Bacopa extract may boost sleep, cognitive & mood measures in kids: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Bacopa monnieri is also known as brahmi and water hyssop.  Image © Tirtha Roy / Getty Images
Bacopa monnieri is also known as brahmi and water hyssop. Image © Tirtha Roy / Getty Images

Related tags Bacopa monnieri Herbal supplements Cognitive function Sleep

Supplements of a specific Bacopa monnieri extract may improve measures of cognitive flexibility and executive functioning in children aged 6 to 14 years, says a new study from Australia.

Fourteen weeks of supplementation with SFI Health’s CDRI 08 Bacopa monnieri​ extract was also associated with improvements in sleep routine and measures of interpersonal problems in the children, according to findings published in Phytotherapy Research.

However, no improvements in inattention and hyperactivity in the children, compared to placebo.

“Our results are more closely aligned with previous studies showing improved processing speed and cognitive flexibility in healthy young adults,” ​wrote scientists from Orygen Health, The University of Melbourne, and Swinburne University of Technology.

“Systematic reviews have also reported evidence for [​Bacopa monnieri] as a cognitive enhancer in child and adolescent populations. Improvements in executive function, cognitive flexibility, and processing speed at V3 [the third visit of this study, which occurred after eight weeks] support this previous research.”

Also known as brahmi

The study adds to the published literature supporting the potential cognitive and brain health benefits of bacopa, a creeping perennial medicinal plant native to India with a long history of use in the Ayurvedic traditional medicine system.

Also known as brahmi and water hyssop, the plant’s bioactives include bacosides and saponins.

The new study is reported to be the first to examine the potential impact of the CDRI 08 extract in children and adolescents in relation to symptoms of ADHD.

Study details

The researchers recruited 112 male children and adolescents with elevated levels of hyperactivity and/or inattention, to participate in their randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. The boys were randomly assigned to receive either the bacopa extract or placebo for 14 weeks. The bacopa dose was calculated according to body weight: Boys between 20 and 35 kg (44-77 lbs) received 160 mg per day of CDRI 08, and boys over 35 kg (77 lbs) received 320 mg per day.

While no significant ADHD behavioral differences were observed the groups over the 14 weeks, the researchers did record a range of others benefits. Specifically, children in the bacopa group displayed decreased error-making and increased speed of reaction time, compared to placebo, at the end of the study.

The bacopa group also displayed improvements in cognitive flexibility, executive functioning, and sleep routine, compared to placebo.

“Further study is warranted to replicate these findings and identify the mechanisms through which the cognitive and behavioral improvements manifest, and whether their longer-term impact moderate's parental ratings of ADHD symptomatology,” ​concluded the researchers.

Source: Phytotherapy Research
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1002/ptr.7372
“Effects of ​Bacopa monnieri (CDRI 08) in a population of males exhibiting inattention and hyperactivity aged 6 to 14 years: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial”
Authors: J.D. Kean et al.

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