It’s a No on Ginkgo

Dr. Sharon Orrange
Dr. Orrange is an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine in the Division of Geriatric, Hospitalist and General Internal Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC.
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Memory loss, dementia, and cardiovascular disease prevention are the main reasons many of you wonder if you should be taking gingko (Gingko biloba).

There was hope for years in gingko. It works to improve blood flow through increased release of nitric oxide, and it works as an anti-inflammatory so it was believed to be neuroprotective.

Well, it doesn’t really do what we’d hoped. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine funded the Gingko Evaluation of Memory (GEM) study, the largest and longest trial done. The study found no scientific evidence that ginkgo decreases the incidence of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease in elderly adults and sadly, that it was ineffective in slowing cognitive decline. In that same study, ginkgo did not reduce incidence of or mortality from cardiovascular disease.

Gingko may cause side effects and interact with your meds. The main complaints in those taking gingko are GI complaints (nausea) and it can prolong bleeding so anyone having a surgical procedure needs to make their doc aware they are taking this.

Gingko interacts with many medications: alprazolam (Xanax), omeprazole, ritonavir (Norvir), antiepileptics, thiazide diuretics, ibuprofen, risperidone (Risperdal), trazodone and warfarin among others.

Worth it?

I think not.

Dr O.

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