Product Reviews
Ginkgo (Ginkgo Biloba) Supplements Review

Initial Posting: 3/3/18   Last Update: 11/16/19
Ginkgo Biloba Supplements Tested by

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  • What is it? Ginkgo supplements contain leaf extracts of the Ginkgo biloba tree, but there is concern over the quality of extracts due to reported adulteration. (See What It Is).
  • Does it work? Preliminary evidence suggests that ginkgo may modestly improve limited aspects of memory and cognition in healthy individuals, but stronger evidence indicates no significant benefit from ginkgo in preventing or treating Alzheimer's disease or other dementias. Preliminary evidence suggests ginkgo may be helpful in other conditions such as vertigo, intermittent claudication and Raynaud's disease. (See What It Does).
  • What did CL find? Only 4 of the 10 popular ginkgo supplements selected for testing were "Approved" in testing. An additional three products tested through CL's voluntary Quality Certification Program were also "Approved."
  • Problems: One product was discovered to contain no more than 3% of its listed amount of ginkgo extract. Several others appear to be have been adulterated ("spiked") with compounds from plants other than ginkgo — a common trick to make low-quality ginkgo appear to be higher in quality. (See What CL Found and use the Results table).
  • Top Pick — Among the "Approved" products, ConsumerLab chose its Top Pick based on quality, dosage, and value: The product costs only 9 cents per 120 mg dose, while other "Approved" products cost two to thirty times as much for the same amount of ginkgo extract.
  • What to look for? Ginkgo biloba (leaf) extracts used in clinical trials are typically standardized to contain 24% flavonol glycosides and 6% terpene lactones -- look for this on labels (but don't trust it unless it's been tested by a reputable 3rd party). (See ConsumerTips)
  • Other Concerns: Ginkgo is generally safe but can cause mild side effects. However, people with bleeding disorders, on blood-thinners or diabetes medication, and those trying to conceive should not take ginkgo. For details, see Concerns and Cautions.

What It Is:
Ginkgo in dietary supplements is made from leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree and contain a variety of phytochemicals including flavonol glycosides and terpene lactones. Sometimes the dried, powdered leaves are used in supplements, although clinical studies exclusively used extracts.

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