Hello and welcome to our Ginkgo Biloba vs Bacopa Monnieri comparison! We’ll be looking at their reported benefits, side effects, and more in order to see which one will give your brainpower a better boost.
Let’s cut straight to the chase and see what these natural supplements can do for you.
Ginkgo Biloba vs Brahmi: The Basics
Let’s start this off with Ginko. Ginkgo is an ancient tree. Its leaves are where the supplement is sourced from.
The leaves contain different compounds, mainly antioxidants that have been reported to improve brain health. If you suffer from poor memory and concentration, Ginkgo may help you.
Traditionally, Gingko has been used in the older population for the most part. But this natural ‘nootropic’ (aka, brain booster) can benefit even younger adults due to its powerful properties. More on this in a second.
As for Brahmi, it’s got its own fair share of anecdotal and scientific evidence, but could be even more potent at improving memory than Ginkgo. It’s been suggested to:
- Enhance neuron communication
- Improve learning and recall
- Enhance long-term memory formation
Sounds great! But how do Ginkgo and Brahmi work? And what effects exactly will you feel from using them?
How They Work
The antioxidants in Gingko have been suggested to dilate and widen your brain blood vessels – resulting in more blood, oxygen and nutrients being delivered to your neurons.
Additionally, antioxidants protect our brain cells (and other cells for that matter) from free radicals, unstable molecules that get generated as byproducts of fundamental bodily functions and daily lifestyle. Stress and an unhealthy diet can increase levels of free radicals, increasing the need for antioxidants to protect brain cells from damage.
The result of these effects of Ginkgo is that you might notice your memory and focus improve. However, it’s important to note that there’s some conflicting evidence showing that Ginkgo’s effect might be too weak to notice. So, there’s a chance you might not feel it working. More on Ginkgo and the research here: examine.com/supplements/ginkgo-biloba/
In terms of Bacopa, it’s much more noticeable, in almost everyone. It’s got a lot of scientific studies showing that it can reliably improve memory and information processing – in both younger and older adults.
The way it does this is by enhancing dendrite branching. Or in plain English, Bacopa boosts the growth of small extensions of your brain cells, allowing your brain cells to communicate more efficiently with each other. This leads to better mental clarity and overall cognitive functioning.
Now, Bacopa has additional benefits that make it superior to Ginkgo overall. Its active compounds – Bacosides – have been shown to have remarkable antioxidant properties. Not only do Bacosides help protect your brain cells, they also enhance serotonin, a neurotransmitter that influences your mood and is often dysregulated in people with depression and anxiety.
In essence, Bacopa helps with both memory and mental well-being, making it superior in effects to Ginkgo. Bacopa is one of the best natural memory enhancers overall, but it takes time to work. In order to make lasting structural changes in your brain, you should give it at least 4-8 weeks. The good news is, even after stopping supplementing Bacopa, the positive effects should stick for a while. More on Bacopa and the research here: examine.com/supplements/bacopa-monnieri/
Side Effects: Which One is Safer?
Ginkgo is generally seen as a safe supplement. It does thin your blood, so that makes it potentially risky to combine with any kind of anticoagulant medication. You should speak with your healthcare provider (a qualified MD) before taking ginkgo if you suffer from any type of health condition.
Bacopa Monnieri is also safe and very well researched for its effects. As it influences serotonin though, you should never mix it with an antidepressant prior to talking to your doc.
One thing to note about Bacopa is that it’s been reported by some people to lead to anhedonia – a state where you’re unable to feel pleasure from simple things in life. In very rare cases, some people reported loss of motivation and pleasure.
This hasn’t been proven in scientific research, but is still worth keeping in mind, as some Reddit reports link it to this side effect. However, it looks like only one type of Bacopa does this – Bacognize. Another popular form of Bacopa extract, Synapsa, hasn’t been reported to lead to the same side effects.
How to Take
Ginkgo Biloba can typically be found as a standalone supplement, in either capsule or powder form. You should look for Ginkgo Biloba extracts that have a 12%/6% glycosides/terpene lactones ratio. This has been shown to have the best effect on brain function. In terms of the dose, it’s best to stick to what the manufacturer says on the label or to your doctor’s recommendations.
As for Bacopa Monnieri, it too is taken in extract and powder forms. It has quite a disguisting taste so taking it as a powder isn’t the best idea. Look for Bacopa Monnieri (Brahmi) extracts that provide certificate of analysis that they’re free from high levels of heavy metals or other toxins, and that they contain the amounts they claim to have. The recommended dose varies from product to product, but for extracts, 150-300mg per day is generally used for long-term safe and effective results.
The Bottom Line
So, Ginkgo Biloba or Bacopa Monnieri? Which one to take?
Although they share some common effects (e.g. improved memory), Ginkgo Biloba and Brahmi are significantly different in a lot of areas.
Ginkgo is good for improving blood circulation, which can be especially helpful if you’re an older person. Bacopa, on the other hand, is beneficial for long-term memory formation, brain cell optimization and cognitive well-being.
Bacopa is a winner in our eyes. It’s better researched and offers a wider palette of benefits. Combining it with Ginkgo can be a good idea too, but only with a green light from your doctor.