Featured in: The Top 10 Brain Supplements
Bacopa monnieri has some pretty impressive and exciting benefits for the brain. After reading through lots of science-ese and summaries of scientific studies on not only rats but humans, the conclusion is clear. Bacopa Monnieri benefits are clear and indisputable for memory and brain function.
The medical world is still searching for a ‘drug’ that can cure dementia or Alzheimer’s. Lots of studies are documented on bacopa monnieri and it shows promise. It seems with all the studies going on, researchers might be hoping for bacopa monnieri as the next new dementia and Alzheimer’s drug. But if you’ve read any of Dr. Dale Bredesen’s book “The End of Alzheimer’s” (2017), he has found that there isn’t just one treatment that can cure Mild Cognitive Impairment, dementia and Alzheimer’s. It takes a lot of different habits and supplements, but according to him, it can happen. He does include bacopa monnieri in his regimen as well.
Let’s get into the heart of it…
What Bacopa Is
Bacopa monnieri (BM) is an Ayurvedic medicine, taken from a plant found in subtropical regions of the world. Especially India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, China, and Vietnam. It also grows in the southeastern areas of the US. BM is found in wet climates and even thrives underwater, and can be added to aquariums (Raman, R., 2019). It is sometimes thought of as a weed in rice paddies.
Ayurvedic and Chinese traditional medicine has used BM for centuries for improving memory, reducing anxiety and even treating asthma and epilepsy. Just so you know, it also goes by the name of Brahmi. BM’s active compounds are called bacosides. This is something you want to look for when purchasing a bacopa monnieri supplement since bacosides are the components that actually help the brain.
Bacopa, the Antioxidant
BM is a powerful antioxidant, thanks to the bacosides as the active component of its structure. Oxidation of cells creates the rogue free radicals which are atoms with one or more unpaired electrons, floating around and looking for another electron to pair with. They are kind of like an outlaw in your body, looking to get into some trouble. Oxidation in cells can cause heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers, according to Raman in his Healthline article (2019).
Lipid peroxidation happens when fat molecules interact with free radicals. According to Merriam-Webster online dictionary, it’s ‘oxidation to the greatest possible extent, resulting in the formation of a peroxide.’ This is Very Bad. The brain is composed mostly of lipids, so we need to prevent peroxidation. Lipid peroxidation is connected to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. BM has been shown to “reduce free radical damage and even reverse signs of memory impairment,” (Raman, 2019).
The NCBI (National Institutes of Health, US National Library of Medicine, 2019) report shows that the active ingredient, bacosides, in BM have a scavenging ability with free radicals. They seek out those rogue free radicals and neutralize them.
Bacopa, the Anti-Inflammatory
We’ve talked about inflammation in other articles here, but it is a healthy, natural response to invaders in our bodies. However, when it’s chronic, and the body is continuously fighting an invader in our body, or thinks it’s an invader, then we can develop big problems over time. Problems like diabetes, cancer, heart, and kidney disease. But this also affects our brains.
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Part of what the brain does in protecting itself is to produce the amyloid fibers that are a feature of dementia and Alzheimer’s (Bredesen, 2017). The brain is trying to defend itself, but in the process, the amyloid plaques are choking off the brain.
So far, the studies done with animals show BM inhibits enzymes known to be present in inflammation. A study was done comparing it to two non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and the effects were comparable to the prescription drugs.
Bacopa monnieri shows a lot of promise for its anti-inflammatory properties, but more studies on humans will show us how effective it really is. Human studies have been done on cognitive improvement though so that’s where we’re heading next.
Bacopa, the Brain Booster
All the studies say, significant improvement in cognitive abilities in humans. Not only in older people but in younger people too, even children. Its brain-boosting abilities are by far the best bacopa monnieri benefit.
Here is a list of some research findings, each from a different study:
- Improvement in speed of visual information processing.
- Significant effect on a task requiring retention of new information
- Enhanced word recall after a delay in time
- Significant improvement in working memory
- Significant change in baseline value of working memory and short-term verbal memory.
- Significant improvement in logical memory and also visual as well as auditory memory
- Significantly enhanced memory acquisition, verbal learning, and delayed recall
- Significant increase in memory tests, neuropsychological tests, logical memory tests
… And there’s even more. But you get the idea.
Anxiety and ADHD Helper
BM is a proven brain and memory booster. With EEG, one of the studies even found improvement in how the brain functions with bacopa monnieri (Sayamima, NCBI, 2019).
Also, BM may help prevent anxiety and stress. It’s an adaptogenic herb, which helps the body’s resistance to stress. It helps improve mood and reduces cortisol, the stress hormone. Cortisol is a good hormone for short term stress but becomes like a toxin in your body over the long haul.
Also mentioned in Raman’s article on Healthline, BM may help reduce ADHD symptoms as well. Studies showing children with ADHD have reduced symptoms like restlessness, inattention, poor self-control and impulsivity.
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Because it’s an adaptogen and has relaxing properties, this may be a great supplement to take before bed (with magnesium) to get to sleep and stay asleep a lot better.
Bacopa, There May Be More…
I alluded to it above, but bacopa monnieri also may have anticancer properties as well, thanks to its antioxidant properties. Studies done so far are showing the bacosides in BM have appeared to kill aggressive cancer cells in test tubes and animals. Wow!
There has been some study on lowering high blood pressure, but the jury is still out on that. It is successful with rats in labs, but they haven’t replicated the results with humans yet. So I’ll stay tuned about these theories for you and let you know as soon as I do.
I also found hair products made of BM. Apparently, it creates a beautiful texture for the hair. I prefer to take it as a supplement and get the benefits for a lot more. 🙂
Bacopa, in the Top 10!
So we’ve gone over that BM is an antioxidant, preventing peroxidation in the brain. Check.
BM has anti-inflammatory properties, shown to be comparable to prescription anti-inflammatory drugs. Check.
Bacopa monnieri is on my top shelf for brain-boosting supplements (and protectant).
Most of the BM strengths in the studies mentioned were between 300mg – 450mg.
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I am finding I sleep Much better. I have no anxiety. It’s almost like I had anxiety before I wasn’t even aware of. I feel relaxed almost all the time. My memory is Amazing! It’s a real confidence booster. I highly recommend Double Wood Bacopa Monnieri to you.
Thank you for reading today! I hope you found this article valuable.
Please feel free to leave comments, your experience with bacopa monnieri or questions below in the comments section. I’ll be sure to respond as soon as possible.
Bredesen, D. (2017). Book. The End of Alzheimer’s, published by Avery, New York.
Raman, R. (2019). 7 Emerging Benefits of Bacopa monnieri (Brahmi). https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/bacopa-monnieri-benefits#section1
Merriam-Webster online dictionary. (2019). merriam-webster.com
Syamima Abdul Manap. A., Viyayabalan, S., Madhavan, P., Yin Chia, Y., Arya, A., Wong, E., Rizwan, F., Bindal, U., Koshy, S. (2019). Bacopa monnieri, a Neuroprotective Lead in Alzheimer Disease: A Review on Its Properties, Mechanisms of Action, and Preclinical and Clinical Studies. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6669844/