Ginkgo Biloba Benefits
Ginkgo biloba has been used for thousands of years as a natural, cognitive enhancer. It is one of the most tested supplements and many of its proclaimed uses are scientifically proven. It is the most commonly taken nootropic, or brain enhancing, supplement and is used both to improve mental performance and to prevent mental decline.
- Cognitive Decline – Ginkgo biloba is an accepted way to protect against cognitive decline. It is important to note that this supplement does not prevent either condition, but it does slow the cognitive deterioration that is a symptom of these disorders.
- Sleep – Many people experience improvements in sleep efficiency while taking this supplement. Most notably, they experience fewer episodes of waking throughout the night. Research shows that this improvement results in increases in the time spent in stage 2 sleep, which is when brain waves and heart rate begin to slow, body temperature starts to drop, and the body prepares to enter deep sleep. This stage is more difficult to awaken from than the light sleep experienced in stage 1.
- Memory – Supports a healthy memory
- Antioxidant Balance – This supplement causes the body to ramp up its production of glutathione and superoxide dismutase, both of which are antioxidants that may combat metabolic syndrome. It also lowers these same enzymes when too many of them are present in the body.
Ginkgo Biloba Dosage
Dosages recommended for this supplement vary from 120 to 360mg per day for adults and vary based on the issue it’s treating. The precise dose depends on the reason for which you take it. Most people split the daily dose into two to three administrations and take them with food to minimize the possibility of digestive upset.
Ginkgo Biloba Mode of Action
Ginkgo biloba contain more than 40 identified chemicals but there are only two types that are known to have medicinal purposes. These are flavonoids, which are plant-based antioxidants, and terpenoids, which increase blood flow by making blood less sticky and dilating vessels. The leaves of this tree contain as many as 20 different flavonoids. The terpenoids come in two types: ginkgolides and bilobalides.
The three most abundant flavonoids are quercetin, kaempferol, and isorhamnetin. Quercetin is a bitter, multi-ringed organic molecule that is one of the most abundant flavonoids found in most people’s diets. In addition to its being an antioxidant, it also has antitoxic and anti-allergy effects. Kaempferol is believed to possess the ability to both prevent and fight cancer. The third flavonoid is isorhamnetin.
Although the flavonoids do have antioxidant effects, it is the terpenoids that are thought to possess most of Ginkgo biloba’s bioactive abilities.
Ginkgo Biloba Side Effects & Toxicity
Although there are very few side effects reported for Ginkgo biloba, there are occasional complaints. These tend to involve minor gastrointestinal discomfort and are more likely at higher doses than lower ones. Rarely, users complain of headaches, dizziness, or heart palpitations with prolonged use.