Ginkgo Biloba, long believed to be effective in controlling memory loss is now found to be ineffective in the prevention or delay of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
In the first clinical study of its kind the herbal supplement failed to prove itself as a significant preventative against dementia, experts say. The Study showed that the participants who took Ginkgo Biloba were actually more prone to dementia than those who took a placebo.
The dean of the school of medicine at the University Of Virginia, Dr. Steven T. DeKosky, expressed his disappointment, “We were hopeful this would work.” The Journal of the American Medical Association reported the study in its Wednesday edition.
For the study, 3,069 participants 75 and older were examined. Half were given Ginkgo Biloba extract daily, the other half was given a placebo pill daily. Neither the doctors nor the participants knew who was taking the placebo or the Ginkgo Biloba.
Over a period of six years the patients were tested for dementia every six months. 523 cases of dementia were discovered during the study. Of those cases, 246 were taking the placebo and 277 were taking Ginkgo Biloba extract.
The results of the study proved conclusively that if you are in your mid seventies and are taking Ginkgo Biloba to protect yourself from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, it clearly doesn’t work. According to a report released along with the study, not only is the supplement unhelpful, it could even be harmful.
Patients among the study subjects who also had cardiovascular disease faced increased risk of dementia, and the test reported increased hemorrhagic strokes among the Ginkgo Biloba users. Dr. Lon Schneider, who wrote the report that accompanied the study and who is the director of the Alzheimer’s Disease and Clinical Center at the University of Southern California, said “There is nothing here, no signal of any effect.”
The medical profession was disappointed by the results, but the results are very important nonetheless. “Now we can say without a doubt that Ginkgo Biloba extract, as way it is sold in CVS or Walgreens, is not likely to help you at all.”
Sales of Ginkgo Biloba top more than $249 million world wide.
A similar study in 2007 found that the benefits of Ginkgo Biloba were inconsistent and unconvincing of having any real benefits in helping prevent dementia, however the supplement is found to contain powerful antioxidant properties.