The advanced effect of ginkgo and phosphatidylserine
Michael T. Murray, ND
Most people desiring to improve their memory and overall mental function are very familiar with ginkgo biloba extract..
Most people desiring to improve their memory and overall mental function are very familiar with ginkgo biloba extract. More than 400 scientific studies have been conducted to explain and demonstrate ginkgo’s brain-boosting effects. Suffice it to say, ginkgo produces a myriad of effects that increase the brain’s “functional capacity.”
Putting it more simply, ginkgo makes the brain work better. But in many respects, ginkgo is like stepping on the gas pedal of a car. If there is plenty of gas, great–the car goes faster. But what if the gas tank is empty or the engine is in need of a tune-up? In those situations, stepping on the gas pedal doesn’t do much good.
Build a Strong Foundation
The brain is the most metabolically active of all body tissues. It requires a constant stream of oxygen, glucose, and essential nutrients. It is also the richest concentration of highly polyunsaturated fats in the body; hence it is also the most susceptible to free radical and oxidative damage. Insuring and achieving optimal brain function requires that you feed the brain the critical nutrients it needs to function best.
Take a high potency multiple vitamin and mineral formula to provide sufficient levels of vital nutrients. A deficiency of any of a number of nutrients can lead to impaired mental function.
Powdered drink mixes containing green super-foods such as chlorella, spirulina, wheatgrass juice, and barley grass juice provide a high intake of powerful antioxidant support. Boosting antioxidant status is associated with enhancing mental function in experimental studies.
Take a high quality fish oil product providing at least 600 milligrams of the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are critical to proper brain function. A relative lack of omega-3 fatty acids has been linked to poor brain function in children, attention deficit disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and virtually every other brain disorder.
When Additional Support is Necessary
Ginkgo biloba extract, 120 to 240 mg daily, is an effective additional support agent for brain function. However, if you want to provide even greater support, use it along with phosphatidylserine, or PS for short. PS is the major fatty substance (phospholipids) in the brain. It plays an important role in determining the integrity and fluidity of cell membranes. Without sufficient levels of PS, brain cells do not transmit the nerve impulse properly.
Normally the brain can manufacture sufficient levels of phosphatidylserine, but there is evidence that insufficient production in the elderly is linked to depression, poor memory, and impaired mental function. Lower PS levels in the elderly may be related to a deficiency of key nutrients needed in the manufacture of PS, an increased rate of free radical damage to PS, or simply the result of reduced manufacture due to aging.
Functions of Phosphatidylserine
Phosphatidylserine is responsible for helping brain cells:
Just like people with osteoarthritis need to supply joints with a key compound like glucosamine sulphate, people with impaired mental function need to supplement their diet with PS. Good clinical results have been obtained in numerous double-blind studies. In these studies, PS supplementation has improved mental function, mood, and behaviour in elderly subjects including those with early stages of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Unlike typical antidepressant drugs, phosphatidylserine does not influence serotonin and other neurotransmitters, suggesting another mechanism of action such as a reduction in the secretion of the stress hormone cortisol.
Commercially available PS is manufactured from soy lecithin. The typical recommendation is 100 mg three times daily. There are no known side-effects or drug interactions with PS. However, with ginkgo biloba extract, because it may enhance the effects of the blood-thinning drug Coumadin (warfarin) as well as the antiplatelet effects of drugs such as aspirin and Ticlid (ticlopidine), it should not be used with these drugs without medical supervision.
The brain is the most metabolically active of all body tissues. It requires a constant stream of oxygen, glucose, and essential nutrients.