Ginkgo biloba is an herbal supplement that’s used to improve cognitive function and to treat cognitive decline.
It’s an extract of a tree native to China and has a long history in herbal medicine as a treatment for everything from asthma to vertigo.
Today, many supplement enthusiasts take it for its purported cognitive benefits, and it’s even been explored for possible nootropic abilities.
A ginkgo biloba supplement taken at the right dosage might be able to improve your attention for at least six hours.
We’ve taken a look at the options for ginkgo biloba that are on the market right now and come up with the ten best ginkgo biloba supplements. Read on for our rankings.
1. Nutricost Ginkgo Biloba
Nutricost Ginkgo Biloba is pure, simple, and effective. With 120 mg of ginkgo biloba plant extract per capsule standardized to contain 24% glycosides, it’s a solid dosage, and its capsule is super-clean.
Just gelatin and rice flour make up the delivery vehicle, making this a great choice for people who care about supplement purity and who want to avoid unnecessary additives.
2. Havasu Nutrition Ginkgo Biloba + Phosphatidylserine
Havasu Nutrition makes a great ginkgo biloba supplement that adds in phosphatidylserine, a lipid molecule that’s often found in soy products that is essential for proper brain function.
The phosphatidylserine should help amplify the effects of ginkgo biloba if you are taking it for cognitive performance, as this compound is also thought to enhance your cognitive performance independently.
It might not be the best option if you are looking to follow clinical protocols for slowing the progression of cognitive decline, but it’s a good bet if you are interested in gingko biloba for its nootropic potential.
3. Life Extension Ginkgo Biloba
Life Extension Ginkgo Biloba is a pretty standard ginkgo biloba supplement with 120 mg of plant extract, standardized to 24% glycosides and 6% terpene lactones.
It’s one of the best ginkgo biloba supplements that comes in a vegan-friendly capsule, so for those who are strict about their capsule constituents, it’s a good call.
4. Nature’s Bounty Ginkgo Biloba
Nature’s Bounty is a reasonably straightforward ginkgo biloba supplement that delivers 120 mg of plant extract, which is standardized to contain 24% glycosides and 6% terpenes.
The capsule is gelatin-based and uses a few ingredients like silica and magnesium stearate as binders and fillers, but aside from that is a pretty clean design.
5. TR Supplements Upgraded Ginkgo Biloba
TR Supplements Upgraded Ginkgo Biloba is designed slightly differently in that it uses 100 mg of coconut oil alongside the expected 120 mg of ginkgo biloba.
TR Supplements claims that this oil enhances absorption, but unlike some vitamins and supplements, there isn’t much evidence that this is necessary.
It’s not a bad supplement by any measure, though, and its dosage of active ingredients is still quite good.
6. Puritan’s Pride Herbal Sure Ginkgo Biloba
Puritan’s Pride Herbal Sure Ginkgo Biloba is a pretty standard ginkgo biloba supplement that’s got 120 mg of plant extract, standardized to 24% glycosides and 6% terpene lactones.
While the supplement design is not the cleanest around, it will still get the job done—this supplement just doesn’t distinguish itself from the pack, but it’s still a fine choice.
7. Micro Ingredients Superfoods Organic Ginkgo Biloba Powder
Micro Ingredients Superfoods Organic Ginkgo Biloba Powder has two primary advantages going for it. First, it uses organic ginkgo biloba plant material, which is something that’s pretty rare among its competitors.
Second, it comes in a loose powder form, which gives you a lot more freedom when it comes to dosage and dosing. That being said, this supplement is definitely not for everyone.
Since ginkgo biloba’s recommended dose is fairly small, you’ll want a microscale to properly measure dosage. If that’s not up your alley, opt for a capsule-based ginkgo biloba supplement instead.
8. Green Natr Ginseng + Ginkgo Biloba
Green Natr Ginseng + Ginkgo Biloba is a very popular combination of ginkgo and ginseng, which is also thought to have cognition-protection effects.
It’s a good fit for people who know they want both herbal ingredients, but it’s not well-suited for following a clinical study protocol, nor is its dosage particularly high.
This supplement contains only 100 mg of raw plant powder and 60 mg of ginkgo biloba extract; that’s half of what you’d get in another more typical supplement.
9. Mason Natural Ginkgo Biloba
Mason Natural Ginkgo Biloba is a reasonably popular ginkgo biloba supplement that is based on a raw extract of ginkgo biloba leaf, so you know what the equivalent of raw plant material is.
However, this extract is not standardized to any specific glycoside content, which makes it difficult to compare to other similar supplements for active ingredient contents.
10. Trunature Ginko Biloba with Vinpocetine
Trunature puts its own spin on the standard ginkgo biloba supplement by adding in five milligrams of vinpocetine, a separate derivative of a different herbal extract that’s been studied in a few small studies.
Vinpocetine doesn’t have nearly as much evidence supporting its inclusion in a supplement for cognitive health, so unless you know you want to take both in combination, a different ginkgo biloba supplement might be better.
Ginkgo biloba benefits and side effects
Ginkgo biloba is a supplement that’s been intently studied for its ability to protect your brain from cognitive decline and perhaps even to improve its cognitive ability beyond its normal level.
It’s a strong supplement that should only be taken at moderate doses, and unlike some other herbal supplements, its benefits appear to be fairly focused—all of the effects of this naturally-occurring extract seem to involve your brain.
Ginkgo biloba has been studied for slowing and preventing cognitive decline in old age. The primary effects of ginkgo biloba are thought to be related to preserving the proper function of your brain as you get older.
One report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association described a year-long study in 300 people with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, half of whom were treated with a ginkgo biloba supplement and half of whom were treated with a placebo (1).
The researchers used an objective test of cognitive function, and found that the ginkgo biloba supplement was associated with a significant improvement in their cognitive abilities over the course of the year, compared to the placebo group.
The researchers hypothesized that the ginkgo biloba supplement helped reverse some of the damage that had occurred in the brain, helping to increase brain functioning in those who responded to the supplement.
Not all studies have found a benefit to ginkgo biloba. One large randomized clinical trial found contradictory results when it came to actually preventing Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline.
This experiment was conducted at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (2).
In it, over 3,000 people aged 75 and older were randomly assigned to either a ginkgo biloba group or a placebo group, and the participants were evaluated every six months for their rate of dementia.
The researchers found that ginkgo biloba did not prevent Alzheimer’s disease, and did not slow the rate of progression for mild cognitive impairment.
Dosage matters when it comes to ginkgo biloba for preventing cognitive decline. Commenting on the findings of some previous work that had found no benefits to ginkgo biloba a scientific article published in 2015 in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease by two scientists at the University of Bari Aldo Moro in Italy noted that clinical trials that used dosages lower than 240 mg of standardized ginkgo biloba per day tended to be the ineffective ones (3).
Additionally, the researchers pointed out that newer studies that specifically included patients with Alzheimer’s disease tended to find more of a benefit for ginkgo biloba than those that only looked at mild cognitive impairment.
The dosage appears to be pretty important for ginkgo biloba, at least when it comes to preventing or slowing the most severe types of cognitive decline, like Alzheimer’s disease.
Ginkgo biloba may increase attention. As with many other supplements that have been studied for their ability to treat or prevent cognitive decline (like acetylcholine, for example), there has also been interest in using ginkgo biloba in healthy young people as a way to boost cognitive performance beyond baseline levels.
Its nootropic effects were investigated in a study published in 2000 in the journal Psychopharmacology (4). This study involved giving young, healthy volunteers increasing doses of ginkgo biloba and measuring their cognitive performance.
The dosage ranged from 120 to 360 mg of ginkgo biloba extract. After reviewing the results from the battery of cognitive performance tests, the researchers found that both the 240 mg and the 360 mg resulted in boosts to attention.
These improvements were sustained in both cases for up to six hours, making the case that ginkgo biloba is a nootropic that’s well-suited for marathon study sessions or all-day-long project sessions at work.
For this reason, you’ll often find it blended with other memory-boosting or reaction-speed boosting supplements (like caffeine) in nootropic, cognitive-performance supplements.
Ginkgo biloba does not appear to have serious side effects when taken at the recommended dose in large clinical trials; some of the biggest studies have found no group differences in side effects when comparing the placebo group and the ginkgo biloba group.
However, ginkgo biloba does have the potential to cause serious side effects, including seizures, at high doses, and there are medical case studies reporting on drug interactions in people who are taking prescription medication.
These appear to be more common among drugs which modulate your blood’s clotting ability, like warfarin and, more relevant to many older people, aspirin (5).
If you already take aspirin to reduce your risk of heart disease, you should talk to your doctor first before starting a ginkgo biloba supplement.
As noted earlier, if you are taking ginkgo biloba for preventing or treating cognitive decline, the dosage seems to matter, at least according to one review study.
Strive for a dose of 240 mg every day in this case, likely split into two equal doses of 120 mg of ginkgo biloba; one taken in the morning and one taken in the evening.
For the purposes of boosting cognitive performance, a bolus dose appears to be more effective. A single dose of up to 360 mg has been used to boost attention, and these effects appear to last for at least 6 hours.
Ginkgo biloba is an herbal extract that’s been studied as a treatment or a preventative agent for cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Its efficacy for treating and preventing these conditions is controversial, but if it is effective, its efficacy is likely optimized at doses of 240 mg per day, divided into two doses.
Interest in ginkgo biloba as a cognition-protecting agent has also sparked interest in the ability to use it as a nootropic, and some evidence that looks pretty promising has shown that it can be taken at higher single doses of 240 to 360 mg to improve your ability to concentrate.
It’s a pretty well-tolerated supplement, as long as you stay within the recommended dosage ranges and you don’t take it alongside any prescription medications without asking your doctor first, especially if your medications involve compounds that affect the clotting ability of your blood, like aspirin or warfarin.
In all, ginkgo biloba shows considerable promise when it comes to preserving your brain’s cognitive function as you get older, and even boosting its cognitive and attentive abilities beyond its normal level.