Researchers report that the herbal supplement may help ward off peripheral artery disease. According to the findings of a new study, the popular herbal remedy might help prevent the leg-circulation problem known as peripheral artery disease.
Ginkgo contains nutrients called flavonoids, which are also found in fruits, vegetables, dark chocolate and red wine, and are believed to offer some protection against cardiovascular events, according to the researchers. The supplement, increasingly popular in the United States and Europe, has been touted to improve memory, and to prevent dementia, heart disease and stroke.
Reserachers at the University of Pittsburgh found that ginkgo had no benefit in preventing heart attack or stroke. Consistent with observations of researchers in Europe, the medical experts noted that ginkgo appeared to have some benefit in preventing peripheral vascular disease.
Last year the same University of Pittsburgh team reported that ginkgo biloba had no effect on preventing dementia. For their latest study, reearchers randomly assigned 3,069 patients to 120 milligrams of highly purified ginkgo biloba or placebo, twice a day as part of the Ginkgo Evaluation of Memory Study.
Over the six years of the trial, 385 participants died, 164 had heart attacks, 151 had strokes, 73 had mini-strokes (“transient ischemic attacks”) and 207 had chest pain, the researchers found. There was no significant difference between those taking ginkgo or placebo for any of these outcomes, the study reports.
However, among the 35 people who were treated for peripheral artery disease, 23 received placebo and 12 were taking ginkgo — a statistically significance difference, the researchers noted. About 8 million Americans have peripheral artery disease according to the American Association for Critical Illness Insurance.
Peripheral artery disease typically affects the arteries in the pelvis and legs. Symptoms include cramping and pain or tiredness in the hip muscles and legs when walking or climbing stairs, although not everyone who has PAD is symptomatic. The pain usually subsides during rest.