Based on an article published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the combination of a compound found in peppers together with a compound found in ginger has an additive effect in lowering the risk for cancer.
Previous research suggests that capsaicin, the pepper compound, may actually contribute to the development of cancer. However, this new study shows that the ginger compound, 6-gingerol, might actually counteract capsaicin’s potentially harmful effects — and when combined with capsaicin might be more effective than on its own.
Both capsaicin and 6-gingerol bind to the same cellular receptor, one that is associated with tumor growth. In order to investigate further, the study researchers fed mice that were prone to developing lung cancer either capsaicin alone or 6-gingerol alone, or a combination of both compounds.
The results: All the mice that had consumed only capsaicin developed lung cancer. In comparison, 50% of the mice that consumed only 6-gingerol developed lung cancer — as did just 20% of the mice that consumed both capsaicin and 6-gingerol.
Geng S, Zheng Y, Meng M, et al. Gingerol Reverses the Cancer-Promoting Effect of Capsaicin by Increased TRPV1 Level in a Urethane-Induced Lung Carcinogenic Model. J Agric Food Chem. 2016;64(31):6203-11.