6-gingerol has received much attention regarding cancer prevention but has never been reported to be carcinogenic​,” noted the authors.

Those [explanations] of how both capsaicin and 6-gingerol are agonists of TRPV1 but have opposite effects on cancer activities remains unclear​,” they added.

Gingerol corrects signalling, cuts inflammation

Following their study, the researchers came to three main conclusions: first, and unexpectedly, the capsaicin-gingerol combination can reverse the cancer-promoting effects of capsaicin, “suggesting a corrective role of gingerol in malfunctioning molecules along the disrupted signal transduction pathway during carcinogenesis​”.

They also showed gingerol reversed the pro-inflammatory and oxidative stress-promoting effect of capsaicin during lung carcinogenesis.

Finally, we showed that gingerol reversed the efficacy of capsaicin in the lung protein levels of TRPV1, EGFR, NF-κB and cyclin D1, and also reversed the pro-proliferation and EMT-promoting effects of capsaicin during lung carcinogenesis, indicating the major carcinogenic effect of capsaicin and anti-carcinogenic effect of gingerol​,” the authors wrote.


Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry

Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.6b02480

Gingerol Reverses the Cancer-Promoting Effect of Capsaicin by Increased TRPV1 Level in a Urethane-Induced Lung Carcinogenic Model​”

Authors: Geng, S. et al

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

A Lifetime of Healthy Aging: White Paper

A Lifetime of Healthy Aging: White Paper

Content provided by Gencor | 16-Aug-2023 | White Paper

Live a lifetime of healthy aging with gold standard, clinically-researched ingredients. At Gencor, we are proud to offer ingredients for healthy ageing...

Ingredients designed for women to empower women

Ingredients designed for women to empower women

Content provided by Gencor | 03-Jul-2023 | White Paper

At Gencor, we understand that women have different needs at the different stages of their lives – and that’s why we have clinically effective ingredients...

Related suppliers

Follow us


View more