People have been ingesting ginkgo biloba for thousands of years, but only recently has it begun to gain widespread popularity in Europe and the United States. In Europe, ginkgo biloba is quite often prescribed for people who suffer from circulatory ailments and also for those who complain about memory problems. So how much of the ginkgo biloba praise is justified and how much is hype? Let's look at what studies have shown and, for the purposes of this article, focus on how ginkgo biloba can improve brain health.
- Ginkgo biloba and blood flow. Studies have shown that ginkgo biloba improves blood flow throughout a person's body, including the brain. The brain needs healthy blood flow in order for it to receive oxygen and nutrients. Because ginkgo biloba can increase blood flow to the brain, it can improve brain health. However, the other part of this picture is proper nutrition, which ensures that the increased blood flowing to your brain carries all the necessary nutrients.
- Ginkgo biloba and antioxidants. The previous paragraph is not to suggest that ginkgo biloba is itself devoid of nutrients. Ginkgo biloba is rich in antioxidants, which fight brain cell damage and the effects of free radicals. Antioxidants have been shown in studies to significantly reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer's and dementia. Though ginkgo biloba can help improve brain health in this way, taking ginkgo biloba alone isn't enough to achieve those results. We need frequent doses of antioxidants to enjoy the full benefits, so eat lots of fruits and vegetables as well.
- Ginkgo biloba and platelet clumping. Ginkgo biloba can prevent platelets in the blood from clumping together, forming a blood clot that can cause not only heart attack, but also stroke. During a stroke, blood flow to your brain is disrupted, preventing necessary oxygen from reaching it. By reducing platelet aggregation, ginkgo biloba improves brain health by reducing the risk of stroke.
- Ginkgo biloba and memory. Generally a higher dose is recommended for improving memory, though studies are contradictory as to whether ginkgo biloba definitely improves memory and concentration. The kind of absentmindedness that all healthy people suffer from time to time could be combated by ginkgo biloba particularly if the memory lapses and poor concentration are due to lower blood flow to the brain. Sometimes this is indeed the case, and it's something a doctor can diagnose. Unless you're on anti-coagulants or are pregnant, it's perfectly safe for you to just try ginkgo biloba for yourself without consulting a doctor. See if it helps you remember to water the plants and return your mom's phone call!
- Ginkgo biloba and Alzheimer's. Excitement over ginkgo biloba as a weapon against Alzheimer's has been tempered by conflicting studies as well. As mentioned earlier, antioxidants found in ginkgo biloba and fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of ever suffering Alzheimer's. Though the effects of ginkgo biloba as Alzheimer's treatment are perhaps limited, ginkgo biloba can possibly help Alzheimer's patients improve their brain function for a period of time if the condition is diagnosed early on.
Research continues in the ongoing effort to ascertain the full healing potential of ginkgo biloba. In the meantime, unless you're pregnant or are taking anti-coagulants, you should feel free to try ginkgo biloba at the proper dosage. Shop around, since some products will try to short-change you on the beneficial ingredients (go for the product with the most flavonoids and ginkgolides).