Bacopa – A Calming Nutrient that Boosts Cognitive Function
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist Byron J. Richards,
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Bacopa monnieri is a traditional ayurvedic System of traditional medicine native to India and South Asia. It is considered a form of CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) compared to traditional Western medicine. Uses many different herbs, massage, yoga and moderation of various lifestyle components to keep things in balance for treatment of health conditions. Deepak Chopra is a very popular author and proponent of Aruvedic Medicine. herb used for centuries as a memory enhancing, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and relaxant. Its unique combination of memory and cognitive performance boosting functions along with a calming effect make it an ideal nutrient to help maintain composure while enhancing cognitive function.
Bacopa has been shown in animal studies to reduce both anxiety and depression1. This is partly due to the balancing functions of seratonin, dopamine, and noradnrealine. It is also partly due to reducing high levels of cortisol2. Earlier animal studies also prove the ability of the herb to help tolerate stress and have a more balanced or adapted response to that stress. The newest animal study shows that Bacopa enhances antioxidant function4 in the brain and reduces free radical damage in brain synapses, which supports better brain plasticity. This study also proved Bacopa helped boost choline nerve transmission, which is associated with memory and cognitive performance. Another study has shown that Bacopa can maintain cognitive function even in a low oxygen brain situation5.
To keep your brain running smoothly it is vital to have a baseline of calmness in your head, something you could also refer to as your natural brakes. GABA is a relaxing neurotransmitter but it is often lacking under chronic stress when there are literally fewer GABA receptors that function – in turn making a person feel hyper, anxious, and/or too wound up. As it turns out Bacopa is able to increase the number of GABA receptors6, which is a highly useful attribute. Bacopa also interacts with serotonin receptors in a way that smooths out serotonin function7, a feature that is likely to be mood elevating.
Bacopa has been shown in human clinical trials to boost memory and cognitive function8. Australian researchers demonstrated this fact in a 90 day double blind study. In healthy human subjects Bacopa was found to boost higher cognitive function and learning9. A 12 week study in patients with age-associated memory impairment10 found that Bacopa significantly improved mental control, logical memory, digit forward, digit backward, visual reproduction and paired associate learning.
Bacopa is yet one more nutrient with brain enhancing attributes. Its unique combination of supporting a calmer mood while boosting performance is going to help many people.
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