(Natural News) It’s a fact that too much alcohol is dangerous to a person’s health – it’s even linked to brain damage. That said, researchers from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia have found that bitter ginger (Zingiber zerumbet) could be used to prevent the brain-damaging effects of alcohol consumption. In the study, published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers investigated the protective effects ethyl-acetate extract of bitter ginger against brain damage caused by alcohol in mice.
To test their theory, they randomly assigned mice into four groups: a control group; a group given with 1.8 grams per kilogram (g/kg) of alcohol; a group treated with 0.2 g/kg dose of bitter ginger extract and alcohol; and a group treated with 0.4 g/kg dose of bitter ginger extract and alcohol. The treatments were given orally once a day for 14 days, 30 minutes before alcohol exposure. After that, they performed biochemical tests to assess blood and brain homogenate and collected brain tissue samples for histological investigation.
Based on the results, even though both doses of the bitter ginger extract significantly reduced the levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) and protein carbonyl in the brain homogenate, the 0.4 g/kg dose was more effective in preventing ethanol-induced brain damage than the 0.2 g/kg dose. The reductions in the levels of MDA and protein carbonyl may be attributed to the high level of zerumbone present in the bitter ginger extract. MDA is a biomarker of oxidative stress, while protein carbonyl is an indicator of protein damage after alcohol consumption.
In addition, both doses of extracts reduced oxidative stress by increasing serum levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activities and glutathione (GSH) level.
Furthermore, histological analysis revealed that the extract of bitter ginger suppressed the loss of the nerve cells in the cerebellum cortex called Purkinje cells and retained the amount and shape of the cells.
In conclusion, the findings of the study suggested that the extract of bitter ginger can protect the brain from damages caused by alcohol.
Reversing the damaging side effects of alcohol consumption
Another body organ that is often negatively affected by alcohol consumption is the liver. The good thing is that the damage can still be reversed with diet, as long as it has not progressed too far. You can reverse the detrimental effects of alcohol by following this diet:
- Avoid fatty foods – Your diet should not include fatty foods, such as butter, cheese, cream, margarine, and meat.
- Eat fruits and vegetables of every color – Watermelon and papaya are especially helpful.
- Garlic and onion – The superfoods garlic and onion are most effective when you let allicin to be produced before eating or cooking them. This can be done by leaving them for 10 minutes after chopping.
- Herbal teas – You can also drink four cups of herbal teas, such as anise, chamomile, fennel, ginger, ginseng, reishi mushroom, and seaweed, each day. If you are not a tea drinker, you can drink water infused with fig leaves instead.
- Tomatoes – Tomatoes must be lightly cooked and must be eaten with a tiny drop of cold pressed oil or fish. Tomatoes and avocado is a good combination for an anti-alcohol diet. This is because avocado contains natural plant oils that help absorb lycopene in tomatoes.
- Plenty of water – Drinking a lot of water can help eliminate toxins out of the body.
- Take nutritional supplements – You can also take nutritional supplements to minimize the unwanted side effects of alcohol. These include B-vitamins, barley grass extracts, benfotiamine, chlorophyllin, grape seed extracts, methionine, n-acetylcysteine, resveratrol, selenium, silymarin, and vitamin C.
Read more news stories and studies on protecting the brain by going to Brain.news.