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J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Jun;14(5):545-51. doi: 10.1089/acm.2007.0817.

Protein and ginger for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced delayed nausea.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Siena College, Loudonville, NY 12211, USA.



Nausea that develops during the period that begins 24 hours after the administration of chemotherapy is called delayed nausea, and occurs in many patients with cancer. Meals high in protein decrease the nausea of motion sickness and pregnancy, possibly by reducing gastric dysrhythmias. Ginger also has antinausea properties.


To explore the use of protein meals with ginger for the treatment of the delayed nausea of chemotherapy.


Twenty-eight (28) patients with cancer receiving chemotherapy for the first time were assigned to 1 of 3 groups. For 3 days beginning the day after their chemotherapy, Control Group patients continued with their normal diet, Protein Group patients consumed a protein drink and ginger twice daily, and High Protein Group patients consumed a protein drink with additional protein and ginger twice daily.


Patients recorded in a diary each day whether they had experienced nausea, whether their nausea had been frequent, whether their nausea had been bothersome, and whether they had needed any antiemetic medication. Gastric myoelectrical activity was assessed in 5 patients before and after ingestion of a high protein meal and ginger.


Reports of nausea, frequent nausea, and bothersome nausea were significantly less common among High Protein Group patients than among Control and Protein Group patients. Furthermore, significantly fewer patients in the High Protein Group used antiemetic medication. Differences between the Protein and Control groups were not statistically significant. In the 5 patients who had tests of gastric myoelectrical activity performed, a significant decrease in gastric dysrhythmia occurred after ingestion of the protein and ginger.


High protein meals with ginger reduced the delayed nausea of chemotherapy and reduced use of antiemetic medications. Protein with ginger holds the potential of representing a novel, nutritionally based treatment for the delayed nausea of chemotherapy.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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