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Discover the incredible benefits of Ginkgo Biloba and learn how to use it

With a somewhat “exotic” name, Ginkgo Biloba is a tree that can reach over 40 meters. Ginkgo Biloba extract is obtained from the leaves of this tree that has Chinese, Japanese and Korean origins. However, as highlighted by the nutritionist Ana Luisa Vilela, nowadays, it is found in several places in the world, including Brazil.

Considered a living fossil, Ginkgo Biloba is millions of years old. “There are several benefits attributed to Ginkgo Biloba, including being one of the 10 most used medicinal herbs in the world”, comments the nutritionist.

Clarissa Fujiwara, nutritionist and Master of Science at the University of São Paulo (USP), nutrition coordinator at the HC-FMUSP Childhood Obesity League, member of the Brazilian Association for the Study of Obesity and Metabolic Syndrome (ABESO) and the American Society for Nutrition (ASN), comments that the Ginkgo Biloba extract is made up of: flavonoids (such as kaempferol, quercetin), biflavonoids (such as amentoflavone, bilobetin, ginkgetin and isoginkgetin) and terpenes (such as ginkgolides).

“It is one of the most used medicinal herbs nationally and worldwide and, although there is still no established consensus on the effectiveness of its action and benefits, this extract is attributed pharmacological properties, especially in increasing blood flow to tissues and inhibiting aggregation. platelet”, highlights the nutritionist.

Amazing Benefits of Ginkgo Biloba

Want to know why this medicinal herb is so popular?

1. Benefits neurological health

Clarissa explains that Ginkgo Biloba is used to improve diseases and symptoms resulting from the deficiency of oxygen flow to the tissues (a condition called hypoxia), benefiting neurological health, such as altered cognitive functions and memory loss, vertigo, tinnitus, early stages of dementia, among others.

“Pharmacological properties of Ginkgo Biloba are described based on the protective effects of organic brain diseases and their functional manifestations (memory failure, concentration difficulties) and neurodegenerative processes related to senility (or aging) due to the increase in the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the nerve cells and treatment of cerebral ischemia”, explains the nutritionist.

“Additionally, in addition to the neuroprotective effects, there is an improvement in the uptake of choline – a substance necessary for the synthesis of acetylcholine, a chemical mediator of synapses – in the hippocampus region, improving memory processes and the ability to learn”, adds the nutritionist.

2. Benefits the circulatory system

“Due to its activity in arterial vasodilation, increasing blood circulation at various levels and, consequently, improving tissue irrigation, it is indicated in the case of diseases of the circulatory system, such as arteriopathies, and impairment of microcirculation and tingling, capillary fragility and treatment of microvaricose veins”, explains Clarissa.

3. Decreases the risk of thrombosis

Clarissa explains that the herb also works by reducing the risk of thrombosis by lower platelet aggregation, as it inhibits platelet aggregation factor (PAF) and contributes to a decrease in blood viscosity.

4. It has antioxidant action

“Bioactive compounds have antioxidant action and are of potential benefit in all situations where intense oxidation occurs and reduction of damage caused by free radicals, such as cellular aging”, explains Clarissa.

“Ginkgo extract is used as a complementary therapeutic strategy in cases of migraine and disorders in otorhinolaryngology, such as labyrinthitis. As a result of the antioxidant action, it acts positively in ophthalmological diseases, by reducing cellular damage to the retina and macular degeneration”, adds the nutritionist.

Proven benefits?

Although many benefits are attributed to this medicinal herb, are they all proven? Is Ginkgo really that beneficial?

The nutritionist Ana Luisa points out that Ginkgo Biloba has proven antioxidant action. “It causes vasodilation of cerebral blood vessels, increasing blood perfusion in the brain, prevents clots from forming, and optimizes the brain’s utilization of glucose,” she says.

However, highlights Ana Luisa, there is no scientific evidence that Ginkgo Biloba actually has an effective action in the treatment and prevention of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and stroke.

“A study published in 2008, which followed more than 3000 elderly people for 8 years, showed that the daily use of Ginkgo Biloba showed no evidence that the drug is superior to placebo in the prevention of dementia. Therefore, there is no scientific evidence to support the use of Ginkgo for the treatment or prevention of dementia”, explains the nutritionist.

But, points out Ana Luisa, there are some problems in which science has been able to prove the effectiveness of Ginkgo Biloba. Among them:

  • Vertigo;
  • erectile dysfunction;
  • Depression;
  • Anxiety disorders;
  • Circulatory problems of the lower limbs (small efficacy, only slightly superior to placebo).

How to consume Ginkgo Biloba?

Clarissa explains that the phytotherapic is basically found in the form of capsules that contain the standardized extract called EGB761, which must contain a minimum content of 24% of glycosylated flavonoids and 6% of terpenoids. “In general, for adults, a daily intake of between 80 and 240 mg (which can be divided throughout the day) of Ginkgo Biloba is recommended. Other forms of presentation are solutions or in the form of teas, made from the leaves,” she says.

Ana Luisa highlights that studies carried out with Ginkgo Biloba extract, and also according to the indications of most manufacturers, it is recommended to consume 40 mg 3 times a day, or 60 to 80 mg 2 times a day”, she says.

Ginkgo Biloba side effects

Ana Luisa highlights that Ginkgo Biloba has a low rate of adverse effects. “However, when these do occur, they often present in the form of nausea, headache, diarrhea, and abdominal pain,” she says.

In addition, according to the nutritionist, some points should be taken into account:

  • Due to lack of clinical studies, the substance is not recommended for pregnant women.
  • Another important point is to always consume with guidance. There are currents that understand that prolonged use without a break can cause kidney and liver overload, so medical monitoring is always important.
  • Due to the inhibitory action on platelets, it can increase the risk of bleeding in some situations, so patients who will undergo surgical procedures should inform their doctor about the use of the substance.

Clarissa reinforces that, despite being relatively safe, Ginkgo biloba should be used with caution like any other medication. “Adverse reactions may rarely occur in approximately 5% of cases and consist of gastrointestinal disturbances such as nausea and abdominal discomfort. Less frequent, side effects such as dizziness and drop in blood pressure, vertigo, headache or even increased skin sensitivity can be observed, causing allergies or skin reactions”, he says.

“Due to the greater risk of causing bleeding and hemorrhages and, considering the possibility of enhancing the effect of anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs, it is recommended to suspend Ginkgo Biloba before performing surgical procedures”, adds the nutritionist.

Ginkgo Biloba contraindications

According to Clarissa, the plant is contraindicated for hemophilic patients (disorder that affects blood clotting) and, due to lack of evidence regarding safety, judicious administration is recommended under strict clinical control in lactating women (women who are breastfeeding), pregnant women, as well as in the pediatric population.

Ana Luisa adds that there are reports that Ginkgo Biloba interferes with the action of anticonvulsant medications. “So, people who use this type of medication should consult a doctor before using it”, concludes the doctor.

Now you know that Ginkgo Biloba can, in fact, offer interesting benefits to health as a whole, however, for a safe and effective use, medical or nutritional guidance and monitoring are essential.

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only. They do not replace the advice and follow-up of doctors, nutritionists, psychologists, physical education professionals and other specialists.

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