Ginkgo Biloba Extract

Ginkgo biloba extract – another major component in our Altitude Advantage formula, has one of the longest medicinal track records in history and has been the focus of recent studies which supports its use for fighting Acute Mountain Sickness. Ginkgo biloba extract is obtained from the leaves of the Ginkgo tree, also known as the maidenhair tree. Recognized as the oldest tree species on earth, paleobotanists believe the Ginkgo tree has gone virtually unchanged for more than 200 million years. Ginkgo biloba extract (hereafter referred to as GBE) has found its way into countless herbal remedies and is widely known for treating blood disorders, memory issues, and many more health conditions. Its lengthy history of broad medicinal use makes it no wonder that GBE is one of the top-selling herbal supplements worldwide. As part 2 of our Label Readers Digest focus on Altitude Advantage, our view of GBE will be through the lens of how it contributes to our resistance of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS).

 

 

What exactly is GBE’s secret to exhibiting significant benefits to cerebral health, blood platelet-formation, circulation, and inflammation control? What gives GBE the strength to increase energy, improve memory, and enhance cognitive function? With more than forty unique compounds in Ginkgo, scientists believe only two classes of these compounds have a medicinal role – flavonoids and terpenoids. 

Flavonoids, (including Ginkgo’s ginkgosides), are plant-based antioxidants which studies have shown protect nerves, heart muscles, blood vessels, and retina from mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress. Terpenoids, more specifically ginkgolides in the case of GBE, reduce the “stickiness” of platelets – thereby improving the efficiency of blood circulation throughout our veins. Additionally, terpenoids are capable of dilating blood vessels. The resulting vasodilation from these terpenoids improves blood circulation to your brain, allowing it to better tolerate lower environmental oxygen concentrations. Focus, mood, memory, and energy are all functions that are supported by healthy brain activity. These are also the functions which struggle when we experience AMS, ultimately diminishing the quality of our experience at high altitudes.

 

 

If you have read even just a few of our Label Readers Digest articles, you’ve learned that inflammation leads to many deteriorative effects on our health. GBE’s anti-inflammatory effects, along with its support of healthy blood circulation and improved antioxidant activity, are what have decorated GBE with its many “brain-boosting” discoveries by researchers. Numerous studies have found beneficial effects of Ginko biloba that range from the treatment of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease to relieving anxiety and fighting macular degeneration. The studies of particular interest to us, the adventure seeking elevation gaining types, focus specifically on what GBE does to decrease the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness or possibly avoid it altogether.

 

 

Case Studies

In a study published in the Journal of the Wilderness Medical Society, evidence supports GBE’s ability to prevent or diminish effects of Acute Mountain Sickness, especially for those with little to no previous high-altitude experience. Subjects were given varying doses of GBE or a placebo 24 hours prior to being taken to 12,125 ft of elevation from their original sea level location. Subjects who were given GBE prior to ascent continued to take it during their time at 12,125 ft. Significantly less symptoms of AMS were observed in the groups given GBE compared to the placebo group.(1)

Another study conducted during a Himalayan expedition took a group of 44 healthy male climbers who had previously experienced symptoms of AMS on separate trips. Randomly divided into two groups, one receiving 160 mg/day of GBE and the other a placebo, resulted in quite different observed and reported symptoms. None of the subjects given GBE reported symptoms related to brain hypoxia, such as headaches, dizziness, insomnia, or nausea. In comparison, 41% of the placebo group did report these symptoms. Additionally, respiratory symptoms such as undue shortness of breath at rest or upon exertion was reported by only 14% of the group given GBE while 82% of the group given the placebo reported that they suffered from these symptoms.(2)

So what benefit does GBE offer women in fighting Acute Altitude Sickness? A double-blind, placebo-controlled study focused on 40 college-age men and women. Group A was given 120 mg of either GBE or a placebo starting five days prior to ascending to Pikes Peak in Colorado. The group climbed roughly 9,500 ft of elevation in one day to reach their destination of 14,100 ft. The group given GBE exhibited a reduced occurrence and severity of AMS, showing that GBE offers the same effects in women as men.(3)

In Conclusion

The takeaway is both simple and convenient – support your body’s acclimation process and you reduce the negative impacts a low oxygen environment has on your health and high elevation experience. In part 1 and part 2 of this Label Readers Digest, we have reviewed numerous extracts and adaptogenic herbs that help combat or avoid the symptoms of AMS and allow you to thrive and not wilt in these environments. Each of them, along with vitamin-E and C, are what make up the formula of Altitude Advantage. You can be one of two people – prepare with the right supplement and have an exhilarating experience you never forget, or fail to take the proper measures and find yourself thinking about this article while you hustle off the mountain.

 

Citations:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18076292
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8725471
  3. http://www.life-enhancement.com/magazine/article/712-ginkgo-helps-prevent-altitude-sickness

 

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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