Nutrition Bytes: October 2022

Research Finds Gingko Biloba Comparable to Alzheimer’s Drug

A recent study1 has found that Alzheimer’s patients supplementing with gingko biloba had results comparable to patients taking the drug donepezil, commonly used to improve mental clarity and functioning in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The study, published in 2021, compared 150 AD patients, divided into three groups: one group took 150mg of gingko biloba extract three times a day, the second group took 10mg donepezil, and the third group took the same doses of both gingko biloba and donepezil. The patients were then subjected to a variety of neuropsychological assessments and MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging), which were conducted at the beginning of the study, and then again at one, three, and six months after starting each treatment.


Gingko LeavesAfter analyzing the data, the researchers found the patients taking the gingko biloba extract had similar benefits to donepezil for improvements in cognitive, behavioral, psychological, and functioning scores. The results for the group taking both gingko biloba and donepezil were also comparable, however there was no increased benefits for taking both treatments together.

The results of this study are promising because gingko biloba has a long history of use as a safe herbal extract, while donepezil’s side effects can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. The researchers concluded that future studies are warranted to fully investigate the efficacy and mechanisms of gingko biloba treatment on functional recovery in Alzheimer’s patients. 

Vitamin B6 Supplementation Reduces Anxiety

The B vitamins are known to be essential for brain health and mood, and now research2 shows that vitamin B6 supplementation reduces feelings of anxiety and depression after just one month. Scientists at the University of Reading, England measured the impact of 100 milligrams of vitamin B6, as pyroxidine hydrochloride, on healthy adults and found that they reported feeling less anxious and depressed after taking the supplement every day for a month.

Illustration of person thinking anxious thoughtsA healthy functioning brain depends on a delicate balance between excitatory brain cells that transport information, and inhibitory ones, which prevent runaway activity. Mood disorders are often thought to be a disturbance of this balance, more likely in the direction of increased levels of excitatory cells. Vitamin B6 is required to produce a specific chemical messenger called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter that reduces neuronal excitability by blocking impulses between nerve cells. This study showed that supplementation with vitamin B6 helps the body produce GABA, which inhibits impulses in the brain, having a calming effect and reducing anxiety among participants.  


  1. Zheng, Y., Xie, Y., Qi, M., Zhang, L., Wang, W., Zhang, W., Sha, L., Wu, J., Li, W., & Wu, T. (2021). Ginkgo Biloba Extract Is Comparable With Donepezil in Improving Functional Recovery in Alzheimer’s Disease: Results From a Multilevel Characterized Study Based on Clinical Features and Resting-State Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 12.
  2. Field, D. T., Cracknell, R. O., Eastwood, J. R., Scarfe, P., Williams, C. M., Zheng, Y., & Tavassoli, T. (2022). High-dose Vitamin B6 supplementation reduces anxiety and strengthens visual surround suppression. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, e2852.