Myth Buster: Ginkgo Biloba Study Finds it Doesn’t Stop Memory Loss

Can’t ever remember where you left your keys?  Ginkgo biloba, an herbal solution for forgetfulness used in Asia for centuries has been widely used and thought to improve, prevent or delay memory loss associated with aging. However, a recent study concludes that taking 120 mg of ginkgo biloba twice daily was not effective in reducing dementia or the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in older adults.

Participants from four U.S. communities were randomly selected to receive either twice-daily 120 mg doses of ginkgo biloba or a placebo.  The average age of the participants was 79.1 years; 1,524 participants received the placebo while 1,545 participants received ginkgo biloba.  Participants were followed for approximately six years during which time they were administered various questionnaires, exams and neuropsychological evaluations at specified intervals throughout the study.

Upon conclusion of the study, no evidence was found that ginkgo biloba has an effect on delaying cognitive decline specifically domains of memory, visual-spatial construction, language, attention and motor skill reaction speed.  As the largest randomized controlled trial of ginkgo biloba to date, this study remains consistent with previous smaller studies.

Moral of the story? Use the money you were spending on gingko pills and buy a good hook for your keys by the front door.

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