More and more Americans are turning to supplements like Ginkgo Biloba that claim to boost brain power! Experts say there are key terms to look for on the label to make sure you’re getting the biggest books for you bucks! Medical Reporter Stephanie Stahl has the details.
Madeline Arruda has a mind-boggling schedule and relies on a daily dose of Ginkgo Biloba to keep her memory in check.
“It’s a ‘thumbs-up’ for me in my life!” said Arruda.
The pills claim to boost memory, mental clarity, concentration, alertness and focus, but studies on Ginkgo are conflicting.
Ginkgo expert Steven DeKosky told us, “Some suggest that it does have an effect on memory and others have not found that effect.”
Dr. Tod Cooperman withConsumerLab looked at dozens of supplements and put 13 of the most popular to the test, only six passed.
Dr. Cooperman explained, “Either the right amount of Ginkgo wasn’t there or they were using a very poor quality.”
He also said while most supplements have trace levels of lead, he was concerned about what he found in three of the brands tested.
“It’s actually more lead than we’ve ever seen in supplements,” said Dr. Cooperman. “We don’t know if the levels in these products is enough to cause injury or symptoms in adults. It’s just something you want to avoid!”
In fact, Olympia Labs, one of the companies flagged for lead by ConsumerLab, is now recalling a line of their Ginkgo Biloba supplements.
Another manufacturer, Canadian Sun, said, it is in “total compliance with all the Canadian regulations and that its products are highly tested in accordance with very strict guidelines.”
Dr. Cooperman said the studies showed Ginkgo had a positive effect on memory when combined with specific amounts of certain antioxidants.
Look for products that are standardized to contain 24% flavonol-glycosides and 6% terpene lactones. At least you know those companies know what they’re shooting for.
Madeline Arruda said from now on she’ll remember to check the label, but is going to continue taking the supplement.
“I do believe it has helped me,” said Arruda.
The F.D.A. does not regulate supplements or set lead levels for them. Experts say you should read the label carefully and look specifically for Ginkgo extract.
Ginkgo biloba supplements approved by ConsumerLab.com:
1. AARP Formula 842 Ginkgo Biloba Herbal Supplement, 60 mg, 60 mg GBE/capsule, 2 per day, Dist. by United Healthcare Products, LLC
2. Ginkgoba(r) Brand, 40 mg GBE/tablet, 3 per day, Dist. by Alan James Group
3. Good 'N Natural Maximum Strength Ginkgo Biloba Standardized Extract 100 mg, 100 mg GBE/softgel, 1 per day, Mfd. by Good 'N Natural Manufacturing Corp.
4. Herbal Supplement Ginkgo-Go(r)!, Ginkgo Biloba Extract, 120 mg GBE/caplet, 1 per day, Mfd. by Wakunaga of America Co.
5. Maxi Ginkgo Biloba(tm), 6% Terpene Lactones, 24% Ginkgo Flavonglycosides, 60 mg GBE/capsule, 1-3 per day, Dist. by Maxi-Health Research Inc
6. Nature's Plus(r) Ultra Ginkgo(r) 100, 100 mg GBE/capsule, 1 per day, Mfd. by Natural Organics Laboratories, Inc.
Ginkgo biloba supplements not approved by ConsumerLab.com:
1. Canadian Sun Ginkgo Biloba 24% Extract 60 mg, 60 mg GBE + 340 mg Ginkgo biloba leaf powder/capsule, 3 per day, Dist. by BEA Per Capita Consulting Corp (Poor ingredient quality, lead levels that concerned ConsumerLab.Com)
2. Irwin Naturals Bioperine Enhanced Advanced Ginkgo Smart(r), 60 mg GBE + 200 mg Ginkgo biloba leaf powder/liquid gel capsule, 1-2 per day, Dist. by Irwin Naturals (Poor ingredient quality, lead levels that concerned ConsumerLab.Com)
3. Jarrow FORMULAS(r) Ginkgo Biloba 60 mg, 60 mg GBE/capsule, 2 per day, Dist. by Jarrow Formulas(r) (Poor ingredient quality)
4. Olympian Labs Incorporated 24% / 6% Standardized Ginkgo Biloba, 60 mg GBE + 300 mg Ginkgo biloba leaf powder/capsule, 1-2 per day, Mfd. by Olympian Laboratories Inc. (Poor ingredient quality, lead levels that concerned ConsumerLab.Com)
5. PharmAssure(r) Standardized Ginkgo Biloba, Minimum 24% Ginkgo Flavonglycosides, Minimum 6% Terpene Lactones, 60 mg GBE/capsule, 1-2 per day, Dist. by PharmAssure, Inc. (Poor ingredient quality)
6. TruNature(r) Ginkgo Biloba with Vinpocetine, Standardized Concentrated Herbal Extract 60 mg, 60 mg GBE/ softgel, 2 per day, Dist. by Leiner Health Products (Poor ingredient quality)
7. Wildoats(r) Ultimate Extract(r) Standardized Ginkgo Biloba 60 mg, 60 mg GBE/capsule, 2-4 per day, Dist. by Wild Oats Markets, Inc. (Poor ingredient quality)