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Ginkgo Prevents Memory Loss?

Posted on September 13, 2017 | No Comments on Ginkgo Prevents Memory Loss?

Should Diabetics take Ginkgo to prevent memory loss?

There are no convincing studies, to date, that support the use of ginkgo in the diabetic population for the specific purpose of preventing memory loss. Ginkgo is a dietary supplement derived from the leaves of Ginkgo biloba, an ornamental tree. Ginkgo biloba is also known as gingko, gingkco, hill apricot, maiden hair tree, kew tree, oriental plum tree, silver apricot, silver fruit, and silver plume.

Ginkgo seeds have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Today, people use ginkgo leaf extracts hoping to improve memory, to treat or prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia, to decrease intermittent claudication (leg pain caused by narrowing arteries), and to treat sexual dysfunction, multiple sclerosis, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and other health conditions.

Ginkgo has many pharmacological effects due to the various compounds present in the extract. These compounds may act synergistically as the whole extract seems to be more active than the individual compounds. Some compounds act as scavengers for free radicals, some increase prostaglandin and norepinephrine release, and some are anti-inflammatory by binding to platelets and white blood cells.

What do the scientific studies say? Some promising results have been seen for Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, intermittent claudication, and tinnitus among others, but larger, well-designed research studies are needed. Some smaller studies for memory enhancement have had promising results, but a trial sponsored by the U.S. National Institute on Aging of more than 200 healthy adults over the age of 60 found that ginkgo taken for six weeks did not improve memory.

Natural remedies are not always safe. Side effects of ginkgo may include headache, stomach upset, diarrhea, dizziness, or allergic skin reactions. There are some data to suggest that ginkgo can increase bleeding risk. Uncooked ginkgo seeds contain ginkgotoxin which can cause seizures. Ginkgo may also interfere with the effect of diabetes medications.

Diabetic patients are usually already on multiple medications. The patient’s resources should be prioritized towards obtaining the proven and safe prescription medications. Dietary supplements are not inexpensive and not 100 percent safe. Please consult your health care professional before taking any supplement for any proven or unproven purpose.

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