Bacopa extract supplement benefit, herb for memory and mental enhancement - Benefit and side effects, safety, research studies, dosage and interactions with other supplements and medications
July 15 2014 by Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Bacopa monnieri plant is an Ayurvedic herb used in India for memory enhancement. Ayurvedic medicine has touted its cognitive enhancing effects for centuries. Studies show that it has strong antioxidant properties, protects mental function in those with epilepsy who take the drug phenytoin, while a study on rats showed administration improves learning skills. I have seen it also spelled as bacopa monniera but I have been informed that monnieri is the correct spelling.
   It usually takes a few days to notice the mental enhancement from this herbal supplement, which is also known as Brahmi. I prefer using it in smaller amounts in combination with other brain boosting nutrients.

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Bacopa-225mg-physician-formulas-Sahelian-front.jpgBacopa has been revered for centuries in the Ayurvedic herbal tradition of India to enhance clear thinking and support memory function. Studies have shown that it supports learning and memory in humans. In animal models, Bacopa monnieri provides antioxidant protection for critical memory centers and helps to reduce the effects of stress on the brain. Traditional application suggests that it has a direct effect on improving brain functions, increasing concentration, and in promoting memory functions. Bacosides play a protective role in the synaptic functions of the nerves in the hippocampus, the seat of memory. Nerve impulses are transmitted across the synapses and their degeneration is believed to contribute to impaired memory and cognition.


 

 

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Supplement Facts: Amount Per two capsules
Bacopa whole plant extract 450 mg (20% bacosides A + B)

What's in bacopa herb and how does it work?
It contains saponins, designated as bacopaside I, II,
III, IV and V
. Additional phytochemicals betulinic acid, wogonin and oroxindin have been isolated from the aerial parts. This herb also has the flavonoids luteolin and apigenin. Dammarane-type triterpenoid saponins classified as pseudojujubogenin and jujubogenin glycosides are reported as some of the active components in this plant. Bacoside A, the bioactive component of this Indian medicinal plant is a mixture of saponins with bacoside A3, bacopaside II, jujubogenin isomer of bacopasaponin C and bacopasaponin C as major constituents.

Neuropharmacological review of the nootropic herb Bacopa monnieri.
Rejuvenation Res. 2013. Pitzer College, Claremont, California, United States
Numerous animal and in vitro studies have been conducted, many evidencing potential medicinal properties. Several randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trials have substantiated BM's nootropic utility in humans. There is also evidence for potential attenuation of dementia, Parkinson's and epilepsy. The current evidence suggests BM acts via the following mechanisms: antioxidant-neuroprotection (via redox and enzyme induction), acetylcholinesterase inhibition and/or choline acetyltransferase activation, β-amyloid reduction, increased cerebral blood flow, neurotransmitter modulation (acetylcholine, serotonin, dopamine) and receptor regulation. BM appears to exhibit low toxicity in model organisms and humans, however long-term studies of toxicity in humans have yet to be conducted.

Dosage
Might you give me the correct dosage of bacopa? You suggest 100mg daily but the supplement fact panel on the bottle suggests 2 tablets of 225mg twice daily.
   There is no right dosage that applies to everyone, each person is unique. In general use the lowest dosage that works.
The usual dosage is 100 mg to 300 mg of the extract once or twice daily. It appears that it works better when taken a few days in a row rather than just once.

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Benefits

Alzheimer's disease benefit with bacopa herbal medicine
Cognitive enhancement and neuroprotective effects of Bacopa monnieri in Alzheimer's disease model.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2009.
To determine the effect of alcoholic extract of Bacopa monnieri on cognitive function and nerve cell degernation in animal model of Alzheimer's disease. Male Wistar rats were orally given the alcoholic extract at doses of 20, 40 and 80mg/kg body weight for a period of 2 weeks before and 1 week after the intracerebroventricular administration of ethylcholine azinridinium ion. The herbal extract improved the escape latency time in Morris water maze test. Moreover, the reduction of neurons and cholinergic neuron densities were also mitigated. These findings suggest that Bacopa monnieri is a potential cognitive enhancer and protects nerve cells against Alzheimer's disease.

Neuroprotective effect of Bacopa monnieri on beta-amyloid-induced cell death in primary cortical culture.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2008.
Brahmi is extensively used in traditional Indian medicine as a nerve tonic and thought to improve memory. To examine the neuroprotective effects of Brahmi extract, we tested its protection against the beta-amyloid protein (25-35) and glutamate-induced neurotoxicity in primary cortical cultured neurons. From this study, the mode of action of neuroprotective effects of Brahmi appeared to be the results of its antioxidant to suppress neuronal oxidative stress and the acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activities. Therefore, treating patients with Brahmi extract may be an alternative direction for ameliorating neurodegenerative disorders associated with the overwhelming oxidative stress as well as Alzheimer's disease.

Antioxidant
Bacopa moniera has antioxidant properties.

Free radical scavenging capacity and protective effect of Bacopa monniera on DNA damage.
Phytother Res. 2003.
Bacopa monniera showed a dose-dependent free radical scavenging capacity and a protective effect on DNA cleavage. The antioxidant capacity may explain, at least in part, the reported antistress, immunomodulatory, cognition-facilitating, antiinflammatory and antiaging effects produced by it in experimental animals and in clinical situations and may justify further investigation of its other beneficial properties. Moreover, this experimental evidence suggests that because of its antioxidant activity, Bacopa monniera may be useful in the treatment of human pathologies in which free radical production plays a key role.

Asthma
Broncho-vasodilatory activity of fractions and pure constituents isolated from Bacopa monniera.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2003.
Various fractions possess broncho-vasodilatory activity, which is attributed mainly to inhibition of calcium ions.

Cognitive enhancement studies
I am writing an article on bacopa monnieri and would love to know how it works to promote mental clarity and focus and the recommended dose.
    This herb works in many ways in the brain, including: Works as an antioxidant to suppress neuronal oxidative stress. Has some acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activities. Influences calmodulin levels in the brain. Influences brain chemicals through modulating binding of neurotransmitters to nerve cells. The suggested dosage is about 100 to 300 mg of a 20 percent extract but there is a great deal of individual variation in required dosage.

Examining the nootropic effects of a special extract of Bacopa monniera on human cognitive functioning: 90 day double-blind placebo-controlled randomized trial.
Phytother Res. 2008. Stough C, Downey LA, Lloyd J, Silber B, Redman S, Hutchison C, Wesnes K. Brain Sciences Institute, Swinburne University, P.O. Box 218 (H99), Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia.
170 healthy participants were recruited for this investigation. Neuropsychological testing using the Cognitive Drug Research cognitive assessment system was conducted at baseline and after 90 days of treatment with a special extract of bacopa monniera (2 x 150 mg KeenMind) or placebo. The bacopa monniera product significantly improved performance on the 'Working Memory' factor, more specifically spatial working memory accuracy. The number of false-positives recorded in the Rapid visual information processing task was also reduced for the bacopa monniera group following the treatment period. The current study provides support for the two other published studies reporting cognitive enhancing effects in healthy humans after a 90 day administration of the bacopa monniera extract. KeenMind is a bacopa extract with 55 percent bacosides.

The chronic effects of an extract of Bacopa monniera on cognitive function in healthy human subjects.
Psychopharmacology 2001
The current study examined the chronic effects of an extract of bacopa on cognitive function in healthy human subjects. Subjects were randomly allocated to one of two treatment conditions, bacopa 300 mg or placebo. Neuropsychological testing was conducted pre-(baseline) and at 5 and 12 weeks post drug administration. The herb significantly improved speed of visual information processing, learning rate and memory consolidation compared to placebo, with maximal effects evident after 12 weeks. These findings suggest that Bacopa monniera may improve higher order cognitive processes that are critically dependent on the input of information from our environment such as learning and memory.

Depression
Antidepressant activity of standardized extract of Bacopa monniera in experimental models of depression in rats.
Phytomedicine. 2002.
Presently, the standardized extract bacoside A was investigated for potential antidepressant activity in rodent models of depression. The effect was compared with the standard antidepressant drug imipramine. When given in the dose of 20 and 40 mg/kg, orally once daily for 5 days was found to have significant antidepressant activity in forced swim and learned helplessness models of depression and was comparable to that of imipramine.

Epilepsy
Upregulation of 5-HT2C receptors in hippocampus of pilocarpine-induced epileptic rats: antagonism by Bacopa monnieri.
Epilepsy Behav. 2009; Krishnakumar A, Nandhu MS. Molecular Neurobiology and Cell Biology Unit, Centre for Neuroscience, Department of Biotechnology, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Cochin, Kerala, India.
Emotional disturbances, depressive mood, anxiety, aggressive behavior, and memory impairment are the common psychiatric features associated with temporal lobe epilepsy. The present study was carried out to investigate the role of bacopa monnieri extract in hippocampus of pilocarpine-induced temporal lobe epileptic rats through the 5-HT(2C) receptor in relation to depression. The forced swim test confirmed the depressive behavior pattern during epilepsy that was nearly completely reversed by B. monnieri treatment.

Bacopa monnieri and Bacoside - A for ameliorating epilepsy associated behavioral deficits.
Fitoterapia. Molecular Neurobiology and Cell Biology Unit, Centre for Neuroscience, Department of Biotechnology, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Cochin, Kerala, India.
Bacopa monnieri is an outstanding nervine tonic used for raising the mental performance. It helps in concentration, comprehension, recall and alertness, Brahmi is particularly beneficial as it aids in categorizing information in brain and its subsequent expression. Bacopa is also called as a natural antioxidant which may give details its neuroprotective role seen in the memory centers of the brain. Epilepsy is neuronal disorder characterized by learning, cognitive and memory impairments. The present review summarizes information concerning botany, chemistry and beneficial effect of Bacopa monnieri on epilepsy associated behavioral deficits.

My daughter has Epilepsy and Landau Kleffner Syndrome which causes delays and wipes out speech. I started her on Bacopa monnieri and have noticed that she seems more alert and notices her surroundings more. I asked her 2 questions yesterday: 1. She picked up the frozen juice off the counter and I asked her to "Put it back!" and she turned around and put it back. 2. She was laying near our dog, She got up and started to walk away, I asked her "Where's Saedys nose?" She turned around, came back, and touched saedy's nose. This is not my daughter. My daughter is in her own world and Never understands questions the first time. It is amazing. I never knew that herbs such  as bacopa monnieri existed.

Memory herb Ayurvedic research
Researchers at the Department of Psychology, University of Wollongong, in Australia, studied the effects of the Ayurvedic herb bacopa on human memory. Seventy-six adults aged between 40 and 65 years took part in a double-blind randomized, placebo control study in which various memory functions were tested and levels of anxiety measured. There were three testing sessions: one prior to the trial, one after three months on the trial, and one six weeks after the completion of the trial. The results showed a significant effect of bacopa monniera on a test for the retention of new information. Follow-up tests showed that the rate of learning was unaffected, suggesting that bacopa decreases the rate of forgetting of newly acquired information.

Chronic effects of Brahmi on human memory.
Neuropsychopharmacology. 2002.
A study is reported on the effects of Brahmi on human memory. Seventy-six adults aged between 40 and 65 years took part in a double-blind randomized, placebo control study in which various memory functions were tested and levels of anxiety measured. There were three testing sessions: one prior to the trial, one after three months on the trial, and one six weeks after the completion of the trial. The results show a significant effect of the bacopa monniera on a test for the retention of new information. Follow-up tests showed that the rate of learning was unaffected, suggesting that the herb decreases the rate of forgetting of newly acquired information. Tasks assessing attention, verbal and visual short-term memory and the retrieval of pre-experimental knowledge were unaffected.

Scopolamine Induced Amnesia is Reversed by Bacopa monniera Through Participation of Kinase-CREB Pathway.
Neurochem Res. 2009. Saraf MK, Anand A. Neuroscience Research Lab, Department of Neurology, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India.
Scopolamine, an anticholinergic drug, is reported to produce amnesia by interference of long term potentiation and has been used for discerning the efficacy of various antiamnesic drugs. The intoxication with anticholinergics and benzodiazepines tend to produce neurodegeneration which cause memory deficits. Our earlier reports have shown the antiamnesic drug, B. monniera to be capable of alleviating diazepam induced memory deficits. Bacopa herb reversed the scopolamine induced amnesia by significantly improving calmodulin.

Stress reduction
Antistress effects of bacosides of Bacopa monnieri
Phytother Res. 2002.
The antistress effect of bacosides of Brahmi was studied in adult male Sprague Dawley rats by administering oral doses of 20 and 40 mg/kg for 7 consecutive days. In half of the animals treated with 20 or 40 mg/kg of bacopa, stress was given 2 h after the last dose. Stress was also administered to the animals treated with distilled water alone. Bacopa, at both doses, did not induce a significant change in the expression of Hsp70 in any brain region studied while stress alone produced a significant increase in the Hsp70 expression in all the brain regions. A significant decrease in the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) was evident in the hippocampus with the lower dose of bacopa and in animals given stress alone, while an increase in the activity of SOD was observed in the brain regions with the higher dose of bacopa. Our indicate that Bacopa has potential to modulate the activities of Hsp70, P450 and SOD thereby possibly allowing the brain to be prepared to act under adverse conditions such as stress.

Adaptogenic effect of Bacopa monniera.
Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003.
We report the investigations on the adaptogenic property of a standardized extract of Bacopa monniera against acute and chronic stress models in rats. Panax root powder was taken as a standard. Male rats exposed to immobilization stress for 150 min once only for acute and for seven consecutive days in CS, were fed with Bacopa monniera or Panax root powder daily for 3 days in acute and for 7 days in chronic stress, 45 min prior to each exposure of stress. Pretreatment with Bacopa monniera significantly reduced the acute state-induced increase in the ulcer index, adrenal gland weight, plasma glucose. It is concluded that the standardized extract of Bacopa monniera possesses a potent adaptogenic activity.

Ulcer protection, H. Pylori infection
One rodent study indicates it has some potential in helping protect the stomach from ulcer formation.

Effect of Bacopa monniera and Azadirachta indica on gastric ulceration and healing in experimental NIDDM rats.
Indian J Exp Biol. 2004.
Gastric ulcers were induced in normal /NIDDM rats by various physical and chemical agents and duodenal ulcer were induced by cysteamine. Both Bacopa monniera extract and Azadirachta showed significant anti-ulcer and ulcer-healing activities in normal and NIDDM rats.

In vitro evaluation of Bacopa monniera on anti-Helicobacter pylori activity and accumulation of prostaglandins.
Phytomedicine. 2003.
Bacopa monniera showed anti-Helicobacter pylori activity in vitro and increased in vitro of prostanoids (PGE and PGI2) in human colonic mucosal incubates. It may be concluded that these factors may contribute to anti ulcer activity.

Bacopa side effects, safety, risk, toxicity
Long term side effects and safety are currently not fully known. As with most herbs, it's best to take breaks from use.

Spelling
On your website, you wrote, "I have seen Bacopa monniera also spelled as monnieri. I am not sure if the latter is an acceptable spelling variation." Actually, the latter is THE correct spelling, your former is incorrect.
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