A few people have asked me about Ginkgo Biloba and why we decided to start giving it to Lila. I first learned about Ginkgo on the Changing Minds website, where they have info about giving Ginkgo Biloba along with Prozac to kids with Down Syndrome. Well, to be honest, that kindof freaked me out a little bit. It might have been the thought of giving my 2 year old Prozac, but that's just me.
Soon after I read about Ginkgo on the Changing Minds website, I read the following "warning" statement from down-syndrome.org.
An organization called the Changing Minds Foundation is promoting a "new treatment for Down syndrome" that leads to "life changing" results. The "treatment" includes regular doses of Fluoxetine (Prozac), Dexmethylphenidate (Focalin XR) and Ginkgo biloba, Phosphatidylcholine, ‘Body Bio Balanced Oil’ and folinic acid. Some of these substances are associated with potential harmful side-effects. Some of these side-effects are of particular concern for people with Down syndrome and younger children. Fluoxetine (Prozac) is used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia nervosa and panic disorder. Dexmethylphenidate (Focalin XR) is used for the treatment of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Their use should be initiated and monitored by an appropriately qualified physician and should be limited to applications and treatments formally reviewed and approved by appropriate governmental and medical drug regulatory agencies.
So I considered myself warned. I didn't really think about Ginkgo again until a few months later when a friend of mine told me about the Einstein Syndrome website. I joined the listserve out of curiosity, and what do you think they were talking about the day I joined? The benefits of giving Ginkgo Biloba to our kids with Down Syndrome. I decided to do my own research, and found this website, which has a lot of good info about Ginkgo. Including how it helps with erectile dysfunction, but that's a bit off topic, isn't it? Seriously, though, this particular website has a lot of good info on it, such as:
Ginkgo biloba is considered to be a "smart drug" to stimulate brain function and boost memory, and as an antioxidant to slow the effects of aging and prevent degenerative diseases. It increases the blood flow to the brain. Benefits of enhanced circulation in the brain include improved short and long term memory, increased reaction time and improved mental clarity. Ginkgo also acts as a powerful antioxidant and contributes to the oxidation of free radicals which are believed to contribute to premature aging and dementia.
After more research and many conversations, we decided to give it a try. I started taking it a few days before we gave it to Lila, just to try it out. I experienced no negative side effects. We started Lila on a reduced dosage, and did that for about 2 weeks before we increased to the full dosage according to her weight. Some of the changes we are seeing:
Increased speech- including more words and stringing words together to form sentences
Asking questions- maybe it's a concidence, but before we started her on Ginkgo she never asked questions. Now she says things like, "Where daddy go?" and "Sissy home?" and "Daddy at work?"
Awareness of her surroundings- again, maybe a coincidence, but she seems to be more focused. As an example, we drive by the park every day on the way to and on the way home from school. Since we started her on ginkgo, when she sees the park, she points at it, says "park", and asks to play. "Mama! Park! Play? Play! Park!" She gets so excited that it makes me feel guilty- 9 times out of 10 we are not headed to the park.
Ability to focus- Lila has always had a pretty good attention span, but it has noticably improved. Two of her therapists have commented on it. Lila has still has reflux, so she still has to be upright and still for 30 minutes after she eats. She watches videos and reads books during this period of time. It is amazing to listen to her as she watches a video she is familiar with. She talks and sings right along with whatever is happening. It's exciting that she has the attention span to sit and learn, along with the ability to retain the information.
Those are just a few examples that were on the top of my head. As for me, I have definitely noticed a positive difference in my mental clarity . At my age I need all the help I can get! Seriously, though, as we get older, things start to get a little fuzzy. That was definitely happening to me and while I still have my moments, I am seeing a definite difference since I started taking Ginkgo.
So there it is, our limited experience with Ginkgo. Don't take my word for it, though. Do some research for yourself before you make the decision whether or not to give it to your child. If you ask your doctor, unless they are into homeopathic and/or holistic remedies, they will probably tell you to proceed at your own risk. It's definitely not "FDA" approved, and there are no studies out there to prove whether or not there are actual benefits to taking Ginkgo Biloba.
Think about it, though, who would pay for those studies?
Just my thoughts~