Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ginkgo, Ginseng, Green Tea: Only one of the G's may be worth Supplementing

In the most recent episode of their supplement review (which is usually very critical) the British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM Review. Part 17) has a look at studies on the ergogenic potential of ginkgo, ginseng and green tea, all of which are heavily advertised for their beneficial effects on health, long jeopardy and mental, as well as physical performance.

In the case of Ginkgo an Ginseng, the studies that have been considered in this review provide very inconclusive evidence for and against their use as ergogenics or medical plants. With regards to the underlying reasons for the discrepancies which have been reported, the reviewers argument that both, the origin, as well as the processing techniques may have influenced the efficiency of ginkgo and ginseng products. green tea, on the other hand, "shows some promise" - regular readers of this review series will know that this is already a great praise!
Although evidence is limited, green tea extract, and particularly the active component EGCG, has shown some consistency from animal to human models regarding a delay in fatigue during prolonged exercise. In humans this appears to be due to the effect of an increase in fat oxidation.
Against this background and in view of the declining prices of quality green tea products (especially if bought in bulk) green tea should obviously be the "G" of choice in your supplement regimen. Ah, and before I forget: green tea is actually something you drink, basically the counterpart to real food, which is what you probably have forgotten to eat facing the stash of capsuled supplements you're popping everyday ;-)