Bacopa monnieri (also known as Brahmi, water hyssop, and Herpestis monniera) is a creeping perennial plant that has been shown to have anticonvulsant, antidepressant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anxiolytic, adaptogenic, and neuroprotective effects. It also has an important role in cellular homeostasis by modulating apoptosis through autophagy.
Bacognize is a proprietary, clean label Bacopa monnieri extract, standardised to bioactive bacopa glycosides for a range of adaptogenic cognitive wellness benefits.
The ability of Bacognize to help with alertness and focus has been seen in previous clinicals. Previous studies also have looked at the mechanistic abilities of Bacognize to interact on HT1a receptors associated with serotonin uptake. With this knowledge, the researchers in the current study decided to examine the ability of Bacognize to act as an adaptogen, modulating the serotonin / melatonin pathways associated with alertness, focus, and a healthy circadian rhythm.
Changes in several salivary hormones associated with stress, sleep, fatigue, and inflammation were also evaluated to help elucidate the potential mechanisms of action associated with Bacopa monnieri supplementation.
Eighty-nine healthy men and women aged 18-70 years with self-reported sleep problems were enrolled into this two-arm, parallel-group, 28-day, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Researchers examined administration of 150mg Bacognize (twice daily) and its impact on quality of life (QOL) measures, including emotional wellbeing, alertness, and quality of sleep.
Outcome measures used included the Bergen Insomnia Scale (BIS), the Functional Outcomes of Sleep Questionnaire (FOSQ-10), the Pittsburgh Sleep Diary (PSD), the Short Form-36 Health Survey (SF-36), and Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale – 21 (DASS-21).
On days −2 and 26 participants were instructed to collect approximately 5 mls of saliva 30 min after waking and again at 10pm. On days −1 and 27, participants were requested to collect a saliva sample upon waking, at midday, and in the evening.
The samples were assessed for hormones, including: cortisol, Dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEA-S), immunoglobulin A (sIgA), α-amylase (sAA), C-reactive protein (CRP), melatonin, as well as assessing the fatigue biomarker index (FBI, an objective fatigue measure based on the ratio in concentrations of two salivary peptide fragments).
The resulting data revealed positive improvements in salivary biomarkers measures with Bacognize when compared to placebo in all QOL measures (alertness upon awakening, emotional wellbeing, general health, and pain), with positive changes in PM melatonin, decreases in CRP, and trending increase of morning cortisol levels. The ability to improve grogginess was significant. No adverse effects were observed in the Bacognize group attributed to supplementation.
Researchers stated that Bacognize supplementation (300mg/day) was associated with statistically significant improvements to emotional wellbeing and general health. The report states: “Compared to baseline, [Bacognize] was associated with a 14% improvement in emotional wellbeing, 12% improvement in general health, and 16% reduction in pain (p<0.001). In contrast, the placebo [group] was associated with a 6% improvement in emotional wellbeing (p=0.007), 4% improvement in general health (p=0.039), and a non-significant 3% reduction in pain (p=0.474).”
Sonya Cropper, VP of marketing and innovation at Verdure Sciences, notes that these results come at a time when mental health is top of consumers' health concerns.
“Stress and quality of life have definitely been brought to the forefront during these times, with an ever-broadening appreciation of adapting capabilities. This study suggests that Bacgonize extract indeed has the ability to help individuals respond and adapt without any negative impacts to the sleep cycle, with specific support in mood, emotional wellbeing, focus, attention, and overall cognitive vitality,” she explains.
Kristen Marshall, digital marketing manager with Verdure Sciences, points out that current consumer demands are mirroring bigger conversations about mental wellbeing and healthy aging with consumers recognising the direct links between multiple areas of health, such as mental and physical fatigue and the impact this can have on immune health. She says these consumer trends are driving demand for ingredients with robust adaptogenic offerings.
“Bacognize is well poised to offer an adaptive approach to restorative health and is backed by traceability, clinical rigor, and quality assurance. This new publication only further exemplifies that traditional use with bacopa as modern applications with Bacognize are well aligned with what consumers really want in a product for cognitive vitality, emotional and mental wellbeing, and now, restorative sleep.”
Mechanisms of action
The main bioactive constituents of Bacopa monnieri believed to be associated with its cognitive effects are saponins called bacosides, with bacosides A and B the most studied constituents. Specifically relating to the pathophysiological processes associated with sleep disturbances, Bacopa monnieri has been shown to influence HPA-axis activity, neurotransmitter concentrations of dopamine and serotonin, and antioxidant and inflammatory activity.
In experimental studies, bacoside A inhibited inflammatory cytokine production, reduced free radical damage in the liver and brain, inhibited inflammatory cytokine production in the brain, and inhibited beta-amyloid cytotoxicity.
Due to the association between inflammation, oxidative stress, HPA-axis activity, and neurotransmitter concentrations, Bacopa monnieri has promise as a sleep-promoting and mood-enhancing agent. In human trials, Bacopa monnieri has been shown to have positive cognitive and anxiolytic effects; however, there have been no trials examining its effect on sleep.
Source: Journal of Functional Foods
Lopresti. A. L., Smith. S. J., Ali. S., Metse. A. P., Kalns. J., and Drummond. P.D.,
"Effects of a Bacopa monnieri extract (Bacognize) on stress, fatigue, quality of life and sleep in adults with self-reported poor sleep: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study"