CHICAGO (AP) -- A new study suggests ginkgo supplements do nothing to quickly improve memory in healthy people, a finding that goes against years of well-publicized claims that helped turn the supplements into a multimillion-dollar industry.
The over-the-counter supplements are made using extract from the fan-shaped leaves of the ginkgo biloba tree.
Early studies suggested the supplements could boost mental function in people with and without mild dementia, however, those studies had methodological flaws and were too short to measure a true effect, according to the authors of the new study.
The new study, reported in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association, involved 230 people over age 60 who had no signs of memory impairment and found that the ginkgo supplements worked no better to improve memory than dummy pills over a six-week period. Some of the supplements are advertised to have a noticeable benefit in four weeks.
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