Ginkgo Biloba Side Effects

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The use of ginkgo biloba can be used to enhance memory, but it can also leave people at risk for kidney stones, nausea and vomiting. Find out how ginkgo biloba can cause the blood to thin when used with other medications with help from a registered and licensed dietitian in this free video on health and nutrition.

Part of the Video Series: Health & Nutrition
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Video Transcript

My name is Christine Marquette, and I'm a registered and licensed dietitian with Marquette Nutrition and Fitness, and I've been asked about ginkgo biloba side effects. Ginkgo biloba has been used primarily to enhance memory. It's been used primarily by older adults. There has been some benefit shown in some studies in older adults. Someone who is middle-aged or younger really does not necessarily get much of a benefit from ginkgo biloba. So keeping that in mind, the side effects may vary depending on the age of the person and the dosage. If an older person takes too high of a dose, they may be at risk for various problems such as kidney stones and any type of GI distress, whether that is nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Again, it varies person to person, and it also is very much dose-dependent. Another issue with ginkgo biloba is if the person is taking medications, there is a potential interaction between ginkgo and several different types of medications, particularly blood thinners -- medications such as Coumadin and Warfarin. Ginkgo has the ability to interact with those medications and cause the blood to become too thin. It actually acts...can act as a blood thinner in itself. So part of the risk with ginkgo is what other medications that you're taking. Also, your age. In a younger person, side effects don't tend to be quite as significant. So the main side effect to be wary of with ginkgo is if you're taking medications, particularly blood thinners, you want to avoid it. Again, if you take too high of a dose, you could develop kidney stones or any type of GI distress.

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