Ginkgo May Play Role in Building Strong Bones

Source: VERIS Research Information Service

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Ginkgo May Play Role in Building Strong Bones

BACKGROUND: The conventional recommendation is that strong bones (and a low risk of developing osteoporosis) depend on adequate calcium intake. However, a variety of other nutrients play roles in bone formation, and it is likely that still other bone-supporting nutrients will be discovered.

RESEARCH: In a cell-culture experiment, researchers exposed osteoblasts (a type of bone cell) to free radicals and an extract of Ginkgo biloba, a well-known antioxidant herb. Ginkgo contains several antioxidant compounds, called polyphenolics, that may prevent bone loss and osteoporosis-related bone fractures.

RESULTS: Osteoblast cells exposed to Ginkgo had a nearly four-fold increase in proliferation. The researchers concluded that the herb may increase cell energy levels, leading to greater proliferation.

IMPLICATIONS: Many of the antioxidant polyphenolics in Ginkgo are similar to those found in vegetables. Although this study used only cell cultures, future research may confirm that Ginkgo supplements can enhance bone formation.

Brayboy JR, Chen XW, Lee YS, et al. "The protective effects of Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761) against free radical damage to osteoblast-like bone cells (MC3T3-E1) and the proliferative effects of EGb 761on these cells," Nutrition Research, 2001;21:1275-1285.

This abstract is not available on Medline.

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