Aging affects blood flow even in health older adults and Ginkgo biloba restores good blood flow

February 21, 2008

Endothelial cells line the walls of all blood vessels. Normal function of these cells is needed for good blood flow, maintaining healthy blood pressure readings, and appropriate blood clotting mechanisms, as well as regulating the amount of mineral electrolytes in body tissues and in the blood. Damage to this endothelial carpet is an early occurrence in hardening of the arteries and the development of heart disease/ Endothelial damage occurs well in advance of clinical signs of coronary artery disease,. Endothelial dysfunction is prognostic of cardiovascular events (stroke and heart attack). Smoking, diabetes, uncontrolled high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and inflammation all can damage this lining. Aging also affects the lining and decreases endothelial function. This can damage the control of blood flow to the heart muscle.

Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) has well-documented anti-ageing effects. However, little is yet known about the pharmacological actions of GBE on endothelial dysfunction and coronary blood flow in healthy elderly adults. We designed the study to test the effects of GBE on left coronary artery (LAD) blood flow and on blood flow in the extremities (brachial artery of the arm) of healthy elderly adults. Sixty healthy elderly adults were randomly assigned to either GBE or control groups. Blood flow was measured using high-resolution ultrasound before and after administration of GBE or placebo. GBE significantly increased LAD blood flow in diastolic and systolic beats compared with the placebo group. Blood flow in the arm also increased by 56.03%. Our data demonstrate that GBE treatment in healthy elderly adults leads to the increase of blood flow to the heart, and the increased response might relate to the improved endothelial function allowing the blood vessels to relax (dilate) and open with an improved capacity. This study implies an important future therapeutic strategy of using GBE to counteract the detrimental effects of ageing. The study is published in the February 5th, 2008 issue of the journal Phytomedicine; the International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology.

Phosphatidylserine supplement reduces stress and improves mood

These researchers report that previous studies show that Phosphatidylserine supplements blunt the release of cortisol; a problematic stress hormone and improve mood during stress (due to exertion). In this study young, mildly neurotic adults were supplemented with Phosphatidylserine 300mg a day (always take this with meals) for a month. The supplement improved their mood and decreased their stressed out feeling. The study performed at the Department of Psychology, University of Wales Swansea in the UK was published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience, 2001;4(3):169-78.

Ginkgo biloba may help alleviate anxiety in young patients and in elderly patients with cognitive decline

Ginkgo biloba is an anti-dementia drug. It enhances cognitive function and stabilizes mood in the cognitively impaired elderly. Ginkgo biloba has been found to relieve anxiety in people with mental decline. In this study 107 younger patients with anxiety disorder (or adjustment disorder with anxiety). The subjects were randomly given 480mg of Ginkgo biloba, 240mg of Ginkgo biloba or a placebo daily for 4 weeks. Anxiety improved significantly over placebo in both Ginkgo groups with the higher dosage having a better effect (both dosages provided significant relief). The study is published in the June 27th issue of the Journal of Psychiatric Research.