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health expert Dr John

Can this herb keep peripheral artery disease at bay

PAD or Peripheral Artery Disease is a painful condition and one you want to avoid at all costs.

At first, it feels just like a little numbness in an isolated area of the legs, a prickly feeling or leg pain while walking…

But in reality, this nasty disorder affects the blood vessels outside the brain and heart, causing them to narrow, restricting the blood flow to the arms, legs, kidneys or stomach.

In advanced cases of the disease, ulcers and gangrene may also develop.

As you can imagine, PAD is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

PAD affects about 10 million people in the United States, approximately 5% of people older than 50.

Diabetics and smokers are at highest risk of developing PAD.

PAD is also more common in African-Americans than any other ethnic or racial group. And men are slightly more likely than women to develop PAD.

PAD is a very nasty disease that very often goes undetected and untreated.

Available medications are few and not without side effects.

And so on and so forth.

Have I painted a grim enough picture?

Apologies.

But that’s precisely the message that I want to convey.

I want you to be very vigilant with your health.

I want you to quit smoking if you are still stuck to the old habit.

I want you to go out there and start walking, cycling or swimming.

I want you to follow a healthy diet.

Ultimately, I want you to stay away from this and many other chronic diseases.

A little help along the way – Gingko Biloba

Physicians in Europe have been using a highly standardized purified extract of Ginkgo Biloba leaves for treatment of PAD for a long time now.

They call it EGb761.

It has been estimated that 2,000 tons of EGb761 are consumed yearly in Germany and France, and this amount is increasing.

If you are not familiar with Gingko Biloba, let me tell you a little bit about it.

Native of China, Gingko Biloba is a very unique and persistent species of tree.

A true survivor.

In fact, the ginkgo is actually a living fossil, with fossils recognisably related to modern ginkgo from the Permian, dating back 270 million years.

Its fan-shaped leafs have been therapeutically used for centuries in Asian traditional medicines.

And while an extract from the Ginkgo Biloba tree has been thought to provide a "cheaper and safer" alternative to mainstream PAD treatments, a recent study hints that it does not reduce risk of heart attack or stroke in people over the age of 75.

Really?

How is that possible when twice as many subjects in the placebo group developed PAD compared to the ginkgo group in the six year study?

No, I know that’s not proof that ginkgo prevents PAD, but isn’t it worth looking into it further?

Because even if there is just a slight insinuation that ginkgo is a safe alternative for the prevention and treatment of PAD, it needs to be followed up.

After all, Ginkgo has a long history of being used in traditional medicine to treat blood disorders and improve memory.

Some studies have also shown that ginkgo improves blood circulation by opening up blood vessels and making blood less sticky.

Ginkgo leaves also contain flavonoids and terpenoids, which are both antioxidants. What does that mean?

It means that Gingko assists in your fight against free radicals which, as you very well know, contribute to heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease.

Antioxidants like those found in ginkgo fight off free radicals, and stop them from damaging DNA and mitochondria (your cells’ mini-powerstations)

So, don’t you think that there are enough reasons to give GB a try in the fight against PAD?

I certainly think so but (and I’d like to capitalize this BUT): if you do take a ginkgo supplement, or if you’re considering one, please bear in mind the following:

  • If you take drugs such as aspiring and warfarin, slight gastrointestinal bleeding is a potential side effect.
  • Ginkgo contains a compound called ginkgolic acid. A safe maximum level is 5 ppm. Higher levels may prompt side effects such as headaches and skin irritations.

The moral of the story?

Prevention is key.

Make sure you keep healthy.

Stop smoking and exercise – move your legs and you will be warding off this very nasty condition and all the pain associated with it.

 

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