I’ve recently reviewed what I see as a very decent dog food, but with one slight exception – Ginkgo Biloba. That’s got to be good? Or is it?

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba

When I was studying for my exams my dear Mom gave me a tub of Ginkgo Biloba, telling me it’s a brain food. By taking one a day my grey matter would sponge up all my study and I’d get great grades. I did well at my exams, so maybe it worked? I’ve always seen it as having positive benefits, never negative.

Ginkgo Biloba isn’t something I’ve seen often in a dog or cat food, so the food I was reviewing is quite unique. All the other ingredients are well thought out, which would suggest they’ve put a lot of thought into this too. As I’d never seen it before in a pet food I decided to do some further research, and I found the following lab test report:

TOXICOLOGY AND CARCINOGENESIS - STUDIES OF GINKGO BILOBA EXTRACT

I don’t expect you to read all that, but it reports on how ginkgo biloba has caused cancer in rodents. This shows an alarming increase in liver and thyroid cancer as well as nasal tumours. This is very worrying, especially when this is found in a pet food.

Or is it?

If we consider those lab tests, they’re giving the rodents an excessive amount of ginkgo biloba. Let’s step away from ginkgo biloba for a moment and consider something else – arsenic. That’s toxic and can lead to poisoning. It’s also a naturally occurring element that can be found in water, with trace elements in foodstuffs like rice. We consume arsenic, but when was the last time you heard somebody die from arsenic poisoning? Possibly never. It’s a case of quantity – lot’s of ingredients can be toxic if they’re consumed in a high enough quantity, but can be beneficial in small doses.

An educated guess would tell me the ginkgo biloba found in the food in question would have absolutely no negative affect on a dog, even if the food is fed regularly for their whole lifetime.

I’d love to have scientific opinions and thoughts on this. There’s very little information available to date, and I’m no scientist. What are your thoughts?