Taking Ginkgo for Memory Improvement? Think Again
Ever since my mom was diagnosed with dementia, 4 years ago I have been not only been caring for her but looking for ways to prevent the same thing from happening to me and Simon. If you type in How to Prevent Dementia into your browser you will surely see the Ginkgo Biloba in any number of articles that popup. In my search this morning, 7 out of the 10 mentioned taking this "natural" supplement to reduce the risk of developing dementia, and/or to improve memory. According to WebMD, it is "likely safe for most people", and has very minor side effects. Well needless to say I got all of us on it right away! Great! Right? Wrong! The problem isn't that Ginkgo is bad for us. The problem lies in the products being sold to us don't necessarily have Gingko, or the amount of Gingko they claim in them. In order to get actually get the quality and high quantity dose that is recommended to improve memory the price tag gets very steep, and the science is just not there to prove it is worth it.
In a 2008 study funded in part by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), researchers gave 3,069 men and women aged 75 and older 240 milligrams of ginkgo or a placebo every day. (They made sure the supplements had the right amount of ginkgo.) Over the next six years, the ginkgo takers were just as likely as the placebo takers to be diagnosed with dementia.3
First Published In Nutrition Action Newsletter 5/18/18
BY NAH EDITORIAL STAFF
Buyer beware: Ginkgo supplements often adulterated
Ginkgo biloba doesn’t prevent dementia or cognitive decline in older people, and doesn’t help boost memory in younger folks either, according to the best independent studies.
If you want to take it anyway, here’s something to consider: Chances are, the ginkgo you think you’re buying isn’t the ginkgo you get.
Many ginkgo supplements are now adulterated
“Consumers would find it disappointing that the ‘ginkgo’ in so many supplements isn’t 100 percent ginkgo,” notes Stefan Gafner, chief science officer at the American Botanical Council.
But industry insiders aren’t surprised.
In 1999, when ConsumerLab.com first started testing ginkgo supplements, there was something fishy about the ginkgo in a quarter of the 30 brands that it sampled. In its 2003 testing, seven of nine ginkgo products flunked. In 2008, it was five of seven. And this year, it was six out of 10. READ MORE