Ginkgo biloba (2003, '12, '16, '17) and dementia


Learn more about memory impairment and Alzheimer's disease.

Many researchers have studied Ginkgo biloba effects in supporting cognitive capacity in patients with dementia. A small six-month controlled, double-blind trial found marked improvement in verbal recall in patients with memory impairment associated with aging. The researchers used a 3D imaging technique called positron-emission tomography to look at brain wave activity and found improvements in activity in portions of the brain associated with memory in patients taking ginkgo supplements.

The researchers concluded that ginkgo's effects may be due to improved blood flow to the brain and antioxidant activity of the herb.

Ercoli, L et al. (2003). Society for Neuroscience Meeting, New Orleans, Nov.

One long-term study found no difference between ginkgo and placebo in Alzheimer's progression reduction.

Vellas B, Coley N, Ousset PJ, Berrut G, Dubois JF, et al. (2012). Long-term use of standardised Ginkgo biloba extract for the prevention of Alzheimer's disease (GuidAge): a randomised, placebo-controlled trial. Lancet Neurol. Oct;11(10):851-9.

Though research is inconsistent regarding memory for those with Alzheimer's, research does support that gingko may increase neurogenesis, raise BDNF levels, enhance cognitive function and help in reducing amyloid beta plaque for those with Alzheimer's.

Yang G, Wang Y, Sun J, Zhang K, Liu J. (2016). Ginkgo Biloba for Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer's Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Curr Top Med Chem. 2016;16(5):520-8.
Wightman EL. (2017). Potential benefits of phytochemicals against Alzheimer's disease. Proc Nutr Soc. May;76(2):106-112.