Dental Dose is a twice-monthly video series featuring pharmacologist Tom Viola, RPh. In each episode, Viola shares bite-sized pieces of dental pharmacology news, facts, and myths.
This week's episode of Dental Dose is brought to you by the letter G. In the episode, Viola breaks down the alleged benefits and real risks of four popular supplements that begin with G: garlic, ginger, ginseng, and ginkgo biloba.
If you listen to the claims, garlic, ginger, ginseng, and ginkgo will improve your health and vitality. Anecdotally, eating raw garlic can lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels, while consuming ginger and ginseng can boost endurance. Proponents of ginkgo say an extract of the leaf can increase cognition.
But what does the science say? Not much because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn't regulate supplements, and there are few clinical studies, Viola said.
"Almost what we're going on is sales and marketing," he said. "The bottom line is we really don't know much about them."
However, there's one thing these four supplements have in common. They can increase the risk of bleeding -- something dental professionals should be aware of.
"These four G dietary supplements are grouped together because they all increase the risk of bleeding after procedures," Viola said.
Viola cautioned that patients may be at increased risk of bleeding if they take these supplements and other medications with anticoagulant or antiplatelet effects. Patients may not think to disclose their use of garlic, ginger, ginseng, and ginkgo on intake forms.
"For a lot of folks, these aren't medications and drugs," Viola said.
Learn more about these four G supplements in the video below.
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