Study: Gingko No Memory Booster

Remember this: The herb does not improve mental function.
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One of the nation's most popular supplements may be just a scam.

A study has found that Ginkgo biloba, touted as a natural way to enhance memory, has no beneficial effects on memory and mental functions of older adults. Extracted from leaves of the ginkgo biloba tree, Americans spent more than $300 million dollars on the supplement in 1998.

The study involved 230 volunteers over age 60 who were physically and mentally healthy. Half took the recommended dosage of 40 milligrams of ginkgo three times a day for at least four weeks, while the rest took a placebo. No significant differences between those taking ginkgo and those taking placebo were found, the study says.

Earlier studies have suggested that ginkgo helps improve memory because it improves blood flow to small veins and capillaries, helping deliver oxygen to the brain. It also contains antioxidants which reduce cell damage.

The study appears in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association.



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