Guest Blogger: Ronald Hoffman, MD
A recent flurry of headlines greeted yet another “failure” of a popular supplement, ginkgo biloba.
In a study of around 3,000 men and women over the age of 75 (average age 83), ginkgo failed to slow the progression to cognitive impairment. At the start of the study, which lasted 6 years, most of the subjects had normal memories, with just over 400 suffering from “mild cognitive impairment.” The papers screamed: Ginkgo of no value in Alzheimer’s. The implication: stick to “effective” drugs.
Problem is, that’s not what the study showed.
First off, NO drug has been shown equal to the task of preventing memory deterioration in
subjects, so no drug is superior to ginkgo in this regard. Drugs approved for treatment of Alzheimers like Aricept and Namenda work only transiently, for a few months at best, in staving off symptoms of moderate to severe Alzheimer’s Disease.
This has been a source of controversy in
, where the National Health Service has (rightly) denied coverage of Aricept for mild memory loss—imagine the hit to the socialized medicine health care budget if every Brit with a “senior moment” would clamor for the drug! Outraged patient advocacy groups haven demanded the government rescind the ban.
Selective amnesia? Numerous studies substantiate the benefits of ginkgo, a powerful circulatory enhancer and antioxidant in ESTABLISHED dementia. Proving it does not halt the progression toward Alzheimer’s is not the same thing.
Personally, I prefer Huperzine for cognitive support. The ancient Chinese remedy, a derivative of club moss, works like medications by enhancing brain levels of acetylcholine.
Other supplements proven to forestall cognitive decline include:
- Vitamins B 12 and B6, and Folic Acid
- Omega 3 fish oil (especially DHA)
- CoEnzyme Q 10
- Vitamins C and E
- Phosphatidylserine (PS), glycerophosphatidylcholine (GPC) and phosphatidylcholine (PC)