Nutritional Supplements That Protect the Brain

by Brenda Williams

Posted on Thursday 9th of October 2008

The Ginkgo tree is one of the world’s oldest surviving trees. It can live for more than a thousand years. Scientists attribute the Ginkgo’s long life to its ability to withstand attacks of viruses, insects and bacteria. These trees have often been planted in cities and industrial areas because of their resistance to industrial and automobile pollutants.

The healing powers of the Ginkgo have been known since ancient times. The Chinese used the seeds and fruit to aid digestion and treat many different illnesses over five thousand years ago.

However in the 1950’s German research scientists devised another use for the Ginkgo. They made a standardized extract called GBE, which they used to treat age-related memory problems.

It has been established that the brain requires 20% of the oxygen transported by the blood in order to function properly. As people get older, the capillaries in the brain tend to become stiffer and narrower which diminishes the amount of oxygen that can be carried. Gingko combats this aging effect by increasing the blood supply to the brain.

Ginkgo also increases the brain’s capacity to metabolize glucose into energy. This strengthens the brain’s electrical nerve cell transmission, resulting in improved memory and information processing.

In addition, the brain produces ATP or adenosine triphosphate. Adenosine triphosphate is an energy molecule connected with alertness. Ginkgo increases the brain’s production of this molecule which, in test subjects, has resulted in reinforced memory and reasoning.

Ginkgo has also been helpful for other health problems such as asthma, tinnitus and heart disorders.

Vitamin E has long been known as a powerful antioxidant and been recommended as a preventative of cancer, heart disease and atherosclerosis. However, Vitamin E has also been found to help memory protection. Vitamin E guards the brain’s fatty membranes from attacks by free radicals.

The brain protective powers of Vitamin E were confirmed in a study at the VA Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona. One group of mice was given Vitamin E while a second group did not receive any. It was determined that the mice who received the Vitamin E suffered less damage to brain-tissue proteins than the mice who were denied the supplementation.

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that is present primarily in high-fat foods such as nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and mayonnaise. It is also found in dark, leafy vegetables. However, for many people it is difficult to obtain an adequate amount of Vitamin E from diet. This is particularly true for people on low-fat diets who often don’t ingest the minimum amount of vitamin E which is 8 IU’s for males and ten IU’s for females. Since doctors recommend 400 IU’s per daily, some supplementation is necessary for most people.

It is important that people who have any type of bleeding disorder or who are taking any kind of anticoagulant medication consult their health care provider before starting a Vitamin E supplement. There is a tiny risk that high Vitamin E doses will increase the risk of hemorrhagic stroke in which bleeding occurs in the brain.

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