Ginkgo Biloba Extract & Glaucoma
Ginkgo Biloba extract (GBE) has recently become the object of intense investigation regarding glaucoma. A freely available nutritional extract it’s most commonly known for its positive effect on brain functioning particularly in terms of memory enhancement mental alertness and reducing mental fatigue.
GBE also has several other biological actions many of which have prompted doctors and scientists to further study the herb. It improves central and peripheral blood flow reduces vasospasm (a sudden decrease in the internal diameter of blood vessels) and inhibits apoptosis (the disintegration and elimination of cells).
Normal tensive glaucoma the specific form of glaucoma that GBE shows the most promise in helping is a condition in which there’s damage to the patient’s optic nerve by an unknown cause (as of now; it is thought that decreased blood flow to the optic nerve plays a role) and visual field loss. In most other cases of glaucoma there is usually an abnormally high intraocular pressure. In normal tensive glaucoma however intraocular pressure levels are normal.
To help normal tensive glaucoma patients there needs to be an increased blood flow to the eye. Only calcium blockers are presently available for such treatment but these have not been widely adopted. Conventional treatment for all forms of glaucoma includes medication to reduce intraocular pressure which has been shown to slow the progression of the disease. However this treatment approach does not help those with normal tensive glaucoma as pressures are already low. Until recently existing visual field damage has been considered irreversible but studies have shown that GBE works to improve visual field loss or damage in normal tensive glaucoma – a significant breakthrough.
Preliminary studies of those with normal tensive glaucoma suggest that GBE’s antioxidant activity protects the optic nerve from oxidative damage; in addition GBE provides much-needed blood flow pumping oxygen to the starved optic nerve. Subsequently the elevated blood flow to the brain might increase eye sensitivity resulting in improved visual functioning. Some studies have also suggested that GBE might be beneficial for people with age-related macular degeneration another major cause of visual loss.
Possible side effects of GBE ingestion include gastrointestinal discomfort and headaches. Pregnant women people with blood clotting disorders and those currently taking MAO Inhibitors (a certain form of anti-depressant) should not take GBE.
PLEASE NOTE: Before taking this or any other form of supplement it is imperative that you speak with your doctor.