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Ginko Biloba --> Mental Alertness?!??

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by kal ka doctor, Aug 9, 2006.

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  1. kal ka doctor

    kal ka doctor Member 5+ Year Member

    Jun 26, 2006
    i was at walmart and asked the pharamacist about a good supplement for students... hesuggested ginko biloba.This supplement is suppose to give you "mental alertness." but lately ive been taking it and ive been getting really sleepy.... Does this have any effect? If so what kind???
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  3. narc

    narc 2+ Year Member

    May 26, 2006
    What a sucker :rolleyes:
  4. Oculus Sinistra

    Oculus Sinistra Finish it. 5+ Year Member

    Jan 30, 2006
    it sounds like the effect is to make you really sleepy.
  5. kal ka doctor

    kal ka doctor Member 5+ Year Member

    Jun 26, 2006

    read this...

    ew herbs have been as extensively researched as ginkgo biloba extract (GBE). Throughout the past thirty years, over four hundred pharmacological studies have been conducted on the proprietary, standardized extracts of the ginkgo biloba leaf revealing the herb's ability to:

    • Increase cognitive function and memory;
    • Improve circulation;
    • And, reverse the aging process.

    Numerous studies have focused upon ginkgo's ability to increase cognitive function and memory in aging patients, but recent studies also indicate improvements in mental performance in young adults. In fact, one double blind French study showed reaction time and tests of memory improved significantly in young healthy women after the administration of large doses of GBE. While it's true that ginkgo has shown greater benefits in the elderly, the perceived benefits for young adults have made this herb popular with students, particularly around exam times!

    Paul Bergner, editor of the Medical Herbalism Journal, and Clinical Program Director at the Rocky Mountain Center for Botanical Studies in Boulder, Colorado states "Ginkgo has been shown in many clinical trials to improve cognitive function in patients with reduced cerebral blood flow, such as typically accompanies aging." Research does indicate that ginkgo can improve circulation, especially to the brain, thus enhancing short-term memory, alertness and general cerebral performance - particularly when related to impaired circulation that may accompany aging. By improving blood flow, it has also been shown to assist disorders with a circulatory basis ranging from failing eyesight to ringing in the ears to numbness in the toes.

    Linda Whitedove, medical herbalist at the Longmont United Hospital and formulator at Homegrown Herbals based in Hygiene, Colorado, uses formulations that include ginkgo regularly in her practice and has had excellent results treating patients with dementia and Alzheimers. She considers gingko an herb that reverses aging. Gingko has antioxidant properties, has stabilizing effects on tissue, and effects on the vascular system that reverses certain effects of aging, says Whitedove.

    How it Works
    The key to ginkgo's varying successes is attributed to the active flavonoids and terpene lactones found in the plant's leaves. These chemicals are believed to be responsible for most of the plant's biological action in humans.

    "Ginkgo protects cell membranes from damage by free radicals, especially brain and nerve cells. Ginkgo not only offers the brain and nervous system a greater supply of glucose and oxygen through vasodilation, but it keeps these cells healthy and functioning in order to use the energy created from these nutrients", says Whitedove. Free radical damage has been linked to numerous offenders including air pollution, pesticides, alcohol and smoking and is thought to be a contributing factor in many disorders associated with aging. Ginkgo has shown antioxidant actions in the brain, retina of the eye and cardiovascular system.

    Ginkgo also helps to increase circulation by inhibiting the tendency of platelets in the blood to clump (platelets are responsible for clotting). In addition to improving circulation to both the brain and extremities of the body, ginkgo is known to regulate the tone and elasticity of blood vessels, making circulation more efficient. According to Whitedove, "ginkgo is so wonderful in that it is able to simultaneously dilate and tone blood vessels, thereby strengthening areas of insufficient vascular profusion and increasing blood flow at the same time. This is important in treating ischemic vascular areas where there is impaired blood flow and poor vascular tone."

    Side Effects/Contraindications
    Gingko is considered a safe herb and side effects are uncommon. Bergner states that clinical trials show 2-4% of patients experience gastrointestinal upset or headache with doses in excess of 120 mg. of GBE daily, but are not reported in doses less than this.

    Considering the numerous benefits of ginkgo compared with the slight possibility of side effects, ginkgo is one herb where the effects on the body and brain are truly remarkable!
    doc4kids93 likes this.
  6. kal ka doctor

    kal ka doctor Member 5+ Year Member

    Jun 26, 2006
  7. narc

    narc 2+ Year Member

    May 26, 2006
  8. Hari Kari

    Hari Kari Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Mar 17, 2006
    I'd trust the JAMA report over the marketing hype of the first source. PubMed is a good place to look for reliable information on questions such as this. Here's another recent study that shows that is isn't really effective in college age students:

    Hum Psychopharmacol. 2004 Mar;19(2):81-90.
    Ginkgo biloba is reported to enhance cognitive function in patients with selected neural disorders. Its effects in healthy, young adults are less well characterized. This work explored whether Ginkgo biloba could ameliorate decrements in alertness post-prandially and/or enhance chemosensory function. Both are functions that could be influenced by enhanced cerebral blood flow and neuronal metabolism, reported properties of the compound. A double-blind placebo-controlled study was conducted with 19 males and 20 females with a mean age of 23.6 +/- 5.4 years and mean weight of 70.0 +/- 1.9 kg. Participants were supplemented for 13 weeks with either Ginkgo biloba (mean dose 184.5 mg/d (range 130-234 mg/d)) or placebo and administered various alertness, performance, affective state and chemosensory tests at weeks 1, 5, 9 and 13. Participants did experience the post-prandial affective state decrement (i.e. post-lunch dip), but not the performance decrement. Performance on the chemosensory tests improved over the 13-week study. However, Ginkgo biloba was ineffective at alleviating the symptoms of the post-lunch dip or at enhancing taste and smell function. Copyright 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

    PMID: 14994317
  9. MicroBugs

    MicroBugs Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 5, 2006
    Norfolk, VA
    I'm trying to find the study, but I remember I tried the whole Ginkgo thing a couple years ago then took a plant class. My prof said that ginkgo had a history of increasing blood pressure in those that took it. Not sure what the scientific basis, but I stopped taking it...
  10. Haemulon

    Haemulon Slippery When Wet Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Jun 1, 2006
    On SDN
    Health food supplements like that are not regulated by the FDA and are exempted from requirements of testing and clinical trials. The claims that are made are not required to be supported by clinical evidence. You want mental alertness? Excersize, eat well, and get a good nights rest. Oh yeh, and quit playing Nintendo so much.
  11. WildTumor

    WildTumor Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jul 4, 2006
    I spent some time on this last year in one of my classes. It's the kind of herb you have to take for a long long time. There are no immediate effects. It's very gradual.
    Minimal side effects, though some people have had pretty bad reactions to it.
  12. MirrorTodd

    MirrorTodd It's a gas. 10+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Playstation is OK right?
  13. floridakppr

    floridakppr 5+ Year Member

    Jan 22, 2006
    My neuroscience professor believed ginkgo (especially the product Ginkgold) is an antioxidant and increases cerebral blood flow, thus leading to better memory and (potentially) a lower chance of developing Alzheimer's.

    I'd do my own research on Pubmed before taking a supplement/herb like ginkgo, though.
  14. kal ka doctor

    kal ka doctor Member 5+ Year Member

    Jun 26, 2006

    jee.. ur a good thinker arent u???? :thumbdown:
  15. kal ka doctor

    kal ka doctor Member 5+ Year Member

    Jun 26, 2006
    ahaha ya... i play games on my laptop. ahah
  16. kal ka doctor

    kal ka doctor Member 5+ Year Member

    Jun 26, 2006
    so i guess its a good product.. it was something else that was making me sleepy... thank you everyone for ur input!!! :thumbup: :)
  17. swtiepie711

    swtiepie711 Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    May 16, 2006
    Not to sound like a dork, but I took the MCAT three years ago and did so-so. This time around (April 06) I wanted to kick butt, so I started studying uber early (like in Oct). In January, I was joking around with my mom about gingko and she suggested I take it & see what happened. So I did, for the next few months before the test. In the end, I did really well... probably due to increased studying, etc, not gingko... But to this day, my mom still jokes that it was the gingko...

    Yea... officially sound like a dork....

    EDIT: Since then, stopped taking Gingko, don't believe in it & am wary of supplements from nutrition class during undergrad
  18. loveumms

    loveumms Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 8, 2005
    Not getting my MD for another 8 months so this is just my opinion. I would advise you to STOP taking the supplements. Not only b/c it seems to have adverse effects on you but b/c supplements are not safe. They are not regulated by the FDA, nor are the claims the herbal companies make. There is little scientific research conducted on herbs/supplements and since they are not regulated there are no standards the manufacturing companies are held to. If you buy ginkgo from Wal-Mart you might find other ingredients such as lead, mercury and other not so good for your body components.

    I agree with many of the posters - eat right, drink plenty of water (stay away from caffeine b/c it can work against you for energy) and exercise. I have newly found a great energizer - hot yoga. After an hour you walk out feeling invigorated and healthy.
  19. notdeadyet

    notdeadyet Still in California SDN Moderator 10+ Year Member

    Jul 23, 2004
    Don't sweat it. When a story includes studying for a test eight months ahead of time, the MCAT and your mom, there's no way you can't sound like a dork.
  20. KongfuziCertus

    KongfuziCertus 2+ Year Member

    Aug 10, 2006
    northern Wisconsin
    I agree with what other people have been saying:
    1) check studies, and it sounds as though the majority of studies support it (though someone mentioned they aren't clinical, so who knows who sponsored the researchers).
    2) Exercise, healthy diet, and adequate sleep will probably have more of a profound effect on your mental acuity then any drug will long term.

    Lastly, it's just a hypothesis, but did you start taking the Ginko right when you started rigorous studying habits- because you could just be tired because you're exhausting yourself mentally, and it has nothing to do with the drug.

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