Gingko Biloba is another promising ingredient found in the best dietary supplements. You’ve heard the claims: improved memory, promise for Alzheimer’s patients, relief of asthma symptoms, improved sexual functions, and the list of circulatory benefits goes on. For Western medicine this may be all new, but Gingko Biloba has been a part of Chinese medicine for thousands of years. More recently, Chinese literature names Gingko Biloba as one of the best dietary supplements in the treatment of heart and lung diseases.
But all gingko is not equal. Its active ingredient can be extracted from its leaves and its seeds. The most widely investigated leaf extract is EGb 761. Keep this in mind as you read about various studies with Gingko biloba and its benefits in your dietary supplements.
What are the Benefits of Gingko biloba in a Dietary Supplement: Separating Fact from Fiction
That’s a great question!
It’s important to remember that the science of nutrition and nutritional supplements is an ever-evolving process. This is not a bad thing! We, the public, constantly get updated information based on new breakthroughs and new information. It’s important to know this because you will get a lot of information that may seem contradictory but really may just be an evolution of nutritional science.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the most promising clinical results right now are in the areas of claudication symptoms (leg pain which results from clogged arteries) and multi-infarct dementia and early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.
Good results have been seen for dietary supplementation of Gingko biloba and what’s being called “cerebral insufficiency” which includes poor concentration, absentmindedness, confusion, decreased physical performance, fatigue, headache, dizziness, depression, and anxiety.
Isn’t it easy to see how many of us can suffer “cerebral insufficiency” in our 24/7, always-on-the-go world we live in?
Add to that the physical demands we place on our body through military training and you should be very interested in the ongoing research surrounding Gingko Biloba.
Are the Best Dietary Supplements Safe with Gingko biloba?
So how do the benefits of Gingko biloba stack up to the potential risks?
Well, according to studies done for the U.S. military by the National Academy of Sciences, this dietary supplement does pretty well. However, there are a few concerns to be aware of.
Their review shows that in younger, healthy subject high acute dosing may enhance mental performance for short periods of time. Longer dosing for the same purpose still requires additional research.
The report also discussed benefits that may be seen in the treatment of cardiovascular disease by reducing nanoplaque formation in high-risk cardiovascular patients. There are also benefits to liver function as reported through animal models as a result of the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Overall, the dietary supplementation of Gingko biloba appears to be safe. There have been about 15 cases reported where a link between Gingko and bleeding in the brain have been a concern. However in those cases, all but 6 made a close connection between the bleeding and the supplementation. The others involved other risk factors. So the link to Gingko as the culprit could not be determined.
It would be wise to caution against taking Gingko biloba if you are also taking other prescription meds that could cause bleeding such as anticoagulants.
Additionally, there are often interactions between even the best dietary supplements and many prescription medications. So be sure that if you’re taking any of the following you discuss supplementation with your doctor:
- Acetylsalicyclic acid
- Are a hyper-insulinemic patient with type 2 diabetes
- Calcium channel blockers
- HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors
- Neuropsychiatric medications
Gingko Biloba and Military Training Diets
For military training or special operations conditions, benefits of Gingko biloba seem to lie in the cognitive functions of the brain as well as relief from the symptoms of high-altitude (although conclusive evidence on altitude sickness is still pending further studies)
Some have experienced gastrointestinal tract issues such as vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea as well as transient headaches when the dietary supplement regime is first started. Knowing this, you should be aware of how your body is responding to Gingko before heading out on a mission.
They may not have clean bathrooms where you’re going!
Did you know how important diet and nutritional fortification is to your Military Training Success?
Discover how science can give you the competitive edge…just when you need it most. Are you taking “generic” Dietary Supplements? Or are you fueling your body with the best there is?
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Birks, J., E. V. Grimley, and M. Van Dongen. 2002. Ginkgo biloba for cognitive impairment and dementia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2(4):CD003120.