Essential Brain Nourishment: Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each week, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Essential Brain Nourishment: Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract

Extracts of the leaves of Ginkgo biloba, the world’s oldest living tree, contain a range of phytonutrients that stimulate the cholinergic neurotransmitter system. In one randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 30 days of daily dietary supplementation with the extract produced improvements in the speed of information processing by working memory and the accuracy of executive processing in young men and women who were otherwise completely normal in their cognitive abilities.13 In an older study, the one-time consumption of 600 mg of Ginkgo biloba leaf extract increased memory performance in healthy young women with “good” memories within one hour.14 More recent research showed that acute administration of a single dose of Ginkgo biloba to young, healthy individuals led to significant performance enhancements for sustained-attention tasks and pattern recognition tasks 4 hours after dosing.15 Furthermore, a study performed in elderly individuals consuming 120 mg of a Gingko biloba extract daily for one year found that the extract was able to aid in the maintenance of cognitive function over the study period.16 The extract was extremely safe and in several cases was shown to enhance cognitive ability in the study group. The results of these studies illustrate the promotion of mental functioning by Ginkgo biloba leaf extract.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Essential Brain Nourishment: Choline

13. Stough C, Clarke J, Lloyd J, Nathan PJ. Neuropsychological changes after 30-day Ginkgo biloba administration in healthy participants. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol 2001;4:131-134.
14. Subhan Z, Hindmarch I. The psychopharmacological effects of Ginkgo biloba extract in normal healthy volunteers. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 1984;4:89-93.
15. Elsabagh S, Hartley DE, Ali O, Williamson EM, File SE. Differential cognitive effects of Ginkgo biloba after acute and chronic treatment in healthy young volunteers. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2005;179(2):437-46.
16. Le Bars PL, Katz MM, Berman N, Itil TM, Freedman AM, Schatzberg AF. A placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized trial of an extract of Ginkgo biloba for dementia. North American EGb Study Group. JAMA 1997;278(16):1327-32.

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