Bacopa and the brain: Study highlights mood and memory benefits

By Asia Sherman

- Last updated on GMT

© Noppharat05081977 / iStock / Getty Images Plus
© Noppharat05081977 / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Related tags Bacopa monnieri mood Cognitive function

A first clinical trial sponsored by Indian ingredient supplier Samriddh on the effects of its Bacopa monnieri extract reports significant improvements to emotional and cognitive well-being in a group of healthy adults.

“This is the most comprehensive single study done on Bacopa, and the results of our study demonstrate the potential of Bacopa extract as a safe and effective ingredient to support memory, cognition, stress and sleep quality in healthy adults,” said Aditya Jain, founder and CEO at Samriddh. 

The study, published in the Journal of Psychiatry and Cognitive Behavior ​was conducted by researchers at the BGS Global Institute of Medical Sciences and Leads Clinical Research and Bio Services in Karnataka, India.

Enhancing bacopa bioavailability

Bacopa monnieri​, an herb known as Brahmi or water hyssop, has a long history of use in Ayurveda as a nerve-slash-brain tonic. A perennial creeper found in marshy wetlands throughout South and Southeast Asia, its bioactive bacosides are thought to interact with the brain’s dopamine and serotonin systems and promote neuron communication. 

“Numerous animal studies have demonstrated cognition-enhancing effects of Bacopa including improved motor learning and memory,” the researchers wrote. “Multiple clinical studies and meta-analysis of clinical studies on cognitive effects of Bacopa have demonstrated its ability to improve cognitive properties including attention.”

Although Bacopa exists as ingredient in a wide range of cognitive support and nootropic supplements on the market today, Samriddh said that B-LIT Bacopa is produced using a proprietary BioEnhanced Active Technology (BEAT) that enhances water solubility to improve bioavailability and absorption in the body.

The company—which is part of a diversified family business group with interests in consumer goods, steel manufacturing, green energy, real estate, construction and finance—entered the market in 2022 and debuted ingredients B-Lit Bacopa and BeepActive in the U.S. at the most recent Supply Side West trade show in Las Vegas.

Study details

The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial recruited 80 healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 55 and divided them equally into two groups. One group consumed either 300 mg of B-Lit Bacopa (B. monnieri extract) containing 90 mg of total bacosides and the other a placebo every morning after breakfast for 12 weeks. 

Subjects participated in a battery of tests to assess memory, cognitive function, anxiety and sleep quality at different time points. Blood samples were collected to analyze Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and cortisol levels, and safety was assessed through the study period. 

Key findings included significant improvements in memory, specifically; short-term memory, spatial short-term memory, visuo-spatial memory, working memory and episodic memory, in addition to cognitive improvements related to focus and concentration, alertness, reasoning and mental flexibility compared to placebo. No significant effects were observed for sustained attention and planning tasks. 

The researchers also reported key time effects as early as day 14 for cognitive performance and day 28 for memory benefits, as well as an acute effect on concentration three hours after consumption of a single dose. Compared to baseline, reductions in serum cortisol levels were seen at day 56 and day 84 and an increase in BDNF (a major marker of neuroplasticity) on day 84. 

“These findings alongside with our technology for enhanced bioavailability and absorption signify a step forward in innovation and research for cognitive health and overall well-being,” Jain said.

Source: Journal of Psychiatry and Cognitive Behaviour
doi: 10.29011/2574-7762.000068 
“Effect of Bacopa monnieri ​Extract on Memory and Cognitive Skills in Adult Humans: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study” 
Authors: Mohan Muttanahally Eraiah et al.

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