Ginkgo biloba doesn’t prevent cardiovascular events but may have potential peripheral artery disease benefits

November 26, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Ginkgo biloba didn’t prevent cardiovascular death or major events such as heart attack and stroke in people age 75 and older, but the herb may affect peripheral vascular disease, according to research reported in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, a journal of the American Heart Association.

“Surprisingly, Ginkgo was associated with a reduction in peripheral artery disease, but the number of patients was small. The difference was statistically significant,” said Lewis H. Kuller, M.D., Dr.P.H., first author of the study and distinguished university professor of public health and professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh.

Gingko biloba contains a class of nutrients -- flavonoids -- found in fruits, vegetables, dark chocolate and red wine, which are believed to offer some protection against cardiovascular events.

The new findings come from the randomized, 3,069-patient Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory Study, whose researchers reported last year that the herb had no effect on dementia. As part of the study, researchers also assessed the herb’s role in preventing cardiovascular disease.

During an average 6.1 years, participants received either 120 mg of EGb761, a highly purified form of Ginkgo biloba or placebo twice daily. Participants were mostly white (95 percent) average age 79. More than half (55 percent) had high blood pressure and 25 percent had a history of cardiovascular disease.

During the trial, 385 patients died; 164 were hospitalized with heart attacks; 151 had strokes; 73 had transient ischemic attacks; and 207 experienced chest pain. Researchers found no significant differences between the Ginkgo biloba and placebo groups in any of these outcomes.

Among the 35 people who had major treatment for peripheral artery disease, 23 received placebo and 12 got Ginkgo biloba, a statistically significance difference.

“Clearly you can’t make a national recommendation based on these numbers, but the data is intriguing,” Kuller said. “ is a major public health problem and the preventive therapies are not very good. My feeling is that ginkgo and its class of agents, flavonoids, should be further evaluated to see if they have some benefit.”

The American Heart Association recommends that people get nutrients and beneficial plant compounds from a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, low fat and fat free dairy products, whole grains and fiber, with limited added sugars, low saturated fat and cholesterol.

Provided by American Heart Association (news : web)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Artificial beta cells

December 8, 2016

Researchers led by ETH Professor Martin Fussenegger at the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE) in Basel have produced artificial beta cells using a straightforward engineering approach.

Key regulator of bone development identified

December 8, 2016

Loss of a key protein leads to defects in skeletal development including reduced bone density and a shortening of the fingers and toes—a condition known as brachydactyly. The discovery was made by researchers at Penn State ...

Researchers question lifelong immunity to toxoplasmosis

December 8, 2016

Medical students are taught that once infected with Toxoplasma gondii—the "cat parasite"—then you're protected from reinfection for the rest of your life. This dogma should be questioned, argue researchers in an Opinion ...

TET proteins drive early neurogenesis

December 7, 2016

The fate of stem cells is determined by series of choices that sequentially narrow their available options until stem cells' offspring have found their station and purpose in the body. Their decisions are guided in part by ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.