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Last Updated on July 7, 2021 by Paula Dunbar
Cat’s Claw extract benefits for brain health make it a very exciting supplement in the brain health world. As we’re looking for natural ways to improve our brain health and hopefully head off neurodegeneration, this is a must read.
Scientific name: Uncaria tomentosa
Cat’s Claw was discovered in the Amazon rain forest in the region of Peru and can grow over 100 feet tall. Its name comes from the thorns that grow on the stalk, which resemble cat’s claws. It’s also known as “Uňa de Gato” in Spanish.
The bark and roots have been used in traditional medicine in South America for centuries, treating infections, cancer, and inflammation (Brown, 2019). It isn’t proven to help everything it’s been touted to but its brain benefits have been proven in recent studies.
Now it is available as a supplement in liquid, capsule, powder, or tea.
Best Benefits for Brain Health
Snow et. al (2019) did a scientific study on Cat’s Claw showing that it actually helps prevent the formation of and helps clear amyloid-beta plaques and tau tangles in the brain. You might already know that amyloid-beta plaques are one of the causes and pathology of Alzheimer’s disease. But they have found that it also affects memory in people as they age, even without full-blown Alzheimer’s.
Now with the capability to image plaques and tangles in the brain, scientists can study various drugs and natural substances and prove the efficacy of improvement or prevention of plaques and tangles. Cat’s Claw is being looked at closely.
As you can probably tell from the image on the right, amyloid plaque starts to choke off the healthy neurons. As this progresses, inflammation in the brain increases and neurons start dying. This trilogy of plaques, tangles, and inflammation is referred to as PTI.
It’s actually a normal part of aging to have some plaque and tau tangles but when inflammation gets worse, the plaques and tangles multiply, and memory and cognitive function get rapidly and markedly worse. Eventually, this ends up as Alzheimer’s.
But here’s the good news about Cat’s claw. It literally prevents and starts to break down plaques and tangles almost immediately after crossing the ‘blood-brain barrier’ (BBB) (Snow, 2019). And it crosses the BBB within 2 minutes of entering the bloodstream. Pretty amazing, right?
It seems to have strong anti-inflammatory properties as well which is super important for brain health. In 100% of Alzheimer’s and dementia cases, there are accumulations of plaque, tau tangles, and inflammation (Snow, 2021). So if we can tackle all three of them, we can definitely preserve our brain health. Cat’s Claw extract can do just that.
Related Article: How To Prevent Dementia and Alzheimer’s
Cat’s Claw has some potent components including some polyphenols and newly discovered proanthocyanidins. These are the micronutrients that do all the wonderful work in your body.
One study showed it actually increased the number of white blood cells in 27 men tested, helping the immune system fight infections (Brown, 2019). It also helps calm an overactive immune system.
More About Cat’s Claw
While side effects of Cat’s Claw are rarely reported, it’s good to know a few things about it. If taken in large quantities, it’s possible one might have nausea, upset stomach, or diarrhea.
It could have a blood-thinning effect so if you have a bleeding disorder or have an upcoming surgery, you might want to avoid Cat’s Claw.
It could cause low blood pressure or interfere with certain medications, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, cancer, and blood clotting. Ask your doctor before taking Cat’s Claw if you are in doubt.
Where To Get It
Cat’s Claw is found in some of the most effective brain and memory supplements, determined in a study by Snow et. al in 2021. But you don’t have to buy an expensive all-around supplement to get Cat’s Claw. It is available as a supplement on its own and very low cost.
Here is one supplier of Cat’s Claw and other high-quality supplements. I love Swanson’s products and feel good about the quality and their prices.
Where We Are Now
As you can see, Cat’s Claw could be one of the most important supplements for preserving your brain health. Or improving your memory. It actually wipes out the amyloid plaques and tau proteins and reduces neuroinflammation. Recent studies have proven it crosses the BBB within two minutes after entering the bloodstream.
I can’t say enough about Cat’s Claw. I hope you include it in your supplement regimen.
Thank you for reading about Cat’s Claw today and visiting mywellbrain.com. If you have any questions, comments or experience with Cat’s Claw, please leave them in the Comments section below. Thank you!
Brown, M. (2019). Cat’s Claw: Benefits, Side Effects, and Dosage. Retrieved from Cat’s Claw: Benefits, Side Effects, and Dosage (healthline.com) on March 14, 2021.
Snow, A.D., Castillo, G.M., Nguyen, B.P. et al. The Amazon rain forest plant Uncaria tomentosa (cat’s claw) and its specific proanthocyanidin constituents are potent inhibitors and reducers of both brain plaques and tangles. Sci Rep 9, 561 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-38645-0
Snow AD, Cummings JA, Tanzi RE, Lake T. In vitro comparison of major memory-support dietary supplements for their effectiveness in reduction/inhibition of beta-amyloid protein fibrils and tau protein tangles: key primary targets for memory loss. Sci Rep. 2021;11(1):3001. Published 2021 Feb 15. doi:10.1038/s41598-020-79275-1
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