Ginkgo Biloba as Smart Drugs in Global Focus Nootropic in Earth Grown Ingredients

Ginkgo Biloba

Salisburia Adiantifolia

Derived from the leaf of the Ginkgo Biloba tree (Salisburia adiantifolia), also known as the Maidenhair tree, Ginkgo Biloba has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. With some existing trees believed to be over 2500 years old, Ginkgo Biloba serves as a powerhouse for elite athletes and the elderly alike, boosting overall brain function by regulating neurotransmitters and acting as an antioxidant, preventing neurodegeneration, and supporting microcirculation within blood vessels. [source:1] Over 40 components have been found in Ginkgo Biloba, the most significant of these being flavonoid and terpenoids, which both have strong antioxidant properties. The standardised extract is referred to as EDb 761 and is 24% flavone glycosides (flavonoids) and 6% terpenes (made up of ginkgolides and bilobalides).

 

History

Dating back some 270 million years, this “living fossil” has been recorded as being used for its health benefits as long ago as 2800 B.C, when the Chinese Materia Medica recommended it for vascular and circulatory issues as well as brain health and memory. [source:2] [source:3]

The University of Maryland Medical Centre published a paper reporting that Ginkgo Biloba is the oldest tree species on Earth, as well as being one of top selling herbal remedies in our modern world. [source:4] Studied in depth for decades, particularly in China and Germany, the focus is now on the standardised Ginkgo liquid and its properties. Based on this research, the benefits are thought to include improved cognitive function and mental performance, increased memory, circulatory improvements and protection against mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress. [source:5] Indeed, the results have been so positive that Germany has begun to offer Ginkgo Biloba as a prescribed drug.

 

Benefits

Having been around for centuries, it’s fair to say that Ginkgo Biloba has been trialed on many different maladies. Here, we’ll discuss the results in more depth. The key performance & health improvements were found in:

  • Cognition and Mental Performance
  • Increased Concentration
  • Cerebral Circulation
  • Improved Quality of Life
  • Reduced Risk of Alzheimer’s and Dementia
  • Vision and Eye Health

 

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Cognition and Mental Performance

As well as a well-known memory enhancer in the nootropics industry, Ginkgo Biloba has been found to improve attention, processing speed and mood. [source:6] The anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce antioxidant activity, which in turn reduces oxidative stress, improves circulation and maintains cognitive health. 

It has also been shown to decrease the effects of monoamine oxidase (MAO) in the brain. MAO attacks dopamine, which is the chemical compound responsible for positivity (commonly known as the 'happy chemical'). [source:7] [source:8] Ginkgo Biloba therefore also benefits the brain through increased dopamine levels. [source:9]

A study of 262 adults by Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia tested a 180mg dose of Ginkgo Biloba against a placebo for 6 weeks. The trial was double-blind and the participants were put through a number of tests at the beginning and end of the study. The group taking the supplement showed a significant improvement in their memory and visual/verbal recall compared to those taking the placebo. [source:10] Similar studies into the effects of Ginkgo Biloba have found the same results. [source:11] [source:12]

 

Increased Concentration

Research has shown that alongside reversing cognitive decline and fatigue, Ginkgo Biloba can improve levels of concentration. A placebo-controlled, double-blind trial of 20 adults at the University of Northumbria, UK tested 20 healthy volunteers to determine the impact of Ginkgo Biloba on attention and memory. Subjects took either a placebo, or a single dose of 120mg, 240mg or 360mg extract. Tests for attention accuracy and speed, memory quality and memory speed were done before the initial dose, and at further intervals up to 6 hours after the dose. Results found that those who took the Ginkgo extract improved their results, particularly in ‘speed of attention’, with the best results being in the 360mg group. The result was noted at the tests conducted 2.5 hours post-dose, but even 6 hours after the first dose its effect was noticeable. The test concluded that Ginkgo Biloba produces “sustained improvement in attention in healthy young volunteers”. [source:13]

 

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Cerebral Circulation

Brain functions are benefitted by Ginkgo Biloba, thanks to its circulatory properties increasing cerebral blood flow. Terpenoids such as ginkgolides enable more efficient blood flow by dilating blood vessels and changing the qualities of platelets. [source:14] [source:15] The increased blood flow improves the glucose and oxygen available for neurons within the brain, thereby improving memory, cognition, learning and recall. [source:12] [source:14]

A study at John Hopkins University School of Medicine by the Department of Radiology, conducted a study to measure cerebral blood flow. All participants took 60mg of Ginkgo Biloba twice a day over a four-week period, and MRI’s were taken before and after this period. The study found a significant increase in cerebral blood flow across all areas of the brain at the end of the four-week trial. [source:16]

 

Improved Quality of Life

A study of 1570 adults in England compared the self-reported improvements in mood, alertness and perceived quality of life across four groups. The activities assessed included remembering important dates, doing household chores, and giving and taking directions. Mood was measured by ratings on energy, anxiety and happiness (among others), while Alertness was based on factors including dizziness, relaxation and clumsiness. The control group took no supplement, while the other groups took 120mg of Ginkgo extract daily for 4, 6 and 10 months respectively. 

Findings showed that levels of reported improvement increased alongside the length of Ginkgo Biloba use. The participants on the 10-month trial reported a better outlook on their quality of life than any other group. [source:17]

The Institute for Medical Psychology, University of Munich conducted a test to compare self-reported mental health and quality of life ratings across two groups who had similar general health. After a four-week period, the Gingko group reported better emotional health and motor performance than the placebo group. [source:18]

Further studies reviewed by the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine supported these findings. [source:19]

 

Reduce Risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s

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Although it may not be a complete cure, a large number of studies have found that Ginkgo can be effective in increasing cognitive ability in those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, Dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. [source:20] The research suggests that while benefits can be seen across all age groups, those that are most significant are in patients aged 50+. Alzheimer’s sufferers taking Ginkgo supplements reported improvements based on the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS-Cog) and Activities of Daily Living (ADL) Scale. [source:21]

The International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology found that Ginkgo Biloba is one of “the most investigated and adopted herbal remed[ies]” for Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders. [source:21]

 

Helps Maintain Vision and Eye Health

As we learn more about the main causes of eye disorders and vision loss in the aging population, it is becoming clear that vascular issues and oxidative stress are to blame in a disproportionate amount of cases. Improving blood flow to the eyes through the content of terpenoids, and having antioxidant properties, Ginkgo Biloba may well help to prevent eye degeneration caused by free radicals. [source:22]

 

Other

Other benefits that have been studied & reported, or clinically researched include;

  • Alleviating depression and anxiety
  • Increasing libido
  • Treatment of ADHD
  • Treatment of migraines
  • Reduction in asthma
  • Fights Symptoms of PMS

 

Side Effects

Although studies indicate that Ginkgo Biloba Extract is unlikely to cause any side effects, caution should be taken by those suffering from certain medical conditions or taking medications. Due to its circulatory properties, the extract may be unsuitable for those taking blood thinning medication or due to undergo surgery. It is always recommended to consult your doctor prior to using any herbal or pharmaceutical health product.

 

 

This information should be used for guidance only, please consult with a medical professional before taking any dietary supplement. Should you suffer from any ongoing medical conditions or have any concerns at all, consult your doctor in the first instance.

 

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References

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