Posts Tagged ‘macular degeneration’

Gingko Biloba NOT Associated with Risk of Bleeding

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

For years, doctors have been warning of a possible bleeding side effect of ginko biloba, an flavonoid and terpenoid antioxidant herb that has been found to have many beneficial effects in the body.

Some doctors worried about drug interactions with specific medications, have warned a patient not to use ginko biloba due to an increased risk of bleeding. This warning is normally reserved for NSAIDs, like ibuprofen and aspirin. However, doctors started lumping in gingko biloba with NSAIDs, as causing a potential bleeding interaction.

Although such concerns are very rare, sometimes doctors warn patients about possible side effects of gingko biloba used in combination with anticonvulsive drugs, SSRI antidepressants, and immunosuppressive drugs. However, such concerns are so rare that there may be only one or two case reports …which do not necessarily show a cause and effect of using gingko biloba and the medical concern. For example, Serotonin Syndrome can happen with any SSRI with or without gingko biloba. The fact that a person who experienced Serotonin Syndrome and happen to also be taking gingko biloba does not show a cause and effect. Why blame the gingko biloba, when it was the SSRI could cause this serious problem on its own?

In either case, we can cross the biggest concern that doctors have had about gingko biloba off the list, that of increasing the risk of bleeding.

This month (May 2011), a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled studies found that there is NOT an associated risk of bleeding with standardized ginko biloba extract. Andrea J Kellermann and Charlotte Kloft (2011). Is There a Risk of Bleeding Associated with Standardized Ginkgo biloba Extract Therapy? A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Pharmacotherapy: Volume 31, Issue 5, pp. 490-502. (See reference link below.)

People can continue to use ginko biloba extract for many reasons, and now do so without the worry of abnormal bleeding; nor worry about drug interactions that are normally a concern with aspirin and other NSAIDs.

Eighteen randomized controlled studies involving a total of 1,985 adults were enrolled to receive either ginko biloba exract (GBE) or placebo; 87% were patients with dementia, peripheral artery disease, or diabetes mellitus; 13% were healthy volunteers. Based on meta-analysis of hemostasis outcomes, comparison of mean difference or baseline change between treatment and placebo groups did not indicate a higher bleeding risk associated with standardized GBE. (See reference below.)

In other words, ginko biloba extract does not increase the risk of bleeding problems as do NSAIDs.

Gingko biloba extract is often used alone, or even better, in conjunction with other nutritional supplements such as vitamin E, vitamin C, fish oil, grape seed extract, resveratrol, co-enzyme Q10, olive extract, tumeric extract, and many others, for multiple purposes. A partial list of some of these conditions that antioxidants such as gingko biloba extract and others have been shown to provide benefits are:

Macular Degeneration
Dementia in Alzheimer’s Disease
NON-Alzheimer’s Dementia
Mutliple Scelerosis

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