Dementia and Alzheimer's are two degenerative brain/cognitive related diseases that seem to occur closely. While the pathology of these conditions is complex; containing more than one underlying cause, the pathology and symptoms are similar.
Ultimately, a combination of oxidative stress, inflammation, and disturbed metabolism lead excitatory death of brain cells that cause direct tissue damage and neurological issues.
Fortunately, suggests that a number of natural herbs that can not only improve brain health, but some of them such as Ginkgo Biloba, have even been studied for their successful effects on treating both conditions.
Here's a look at some of the scienctific studies done on Ginkgo Bilboa's brain protective effects in the treatment of Dementia and Alzheimer's...
Ginkgo Biloba & Dementia
There are many trials that have been done on the use of the standardized extract of Ginkgo Biloba for dementia.
In one study done on 2372 patients in total, there were positive changes examined in scores for cognition in favor of ginkgo compared to placebo. Positive score increases of symptoms and daily life actives as well as cognition were greater for ginkgo group, suggesting therapeutic use for Ginkgo in treating dementia. 1
In another study, a standardized extract of Ginkgo biloba leaves demonstrated protective properties against neuronal and vascular damage in dementia patients. Overall, in randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials on adults with mild-to-moderate dementia, Ginkgo extract displayed positive effects, with improves related to cognitive function, behaviour in those who supplemented. It was also found that the extract is well tolerated, with no safety issues from long-term use. 2
Overall, there is plenty of evidence suggesting that Ginkgo Biloba extract has potentially beneficial effects on cognitive performance, activities of daily living, and clinical global impression in the treatment of dementia. These effects were best reaped at doses of 200mg/day and for at least 22 weeks or longer.
Ginkgo Biloba & Alzheimers
While there are plenty of conventional medications for treating Alzheimer’s, most of them have adverse side effects. However, herbal medications comprised of extracts from the leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree are being used successfully and have no adverse side effects.
Ginkgo biloba extract works through various effects, such as improving blood circulation to the brain, reducing inflammation, modulating the activity of toxic glutamate and protecting nerve cells from free radical damage. In Germany and other countries, Ginkgo is considered so effective that it is prescribed in a 240 mg dose for treating Alzheimer's.
In the studies, people with Alzheimer’s disease were randomly assigned to supplement Ginkgo against a placebo (fake medicine), or a different medication.
The studies showed that taking a high dose of the Ginkgo extract (240 mg per day) could improve memory. They also discovered improvements in the ability to manage activities of daily life i.e household chores, bathing, etc.
Things to keep in mind are that these studies mostly tested with an extract of Ginkgo Biloba (not a raw powder). Also, the therpatuic doses used in the studies ranged between 60 mg and 600 mg per day. The lower doses did not have any effect, so taking at least 240 mg. and also, supplementation lasted at least one year. is recommended. Lastly, most of the participants had mild to moderate Alzheimer’s.
There are various studies proving that Ginkgo can not only help treat dementia and Alzhiemer's but more importantly, can improve mental/brain health. It is also capable of reducing total stress (including emotional stress), so Ginkgo supplementation may also be useful for caregiving family members and friends too. 3