Gingko & Age-Related Brain Function: Doesn't Help…

Gingko is one of the world’s most popular herbs, mostly taken by older adults due to its reported effects on forestalling the inevitable loss of some brain function, as well as the more serious disease Alzheimers. Is there good evidence? Unfortunately, the best study done so far, just published, says no. Read on…

I’m sure this will be disappointing to many people, but this latest study (No Benefit of Ginkgo Biloba for Age-Related Cognitive Decline) was very convincing. In this study, just published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, over 3,000 elderly subjects were followed over 6 years. One group took 120mg twice a day, the other a placebo. There was no major difference in memory scores between groups. Here’s a good quote from Dr. Devere, director of the Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Center in Austin, Texas, and a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, as told Medscape Neurology:

“Numerous other, smaller studies have shown the same outcome but were limited by small size and shorter follow-up than reported in this article. The only limitations of the study were that it did not include enough ethnic or other cultural groups to make conclusions about these populations and that it included a fairly highly educated group. Despite these mild limitations, it is a sound study and all but puts a final nail in the coffin of using [ginkgo biloba] to help prevent cognitive decline in the normal or mild cognitively impaired elderly,” Dr. Devere concluded.

There’s another good analysis of this study from Scientific American (

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2 thoughts on “Gingko & Age-Related Brain Function: Doesn't Help…”

  1. Ginkgo (Chinese 銀杏, pinyin yín xìng). This is one of the things I have researched and will give my daughter with Down syndrome, when she gets old enough. This is from a book I have

    "The drug classification is called a GABA antagonist. It goes against the GABA receptor and turns off some or all of the red lights. Stanford used a chemical in its study that shut the GABA receptor down 100%. We [in the Down syndrome community, for our kids] just want to turn the volume down, not off. The best internet searcher in the world, a mother from Cincinnati found a study out of the University of Sidney³, which compared the chemical Stanford used in its study to a fairly common herb, Ginkgo Biloba. The study looked at how each of the chemicals worked and found they did the same things, except for one important difference. The Ginkgo Biloba did not turn the red lights off 100% no matter what dose you take.

    Ginkgo Biloba has been used by the Chinese for about 5000 years.” It has no major side effects but does slightly raise the rate of seizures in very young children and is usually added into the Down syndrome protocol at age 2 or 3.

    It affects the GABA transport system in the hippocampus and helps short term memory. Interestingly I noticed that the DOSE MATTERS and that the JAMA study uses far too little to be effective anyway. Ds groups have worked out a recommended dosage of about 2.5 mg per pound. Their 140 mg would only be enough for a 56 pound child. For instance, I at 140 lb would need around 350 mg to positively affect memory.

    Liora Pearlman
    mom of Etel, a beautiful sweetie who just turned 1yo, also has Down syndrome

  2. I cannot take credit for this: this is from one of the Ds lists I'm on (those ladies ROCK.)

    "Ginkgo is a also a PDE4 inhibitor, an antidepressant and does improve memory. PDE4 inhibitors were discovered some time ago, and recently interest has been revived. While the drug companies are working on possible safe and effective PDE4 inhibitors, we already have them naturally.
    http://atvb. ahajournals. org/cgi/content/ full/20/9/ e34
    http://www.ncbi. pubmed/19442182? itool=EntrezSyst em2.PEntrez. Pubmed.Pubmed_ ResultsPanel. Pubmed_RVDocSum& ordinalpos= 7
    http://www.ncbi. pubmed/16842174? ordinalpos= 1&itool=EntrezSy stem2.PEntrez. Pubmed.Pubmed_ ResultsPanel. Pubmed_SingleIte mSupl.Pubmed_ Discovery_ RA&linkpos= 4&log$=relatedre views&logdbfrom= pubmed"

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