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Can Ginkgo Biloba Help You Live Longer?

A study has provided evidence that older people who take Ginkgo biloba may extend their lives by doing so, although they are not also reducing their risk of dementia.

The study, which began in 1988, looked at the effects of several different dementia prevention treatments on more than 3,500 seniors. It showed that those who used the herb were 24 percent less likely to die over a 13-year period.

Over the course of the study, about 46 percent of those taking Gingko biloba died, compared with about 62 percent of those taking another type of memory-boosting drug.

However, roughly 21 percent of those taking Ginkgo biloba developed dementia, compared with about 22 percent of those on other memory treatments and about 15 percent of those who were taking no memory enhancers at all.

The researchers noted that the data needs to be interpreted carefully, because people who took memory enhancers may have been those who were at greater risk of dementia.

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Vol. 55, No. 3, March 2007: 395-399

Yahoo News April 16, 2007

Dr. Mercola's Comment:

It's interesting how the reputation of Ginkgo biloba has grown over time as a natural, effective alternative to Alzheimer's drugs like Aricept. But this latest French study may show that ginkgo does more to extend the lives of seniors than to treat dementia.

However, as the researcher's note, this study may say less about the effects of Ginkgo biloba on dementia than it would seem, especially since these effects have been demonstrated many times before. In 1997, the very first year of my newsletter, I posted a study from JAMA that showed clear evidence that ginkgo is helpful in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Also, I certainly wouldn't be surprised if those patients taking Ginkgo biloba for dementia lived longer in part because they were also relying on many other safer, natural treatments to help prevent the mental decline sometimes associated with old age.

Remember, the real key and "miracle" are natural lifestyle changes like eating a healthier diet and exercising. These are powerful methods of preventing and treating diseases and helping you Take Control of Your Health without the need for drugs or surgery.

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