Effects of Six-Week Ginkgo biloba Supplementation on Aerobic Performance, Blood Pro/Antioxidant Balance, and Serum Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor in Physically Active Men

Nutrients. 2017 Jul 26;9(8):803. doi: 10.3390/nu9080803.


Extracts of Ginkgo biloba leaves, a natural source of flavonoids and polyphenolic compounds, are commonly used as therapeutic agents for the improvement of both cognitive and physiological performance. The present study was aimed to test the effects of a six-week supplementation with 160 mg/day of a standardized extract of Ginkgo biloba or a matching placebo on aerobic performance, blood antioxidant capacity, and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) level in healthy, physically active young men, randomly allocated to two groups (n = 9 each). At baseline, as well as on the day following the treatment, the participants performed an incremental cycling test for the assessment of maximal oxygen uptake. Venous blood samples taken at rest, then immediately post-test and following 1 h of recovery, were analyzed for activities of antioxidant enzymes and plasma concentrations of non-enzymatic antioxidants, total phenolics, uric acid, lipid peroxidation products, ferric reducing ability of plasma (FRAP), and serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Our results show that six weeks' supplementation with Ginkgo biloba extract in physically active young men may provide some marginal improvements in their endurance performance expressed as VO₂max and blood antioxidant capacity, as evidenced by specific biomarkers, and elicit somewhat better neuroprotection through increased exercise-induced production of BDNF.

Keywords: BDNF; Ginkgo biloba extract; antioxidant capacity; dietary supplements.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Bicycling
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / blood*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Exercise Test
  • Ginkgo biloba* / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Oxygen Consumption / drug effects
  • Physical Endurance / drug effects*
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage*
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Leaves
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Poland
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Antioxidants
  • Biomarkers
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Plant Extracts
  • Ginkgo biloba extract
  • BDNF protein, human