Although the brain constitutes only 2% of human body weight, incredibly it uses 50% of the body's glucose supply and 20% of its inhaled oxygen. The brain depends on the blood system to deliver oxygen and the vital nutrients it needs to function and excel. But as we age, the volume of this precious lifeline is reduced, and blood flow to the brain can decline by up to 20%. In effect, the brain is slowly starved. What's called for is a strategy to maintain normal neurological function, particularly as life spans are extended.
The ancient Ginkgo tree contains phytonutrients that can enhance the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain. Source Naturals Ginkgo-24 provides an optimal amount of the finest, purified Ginkgo leaf extract. The Ginkgo Tree - An Ancient Ally
The Ginkgo is a popular tree throughout the world and protected in many places. Its immunity to pollution makes it ideal for growing in large cities, and its renowned freedom from disease suggests the power of its phyto-chemistry.
The Ginkgo is the oldest species of tree on earth, and the sole survivor of a family of trees that once shared temperate regions of the Earth with dinosaurs. After the glacial era, Ginkgos were only found in the Orient. Early Buddhist monks considered them sacred; even today it's said that a few Ginkgo trees reputed to be over a thousand years old are growing in Buddhist temples.
Dutch traders brought the first Ginkgos to Europe from Japan in 1727. The English still call it the "Maidenhair tree." The name biloba was added by the famous Swedish botanist, Linnaeus, because of the Ginkgo leaf's two lobes. Their beautiful fan shape inspired Goethe to compose a poem in honor of the Ginkgo, whose leaf he considered a symbol of the heart. Ginkgo Increases Blood Circulation to the Brain
One of the most important issues - especially when we reach middle age and beyond - is maintaining adequate blood circulation to the brain. The compounds in Ginkgo called ginkgolides
seem to have an affinity for the blood vessels of the brain. Ginkgolide B is the most active. It tends to help the brain blood vessels release a local hormone-like substance called prostacyclin
, the agent that helps the vessels to dilate. Ginkgo is the only known botanical to contain these important constituents.
Blood vessels need to be very flexible, able to expand and contract quite readily. Ginkgo promotes more elastic blood vessels, thus increasing the volume of blood that can flow through the brain carrying rich nutrients and oxygen, and taking away the waste products of metabolism quenching certain free radicals specifically damaging to blood vessels: the hydroxyl radical and the superoxide anion. Ginkgo Strengthens the Blood-Brain Barrier
The capillaries in the brain are different from those elsewhere in the body. Most capillaries have tiny openings called "slit pores" that permit nutrients (and toxins) to diffuse into the surrounding tissue. These capillaries are somewhat like a soaker hose, while those in the brain - without slit pores - must be a totally leak proof hose, without damage or tears. Basically, molecules can only pass through cerebral capillaries by active transport with certain carrier molecules.
Because they constitute part of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), cerebral capillaries are essential to protecting the brain from toxins that get into the bloodstream. The rest of the BBB is composed of the glial cells - a family of brain cells outnumbering neurons ten to one - that regulate what substances reach the neurons.
The structure of BBB capillaries must be extremely taut and strong. Ginkgo helps to preserve and protect the integrity of the BBB, thus helping to maintain normal neural structure over a lifetime. For example, the more your BBB is compromised, the more aluminum, mercury, lead, pesticide residues, and other toxins can access the brain and start to damage the cells. And we cannot grow new brain cells, so the health of the ones we have is paramount. Antioxidant Protection from Ginkgo
Ginkgo also contains powerful antioxidant constituents - flavone glycosides
- that further protect blood vessel walls by neutralizing free radicals, the over-reactive molecules created as a result of industrial contamination and normal oxygen metabolism. Free radical control is especially important for the brain because it uses so much oxygen, and also because it's primarily composed of lipids (fats) that are easily subject to extensive free radical rancidity. Ginkgo is particularly effective in quenching certain free radicals specifically damaging to blood vessels: the hydroxyl radical and the superoxide anion. Ginkgo Reduces Blood Clumping
The terpene lactones in Ginkgo tend to prevent "platelet clumping" by inhibiting
platelet activating factor (PAF). Platelets are the components in blood that are supposed to clump together to stop the bleeding when you cut yourself, but not when blood is flowing through a normal undamaged blood vessel. The typical, nutrient-poor Western diet - high in fat, alcohol, and various medical drugs - can make platelets sticky and prone to clumping together spontaneously, and plugging up small blood vessels.
Source Naturals Ginkgo-24
contains 6% terpene lactones and is standardized to at least 24% ginkgo flavone glycosides, the most potent extract available of the renowned Ginkgo biloba leaf. Fifty pounds of dried leaves from specially cultivated trees are required to make one pound of extract. Ginkgo has been shown to be extremely nontoxic. In numerous clinical and scientific studies, Ginkgo has demonstrated many positive effects on human metabolism, particularly in support of optimal blood flow to brain cells. And that means more oxygen and nutrients, a stronger blood-brain barrier, and a healthier functioning brain.
Copyright 2002, Source Naturals Reprinted with Permission.