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Ginkgo? Forget About It!

Posted by bmagnus On December - 30 - 2009

This week the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published the results of a 6 year study on over 3000 older adults to see if Ginkgo biloba really lives up to claims that it helps the memory and can stave off dementia. The results: a resounding no.

One group of test subjects received Ginkgo twice a day in a dose regulated by the German government as a drug, while the control group received placebo. Between the two groups, researchers found:

  • No difference in memory
  • No difference in attention
  • No difference in visuospatial abilities
  • No difference in language abilities
  • No difference in executive functions
  • No difference in cognitive decline
  • No difference in risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or any other sort of dementia
  • “no significant effect modification of treatment on rate of [cognitive] decline by age, sex, race, education, APOE*E4 allele, or baseline mild cognitive impairment (P > .05)”

In short, nothing to recommend the use of Ginkgo beyond the fact that it’s relatively safe, with few serious side effects. One researcher said “I’ve got no good reason to suggest you continue to take it beyond your own blind faith.” The bottom line is this: save your money; don’t buy Ginkgo.

It is worth mentioning that exercise does have a positive impact on cognition and cognitive decline. This has been shown in multiple studies. It may take longer than popping an herbal supplement, but unlike Ginkgo, it does work.

2 Responses to “Ginkgo? Forget About It!”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Bridget Magnus, Warren Magnus. Warren Magnus said: New post at Age Against the Machine: Ginkgo? Forget About It! http://bit.ly/66lesg […]

  2. […] More concrete results were found in study subjects 70 and older who were suffering from memory loss and cognitive decline. Researchers at Tufts and the University of Cincinnati found that after 12 weeks of consuming blueberry juice that the study subjects showed improvement in memory and cognitive function. Results also suggested that depressive symptoms improved as did serum glucose levels. Sadly the study was small and limited to 12 subjects. The results are promising even if the amount of blueberry juice consumed was nontrivial. Seriously, 2 to 2.5 cups of blueberry juice is a lot considering that the juice tends to be a little bitter. Regardless, the study shows promise since apparently blueberries work where supplements like ginko biloba fail. […]