Golden Thinker ® – Encyclopedia of Substances – Gingko Biloba

Gingko biloba - Check Product Availability in your country

Gingko biloba – Check Product Availability in your country

Gingko Biloba Extract (24/6 CP2015)

What is Gingko Biloba?

Gingko biloba is one of the world’s oldest species of tree. For thousands of year gingko biloba has been used as a natural medicine. In fact, its use dates all the way back to ancient China. Chinese medicines have traditionally used the leaves and seeds of gingko biloba to improve energy and treat a variety of ailments. Gingko biloba has been used in traditional medicine to aid with asthma, vascular disorders, healthy aging and improve brain function.

Since gingko biloba is entirely plant derived, we can only reap these benefits from dietary supplementation. Contemporary research has focussed on investigating the effects of gingko biloba extract, which is more common in modern supplement regimes. Nowadays supplements are standardised to ensure their effectiveness. Gingko biloba extract 24/6 has been standardised to ensure optimal levels of the active compounds, flavone glycosides or ‘flavonoids’ (24%) and terpenes or ‘ginkgolides and bilobalides’ (6%).

Gingko biloba supplements are associated with several health claims. The most important is the inhibiting action Gingko has on factors which constrict blood vessel and make blood sticky (known as platelet activating factor receptors). This means gingko biloba can provide effective, and sometimes immediate, improvements to blood circulation. Gingko appears to be a promising therapeutic agent for cardiovascular disease.

The most powerful effects appear to affect brain function. In fact, gingko biloba in now being tested as a potential treatment from a variety of neurological and psychiatric disorders, include Alzheimer’s, depression, anxiety and schizophrenia.

Brain Benefits and Mode of Action

1. Boosts Mood

Gingko biloba is an effective mood booster. The compound seems to help with a range of mood disorders and supplements have been shown to increase levels of the ‘feel good’ neurotransmitter dopamine.

Studies in elderly patients with depression have shown that gingko biloba supplementation worked to effectively improve depressive symptoms.
Gingko biloba may also improve our ability to cope in stressful situations and help to treat anxiety.

Animal models have shown that mice who received gingko supplements prior to a stressful situation appeared to be less emotionally affected by stress. The researchers suggested this may be due to the anti-inflammatory properties of the compound, which improve the body’s ability to deal with high levels of stress hormones such as cortisol.

Self-report studies have also found that participants report significant improvements in mental health and quality of life after 4-week supplementation with gingko biloba.
Mode of action:Gingko biloba inhibits the break-down of dopamine, meaning there are higher levels of the neurotransmitter available in the brain. Gingko acts as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor, which is the enzymes which breaks down dopamine. This is the same inhibitory mechanism which many anti-depressants try to target. The anti-inflammatory properties of gingko may also play a role in this mood boosting effect.

2. Protects Neurons

Gingko biloba is a powerful antioxidant. This is due to the high levels of flavonoids and terpenes contained within the extract. These compound act to combat and neutralise the effects of damaging free radicals.

Free radicals are highly reactive, single atomic particles with unpaired electrons. Electrons like to be in pairs, so these free radicals scavenge the body to seek out and ‘steal’ another electron from other molecules. This process damages cells, protein and DNA. Free radical damage also accelerates aging and disease development.

Free radicals can be produced by the body, but levels are increase by poor lifestyle and environmental toxins.
The antioxidant properties of gingko biloba may be particularly important in protecting neuronal cells and synapses. High levels of free radical damage have been linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Mode of action: The compounds contained within gingko biloba extract can neutralise the effects of free radicals by neutralising their need for a paired electron.

3. Improves Cognition, Attention and Memory

Randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies found that daily supplementation with 240mg gingko biloba for 4-weeks improved performance on a variety of cognitive tests. These improved test performances suggest that regular gingko supplementation can improve attention, alertness and cognition.

Gingko has also been found to modulate levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a critical neurotransmitter for attention and alertness. Neurons which use acetylcholine, known as the ‘cholinergic’ system, are also thought to underlie aspects cognition such as working-memory.

Mode of action: Gingko biloba is known to provide dramatic improvements in blood circulation, including in the cerebral cortex. This increase blood flow ensures that all neurons are provided with the optimal amount of blood, glucose and other nutrients, which may improve cognition, alertness and attention. Gingko also appears to modulate some neurotransmitters which are important for cognitive skills like problem solving, decision making and memory.

How to use

Gingko is orally bioavailable which means it can be taken in powder or capsule form. However, it’s important to make sure the extract has been standardised to at least 24% flavone glycosides and 6% terpenes.

Some people report feeling immediate effective with Gingko supplementation. However, studies suggest that it may take several weeks to feel the full benefits of the active compounds found in Gingko.

Gingko biloba supplements are generally safe for most people who are not on other medications when taken at the correct doses. In rare cases, there may be some minor side effectives such as headaches, stomach upset or dizziness.

Since Gingko is a powerful supplement and can interact with other medications. It isvital to check whether it may interact with other medications you could be taking, especially blood thinning agents, anti-depressants and anti-seizure medications. The key known interactions of Gingko are:

  • Antiplatelet agents
  • Anticoagulants
  • Fluoxetine
  • Melatonin
  • St. John’s wort
  • Epilepsy medication

Gingko biloba should also be used with caution during pregnancy, due to the potentially increase risk of bleeding while. More information on interactions can be found here: https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-333/ginkgo
If you’re in any doubt, check with your doctor before starting to take Gingko supplements.

Recommended dose: 240mg

Scientific studies have used doses between 60-480mg per day. The most commonly studied dose is 240mg, which also seems to be the most effective dose for cognitive enhancement, ant-inflammatory properties and elevated mood. Higher doses have only been studied in relation to specific disease pathology, and shouldn’t be taken without consultation with a medical professional.
You can take 240mg in one dose or spread it across the course of a day.

Classification: Memory, Mood, Cognition

We’ve classified Gingko Biloba as a memory, mood and cognition enhancer. This supplement can help with focus, concentration and memory, which can improve mental performance. Gingko can also boost mood and help us feel more motivated.

  1. Mashayekh A., Pham D.L., Yousem D.M., Dizon M., Barker P.B., Lin DD. “Effects of Ginkgo biloba on cerebral blood flow assessed by quantitative MR perfusion imaging: a pilot study.” Neuroradiology. 2011 Mar;53(3):185-91.
  2. Nathan, P.J., Ricketts, E., Wesnes, K., Mrazek, L., Greville, W. and Stough, C. (2002), The acute nootropic effects of Ginkgo biloba in healthy older human subjects: a preliminary investigation. Hum. Psychopharmacol. Clin. Exp., 17: 45-49. doi:10.1002/hup.353
  3. Jezova D., Duncko R., Lassanova M., Kriska M., Moncek F. “Reduction of rise in blood pressure and cortisol release during stress by Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb 761) in healthy volunteers.” Journal of Physiology & Pharmacology. 2002 Sep;53(3):337-48.
  4. Blecharz-Klin K., Piechal A., Joniec I., Pyrzanowska J., Widy-Tyszkiewicz E. “Pharmacological and biochemical effects of Ginkgo biloba extract on learning, memory consolidation and motor activity in old rats.” Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis (Wars). 2009;69(2):217-31.
  5. Dai, C. X., Hu, C. C., Shang, Y. S., & Xie, J. (2018). Role of Ginkgo biloba extract as an adjunctive treatment of elderly patients with depression and on the expression of serum S100B. Medicine, 97(39), e12421. https://doi.org/10.1097/MD.0000000000012421
  6. Ahlemeyer B., Krieglstein J. “Neuroprotective effects of Ginkgo biloba extract.” Cellular & Molecular Life Sciences. 2003 Sep;60(9):1779-92.
  7. Kanowski S., Herrmann W.M., Stephan K., Wierich W., Hörr R. “Proof of efficacy of the ginkgo biloba…” Pharmacopsychiatry. 1996 Mar;29(2):47-56.
  8. Popa A. “Ginkgo Biloba and Memory” Pharmacotherapy Update – Cleveland Clinic Vol. V, No. V September/October 2002
  9. Mashayekh A., Pham D.L., Yousem D.M., Dizon M., Barker P.B., Lin DD. “Effects of Ginkgo biloba on cerebral blood flow assessed by quantitative MR perfusion imaging: a pilot study.” Neuroradiology. 2011 Mar;53(3):185-91.
  10. Savaskan, E., Mueller, H., Hoerr, R., Von Gunten, A., & Gauthier, S. (2018). Treatment effects of Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761® on the spectrum of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia: Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. International Psychogeriatrics, 30(3), 285-293. doi:10.1017/S1041610217001892
  11. Mix J.A., Crews W.D. Jr. “A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761 in a sample of cognitively intact older adults: neuropsychological findings.” Human Psychopharmacology. 2002 Aug;17(6):267-77.
  12. Jinfan Tian, Yue Liu* and Keji Chen, “Ginkgo biloba Extract in Vascular Protection: Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical Applications”, Current Vascular Pharmacology (2017) 15: 532. https://doi.org/10.2174/1570161115666170713095545
  13. Woelk H., Arnoldt K.H., Kieser M., Hoerr R. “Ginkgo biloba special extract EGb 761 in generalized anxiety disorder and adjustment disorder with anxious mood: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.” Journal of Psychiatric Research. 2007 Sep;41(6):472-80.
  14. Kennedy D.O., Scholey A.B., Wesnes KA. “The dose-dependent cognitive effects of acute administration of Ginkgo biloba to healthy young volunteers.” Psychopharmacology (Berlin). 2000 Sep;151(4):416-23.
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