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Monday, August 11, 2008

Ginkgo | Does It Boost Dopamine?

Ginkgo is one of the oldest herbs on earth. Dopamine is a brain neurotransmitter that improves mood and memory along with other parameters of optimal brain functioning. The question is, "Can ginkgo, a mild herb that is readily available as an inexpensive supplement, boost dopamine?" The author thinks there is some evidence for the proposition that it can, but not in a very substantial way. Ginkgo can prevent the dopamine loss associated with Parkinson's disease,1 and it also "improves dopamine uptake under conditions of oxidative stress."2

Dopamine is increased by exercise
("Levodopa . . . is the only drug . . . to actually replenish . . . dopamine in the brain . . . . Exercise is the only activity that is believed to result in the production of dopamine within the brain."3); that's why after exercising you feel good for hours.. But after taking ginkgo you won't feel any different. It doesn't supply dopamine or replenish it; it merely prevents the loss of dopamine that is already there or perhaps facilitates the uptake of dopamine. An herb that may boost dopamine, however, is Eurycoma longifolia.
  1. M.-S. Kim, J.-I. Lee, W.-Y. Lee, S.-E. Kim. 2004. Neuroprotective effect of Ginkgo biloba L. extract in a rat model of Parkinson's disease. Phytotherapy Research. Volume 18 Issue 8, Pages 663 - 666. Published Online: 8 Oct. (Accessed August 10, 2008.)
  2. Karin Granstrom Jordan, M.D. 2002. Ginkgo Biloba: A Treasure from the Past. (Accessed August 10, 2008.)
  3. Arthur, W. Curren. 2005. Dumb Bells & Dopamine: A Parkinson's Success Story. AuthorHouse. This book is by a man who conquered Parkinson's through exercise; the primary effect of that exercise was to boost dopamine levels in the brain.

1 comment:

anneV said...

i do think that ginko can really improve our memory and keeps us awake. i have tried it before and i did like the results.