Creatine and Ginkgo Biloba Use in Sports and Health: A Knowledge Utilization Approach
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Brain neurons rely on a constant supply of blood glucose, and to a lesser extent glucose derived from astrocyte stores of glycogen, for energy. Such energy stores in brain are not only required for optimal brain performance, but increasingly have been shown to guard against insult-induced neuronal injury. Proper diets and dietary supplements are neuroprotective and enhance brain performance. Two widely taken dietary supplements increasingly used in this context are creatine (monohydrate) as well as Ginkgo biloba and extracts there from. Creatine is an amino acid produced in the body that is readily obtained in diet. Sport and health enthusiasts looking to enhance athletic performance and/or alter body composition have increasingly embraced supplementation of diets with creatine. Recent evidence has demonstrated clearly in cellular and animal models of acute and chronic neurodegenerative disorders that creatine is an effective neuroprotectant and accordingly creatine use among patient populations has increased dramatically. Although the mechanism by which creatine exerts its neuroprotectant effects are not fully elucidated, protection may result from enhanced levels of high-energy phosphate in the form of phosphocreatine and from mitochondrial stabilization. Although Ginkgo biloba is an unrelated substance, it too is increasingly used in the context of sports and health. Ginkgo biloba has been shown to enhance cognitive function and protect against insults relevant to the pathogenesis of, for example, Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. Similar to creatine, the protective actions of Ginkgo biloba may be due to anti-oxidant and mitochondrial stabilization properties. Issues raised in this chapter may provide the reader an ability to make informed decisions on an individual basis to take (or not) these particular substances.
Keywordscreatine Ginkgo biloba neuroprotection reactive oxygen species mitochondria athletic performance
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