Gingko Biloba: stop or continue taking it?

We have been taking gingko biloba for several years now and we’re wondering if we should continue taking it. There was a recent studythat showed it was ineffective in preventing Alzheimer’s. However, we’re not really taking it for Alzheimer’s prevention, but for the (alleged?) increase in mental acuity.

As we age, we notice some slippage in our mental abilities. (poorer memory, harder to concentrate, etc.) We started taking gingko to help with these problems.

So my questions to discuss:

Is there any reasonable evidence that gingko helps alleviate some of the “normal” mental problems that come with age? Any studies that show improvement or lack of further degradation?

Have others noticed improvements in their mental abilities after taking gingko? Or found no improvement?

What’s your opinion? Continue taking it or stop taking it, and why?


From wiki:

I am not a doctor, but I would suggest you talk to one, do more research and learn more about the study completed and see if there are more to support it. I would also imagine that exercising your brain and your body (physical exercise has been linked with mental acuity, too) would help you more than an herbal supplement.

Obviously, take whatever advice you get (other than that from a medical professional you’re seeing) with a grain of salt. For what it’s worth, I’ve always been mistrustful of herbal supplements, especially in the U.S., where they’re generally not FDA approved (though FDA approval is starting to mean less and less, isn’t it?).

Somewhat related. From a study I recall in the past year or three.

Folks were drinking a glass of “juice” a day . Apparently the study really did not define what “juice” was. I think it was 3 or more days a week.

Grape juice, orange juice, tomato juice most likely.

The folks drinking the juice had a “alzheimers rate” of something like 25 percent versus 75 percent. Or something like that.

Anyway, the reduction WAS dramatic. Given all the other good reasons to drink that stuff in moderation, and the fact it actually taste good in the first place, it certainly sounds like a win-win to me.

Not like those “helpful” studies that claim if you live on lettuce only, you reduce your chance of some ungodly rare cancer by a whopping 5 percent.

A recent systematic review of studies looking at ginkgo for this purpose did not find it useful. Conclusions:

“Overall, evidence that Ginkgo has predictable and clinically significant benefit for people with dementia or cognitive impairment is inconsistent and unconvincing. Two of the best most recent trials, which are also among the largest trials, found no difference between placebo and Ginkgo.”

The most recent study to hit the news found that ginkgo taken over extended periods by older people did not help prevent Alzheimer’s.

So taking ginkgo for increased mental acuity or prevention of dementia doesn’t have meaningful scientific backing. You could find people who claim it’s helped them think more clearly, and others who found no change or negative effects.

[Moderator Action]I deleted what I thought was too large a portion of the original article, and provided a link.[/Moderator Action]