Ginkgo Biloba or Ginkgo is the last remaining species of Ginkgophyta. Ginkgo mainly protects against mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress making it a potent nootropic for brain health. Mitochondria are the energy systems of cells that take in nutrients, break them down and create energy rich molecules. Ginkgo is also used in traditional remedies and as a functional food.
Ginkgo leaf has been found in fossils dating back 270 million years. Ginkgo has been used since ancient times in Chinese herbal remedy. These trees have strong resistance to air pollutants and tolerate confined soil space. This makes them adept in urban environments. Ginkgo is similar to guarana in it's energy promoting capabilities to enhance athletic performance, and reduce mental and physical fatigue.
Ginkgo Biloba Memory Boost
Why is Ginkgo so effective at increasing memory, energy levels and concentration? It consists of 2 main phytonutrients: flavonoids and terpenoids. These help to combat oxidative stress that worsens with age and help to slow the progression of age related diseases like declining memory, poor mood, and low energy levels that plague society.
Plant based antioxidants have been determined to be the main culprits of health behind ginkgo. It’s currently the most studied and adopted herbal remedy for cognitive disorders and Alzheimer’s disease .
What Are Antioxidants?
Antioxidants do exactly what the name suggests. They inhibit oxidation of not only stored food but when used inside your body they remove damaging oxidizing agents. If you've ever watched fruit that is cut open turn brown, you are witnessing oxidation. Your body naturally produces antioxidants and free radicals, but with inadequate nutrient intake, pollution, and toxins all around us, our bodies typically do not produce enough antioxidants to counteract the amount of free radicals. You must continuously ingest antioxidants in order to receive the maximum benefit. Routinely supplementing with nootropics high in antioxidants will ensure your body and brain will neutralize and remove free radicals from your blood.
Common uses for ginkgo include; PMS, short term memory loss, depression, poor circulation, diabetic neuropathy and retinopathy, vertigo, macular degeneration, low energy, difficulty focusing, headaches, and atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries and plaque buildup).
GINKGO BILOBA HEALTH BENEFITS
- Improve Concentration
- Increase Memory
- Elevate Mood
- Increase Energy
- Healthy Vision Restored
- Antioxidant | Fight Inflammation
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Neuroprotectant Benefits Of Ginkgo Biloba
A study published in January 2017 for the U.S. National Library of Medicine has claimed that the antioxidant activity from ginkgo biloba is attributed to its neuroprotective effects. Making it a potent antioxidant that will fight cancer causing free radicals, as well as protecting neurons from stress that will damage cognitive processes overtime.
Researchers occluded the middle cerebral artery of mice in order to mimic ischemic stroke. This blocks the blood flow and causes an infarct in the adjacent area. An infarct is the area of the brain tissue that is dying. A 12 month administration of ginkgo biloba extract significantly ameliorated the ischemic injury of the aged mice. Basically the level of degeneration was decreased and the stroke was less severe as measured by the size of the infarct and brain edema (swelling).
The authors conclude that their observations collectively support that natural antioxidant EGb-761 from ginkgo biloba could be potentially exploited as an effective approach in reducing neurological injury during aging .
Taking ginkgo in a stack with alpha lipoic acid further aids neuroprotective effects and supports overall brain health.
Ginkgo Biloba Antioxidants Decrease Inflammation
Ginkgo leaves contain flavonoids and terpenoids, which are both antioxidants. In your body, harmful particles called free radicals build up as you age, and contributes to heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer disease. Antioxidants like those found in ginkgo fight off free radicals, and stop them from damaging DNA and other cells .
Greater vascular dilation helps to support healthy blood vessels which in turn supports brain activity, immune function and detoxifying elements. Since Ginkgo has the potential to dilate blood vessels it has been suspected in improving male sexual performance. Improving blood flow to that sensitive area could make a big difference. An erection is merely increased blood flow sustained in a concentrated area.
Improve Concentration With Ginkgo Biloba Supplementation
It has been theorized that Ginkgo helps our brain cells with glucose (blood sugar) uptake. This improved uptake has the potential to improve memory, task completion, mood, vision and heart beat regulation by increasing nerve signal transmission.
Think of nerve signal transmission like trying to speed through a congested highway carrying an important message. Ginkgo then comes along and adds an empty HOV lane just for you. Your new found speed can help get your message to its recipient much faster, and in this case an even more effective message.
Increase Memory With Ginkgo Biloba Supplements
People experiencing cognitive decline have shown benefits in memory from taking ginkgo. Alzheimer’s patients on traditional medicine have an added benefit from supplementing their diets as well. Additionally, alpha GPC is another powerful nutrient that is commonly used to improve memory and can be taken alongside ginkgo for further benefit.
In a recent study conducted in the journal Phytomedicine, researchers suggest that there is an added benefit to ginkgo supplementation for Alzheimer’s patients currently taking cholinesterase inhibitors .
Elevate Mood By Taking Ginkgo Biloba
Evidence suggests that Ginkgo supplementation helps individuals fight off symptoms of depression and anxiety. Early research has shown improvement in; mood swings, headache severity and duration, anxiety, energy and muscle pain.
Think of Ginkgo as an internal body warrior, ready to battle stressors and help your ability to cope by counteracting stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. We could all use a little cortisol reduction in our lives, let’s be honest.
Women involved in a recent study published in 2008 were given ginkgo to help counteract the physical and psychological symptoms associated with PMS. After 6 months of supplementation with 40mg taken daily, 23.7% of the Ginkgo group compared to 8.7% of the placebo group experienced significant reductions in symptoms .
Increase Energy From Ginkgo Biloba Supplements
Ginkgo has been studied extensively for its effect on patients with Alzheimer’s. Why, because they have the greatest memory loss. If memory can be corrected for these patients, I’m willing to bet healthy minds will stay cognitively sharper, for longer. Just like when you treat your body right, your longevity improves over time. So treating your brain with nootropic blends formulated for memory and focus will go a long way in sustaining your thought processes as you age.
Anecdotally, the evidence for improved energy among long term ginkgo users is immense. A simple search reveals thousands of articles and blog posts with remarks from satisfied users.
Ginkgo has also been used for thousands of years as an energy tonic. Studying students take it like candy during finals weeks across the country. Youthful and elderly alike use it to help their focus and productivity.
Ginkgo works well for these groups by increasing blood flow to the brain. This allows greater energy metabolism by neurons which can improve our brain's communication pathways resulting in faster processing and reaction time.
A study reported in The Journal of Neural Transmission on dementia found that deficits in learning, memory, and cognition were partially compensated with the administration of ginkgo biloba. Cerebral glucose energy metabolism was a primary factor of the research . The key takeaway here is that the disturbances in cerebral energy metabolism caused by dementia returned to almost completely normal levels.
Healthy Vision Restored By Ginkgo Biloba
Senile, dry macular degeneration is a common condition for people over 65 in which they experience blurred or reduced central vision. The macula is responsible for direct line of sight vision and is a part of the retina. This is largely a result of what is considered normal aging or age related visual loss.
The following research study is ever more fascinating. Researchers gave 2 groups ginkgo over a 6 month period. Group one (50) received 240mg and group two (49) 60mg daily. Marked improvement in both groups’ vision was reported after 4 weeks.
Furthermore, the fraction of patients with improvement of visual acuity was nearly twice as large in group one as compared to group two who received the smaller dose. The authors went on to state their study demonstrated therapeutic efficacy for ginkgo biloba with obvious benefits to everyday life .
STACKING WITH GINKGO BILOBA
Ginkgo biloba has an excellent synergistic effect when taken with huperzine A. Since NO(nitric oxide) is believed to play a major role in neuronal degeneration, taking ginkgo and hup A in combination was shown to block the inhibition of cell growth, and apoptosis caused by a NO precursor sodium, nitroprusside (SNP). These results suggest that inhibition of NO induced neurotoxicity is just one mechanism of ginkgo and Hup A as therapeutic agents for neurodegenerative diseases .
GINKGO BILOBA PROFESSIONAL RECOMMENDATION
I’ve recommended Ginkgo to all my patients looking to improve cognition, mood and energy levels. Anecdotally, most report improvements in productivity and work output.
The 40 mg provided in the PMS study mentioned above is actually quite low. My female patients are taking at least 100 mg of ginkgo daily and have noticed meaningful changes in mood, and have even reported reductions in cramping.
When considering visual deficits, 240mg has been shown to be effective at improving vision.
One of the biggest problems when it comes to lack of concrete evidence for supplementation in healthy individuals is that they aren’t on the forefront of concern. Researchers in the past have been more concerned with saving lives so most studies focused on the sick, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn't care about prolonging healthy lives and using what is naturally available to us to improve our longevity.
Research studies also cost a lot of money, take a ton of time, and have to be approved by a review board. If people are dying from X, it’s rather difficult to argue for more quality studies to benefit the already generally healthy. Although this trend has started in the 21st century. Genetic modification and biotechnology aim to advance the health and lifespan of everyone.
We all want to function at a high level for as long as possible. So focus is no longer only on the sick and If we shift our attention we will be able to help much of the sickness that accompanies metabolic disease.
GINKGO BILOBA SIDE EFFECTS
Ginkgo has been mentioned to possibly interfere with anticoagulant drugs like Warfarin (Coumadin) but medical literature does not support this claim. One study reported on 15 cases of bleeding, 13 of which had other causal factors. Only 3 reported elevated bleeding times. Which we know that ginkgo is a vasodilator.
If you’re taking blood thinner or have a medical condition in which your blood does not normally coagulate, then ginkgo could pose a risk for you. Take caution using ginkgo if you are also taking NSAIDs like ibuprofen as your risk of bleeding may increase.
People with a history of strong allergic reactions to alkylphenols ie poison ivy, cashews and mangoes have the potential to be allergic to ginkgo. The male species of ginkgo is more common and responsible for its high OPALS allergy rating.
RECAP OF GINKGO BILOBA
Ginkgo Biloba and its extracts show strong efficacy for...
- Potent anti-inflammatory
- Neuroprotectant that reduces cellular damage in the brain
- Antioxidant properties to protect against free radical and oxidative damage to cells
- Increasing energy levels for mental & physical performance
- Memory, concentration & mood for quality decision making
- Potentially help symptoms of PMS
- Age related visual loss & macular degeneration
Where can I buy ginkgo biloba supplements?
You can find ginkgo biloba in the supplements aisle at your favorite local health foods store or buy directly from online retailers such as Amazon.
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